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Bringing people together in a more personal, authentic way
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September 2012 Newsletter

September 1, 2012


Dear Friends and Colleagues,

On the summer-holiday-meets-professional-accountability scale, I would suggest my past 8 weeks has the needle pointing somewhere above “Cheeky” but below “Negligent”; hovering right around “Audacious”.   In my defence, I would point out that I (a) am not a brain surgeon so no lives were lost; (b) have a superb team around me combined with a similarly summer inclined clientele; and (c) live in a city that rarely experiences its full 8 week allotment of actual summer.  Perhaps it was the Stampede’s 100th, the Olympics, the perfect weather, our various family travels or maybe our fate-tempting camping outing this past weekend (three kids and the dog in a tent at Wasa lake…now that’s audacious), but in the words of Juan Antanio Samaranch, I declare this summer to be the best summer ever.   Alas, today the kids head back to school and I get back to work.   Speaking of which…

…here are a few of my thoughts on the subject of recruiting.  Almost always the best candidates for a job are not actively looking for a new job.   They are usually happily working away, well paid, loyal, appreciative of the work they have and appreciated for the work they do.  And most of these people, when approached about an opportunity, politely decline and carry on with their lives.   And yet there are some who, on the philosophy that it never hurts to hear a story, agree to meet us and, in turn, meet the clients we represent.   And from this, a match is made.  Similarly, the best candidates don’t (usually) respond to ads.   The universe of potential excellent people for a given role extends well beyond that limited pool of humanity who actually see and respond to a job posting.  Lawyers are an especially funny people.  Not funny ha ha but funny particular in terms how they feel about uploading their resume to someone behind some website somewhere.

In fact, most of the people we meet don’t even have resumes.   I ask you, my loyal readership, the 27% who don’t delete this newsletter directly from their inbox but who, for fear of having their homes egged on Halloween, don’t dare unsubscribe, do you have a resume?

Whether it’s us, a friend, another recruiter, or a direct approach by another firm or company, the key to ensuring your people don’t fall prey to the advances of another is to give them enough good reasons to stay.  Treat them well, pay them well, show them their future, give them early and often responsibility tempered with consistent and real mentorship, transition relationships gracefully, communicate regularly and make the workplace fun.  If you do that, they won’t return our calls or anyone else’s.

The August selection of articles is usually sparse but there are a couple good reads below.   Have a great September.   I promise I’ll work harder.



Kids+Dad Fernie



Getting Left and Right to Work Together

By:  Lyndsie Bourgon

Article Link:

The time has come for the legal marketplace to embrace its inner Picasso.

Through his writing in books, and for magazines including The New Yorker, Lehrer has tackled everything from daydreaming to playing ping-pong, all of which have left him with a grasp on creativity, understanding its force on everything from business to art.

You’re time-crunched. On deadline. Whatever your problem, you need to solve it quickly. You know it’s time to think outside the box, but creativity sure seems elusive — how can you grasp it, and have it work for you? [Read more]


Lawyer to Lawyer Referrals: A Canadian Perspective

2012 Research Study/Summary Report

Article Link:

Work received from other law practices has always been a key component of many firms’ revenues. Indeed, in the current economic climate, revenue derived from referral income had assumed a particular importance for many law firms. Referral income may provide such firms with welcome support, at a time when other income sources remain relatively static. [Read more]


Celebrating Excellence
By:  Gail J. Cohen
Article Link:

My favourite aspect of putting together Canadian Lawyer’s annual Top 25 Most Influential is receiving nominations for it. Some nominators are very brief, providing simply a name and one or two other bits of information. Others wax poetic for hundreds of words describing the work and accomplishments of the person whose name they have put forward. But no matter how they come in — and I urge readers to keep their eyes open for the request for nominees next spring — I’m always impressed by their variety and quality.  [Read more]

Hiring In-house from the Employer Perspective

By:  Fred Krebs

Article Link:

In last month’s column, “Moving in (house) for the right reasons,” I briefly described the in-house practice and what someone might wish to consider before going that direction. While you assess your job prospects, keep in mind what employers will be looking for when they hire. [Read more]



Bringing Value to the Client

By:  Jim Middlemiss

Article Link:

In 25 years of writing, I have interviewed thousands of lawyers, in private practice and in-house. What strikes me about in-house lawyers is they think differently than their private-practice counterparts.They see their primary task as risk managers and they ask two key questions: how can I help my company and what value does the legal department bring? [Read more]


One Giant Leap (But Look After Your Know-How)

By:  Austin Flynn

Article Link:

I was born in October 1967 so have no memory of the events of 20 July 1969 when Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon. However, I do have some recollection of the last Apollo missions and in particular Apollo 17 which landed on the moon in December 1972, by which time I was 5 years old and had started school. In August 1969 my Dad bought me a copy of a special edition of the ‘Life’ magazine called ‘Life to the moon and back’ which I pored over endlessly as a child and which still has pride of place on a bookshelf at home. I therefore grew up as a child of the space age when it seemed normal to go to the moon, play golf and drive moon buggies more or less whenever it suited us. [Read more]


How to Successfully Build Pro Bono Work Into Your Practice

By:  Janice Mucalov

Article Link:

With Canada’s legal aid system in crisis, you’re no doubt keenly aware of the increasing demand for pro bono legal work. You may already volunteer your services for free. Certainly you’re happy to help out if asked. You may even have an idea for a pro bono project to benefit a particularly cherished cause or needy organization. But how do you rally the support of fiscally-conscious partners or encourage other lawyers in the firm to step up? Where do you find the time to incorporate pro bono work into your already busy practice? Does pro bono make good business sense? [Read more]


Canadian Law Firms Ease into Ad Waters

By:  Jeff Gray

Article Link:

The ad begins with a scene of a slender 40-year-old woman being lifted out of her wheelchair and strapped into a rowing scull.

As her oars cut into the sun-dappled water, her voiceover tells her story in edited fragments. She once loved water skiing, sailing and scuba diving. But then her car skidded off the road, and rolled five times. [Read more]


Think Twice Before Accepting a Job Counteroffer

By:  Stephanie Klein

Article Link:

When you’ve secured a job offer, you may believe your search is over. But you’re not done yet.

After you receive an offer, your employer may make a counteroffer. HR and recruitment experts say that accepting a counteroffer is career suicide, period. But in the last several quarters, many recruiters have seen an above-average number of counteroffers. [Read more]