Tales from a Canadian Attorney: A New Way of Practicing Law

Carli Website Picture 2013 (small)Many lawyers realize that the legal profession has changed dramatically in recent years. As such, attorneys who want to thrive (and survive) must start looking at a new way to practice law.

We’re delighted to welcome Canadian attorney Carli van Maurik back to talk about exactly what you can do assure career survival. Welcome back, Carli!

Every lawyer who is even moderately tuned in knows that the practice of law is rapidly changing. Whether it is the downturn in the economy, the law school bubble or social media, the end result is that clients are no longer accepting of how lawyers have practiced for decades.

The “old” way of practicing is coming to an end if it has not happened already. The billable hour, lack of transparency about costs, monstrous overhead and expensive partner compensation packages are all on the chopping block.

It’s a buyers’ market and clients are savvier than ever. Clients are shopping around and are sensitive to prices. Alternative options are flooding the scene: ranging from a will kit at Staples, services like Legalzoom and outsourcing to India.

What does this mean? Instead of complaining about the changes, we should be creative and figure out how to provide legal services in this market. Everything should be on the table for consideration. We need to figure out how to reduce costs and create transparency around pricing and billing. We also need to inform clients about what they receive in exchange for those fees.

What I’m Doing

The solution for each lawyer and each practice area may very well be different. My practice is a work in progress but I am drastically reducing overhead, committing to fixed fees (or fee ranges) and I am upfront with clients with respect to costs. In addition I offer a complimentary planning meeting during which I strategize with clients and provide them with an indication of costs and the services needed.

The timing of this rapidly changing market is ideal for young lawyers. In my view there is a huge opportunity for new lawyers as long as they are willing to be creative. Us youngins are not like our senior (read Titanic) counterparts. We are flexible enough to turn the ship, try something new and stand out from the crowd.

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Definitely food for thought. Thanks, Carli!

More about Carli:
Carli van Maurik leads Infinity Law’s business law solutions department. She provides accessible, practical and effective legal solutions to Victoria’s business community. She practices in all areas of corporate and commercial law and in particular enjoys working with small to medium sized businesses.

Carli is active in the tech sector and has extensive experience working with not-for-profits. She specializes in corporate governance, maintenance and compliance and is developing her equine law practice. In addition, she has experience with employment law, negotiating commercial agreements, buying and selling businesses, securities law, financing, commercial leasing, and residential real estate. 

Carli has been a long-serving volunteer for multiple causes throughout her career. Currently she volunteers with the Access Pro Bono Society of BC by providing free legal services to low income individuals. 

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