Q + A with Rodney Hull – Hull on Estates Episode 161

May 5, 2009 Hull & Hull LLP Hull on Estates, Hull on Estates, Podcasts, Show Notes, Show Notes Tags: , , , , 0 Comments

 

Listen to Q + A with Rodney Hull

This week on Hull on Estates Jonathan Morse interviews Rodney Hull about his career as a lawyer. He discusses how he got started in estate litigation, how Hull and Hull was founded, how the practice of estate litigation has changed and the effect of electronic means of communicating on the practice of law.

Feel free to send us an email at hull.lawyers@gmail.com or leave us a comment on the Hull on Estates blog

 

 

Illustrating the Use of Technology – Hull on Estate and Succession Planning #163

Posted on May 5, 2009 by Hull & Hull LLP

Welcome to Hull on Estates and Succession Planning, a series of podcasts hosted by Ian Hull and Suzana Popovic-Montag. The podcast you’re listening to will provide information and insights into estate planning in Canada. From the offices of Hull & Hull in Toronto, here are Ian and Suzana.

Suzana Popovic-Montag:   Hi and welcome to Hull on Estate and Succession Planning. You’re listening to episode 163 of our podcast on Tuesday, May 4, 2009.

Ian Hull:   Hi Suzana.

Suzana Popovic-Montag:   Hi Ian.

Ian Hull:   Well today we thought we would reminisce a little and talk about a project that is something in the technology scheme. We’ve been talking about lots of legal issues and last week we touched on some technology issues and so we thought we would finish the thought, so to speak. And what we thought we’d talk a little bit about today is an experiment at first and now part of our firm, to maybe illustrate the use of technology and where it can help and where it can hurt presumably. We have talked a little bit about, no doubt in a future podcast we’ll touch on Twitter and its growth. We’ve been on Twitter for quite a while and its not new to us but its now hitting the mainstream so its sort of fun to watch. But what we did probably 5 years ago was start an unknown concept called Knowledge Management. And why we want to talk about it today was because I think it really helps illustrate a little bit about where, if you’re going to practice in this area, where we found it was effective to focus. And we’ve grown from a small operation in our firm of Knowledge Management now to a designated lawyer and a systemized procedure for Knowledge Management.

But let’s start first of all, if you could, explain to us what you’re talking about Knowledge Management.

Suzana Popovic-Montag:   Well Ian as lawyers, our job is really to communicate knowledge and information to our clients to assist them with their particular issues. And when you specialize in an area of law, as estates and trusts for instance, you need to really know your area of law and you need to know it better than anyone else. And because there is so much information out there and because the law does tend to change, maybe not radically but certainly there are cases that update other cases. And you want to stay on the leading edge of every bit of information you can. You try to, and we’ve tried to, sort of co-ordinate our information, so that it’s in one place. That information being the legal information, that being precedents, that being case law, that being anything that we rely on in our daily practices and make it available to all of us internally. And that’s what we really mean by Knowledge Management. Managing our knowledge within our firm.

Ian Hull:   And it really is more than just precedent management. As lawyers and as any professional, you do something once and you think well, you know what, I might be able to tweak that the next time and use the law to that product again.   That’s not what this is about. This isn’t about just saving the latest Statement of Claim you drew in a pile in the corner. This is about organizing office information and inside and outside information. And we broke it down into many categories and I think part of it that’s worth talking about is it’s a testament to the organization skills of our Manager of Knowledge Management, Sharon Davis. But one of the things that I’m struck by is that there are sort of two components to Knowledge Management. There’s the legal substantive component which we will talk about but there’s also the non-legal. How many times a day are we asked for do you know someone who can do x or y, who are in the affiliated professional sphere of our day. And we have branched our Knowledge Management into that as well. And maybe you could give us an illustration of the kinds of sources that we might have in Knowledge Management to help move that issue along in the day.

Suzana Popovic-Montag:   Well Ian, many times we’ll have different issues arise in our practice like the need, for instance, for a capacity assessor. The need, for instance, of a real estate lawyer who might be able to deal with a particular aspect on an estate matter. We might need contact information for a private investigator, an airship searcher or something like that. And what we’ve done with our Knowledge Management system is create a database of individuals, a list of these people, these go-to’s for everyone to sort of find in one place the quickest answer, so that when someone does say do you know of, we can just go to one place within our system internally and find an answer for that individual.

Ian Hull:   And I think, and we mentioned a couple of podcasts ago, it also is tested individuals. You’re trusted with, you know, how many times if you see an issue for say two years, you think geez, I had a person who did a great job on a triple butterfly succession planning move in Nelson, British Columbia. I just can’t remember the name of that person. You’ve got it in your system. You click it and you find it. And I mean it’s more than a glorified phone book. It’s a glorified service. It is a service to our clients that is available. And to our referring sources, that is available. A: its fast, it’s available to us fast so that helps us. We don’t have to spend a lot of time doing. But B, most importantly, it’s a reliable source and it’s a tested source. And there’s this old saying that garbage in, garbage out in any data organizing and that’s the same with Knowledge Management. If you put garbage in, you put sources in that aren’t trusted, verifiable sources, then when you go and do it quickly and you don’t think and you say there’s the name from Nelson, British Columbia, you’re putting at risk your whole sort of reputation as to a referring source. So that’s the one wing of Knowledge Management that I think that has a global sort of usefulness to it. And the tools that we use with it, the software and stuff, I mean just spend some time on the internet. You’ll see two or three different products. The product we use, of course, is now pretty well out of service but that’s what happens when you use software. You have to manipulate and adapt. And we’re looking at upgrading it and working that around. But I wanted to start there because I thought that was really global use of Knowledge Management.

But now let’s just spend a couple of minutes talking about the specific use of Knowledge Management we do at our estates practice. And I think the easy illustration is drafting solicitors have available to them precedent books that are updated regularly. And so if you’re going to on-line, not just books, but on-line service. So if you have that available, that’s one thing. But if someone says geez, I want to do an RRSP clause and there’s resources available to us as lawyers to look at how it was done before and done in the future. But if you want to have an article on the recent trend of RRSP clauses and think about well, what about adding a different revocation language or something like that, we link that as well. So we have an ability to link to our most recent draft of that clause, we subcategorize that clause to say, you know, to second wife, to first wife. And then the final thing is that we’ll link to a recent article. So that we can refresh and be more enhanced with our analysis. So that we’re not just taking a precedent, popping it in and not thinking. We’re taking a precedent, popping it in, looking at a source document to remind us of the issues we should be tuned into once we’ve taken the document out. And when they’re altogether and in our system we simply have it linked, so it’s not a re-inventing of the wheel.

So from a substantive drafting standpoint, it can mean much more enhanced materials. We obviously don’t…I mean no precedent is worth anything really. It’s just saving you some key strokes. The precedent has to be adapted to your circumstances.

Suzana Popovic-Montag:   But it is definitely a good starting point. And particularly we’ve found internally very helpful as we bring in younger, newer lawyers into the system who are trying to learn the whole area of law. It really does help to synthesize the knowledge all in one place. And I think back to the days when we went in law school and we were still looking up in the hard copies of books and things like that. And with the wonders of technology, it has just taken the burden of that research, of that learning, of that locating and made it so much more accessible and easier and faster.

Ian Hull:   Absolutely. Alright, well I think that wraps up our talk on technology and Knowledge Management and next week we have a really neat topic on substantive law issues that we want to delve into. So I hope everybody has enjoyed our little soiree outside of the core estate issues. But we’re going to come back with some more substantive stuff. So thank you very much Suzana, and I appreciate everybody joining us today.

Suzana Popovic-Montag:   Bye now.

You have been listening to Hull on Estates and Succession Planning by Ian Hull and Suzana Popovic-Montag. The podcast that you have been listening to has been provided as an information service. It is a summary of current issues in estates and estate planning. It is not legal advice and you are reminded to always speak with a legal professional regarding your specific circumstance.

 

To listen to other Hull & Hull podcasts, or leave any questions or comments, please visit our website at hullestatemediation.com

Illustrating the Use of Technology – Hull on Estate and Succession Planning #163

Posted on May 5, 2009 by Hull & Hull LLP

Welcome to Hull on Estates and Succession Planning, a series of podcasts hosted by Ian Hull and Suzana Popovic-Montag. The podcast you’re listening to will provide information and insights into estate planning in Canada. From the offices of Hull & Hull in Toronto, here are Ian and Suzana.

Suzana Popovic-Montag:   Hi and welcome to Hull on Estate and Succession Planning. You’re listening to episode 163 of our podcast on Tuesday, May 4, 2009.

Ian Hull:   Hi Suzana.

Suzana Popovic-Montag:   Hi Ian.

Ian Hull:   Well today we thought we would reminisce a little and talk about a project that is something in the technology scheme. We’ve been talking about lots of legal issues and last week we touched on some technology issues and so we thought we would finish the thought, so to speak. And what we thought we’d talk a little bit about today is an experiment at first and now part of our firm, to maybe illustrate the use of technology and where it can help and where it can hurt presumably. We have talked a little bit about, no doubt in a future podcast we’ll touch on Twitter and its growth. We’ve been on Twitter for quite a while and its not new to us but its now hitting the mainstream so its sort of fun to watch. But what we did probably 5 years ago was start an unknown concept called Knowledge Management. And why we want to talk about it today was because I think it really helps illustrate a little bit about where, if you’re going to practice in this area, where we found it was effective to focus. And we’ve grown from a small operation in our firm of Knowledge Management now to a designated lawyer and a systemized procedure for Knowledge Management.

But let’s start first of all, if you could, explain to us what you’re talking about Knowledge Management.

Suzana Popovic-Montag:   Well Ian as lawyers, our job is really to communicate knowledge and information to our clients to assist them with their particular issues. And when you specialize in an area of law, as estates and trusts for instance, you need to really know your area of law and you need to know it better than anyone else. And because there is so much information out there and because the law does tend to change, maybe not radically but certainly there are cases that update other cases. And you want to stay on the leading edge of every bit of information you can. You try to, and we’ve tried to, sort of co-ordinate our information, so that it’s in one place. That information being the legal information, that being precedents, that being case law, that being anything that we rely on in our daily practices and make it available to all of us internally. And that’s what we really mean by Knowledge Management. Managing our knowledge within our firm.

Ian Hull:   And it really is more than just precedent management. As lawyers and as any professional, you do something once and you think well, you know what, I might be able to tweak that the next time and use the law to that product again.   That’s not what this is about. This isn’t about just saving the latest Statement of Claim you drew in a pile in the corner. This is about organizing office information and inside and outside information. And we broke it down into many categories and I think part of it that’s worth talking about is it’s a testament to the organization skills of our Manager of Knowledge Management, Sharon Davis. But one of the things that I’m struck by is that there are sort of two components to Knowledge Management. There’s the legal substantive component which we will talk about but there’s also the non-legal. How many times a day are we asked for do you know someone who can do x or y, who are in the affiliated professional sphere of our day. And we have branched our Knowledge Management into that as well. And maybe you could give us an illustration of the kinds of sources that we might have in Knowledge Management to help move that issue along in the day.

Suzana Popovic-Montag:   Well Ian, many times we’ll have different issues arise in our practice like the need, for instance, for a capacity assessor. The need, for instance, of a real estate lawyer who might be able to deal with a particular aspect on an estate matter. We might need contact information for a private investigator, an airship searcher or something like that. And what we’ve done with our Knowledge Management system is create a database of individuals, a list of these people, these go-to’s for everyone to sort of find in one place the quickest answer, so that when someone does say do you know of, we can just go to one place within our system internally and find an answer for that individual.

Ian Hull:   And I think, and we mentioned a couple of podcasts ago, it also is tested individuals. You’re trusted with, you know, how many times if you see an issue for say two years, you think geez, I had a person who did a great job on a triple butterfly succession planning move in Nelson, British Columbia. I just can’t remember the name of that person. You’ve got it in your system. You click it and you find it. And I mean it’s more than a glorified phone book. It’s a glorified service. It is a service to our clients that is available. And to our referring sources, that is available. A: its fast, it’s available to us fast so that helps us. We don’t have to spend a lot of time doing. But B, most importantly, it’s a reliable source and it’s a tested source. And there’s this old saying that garbage in, garbage out in any data organizing and that’s the same with Knowledge Management. If you put garbage in, you put sources in that aren’t trusted, verifiable sources, then when you go and do it quickly and you don’t think and you say there’s the name from Nelson, British Columbia, you’re putting at risk your whole sort of reputation as to a referring source. So that’s the one wing of Knowledge Management that I think that has a global sort of usefulness to it. And the tools that we use with it, the software and stuff, I mean just spend some time on the internet. You’ll see two or three different products. The product we use, of course, is now pretty well out of service but that’s what happens when you use software. You have to manipulate and adapt. And we’re looking at upgrading it and working that around. But I wanted to start there because I thought that was really global use of Knowledge Management.

But now let’s just spend a couple of minutes talking about the specific use of Knowledge Management we do at our estates practice. And I think the easy illustration is drafting solicitors have available to them precedent books that are updated regularly. And so if you’re going to on-line, not just books, but on-line service. So if you have that available, that’s one thing. But if someone says geez, I want to do an RRSP clause and there’s resources available to us as lawyers to look at how it was done before and done in the future. But if you want to have an article on the recent trend of RRSP clauses and think about well, what about adding a different revocation language or something like that, we link that as well. So we have an ability to link to our most recent draft of that clause, we subcategorize that clause to say, you know, to second wife, to first wife. And then the final thing is that we’ll link to a recent article. So that we can refresh and be more enhanced with our analysis. So that we’re not just taking a precedent, popping it in and not thinking. We’re taking a precedent, popping it in, looking at a source document to remind us of the issues we should be tuned into once we’ve taken the document out. And when they’re altogether and in our system we simply have it linked, so it’s not a re-inventing of the wheel.

So from a substantive drafting standpoint, it can mean much more enhanced materials. We obviously don’t…I mean no precedent is worth anything really. It’s just saving you some key strokes. The precedent has to be adapted to your circumstances.

Suzana Popovic-Montag:   But it is definitely a good starting point. And particularly we’ve found internally very helpful as we bring in younger, newer lawyers into the system who are trying to learn the whole area of law. It really does help to synthesize the knowledge all in one place. And I think back to the days when we went in law school and we were still looking up in the hard copies of books and things like that. And with the wonders of technology, it has just taken the burden of that research, of that learning, of that locating and made it so much more accessible and easier and faster.

Ian Hull:   Absolutely. Alright, well I think that wraps up our talk on technology and Knowledge Management and next week we have a really neat topic on substantive law issues that we want to delve into. So I hope everybody has enjoyed our little soiree outside of the core estate issues. But we’re going to come back with some more substantive stuff. So thank you very much Suzana, and I appreciate everybody joining us today.

Suzana Popovic-Montag:   Bye now.

You have been listening to Hull on Estates and Succession Planning by Ian Hull and Suzana Popovic-Montag. The podcast that you have been listening to has been provided as an information service. It is a summary of current issues in estates and estate planning. It is not legal advice and you are reminded to always speak with a legal professional regarding your specific circumstance.

 

To listen to other Hull & Hull podcasts, or leave any questions or comments, please visit our website at hullestatemediation.com

 

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