Categories
The Mentality and Attitudes of Lawyers

Bread and Circuses

I keep reading about mental health issues in the legal profession. Too many lawyers are terminally unhappy. The problem appears to be impossible to fix. Even The Washington Post just ran an article titled, “Want to be happy? Then don’t be a lawyer.”

Categories
Law Students and Young Lawyers

Emboldened Articling Students

Warning

This article has three parts. Do not act on the suggestions in the first part until you consider the advice in the second part and the rebuttal in the third part. 

Part One: Murray’s Recommendations

Murray strongly recommends that articling students ask these probing questions and many similar ones before accepting a position:

Categories
Law Firm Management

Lawyers in Love

Somewhere in some law firm’s ‘closed files’ archive, there is probably a file with my name on it. The subject matter line likely reads something like, “Possible Sexual Harassment Claim.”

Categories
Firm Culture

Homegrown Ignorance

When I retired from the practice of law in 2020, I could not have told you what NCA stands for. I am willing to bet that the majority of home-grown Canadian lawyers in private law firms are just as ignorant about this as I was.

On the other hand, I have never met an internationally trained lawyer who did not know what NCA stands for.

Categories
Firm Culture

Biased Much?

I recently went for a ‘preventative health examination,’ which is code for ‘private healthcare,’ which is something that is in fact available in Canada – to those who are willing and able to pay for it.

I was given a stress test which involved having me walk on a treadmill while hooked-up to a computer. Being me, I quipped to the technician that I was counting on her to make sure that I did not have a heart attack during the test. She reassured me that if I did, I would be in good hands, because ‘back home’ she was a cardiologist.

It is not a very well-kept secret that in Canada we make it difficult for immigrants to qualify to practice their professions.

So let’s talk about lawyers.

Categories
Firm Culture

Timebombs in the Garden

By now everyone on LinkedIn has heard about Jon, a Cleveland lawyer who wrote a rather nasty email to a recently departed colleague who, having returned from her maternity leave, gave notice that she was leaving for another firm. The backlash was furious. Jon lost his job rather quickly.

From the flood of comments on social media, the idea surfaced that it is likely that Jon’s behaviour was not an aberration, which got me thinking about some of the people who I ran across while practicing law.

Categories
Murray The Wannabe Feminist

Does Gender Equality Die on the Shoals of Originating Credits?

Back when I was practicing law, now and then I would get a call from a client who needed a litigator. But not just any type of litigator. A male litigator. (Interestingly enough, every such call was from a man. I never did have a woman request a litigator of a particular gender.)

Categories
The Mentality and Attitudes of Lawyers

What is the Best Use of My Time Right Now?

Some years ago my firm had a lawyer’s retreat. We invited a speaker who gave a philosophical presentation about being mindful about how you use your time. His theme was that you have to constantly ask yourself, “what is the best use of my time right now?”

Categories
Fluff

Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions

Here are some of the questions potential clients asked me back when I was practicing law and the answers that I wanted to give them, but never did:

Q. How much will it cost to draft a shareholder’s agreement?

A. If you are shopping for professional services based on price, I really do not want you for a client. I suggest that you find a lawyer who will draft the agreement for you for $750.00 and pray that you never have a dispute with your partner.

Categories
Law Students and Young Lawyers

The Tip of the Articling Iceberg

There is a fair amount of talk right now about whether law firms should be required to pay articling students a minimum wage.

But isn’t this so-called ‘debate’ about whether the Law Society should legislate a minimum wage for articling students just the tip of the iceberg? What about the institutionalized discrimination created by the Employment Standards Act (Ontario) against lawyers and articling students (together with architects, accountants, engineers, teachers, surveyors, and others)?