Categories
Legal Fees

Paperwork, Practitioners and Panties

Some years ago I went off on a cruise and took the opportunity to have some renovations done at my house while I was away. George did a great job on the drywall, but when he sent me the invoice, he made one tiny little mistake. Instead of giving me the invoice for the construction work, he sent me an invoice for his “other business” which, unbeknownst  to me, was producing racy videos. He was quite embarrassed when I asked him what a “panty teaser” was and what it had to do with my ceiling. I never did find out whether my house was the setting for his cinematographic masterpiece.

Categories
Work/Life Balance

You Can’t Fix Crazy

“Lawyers make wonderful (psychiatric) patients: they have excellent health insurance and they never get better.” Niles Crane on Frasier

As a completely unqualified, amateur mental health consultant, I have diagnosed myself with post-professional stress syndrome which I believe results from my forty-year legal career. My symptoms are not sleeping well and worrying too much, even in retirement when on any rational basis I have very little to worry about.

Categories
Client Development

If You’re So Smart, Why Ain’t You Rich?

My father used to ask, “If you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?” 

There are probably a million things that are wrong with that question, but his basic point is worth considering. He was asking why it is that some people believe that they know better concerning just about everything, but they do not generate any results from their supposed brilliance.

Categories
The Mentality and Attitudes of Lawyers

Things I Used to Think Were True

I said and thought a lot of stuff while I was practicing law. I believed every single bit of it. Over time I figured out that some of it was kind of dumb. Here are some of those gems:

Categories
Legal Fees

Let’s play Jeopardy: I’ll take ‘Expert in Ottawa’ for $300

When I practised law in Mississauga, Ont., our fees were cheap compared to the Toronto firms, and kind of expensive compared to firms in places like Guelph, Belleville and Kingston. I occasionally wondered whether my clients might prefer to deal with firms in smaller cities at lower rates. Then I would reassure myself that doing so would be terribly inconvenient for them and that they would rather pay more to deal with me.

Now I am not so sure.

Categories
Legal Fees

Evolution of the Billing Committee (Sounds Dull, But it Isn’t)

Categories
The Practice of Law

Who You Gonna Call?

My father told me about a dad who told his son to jump from a roof top, and that he would catch him. The son jumped. The dad stepped aside and let him fall. When the injured boy demanded an explanation, the dad replied, “I have just taught you a valuable lesson. Never trust anyone, not even your own father.”

As you may imagine, I had trust issues growing up, which is a bad thing. As it turns out, having a few trust issues may be helpful in the business world.

Categories
Law Students and Young Lawyers

Be Sure You See the Candy First!

From time to time I hear stories about Big Law offering Big Money to attract first year lawyers to sign away their souls in Toronto, or U.S. firms opening the vaults and waving around signing bonuses to lure Canadian legal newbies south of the border.

While throwing money at junior folks can be a good thing, I think that a warning is in order. Since no one else appears to be issuing one, yet again it falls to me to cut through the bullshit, state the obvious, and protect the new generation of lawyers.

I will draw my inspiration from the love of my life, who, nurturing parent that she is, used to warn her young children about “Stranger Danger.”  More specifically, she would say: “Don’t be stupid about it. Be sure that you see the candy BEFORE you get in the van.”

I will leave it to you intelligent young folks to search for meaning in my warning and being lawyers, Govern Yourselves Accordingly.

Categories
Law Students and Young Lawyers

Resigning as a Shareholder

I had only been a lawyer for a few months when I had my first shareholders dispute to deal with.

My boss told me to take the position with opposing counsel that his client’s resignation from “all positions with the corporation” included his resignation as a minority shareholder.  I told him that his argument was ridiculous. One cannot resign as a shareholder.

Categories
Law Firm Management

Try Being Right Once in a While

The other day my wife purported to correct something I said. I asked her how I could get her to stop doing that. She replied, “You could try being right once in a while.”

I just told my girlfriend, “I have written the first paragraph of my latest post, but I have nothing of value to say.”  She replied, “That never stopped you before.”