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Category Archive: Resources

With PCLaw, Save Lawyers Time And Improve Your Firm’s Processes

What are qualities of a good lawyer? Of course, a skilled lawyer is astute, perceptive, supremely knowledgeable and thinks well on their feet. But when evaluating a lawyer’s skill set, one quality that’s often overlooked or dismissed entirely is efficiency.

Any lawyer knows that in addition to demanding clients and challenging cases, they also face mountains of paperwork. Indeed, the more cases a lawyer takes on, the more daunting their paperwork becomes. In order for lawyers to succeed, it remains crucial for them to keep all of their paperwork organized, and easy to track at all times. Effective legal management software is the key for a lawyer’s — and entire firm’s — efficiency and reputation in the long-run.

LexisNexis’s PCLaw is the trusted software of lawyers in the country. Used by over 12,000 firms, PCLaw streamlines accounting and billing, effectively forcing lawyers to make their processes more efficient. One of the software’s biggest advantages is its all-in-one nature — it lets you manage tasks you would normally organize separately. For busy lawyers who already put in long hours, the importance of a time-saving, organizational tool cannot be emphasized enough. PCLaw lets you do trust accounting, client management, billing and accounting, track billable hours, capture expenses all in one place. Moreover, with PCLaw, you can generate reports into your firm’s finances, saving valuable time typically spent on billing and accounting. All this time will let lawyers pour more hours into cases at hand, honing their skill set and ultimately bettering your firm.

Even if lawyers aren’t at the office, they often want to get updates with what’s going on at the firm. PCLaw is available remotely and can be connected through mobile devices, giving you access to your firm’s information at all times.

You also don’t need to worry about spending even more time training lawyers how to use PCLaw. PCLaw has a visually-friendly dashboard that presents important details where you need them. There’s no need to search different areas of the software for what you need. Instead, PCLaw immediately lets you access what you need all in one dashboard.

Still not sure if PCLaw is right for your firm? You can book a free demo, which gives you an in-depth tour of the online billing and accounting software.

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5 Canadian Laws You Might Not Even Know You’re Breaking

Canada’s legal framework is fair and just, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some rather strange inconsistencies. You might think it’s fine to empty your change jar to pay for your lunch, but in truth, the act is quite illegal.

Keeping up-to-date on the ever-changing legal landscape can be difficult (at least it is without the help of legal management software) but is essential for any legal professional. Actually, it’s important for the average citizen, too, because you might end up breaking a law without even knowing it.

From fake psychics to booking an Airbnb in Ontario, there are more than a few Canadian laws that most probably aren’t even aware of. Check out a sample below and make sure you’re not breaking the law!

The Canadian Ban On Crime Comics

Superheroes weren’t always the main focus of comic books. Dark and seedier crime and murder-mystery comics were actually quite popular in the 40’s and 50’s, with plots featuring content that might not have been appropriate for kids. That’s why the Canadian government banned crime comics in 1949, believing the comics could encourage illicit behaviour. The law itself stipulates that should any character in a comic do anything unlawful, they would have to be arrested or be foiled by the end of the story. Beware if you have a comic in your hand that illegally has the bad guys winning in the end.

Leave The Sign Where It Stands

As cool as it may be to have a deer or duck crossing sign in your rec room, the legal trouble you can get into may be more than you bargained for. According to Article 443 of the Canadian Criminal Code, pulling down an official government sign (municipal, provincial, federal) could land you with a whole five years in jail.

No Fake Psychics Allowed

Only those truly gifted with paranormal powers are allowed to operate in Canada, apparently, as Article 365 of the Canadian Criminal Code specifically states that it is illegal to “fraudulently” practice “witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment or conjuration.” The law extends to any fortune tellers or those using “knowledge of the occult or crafty science” to aid in investigations or searches. All in all, be careful who you’re using to contact the dead, because you might be participating in some illegal activities if they’re faking. Wonder what the stance is on “real” psychics or witchcraft practitioners…

Never Pay With Too Much Change

In a move that has certainly pleased cashiers for years, the Canadian Currency Act specifically states that there is a limit to how much change you can use to pay for something. For example, if you’re paying a $5 bill, the maximum amount of change you can use is 100 nickels. Same goes for a bill of $25, where loonies are the limit.

Watch Out Where You Airbnb In Ontario

Quite recently the province of Ontario has given a fair bit of power to condo buildings, as they can effectively make sharing services like Airbnb illegal. Condo corporations have the power to enforce this ruling on their own discretion, and would prohibit condo-owners from renting out their units on Airbnb or Expedia. No doubt this recent ruling will alter the legal landscape quite a bit, as Airbnb and like services have become incredibly popular, and similar rulings will no doubt be seen in other provinces quite soon. Keep this in mind whenever you’re booking an Airbnb in Ontario, as condos may get you into a sticky legal situation.

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Protect Your Firm Against Personal Legal Action With LexisNexis

According to a global report issued by Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS), new risks put corporate leaders at higher risk of experiencing investigations, fines, or persecution over alleged wrongdoings. D&O Insurance Insights: Management Liability Today found that there’s a “growing trend toward seeking punitive and personal legal action against executives for failure to follow regulations and standard, which could result in costly investigations, criminal prosecutions or civil litigation.”

AGCS stated that these new risks include cyber incidents, data privacy, rising regulator and shareholder activism, and the influence of third-party litigation funders. One of the main findings from the report was that the top cause of Directors and Officers’ (D&O) loss is non-compliance with laws and regulations. The average claim for breach of trust and care came to more than US$1 million, globally. However, D&O claims can be valued much higher, as in the hundred of millions of dollars higher, when the time it takes to resolve claims is taken into account.

For Canada, the report states that “regulatory aggression continues to feature heavily in the landscape for directors. The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) is becoming more demanding in its investigations, as is the Alberta Securities Commission.”

With these new risks, it’s imperative that businesses have the resources they need to ensure they’re complying with the law. LexisNexis can help. With the Lexis Advance Quick Law program, LexisNexis can provide organizations with legal information and insight from commentary to legislation, case law, and tribunal decisions.

For legal firms in particular, LexisNexis also has legal management software call LexisNexis PCLaw that can help law firms get a full view of their practice. This program gives legal firms control over trust accounting, client management, case and matter management, and also provides resources to track billable hours, capture expenses, and manage billing and accounting. With PCLaw, you can keep your trust accounts compliant, gain insight into your law firm’s finances, and reduce the time you spend on accounting.

Visit the LexisNexis website to learn more about their programs. To learn more about the AGCS report findings, click here.

Story source: Canadian Underwriter, LexisNexis

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What Should You Include In a Legal Billing Invoice?

It’s hard to find the right amount of detail when you have to put together a legal billing invoice for a client. Too much detail, and things can get confusing. Too little, and your client might not understand what they’re paying for.

Take the time to understand the point of your invoice, and consulting the right resources. This will help your invoice function as you need it to. Here are three things to do before you start:

  1. Keep track of all the tasks you’ve completed for the client in sufficient detail.
  2. Keep the client posted on everything you’re doing so that there are no surprises.
  3. Record your time and evaluate it for efficiency.

With those three things in mind, each billing entry should be descriptive, and include things like phone calls, emails, drafting and court sessions. Including the names of people you are writing to or the nature of a court visit is a good idea, too. A short description of each event topic is a good idea to include, as well. All of these things will help your client better understand what they are paying for.

Aside from those details, not too much else should be included on your legal billing invoice. Things like the substance of your communications or your opinions should be on confidential memos for your client, not on their bills.

Using abbreviations in your billing is a great way to increase efficiency, too. A lot of billing programs have these built in, but here is a list to help you know which ones are best to use:

rd           review documents

tcc          telephone call w/client

tco          telephone call w/attorney

demc      draft email to client

democ    draft email to opposing attorney

dlc          draft letter to client

rremc     review and respond to client email

mc          meeting with client

rremc     review and respond to client email

demm    draft email re mediation

You can add your own abbreviations to the list, too. Whenever you notice that you’re using the same term frequently, add it to your list. The main things to consier when you’re putting together a legal billing invoice are simplicity and making sure your system works for you.

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Law Student Articles at Virtual Firm

Carolyn Grogan, a law student in Alberta, is likely the first in the province to article at a law firm that operates solely in a virtual environment.

Round Table Law is a cloud-based law firm run by Jason Morris, and until he took on Grogan, the firm consisted of him only. She is his first articling student, although he’d received requests before. Morris always said no, because he didn’t have the capacity to provide a student with a traditional articling experience.

However, when Grogan reached out, her interest in operating as a lawyer in a virtual world piqued Morris’ interest, and she knew Round Table was the only place she could learn more. Not only is Grogan interested in the technology Morris uses, but she has a fully-functioning home office, which made communicating easy.

Grogan, who is a mature law student, had a previous career in information technology and a master’s degree in communications and technology.

Aside from Grogan being a good fit for Morris and Round Table, a change from the Law Society of Alberta also had a hand in their ability to work together. The law society realized that the fact that they required most law firms to teach their articling students about several areas of law meant that smaller law firms were unable to take on students. When they made the move to change that policy, it gave Morris space to take on Grogan.

Both Morris and Grogan hope their experience will show the law community that this kind of articling relationship can work, and that virtual law firms could be the future.

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Texture helps you stay up to date on your favourite magazines

Just because everything has moved online these days doesn’t mean that people don’t like reading magazines anymore. The issue is (pun intended) that readers don’t want to have to carry around all of their favourite print magazines when you can get so much reading material on your tablet or smartphone. That’s why Texture is taking the country by storm right now – you can get your favourite magazines directly on your mobile device. And it’s not a web version of the magazine either. It’s exactly how you would see any magazine, just on a digital screen.

These aren’t just some rinky-dink no-name magazines, either. Texture offers the best of the best no matter what kind of topic you like to read. If you’re a lawyer or law enthusiast, for example, chances are you want to stay current with what’s happening in world culture and politics and Texture features all the top North American magazines that cover this terrain. For a Canadian perspective on the world, you can’t miss out on Maclean’s, arguably the most respected periodical in the country. Otherwise, you can choose between TIME magazine or National Review or the New Yorker or Mother Jones or so many more. You’re never really going to be out of options, which is why this is such an amazing opportunity.

With the Internet becoming the new frontier of journalism, you may wonder how much you’ll actually end up using Texture. Well, you can see for yourself. There’s a free 30-day trial period so you can test out all it has to offer. Plus, for a very reasonable monthly fee, you get unlimited access to all of Texture’s titles making it a very affordable and somewhat discount magazine. If you had gotten away from your favourite magazines in recent years, this could very easily convert you back.

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Free The Law: Harvard’s Digital Initiative To Provide Legal Information To All

Despite the hundreds of court rulings, cases, by-laws, and binding agreements that exist within a nation’s legal system, there’s a curious lack of information accessible to the average citizen.

To prove the point, simply ask yourself: if you needed to look up a specific law and the history behind it, what resource could you use? And even more importantly, would it be free and entirely accessible?

Aside from rather confusing government websites, which tend to only provide information on specific laws/by-laws rather than court cases and expanded relevant data, such a resource doesn’t exist. Not in Canada, and not in many other nations.

Havard’s Law School aims to fix that problem in the United States as they launch their “Free The Law” online project.

Noting how the decisions enacted by state and federal courts is not easily (and freely) attainable online, and the subsequent negative effects that it has on existing legal services, Harvard Law School is digitizing its library’s entire collection to create an online resource that will be free to use by anyone with an internet connection.

Boasting over 42,000 volumes and about 40 million pages of legal documents, the Harvard Law School Library is one of the most comprehensive in the entire world.

With that in mind, American citizens will then have an incredibly useful wealth of information when it comes to the law.

Aiding Harvard in this endeavour is Ravel Law, an American legal research and analytics company that will be funding the bulk of the project.

The benefit of having a free and accessible legal resource like Free The Law are numerous, and it’s something of a wonder that nothing similar has been created thus far. Hopefully, Canada takes note and we’ll have our own brand of Free The Law to use ourselves.

To read more on Free The Law, visit the official website here.

Featured image courtesy of: Renato_Jornalista

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Drinking Over The Holidays: Laws You Need To Know

Holiday Drinking

It’s almost a universal truth that during the holidays, you will be drinking. What with all the parties, get together, meals, and even the simple act of dealing with your family, the consumption of alcohol is all but an inevitability. Sure, there are some outliers on such a claim, but for the rest of us, drinking over the holidays is a reality.

Now, since enjoying a fair amount of alcoholic beverages may be a bit out of the ordinary for some, we thought it would be best to provide a quick reminder of what is and isn’t allowed in Ontario when it comes to enjoying a bit of liquor, wine, or beer.

Below you’ll find everything you need to know about relevant laws relating to alcohol in a holiday context, so you can ensure you’re not breaking any rules if you’re hosting a holiday party or just going to one.

Special Status For New Year’s Eve

Regularly licensed establishments and owners of Special Occasion Permits can legally sell alcohol between the hours of 11am to 2am, save on New Year’s Eve (December 31st) when last call is pushed back an hour until 3am.

Acceptable Forms Of Identification

You probably already have a driver’s licence or the like that you use to showcase your of the legal drinking age, but a reminder is always useful. And besides, sometimes you leave that oft-used card in another coat, so it pays to know exactly what is deemed an acceptable form of identification in Ontario.

They include:

  • A Canadian passport
  • Canadian Citizenship card
  • Canadian armed forces identification card
  • LCBO “BYID” photo card
  • An Ontario driver’s licence
  • Secure Indian Status or Permanent Resident card
  • Any other photo card issued under the Photo Card Act, 2008

Making (And Serving) Your Own Alcohol

If you make your own beer and wine, can you legally give it out to your holiday party guests? Can you give it as a gift? Are you, as a party guest, in the clear if you enjoy a glass?

The answer to all of the above questions is yes, just so long as it is all for free. No homemade beer or wine can be sold or used commercially, so if it’s a free gift or you supply some gratis holiday cheer at a shindig, you’re in the clear.

Transporting Alcohol

No matter what you’re driving (from car to snowmobile to boat) the rule when transporting an alcoholic beverage is that the container’s seal must be unbroken. Alternatively, if the bottle has been opened, it must be sealed in another bag/container, just so it isn’t easily drinkable to any person within the car.

Getting Kicked Out Of A Bar

If you’re planning on getting a little extra rowdy on NYE, and are headed to a bar, you should be aware that any establishment that can legally sell alcohol has the complete right to remove/refuse entry to anyone they deem “undesirable” for whatever justified reason.

Those who don’t comply (not leaving, going in anyway) may be met with an arrest, as the license holder has the right to call the police.

Giving Out Alcohol At A Party

If you’re playing host for the holidays, and are going to be providing the alcohol, you must do so at a rate of free of charge. This includes events held at a private residence or in a “private place” (an establishment not generally open to the public, e.g. an office).

It’s crucial that you are aware of the laws and do the legal research necessary to ensure you act within the law. There are plenty of resources at your disposable to ensure you have a safe and law-abiding holiday experience. If you don’t take the time to familiarize yourself with the drinking laws, your holidays will likely be a very unpleasant and unforgettable experience if you end up in trouble with the law.

This is a sponsored post brought to you in collaboration with LexisNexis

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8 Random Laws in Canada

As Canadians, we are all familiar with the major Canadian laws, like not drinking alcohol in public and the mandatory 35% Canadian content on radio and television. However, there are a lot of minor, less well-known laws and by-laws  in cities around the country that you probably didn’t know existed until today. Here are the top 8 most random Canadian laws that have been in effect in our country:

No Swearing in Public

Hey Torontonians – did you know that swearing in a public park can cost you over $200? This Toronto by-law means that you need to keep your language clean when you visit any public green space – or at least make sure you keep it under your breath.

Taxi Driver Dress Code

In Halifax, taxi drivers are required to adhere to a strict dress code. That means collared shirts with sleeves, ankle length pants or dress shorts and shoes and socks at all times for cabbies.

You Can’t Pay With Too Much Change

Have you ever had someone try to pay with a pile of loose change? According to the law in Canada, they’re not allowed – sort of. The Canadian Currency Act of 1985 caps the amount of change you can use to pay for something. Part of the current limit is $5 for nickels and $25 for loonies.

Bathwater Limits

Be careful if you like to take baths in Etobicoke. A current bylaw states that no more than 3.5 inches of water is allowed in a bathtub in an effort to conserve water.

Butter Versus Margarine

There was a law in Quebec that made it illegal for butter to be the same colour as margarine that has since been repealed. It was put in place to help dairy farmers, but since butter has risen again in popularity amongst consumers, there wasn’t an issue when this law was repealed.

Don’t Remove Bandages in Public

Did you know that it’s against the law in Canada to remove your bandage in public? While weird, this law does seem to do a bit of public good since no one really wants to see a gaping wound or scab on another person.

No PDAs on Sunday

In Wawa, Ontario it’s against the law to show public affection on a Sunday, although I somehow doubt that this has ever been enforced.

Limits on Snowmen Height

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to break any snowmen building records in Souris. It’s against the law in this P.E.I city to build big snowmen.

If you’re looking for more information on court decisions and legislations, the LexisNexis legal research program can help. It provides comprehensive resources and tailored legal content at your fingertips to give you the most relevant content in less time. To learn more about it, click here for more information.

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Personal Injury Law in BC Just Became A Little Less Complicated

Personal injury law in British Columbia just became a little less complicated, thanks to LexisNexis. They recently added a brand new Personal Injury Module that focuses on British Columbia to their Lexis Practice AdvisorSM Canada.

This Module is the fourteenth added over the past two years, and its purpose is to help personal injury lawyers get more legal research, planning and executing done in less time. That means thorough, step-by-step how-to guidelines, which is expected from all LexisNexis products.B.C. personal injury law is in constant flux, and this new module is the answer to a demand for more practical guidance through this area of law in the province. These guidelines were developed with input from lawyers in Quebec, as well as in-house personal injury lawyers and key players in the B.C. personal injury bar. As is the case with all LexisNexis modules, this one includes notes, checklists, mock documents and charts, in addition to searchable case digests, medical guidance and information from recent personal injury proceedings.

All those involved in B.C’s injury law will definitely find this module useful, from new lawyers to senior counsel. It includes a skills centre that assists with all business operational inquiries, and contributions from a lawyer coach and public relations professional. Every piece of content in this new module was written and edited by leading Canadian lawyers, Whether in-house at LexisNexis, or outsourced from world-class law firms, every contributor has endless amounts of wisdom and experience to impart and does so through this module, among others in the LexisNexis library.

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