The way forward: Taking your practice to the next level


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Presentation at the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (CABL) at the Law Society of Upper Canada on October 25, 2012.

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The way forward: Taking your practice to the next level

  1. 1. Omar Ha-Redeye, Fleet Street Law Oct. 26, 2012Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC)
  2. 2. 1. Pros/Cons of Association vs. Sole Practice2. Leveraging Internet and Social Media
  3. 3.  LSUC, Guide to Opening Your Practice - for lawyers, September 2010:  There is no specific legal definition of an “association.”  Lawyers who choose to practise in association with other lawyers usually operate their separate practices from the same location, with an agreement to share the overhead costs. Available at:
  4. 4.  Legal liability is technically the same as sole practice (but see warnings below) Often has a management or shell company for lease, marketing, overhead expenses Members of association pay dues, rent, or other arrangements to cover expenses Can be co-located, or not Ability to share resources, mentor each other
  5. 5.  Tiago v. Meisels, 2011 ONSC 5914 (Summary J motion)
  6. 6.  “…lawyers choosing to practise in association are obliged to clearly identify the nature of the relationship between the associated parties to clients and the public at large.”  LSUC, Guide to Opening Your Practice - for lawyers
  7. 7.  Determine responsibilities of each party in the association and clearly define them  Consider preparing a written association agreement Consider whether association could be perceived as a partnership  Courts have used various tests to differentiate a true association from an apparent partnership, such as  whether the parties share premises and resources  the use of a single firm name on pleadings  sharing of bank accounts
  8. 8.  Clearly state the association relationship on your letterhead, business cards, signage and advertising  How much is enough? Consider confirming this for clients in your retainer agreement Lawyers practising in association may not share trust accounts.  must deposit client money into a trust account in accordance with By-Law 9 under Law Society Act
  9. 9.  “The failure to directly respond to the unique challenges, concerns, and recommendations of the racialized law community is indicative of the fact that the contemporary legal profession in Canada embodies a dichotomy between a theory of equality and the practice of cultural hegemony. So, while law schools and law societies are expressly committed inclusiveness, many have become the first line of defense against truly leveraging multicultural diversity in the profession.” Lorne Foster, “Lawyers of Colour and Racialized Immigrants with Foreign Legal Degrees:An Examination of the Institutionalized Processes of Social Nullification,” International Journal of Criminology and Sociological Theory, Vol. 2, No. 1, June 2009, 189- 217. Available at:
  10. 10.  Clayton Ruby (dissent): [49] ...Reflections on the effect of our disciplinary proceedings are not only appropriate, but essential. We cannot close our eyes to the disproportionate number of black lawyers whom we find before us faced with very grave professional misconduct allegations. Law Society of Upper Canada v. Selwyn Milan McSween, 2012 ONLSAP 3, available at:
  11. 11.  Ability to consult, communicate, assist each other  Ideally would reduce cases of discipline in black community Exceptions to confidentiality provisions  Ensure this is stated in retainer agreements  Consider Proposed Amendments seek to adopt elements of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada’s Model Code of Professional Conduct Also consider higher LawPRO fees
  12. 12.  Purposes of social media and internet marketing:1. Lead generation2. Reputation management
  13. 13.  “Lead generation is a marketing term used, often in Internet marketing, to describe the generation of consumer interest or inquiry into products or services of a business… There are many tactical methods for generating leads. These methods typically fall under the umbrella of advertising, but may also include non- paid sources such as organic search engine results or referrals from existing customers.” Wikipedia, “Lead Generation,”
  14. 14.  “Reputation management is the practice of understanding or influencing an individual or business reputation. It was originally coined as a public relations term, but advancement in computing, the internet and social media made it primarily an issue of search results.” Wikipedia, “Reputation Management,”
  15. 15.  Lawyer Locate Advice Scene My Law Bid Legal Linkup My Support Calculator And more…
  16. 16.  Possible returns:  New business  Better client satisfaction  Higher fees Avoid trying to quantify returns directly  Inherent difficulties with Internet quantification Keep financial investment low by developing strategies yourself  True cost is in time
  17. 17.  Phone: 416-546-7412 E-Mail: Facebook: LinkedIn: Twitter: @OmarHaRedeye