Don't look for the union label

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                                                              Don’t look for
                                                              the union label
                                                              Unionization is not a legal option
                                                              for most Canadian lawyers.

                                                                              The language in Ontario’s              Lawyers employed by the
                                                                          Labour Relations Act excludes          federal or provincial govern-
                                                                          lawyers from unionizing, adds          ments are governed differently.
                                                                          Mark Wright, a partner and             In fact, in April, the Associa-
                                                                          union-side labour lawyer at Sack       tion of Justice Counsel an-
                                                                          Goldbatt Mitchell in Toronto.          nounced it was applying to the
                                                                          Similar legislation exists in          Public Service Labour Relations



L
           ast year, lawyers in an      in Canada, they would not be      almost all other parts of Canada.      Board to become certified to
           Arizona law firm did         allowed to do so,” says labour        The exception is Quebec,           represent lawyers and notaries
           something no other law-      lawyer Raymond Larkin, a part-    says Pierre Moreau, a partner in       at Justice Canada.
           yers had ever done before:   ner with Pink Breen Larkin in     Montreal’s Rivest Schmidt.                 What about articling stu-
    they joined the Teamsters. The      Halifax. “They’d be excluded      “The prohibition to be found in        dents? They have little incentive
    lawyers considered unioniza-        by law.”                          Nova Scotia’s and Ontario’s            to unionize, Larkin points out,
    tion a drastic but necessary step       In Nova Scotia, “s. 2(2) of   labour law framework only              “because they are only looking
    in their situation, where rela-     the Trade Union Act deals with    applies to Crown prosecutors in        at a one-year time frame.” But
    tions between associates and        medical, dental, engineering,     Quebec, and even they are sub-         Sack Goldblatt Mitchell’s Wright
    partners had broken down.           architectural and legal profes-   ject to separate legislation that      reports that his firm’s articling
       So what are the chances that     sions, and makes clear that if    does provide for collective bar-       students are unionized, and
    we’ll see Canadian lawyers in       you are qualified to practise     gaining,” he explains.                 have been since 1982.
    private practice manning the        under the law in those profes-        “But a lawyer in private               “They bargain a collective
    picket lines anytime soon? As it    sions and employed in that        practice in Quebec has the             agreement with us, which is




                                                                                                                                                          THOMAS DANNENBERG
    turns out, not very good.           capacity, then you are exclud-    same rights as any other citizen       useful for them and for us,
       “Even if a firm acted like a     ed from being able to union-      to seek the application of col-        since it defines the employ-
    sweatshop and the associates        ize,” agrees Malcolm Boyle, a     lective bargaining subject to          ment relationship,” he says. “It
    decided they wanted to unionize,    labour lawyer with McInnes        the usual rules under the              hasn’t caused any problems.” N
    the likelihood is that generally,   Cooper in Halifax.                Quebec Labour Code.”                                           — Bev Cline




    Quote Unquote                                                                  A view from
    Know thy client
    What do in-house counsel look for when choosing
                                                                                   the inside
    among law firms? CCCA President Francine                                       A top corporate counsel
    Swanson offers her views in a recent speech (see                               gives her opinion of law firm
    adjoining article):
                                                                                   marketing tactics.
    I   n-house counsel do not want to hire lawyers who just know the
        law in a particular area; they want to hire lawyers who know



                                                                          L
                                                                                   aw firms, especially the large national outfits, drop millions of
    how that specialized area of law is applied in the context of the              dollars every year on marketing efforts directed towards
    client’s business sector. It’s really as simple as that.                       major corporations and their in-house counsel. Are these
         If you get a call from a new client and they want to come and             efforts working?
    see you, make sure you do all the research you can on the                 Francine Swanson, Senior Legal Counsel with BP Canada Energy
    Internet — on your own, non-billable time — about the client, its     Company in Calgary and President of the Canadian Corporate Counsel
    business issues, how it’s structured, and what issues it’s facing.    Association, addressed this and other topics in a recent speech to law
         If you have time for golf games and dinners to get to know       firm managing partners from Canada and the U.S. Adapted from her
    clients, you have time to do research about the new client. N         speech, here are some of her comments on law firm marketing tools.


8                                                                    NATIONAL                                                    APRIL   ·   MAY   2005
             Ma conférence
             Promouvoir ses compétences en organisant
             un événement à saveur éducative.
              l existe plusieurs moyens de faire valoir


         I
                                                              ces réunions. Une ren-
              ces compétences, tout comme une foule           contre plus intimiste, à
              de stratégies s’offrent aux firmes souhai-      l’atmosphère propice
              tant se faire connaître. De plus en plus        aux échanges et aux
          de juristes se servent d’événements à saveur        discussions peut tout
          éducative pour se positioner et créer des           aussi bien servir les
          liens privilégiés avec leur clientèle actuelle      visées promotionnelles
          ou potentielle. Sylvie Castonguay, directrice       d’un cabinet juridique.                            concrètes avec les personnes invitées ». Il
          du développement des affaires et des com-               « Tous les membres du cabinet de-              sera donc essentiel, entre les organisateurs
          munications chez Lavery, De Billy, nous pro-        vraient participer à la promotion d’une            de l’activité et les avocats, de tenir une réu-
          pose quelques trucs destiné à faire mousser         activité en invitant toutes les personnes          nion post-mortem afin de récapituler les
          les effets marketing de ces événements.             susceptibles d’y être intéressées ». À ce          points saillants de l’expérience et discuter
              « On doit dans un premier temps cerner          sujet, Sylvie Castonguay insiste sur l’im-         du suivi à effectuer, le cas échéant.
          nos objectifs de développement. Pourquoi            portance de la présence — physique et                  Quelques trucs et suggestions destinés à
          organise-t-on cette activité? Quelles re-           mentale — des avocats eux-mêmes. La par-           faire mousser les répercussions positives de
          tombées espère-t-on en retirer sur le plan          ticipation des organisateurs tant avant et         vos événements:
          marketing? La formule adoptée sera fonc-            pendant qu’après l’événement demeurera             • Promettre une plus-value associée à la
          tion de l’objectif recherché ».                     le premier gage du succès de leur entre-           présence des participants : prix de pré-
              Le choix du thème demeure une étape             prise, croit cette dernière.                       sence, conférences ou invités exclusifs;
          cruciale dans l’organisation d’un événement             D’autre part, pour les activités à rayon-      • Demander à quelques personnes de poser
          réussi. « Les sujets doivent être choisis en        nement plus large, d’autres pistes pourront        des questions après une présentation afin
          fonction du type de besoins et des services         être explorées. « Il est possible d’acheter des    d’orienter la discussion;
          offerts par les participants invités. On ne         listes de Postes Canada ou du CRIQ, par            • Envoyer une pochette d’information aux
          parlera pas de la même manière et des               exemple. Également, l’organisation d’une           gens qui ne se sont pas présentés;
          mêmes choses à des avocats qu’à des                 conférence sur les fusions-acquisitions con-       • Assurer un suivi téléphonique auprès des
          dirigeants de PME ». La prise en compte de          jointement avec une institution financière         personnes rencontrées lors du séminaire;
          l’actualité dans le choix du thème peut             permettra aux deux organismes de profiter          • Faire parvenir un cadeau de remerciement
          également éviter au cabinet de passer pour          de leurs contacts respectifs ».                    aux conférenciers invités;
          un ensemble de professionnels dépassés…                 « L’avantage des événements de ce              • Remettre un sondage de satisfaction aux
              L’impact d’une conférence, d’un déjeu-          genre, par rapport à la publicité, est que         participants N
CORBIS




          ner-causerie ou d’un séminaire ne passe             l’on peut mesurer directement l’intérêt du                                    — Hugo de Grandpré
          donc pas nécessairement par la taille de            public, en plus de développer des relations


          REGULAR PUBLICATIONS ON LEGAL TOPICS                                         written in the form of short articles, as well as checklists of top legal
          Even if the publications are related to my areas of interest, I only read    trends and legal tips. But I find slides and PowerPoint presentations
          the sections that are right on topic with the project I’m currently work-    very hard to follow in print, and I generally don’t spend a lot of time
          ing on. When I do find something that is on point, then yes, I do            on them.
          notice which firm published the document and who wrote the article.
          I like to see a picture of the author and a short bio. That kind of infor-   MARKETING PACKAGES
          mation sticks with me.                                                       I don’t usually keep the glossy, expensive magazine packages,
                                                                                       because I assume I can get all the information from the firm’s
          UNSOLICITED E-MAILED LEGAL ALERTS                                            Website. However, I do like the postcard mailings that show which
          I see more and more of these all the time. I generally read the first        lawyers are working in practice groups, their pictures, phone numbers
          couple of lines, and then I delete them. Usually, any legal news that I      and e-mail addresses. Those I keep.
          need comes from the law firm I’m currently using. I don’t find publica-
          tions — even from my current law firm — nearly as helpful as a per-          ENTERTAINMENT FUNCTIONS
          son-to-person discussion of the topic.                                       I don’t like to use my personal time or work time to be schmoozed. If
                                                                                       there’s a business reason for us to get together that makes the time
          SEMINARS                                                                     useful to me and to my company, then I’ll make the time. When I
          If a seminar is directly on a topic that I need to know about, I will        retain a new firm or start a project with a team of new lawyers, I like
          make every effort to attend. Usually, though, I just request the materi-     to go for lunch or coffee with the lawyers to put a face to the names
          als and look at them when I can. I like seminar materials that are           and to get a sense of what they’re like. N


         AVRIL   ·   MAI   2005                                                 www.cba.org                                                                        9