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Posts from the ‘CLE’ Category

We are excited to be invited to speak at the IACP 19th Annual Networking and Educational Forum: Collaborative Creativity


Saving the Golden Goose: How Family Run Businesses Can Survive and Thrive after Divorce

We are excited to be invited to speak at the IACP 19th Annual Networking and Educational Forum: Collaborative Creativity. More than 450 lawyers, mental health professionals, financial professionals and other Collaborative practitioners from several countries are expected to attend the Forum at the Westin Seattle. The program runs from October 25, 2018 – 8:00am to October 28, 2018 – 12:00pm.

Our presentation will explore how a family business can be impacted when a Company ‘founder’ is involved in separation.  We will discuss:

• When both spouses are principals in the business

• When a second generation of the family joins the business.

• The effects on a range of stakeholders such as business partners and other investors.

• How spouses can cooperate to address the best interests of the children

• How spouses can agree to cooperate to address the best interests of the family business.

• Using, a collaborative approach to reduce the impact of separation and divorce on family run businesses.

• Ensuring that the business remains viable for both spouses, as well as future generations.

The IACP is the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, an international community of legal, mental health and financial professionals working in concert to create client-centered processes for resolving conflict.

Get an in-depth look at Plenaries, PFIs, & Forum events, here. 
PFI & Workshop Descriptions are available here.

Click here to learn more.

We hope to see you there!

How to Use Technology to Improve Your Family Law Practice

It’s more common than ever: family lawyers are using technology to enhance efficiencies, to market legal services, and to operate the business side of their practices. Do you know what tools and apps are out there that can help you? Are you up to date on the latest possibilities? Learn how to appropriately integrate technology to transform your practice while ensuring you comply with the Rules of Professional Conduct.

  • ​Understand how to use social media to promote your practice
  • Improve client experiences by utilizing technology tools
  • Learn how to incorporate technology through the life of the file
  • Hear about tech tips, tricks and traps

Check here to learn more or to register for the program.

This program qualifies for 2 professionalism hours of CPD.

ILCO’s Advanced Family Law November 25, 2015


Later this morning the Institute of Law Clerks of Ontario is offering our Full Day 2015 Advanced Family Law Program. The program will be held on November 25, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at ILCO’s Education Centre.

Nafisa Nazarali and I are very looking forward to our presentation The Law Clerk’s Guide to Technology and Family Law. We will examine:

  •  Marketing & Social Media
  •  Technology in the Law Firm
  •  How Technology Impacts the Client Experience

Other topics at the conference include:

  • Income for Child Support: Beyond Line 150
  • So you are going to trial
  • Financial Statements in Family Law: an Art as much as a Science
  • Domestic Contracts: Everything you want to know about marriage contracts, cohabitation agreements and separation agreements
  • Mediation Preparation
  • A Law Clerk’s Guide to Challenging Family Law Clients

To register or learn more, click here.

Advanced Marketing Roundtable – Quick Tips

mad men

Advanced Marketing Roundtable – Quick Tips

1. Supplement Traditional Marketing Methods

Advances in technology have opened up new and affordable marketing avenues that are accessible for even the smallest of firms. Use advanced marketing techniques to supplement traditional marketing methods such as networking, writing and speaking engagements and traditional paid advertisements.

2. Marketing With Social Media

Facebook is a free social networking website that enables people to create profiles, upload photos and video, send messages and keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues.

Twitter enables people to posts short messages called tweets and follow other users’ tweets.

Google + is Google’s social networking project that integrates with Google’s other platforms.

LinkedIn is a social networking site designed for the business community and other professionals. The site enables members to establish and document networks of people they know and trust.

Mashable defines blogging as “an interactive form of publishing content on the web. It comes from the term ‘web log’. The act of blogging dates back to the late 1990s, and has become a dominant way of self-publishing in the 2000s.” There are many platforms for writing and posting your blog; WordPress is one the more popular ones.

3. Importance of a Website – The Modern Day Business Card

A professional website is no longer a “nice to have”. It is a must. One of the first things a potential client will do is look up a lawyer or law firm’s web presence. This includes looking for more information on the website and evaluating how the lawyer or firm have been received on social media.

Clients will make assumptions about a lawyer’s expertise, professionalism and success by looking at their online presence. A professional website will provide a good first impression and will provide the client the necessary information to make an informed decision about whether you or your firm is right for the client.

While the “old school approach” was to keep knowledge close to the chest, there is a practical marketing benefit to sharing knowledge through your website. In addition to showing expertise, the content can improve your rankings on search engines.

4. Blogging for Useful Content

One of the most effective ways to blog is to focus on subject matters that you find interesting or are related to your practice area. Following news feeds, recent cases, and industry specific newsletters can be a great way to generate content for new blog topics and ideas.

Google rewards blogs that produce original, relevant and trustworthy content by elevating the blog post in organic search results.

5. Organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO involves the optimization of your firm’s website to obtain a high page ranking when users search for particular keywords that are relevant to your practice. Each search engine uses a proprietary algorithm to determine what websites are the most relevant for a particular keyword search.

Typically, search engines look for: (a) useful, keyword rich content; and (b) backlinks from high page ranking websites (typically authority sites).

Maintaining a high page rank is hard work and requires constant maintenance and content updates.

6. Google Ad Words and Pay-Per-Click Campaigns (PPC)

Like SEO, most search engines also permit business clients to create advanced marketing campaigns where they “bid” on advertisements that appear at the top of search results. These advertisements are typically charged “per click-through”.

The determination of where an ad will run will also depend on a proprietary algorithm. While this is a complicated and highly advanced method of marketing, it can be highly successful and lead to valuable “warm leads”.

Typically PPC campaigns must be set up and managed much in the same way as an SEO campaign.

7. Analyzing the Results of Your Advanced Marketing

It is often difficult to measure the effectiveness of advanced marketing techniques, especially if you are making a lot of changes to your marketing approach all at once.

Adwords, Google analytics, WordPress and Facebook have excellent statistics relevant to specific campaigns. Part of the problem may be that clients will find you from a number of sources before they make the decision to call.

Perhaps the simplest way to measure success is to have the person processing new callers and intakes keep detailed statistics and “drill down” by asking the new callers specific questions as to how they found out about your firm and what motivated them to call your office. Then track this data over a period of time (monthly, quarterly, yearly) and watch for trends and indicators as to what is working and not working, allowing you to measure your ROI.

8. Getting it Done – On Your Own Versus Outsourcing

We are all very busy with our practices and often wonder when will I have the time to focus on my marketing efforts. It can be effective to set aside a specific time and day of the week to dedicate 2 to 3 hours focused on social media and marketing. The various social platforms may permit you to schedule your posts in advance and release your posts at certain times and days (or even months) in advance.

You can delegate “in house,” hire a professional marketing company to oversee your marketing efforts, or hire professional freelancers and researchers to assist.

Perhaps a hybrid approach may be the most effective for you. Keep active and participate in your marketing efforts while delegating and hiring professionals to help carry the load.

These tips were assembled by Russell Alexander and Allan Oziel for their presentation at the LSUC’s 2015 Solo Conference and are reproduced here with the permission of Allan Oziel.

Russell Alexander is the founder of Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers, a family law boutique with offices in Markham, Whitby, and Lindsay, Ontario. Visit or connect by E-mail ( or on Twitter (@familyLLB).

Allan Oziel is the principal at Oziel Law, an entrepreneurial law firm in Toronto, specializing in business, technology and intellectual property law. Visit or connect by E-mail ( or on Twitter (@allanoziel).





Ontario Bar Association’s TECHxpo 2.0

I am looking forward to attending and presenting at the Ontario Bar Association’s TECHxpo 2.0 Conference in Toronto.

My co-presenters Dan Pinnington, Catherine Roberts I will be speaking on “60 Technology and Practice Management Tips” and I will be presenting “Practising Safely and Ethically in the Cloud” with David Whelan.

We will review the very latest updates, practical tips, hardware and software specifically designed for the modern law office.

Take advantage of the ample opportunities to meet practitioners from across Ontario and discover new ways to improve your practice.

The vendor expo will showcase a variety of products and services to support and enhance your practice.

You can also join us for the live webcast.

The conference is October 23, 2014, click this link to register.

Solo and Small Firm Conference 2014


Solo and Small Firm Conference 2014

I am looking forward to attending and presenting at the upcoming Solo and Small Firm Conference in Toronto.

My co-presenters Jasmine Akbarali, Lisa Barazzutti, Jordon Goldblatt, Marvin Huberman, Jacob Jesin, Jonathan Rudin and I will be speaking on “You Need to Know This …“. We will review the very latest updates, practical tips, and information you need to stay on the forefront of different areas of the law.

The conference is designed for lawyers working as sole practitioners and in small firms.

Take advantage of the ample opportunities to meet other sole and small firm practitioners from across Ontario and discover new ways to improve your practice.

Registration includes networking opportunities during continental breakfasts, lunch, and a cocktail reception.

The vendor expo will showcase a variety of products and services to support and enhance your practice. You can also join us for the live webcast.

Follow this link  to register.

Hope to see you there.

Law Society of Upper Canada’s “Opening Your Own Practice” Conference A Success



Law Society of Upper Canada’s “Opening Your Own Practice” Conference A Success

We had another successful conference this year for part 1 of the Opening your own practice series put on by the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Part 2 will be held this week and focus on managing your own practice. Speakers will include: Kerry Boniface, Counsel & Assistant Manager, Practice Review, The Law Society of Upper Canada
Brian Fingold, C.A., M.B.A., Fingold and   Corporation; Anthony Gonsalves, CMA, Supervisor, Spot Audit Program; The Law Society of Upper Canada; Daniel Pinnington, Vice President, Claims Prevention and Stakeholder Relations, Lawyers’ Professional Indemnity Company (LawPRO) .

To learn more visit

Photo: Paul Mandel, B.A., MBA, Insurance Broker, Independent Insurance & Financial Consultants, Maureen Hastings, Director, Administration, Civil and Immigration Law Services, Legal Aid Ontario, Chair Joel Kadish, Barrister and Solicitor, Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers, and Rinku Deswal, RD Law Barristers & Solicitors


Opening Your Own Law Practice Q & A



Opening Your Own Law Practice Q & A

In reviewing the materials in preparation for the Law Society of Upper Canada’s “Opening Your Own Practice” conference on September 16th I perused the participant questions we received at last year’s conference. All the questions were excellent so I decided to reproduce some of the Q. & A.s here:

Q: If thinking about going out on your own, how would you go about doing a market analysis to help with the conceptualization of your practice focus? In particular, I am talking about a situation where you would have to build a client base from scratch.

A good approach is to visit some of the communities you are considering and contact local members of that Bar (maybe start with the local Bar association) and invite a few out for lunch. Ask them some pointed questions as where there is a need for legal services and how you can enter that market.

Q: How much should I pay my bookkeeper who will be an independent contractor? I am in Brantford, where lawyers charge a lot less than Toronto. Incidentally, what do solo lawyers charge by the hour for general litigation in Toronto?

See my comments below.

Q: how much should I expect to pay an assistant? How can I present a business plan to a bank without numbers. They’ll say I’m an idiot

The salary for your assistant will depend on where you practice and the person’s experience and qualifications. Expect to a pay a premium if you are in downtown Toronto. Consider using a chartered account to help you with your business plan for the bank. They often work with banks and have precedents of what the bank is looking for.

Q: For Russell re tech support – No Panic Computing leases laptops that come with 24/7 tech support. For Rinku – a virtual office allows you to have reception and accept mail/courier packages, but only rent an office by the hour to see clients. Really reduces start up costs, can rent a full-time office in the building when have enough files.

Buying or leasing computer or office equipment with good warranties is a great idea. The warranties are reasonable priced and they can replace of fix the equipment if it fails usually within a day or two.

Q: What is the typical annual expense to allocate to advertising and what is the most successful venue of advertising?

Spend on advertising depends on where you practice and the size of your firm. The best form of advertising is word of mouth from current and previous clients. Focus on service and satisfied clients. Social media also offers great exposure at relatively little or no costs. Consider blogging, twitter, facebook and LinkedIn as good starting points.

Q: What is the best method to use in terms of handling delinquent accounts?

Regularly monitor your clients’ trust balances and stop working for them when there is no money left in trust. In other words do not let the account become delinquent. Require your client to provide you with proper retainers when you open their file.

Q: Do any of you use twitter/facebook/linkedin, etc, for marketing purposes? Any tips/pitfalls to share?

We use most social media platforms. The American Bar Association has books on the use of social media designed specifically for lawyers that discuss the risks and advantages. You can call me and borrow my copies of these books if you like. Here’s a link to the ABA

Q: Earlier this panel mentioned book keepers. Can anyone suggest what is a good yearly rate for such a service?

Book keeping rates will likely depend on where you practice and the bookkeeper’s experience. In smaller communities the rates will likely be lower than larger cities. You can call some of the larger accounting firms such as BDO to get an idea of their rates and then go from there.

Q: Does Dropbox comply with LSUC on confidentiality and are there other sites?

It is my understanding that Dropbox is secure and meets your confidentiality requirements. Passwords can be used to secure you data. Dropbox is the leading site in my opinion.