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Fall is back to school time for lawyers: TLA offers CPD

By Jennifer Pritchett, Associate Editor

It’s back to school time for lawyers who want to head into the classroom for some of the Toronto Lawyers Association (TLA) education sessions to help meet their Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) Continuing Professional Development requirements, says TLA executive director Joan Rataic-Lang.

“Our goal is to support lawyers in their dual role as counsel and business owner by providing education sessions, or what we call nutshells, on current issues directly affecting their practice: legal trends, legislative and court decisions, as well as practice and firm management guidance,” she tells AdvocateDaily.com.

Ben Kizemchuk, an investment advisor with Altus Securities Inc., is presenting the first session, “Help I just got paid! What smart lawyers do with their first paycheque” on Oct. 18.

“The session is directed towards those who really want to make a positive difference to their financial well-being,” he says.

“After years of serving Toronto’s top legal professionals, I’ve found the needs of young lawyers are significantly different than older, more established lawyers.

“So by starting them off on the right foot with a simple and effective plan, young lawyers can easily set themselves up for future success. My favourite part is the anything-goes question-and-answer period — debt, credit cards, houses, how much to save, account fees, etc."

The TLA is also offering a session revolving around the importance and role of the client on Oct. 18. It will cover major changes in the practice of law and will focus on the decisions at the core of a lawyer's work. Click here for more details.

Then on Oct. 25, the association is presenting a session called “Advising a business: startup to exit,” which will be presented by Toronto business lawyer Jordan Dolgin and will cover the cycle of startup and growth.

On Oct. 26, the TLA is presenting a provocative program called “Death by choice: medically assisted dying in Canada,” which will showcase experts who will discuss the cases that are being considered under new legislation that came into effect in Ontario in May 2017, and provide lawyers with a checklist of what can be done in advance of death to eliminate the need for settling an estate afterwards.

Lawyer Tannis Waugh will be presenting a session entitled, “How to make your real estate practice more efficient” on Oct. 30.

“In a competitive market, we’re all looking to streamline and modernize our practice as much as possible,” she says. “One of the ways that we can achieve this is by using the standard closing documents created by the Working Group on Lawyers and Real Estate and endorsed by many of the county law associations.

“Using the Working Group on Lawyers and Real Estate standard documents isn’t just about streamlining, it’s also about reflecting current standards.

"Too often in my practice, I’m receiving draft documents that reference standards from before I was a lawyer and are not reflective of the current version of the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) agreements. By using the standard documents, I can implement a level of consistency in the process and pass this along to my fellow real estate lawyers."

But, Waugh says the Working Group on Lawyers and Real Estate isn’t just about standardized documents.

“We also have some great resources for resale condominium purchases that allow the real estate lawyer to impart information relating to condominium ownership, including a precedent for status certificate reports that will streamline your process,” she says.

On Nov. 1, the TLA offers a session called “Advocacy Master Class: Opening and closing statements at civil trial. This nutshell will provide lawyers with the information they need to craft and deliver effective opening and closing statements."

In addition, there’s a nutshell on Nov. 2 entitled, “Small law firms and the business of success,” which is designed to teach lawyers how to keep their business skills as sharp as their legal skills. It will show how some small firms are using market data and client insight to improve profitability, find new clients, and keep existing clients happier.

Then on Nov. 9, there’s a session called “Drafting employment contracts to avoid disputes, which is designed to provide lawyers with legal, practical, strategic and professional considerations in preparing employment contracts.

On Nov. 22, lawyer Corinne A. Muccilli will present a session called “Real world ethical problems in solo and small practices.”

Solo and small practices very often face the problem of ‘practising in isolation,’ meaning that it is often more difficult to discuss profession issues with a colleague because the opportunity, very often, simply is not there,” she says.

This session offers an opportunity for solo practitioners and members of small practices to hear about the dilemmas others have faced, how they have dealt with the situation, and what advice LSUC would have offered in the circumstances, Muccilli says.

“Panel members will be discussing issues that have arisen in a variety of areas of law,” she says. “It is hoped that attendees will come away with a more broadly applicable insight as to how they can address ethical issues in their practices and what resources are available to them.”

A full list of TLA nutshells coming up this fall is presented here.

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