The Lawyers Tale: A Ministry Found from a Career Lost

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Add to Wishlist. USD As with everything, communication is key: it is very important that you understand what is expected of you and that the delegator understands your level of experience and knowledge, and takes the time to explain the tasks and expectations clearly. Each lawyer has an individual method of delegation and each delegated task has particular characteristics and requirements. You can help everyone achieve the best result possible by immediately examining the file and ensuring you know the purpose and basis of the delegation:. If you do not understand any aspect of the instructions or requirements, do not be afraid to seek clarification from the delegator.

A clear understanding of the task is essential to ensure you complete what is required. Frequently you may find that the lawyer delegating work has not passed on all relevant and related background information. If you are concerned that you do not have enough information to complete the work requested:.

Your work will usually consist of a variety of instructions, either from the more senior lawyers in your firm or from the client directly. It is important that you know where to start when you have little experience regarding the instructions requested.

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Your work process will often depend on the size and structure of your firm and how your firm supervises work. The following are general guidelines to help you get started:. If you find yourself at a complete dead end, friends outside the firm who work in the area may point you in the right direction. However, be cautious about discussing matters outside the firm as you must ensure this does not breach client confidentiality or privilege, and there may be a potential conflict of interest if they are involved in the file. Remember also that if you seek advice from friends, they do not have all the information that you have, such as the background file information and access to relevant documents.

As a new lawyer it is important that you are able to apply your research skills and understand the issues to back up your reasoning. This will be accomplished only through a solid understanding of an issue following extensive research. Asking your friends may be a starting point, but it is unlikely to help you learn or develop your legal researching skills. Seek advice from friends purely as a guideline tool, or to discuss issues you have, remembering always your obligations of confidentiality.

Every firm will have a preferred file management system. This ensures all relevant work is on hand when required. Increasingly, files are created and stored electronically, so make sure you understand your firm's policy on file creation.

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To effectively manage paper files:. Receiving, and learning from, feedback on work tasks is vital to your ongoing development as a lawyer.

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If you are not automatically given feedback on tasks completed, you should actively attempt to seek this where possible. You should keep an open mind when receiving feedback, and remember that any criticism or suggestions made are usually intended to be constructive.

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In addition to the feedback you may receive on specific work tasks, many law firms also have in place more formal performance review processes. These may be held annually, or at shorter intervals. The general purpose of these is to facilitate a discussion with your supervising partner about your current performance level and recent contributions to the firm and its clients, as well as your wider career development, interests and objectives. Areas of potential improvement both in work and working relationships are also typically identified.

When you start practice you may find you are assigned support staff, who could include a secretary and a legal executive.

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Normally you will share their services with one or more members of your firm. Relationships between new lawyers and experienced support staff can sometimes be difficult and you will have to learn to deal courteously and clearly with any issues that arise. It is important to respect the experience of support staff. They will probably know a lot more than you about the firm's office procedures and can be an invaluable source of help as you learn your way around. When delegating tasks to support staff, clear communication is essential to ensure your own expectations are met in relation to the task, and that it is completed on time.

Be clear and courteous in the way you express yourself if you have any concerns about the time taken to complete your work. If you find you are having continual problems getting your work completed, speak to your supervising partner or director or your firm's general manager or support staff co-ordinator.

Lawyers generally charge by the time they spend on a matter or file. When working in a law firm that operates time recording it will be important to come to grips as quickly as possible with the system being used. In most firms time recording is an essential part of the day-to-day running of the business. Additional factors apart from time that may be considered when determining the appropriateness of a fee for a completed job include skill, urgency, and complexity. Time is often recorded in "units" of six minutes each. Most firms have electronic time recording systems, so it will be important that in the first few days of starting work with the firm you understand fully how the time recording system works.

It is very important for you to get into the habit of recording all your time as you go. Many lawyers fall into the trap of not routinely recording their time and as a consequence may inadvertently overcharge or undercharge a client when they attempt to record their time retrospectively. You will save yourself a lot of time and possible negative comment from your supervising partner or director if you get into the habit of regular and accurate time recording.

Make a record of work done at the time the work is done, not at the end of the day as these estimates are usually inaccurate. Concentrate on one matter at a time; don't try and work across several matters at once as this often leads to distractions, inefficient work practices and inaccurate time recording. Even if you think you have spent too long on a matter or the cost to the client represented by your time is too great, record your time accurately. Thorough time recording is useful to a firm to establish estimates on similar future matters, where a firm can review the actual cost of your time on a matter and any time written-off.

It is also useful where a client questions an invoice that is higher than expected to justify the actual time spent, compared to the amount charged. Time that you record may be "chargeable" or "non-chargeable". Chargeable time is time spent working for a client, which is then recorded against that client, for billing later. Non-chargeable time is time spent which cannot be charged to a client, for example, a team meeting, training or office administration.

Many firms require all chargeable and non-chargeable time to be recorded, so that information on the productivity of staff can be collected. You may be given a daily target for chargeable time — 40 to 68 units a day would be normal for newly qualified solicitors. It is usual for solicitors to have an hourly charge-out rate.

You will probably be given a "budget", which is the amount of fees you are expected to generate each year. Remember that it is not chargeable time but billed time that counts. In some cases fees that cannot be recovered because a client will not or cannot pay may not be credited to your budget. For many firms, your budget performance will form at least part of the basis of assessing your performance.

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Often it will be the most important factor. Be aware that not all your chargeable time will necessarily be time that can be billed to the client as fees. The total time spent on a file may be more than can be legitimately charged to a client. If that is so, some of your time may be "written off". This is normal when you are starting out. While most firms make allowance for a learning curve in the first year, it is important to form the habit of good time recording right from the start. Your ability to develop effective relationships with clients will be a critical part of your legal career, whether in a law firm or as an in-house lawyer.

While most of the information in this section is directly relevant to those working in a law firm, the principles are still true for anyone providing legal services in a public sector or corporate setting.

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Where applicable, references to appropriate sections in the Conduct and Client Care Rules are included below. Before commencing work under a retainer with a client, you must provide them with certain information in writing. This information must include:. Always confirm the nature and extent of the instructions in writing. Some firms have the policy of sending out engagement letters to clients when new instructions are received and advising clients of their charges at the same time. In some situations, it may be necessary to have the client sign a duplicate copy of the letter as confirmation of their instructions.

Moreover, under the system, only lawyers entitled to practise law may make certain prescribed statements. Statements professing compliance with law without registration of supporting documents may be made only by lawyers in good standing. Only lawyers entitled to practise law may approve electronic documents containing these statements. It is, therefore, important that lawyers should maintain and ensure the security and the exclusively personal use of the Personalized Security Package.

When in a real estate practice it is permissible for a lawyer to delegate responsibilities to a non-lawyer who has a Personalized Security Package, the lawyer should ensure that the non-lawyer maintains and understands the importance of maintaining the security of the Personalized Security Package.

For example,. Supreme Court of Canada jurisprudence defines discrimination as including. Lawyers who refuse to hire employees of a particular race, sex, creed, sexual orientation, etc. An action or policy that is not intended to be discriminatory can result in an adverse effect that is discriminatory.

The Lawyers Tale: A Ministry Found from a Career Lost The Lawyers Tale: A Ministry Found from a Career Lost
The Lawyers Tale: A Ministry Found from a Career Lost The Lawyers Tale: A Ministry Found from a Career Lost
The Lawyers Tale: A Ministry Found from a Career Lost The Lawyers Tale: A Ministry Found from a Career Lost
The Lawyers Tale: A Ministry Found from a Career Lost The Lawyers Tale: A Ministry Found from a Career Lost
The Lawyers Tale: A Ministry Found from a Career Lost The Lawyers Tale: A Ministry Found from a Career Lost

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