Wednesday 18 December 2013

Legal Tech Talk

The application of technology is important in practicing law, from researching cases to organizing your meetings, and managing your files. MB prides itself on embracing technology which, in part, drew me to working here.

I have been particularly interested in how new technology can complement established practices for managing files.

It’s true that I have an old-school soul. My favourite band is Depeche Mode, I collect vintage apparel, and I long for 80s-style frosted flakes. Yet, I am also a self-proclaimed techie. I have been particularly interested in how new technology can complement established practices for managing files.

So, the following is how I have put to use some older features of my tablet in my legal world.


Like many, I love using a whiteboard for brainstorming. However, on any given day, I usually have multiple projects that I’d like to use the whiteboard for. Erasing my drawings for one project to make room for another would mean I would lose notes and visuals along the way. This is where my tablet comes in handy. I simply take a photo of my whiteboard notes (yes, the tablet camera can be used for more than just selfies), and save the picture in a designated folder. I can also print and file the visuals to my matter’s physical research folder, when necessary.

More recently, I came across a Whiteboard App for my tablet that is fantastic! See Splashtop Whiteboard.

Check, Check

I use my tablet’s voice recorder to brainstorm, and synthesize ideas, particularly when I am preparing research memos. Using a voice recorder, rather than typing or writing, allows me to capture ideas more quickly. I find that my ideas tend to flow more naturally when I use a voice recorder. Rather than using a traditional voice recorder, I’ve been using my tablet. The tablet's microphone, paired with the right apps, becomes extremely valuable in creating and managing voice memos.

You can easily find apps that allow you to record, name recordings, organize them into folders, and even attach photos to your recording (which can be very useful when you are brainstorming with your whiteboard). There are even apps that will automatically transcribe your voice recordings into text form! See Coffee Bean Ventures or Dragon Mobile Assistant.


As you will see when you start articling, writing down instructions from assigning lawyers and clients is a regular part of your day. My problem is that, often, when I get back to my desk, I have trouble reading my notes; my penmanship is utterly atrocious. I’ve remedied this by typing on a Bluetooth-enabled keyboard which attaches by magnet to my tablet. Being smaller than a laptop, the tablet-keyboard combo is a discreet and less distractive way to bring a fully functioning computer into meetings with your assigning lawyer or client. In addition, I find the smaller keyboard allows me to reach keys more quickly, enabling quicker note taking.


The legal industry is quickly evolving. Now is the time for us, as regular consumers of new technology, to implement these tools into our practice. Apps and new tech gear, such as tablets, can increase your efficiency, organization, and, let’s not forget, enjoyment. Take a leap and explore these tools early in your career, before your practice gets busier. Hey, if they don’t work out, you can always go old-school with sticky notes, pen and paper.
Shivaan dS.

Friday 6 December 2013

Changing the Face of Men’s Health: “McCague Mos”

November is a unique month at MB. With summer well behind us, everyone is in full swing getting ready for year’s end, what with closing files and planning Christmas parties. But the most important part of the month is the new facial feature evident throughout the city. From court rooms to boardrooms, the newly grown lip toupees’ belonging to gentlemen across Toronto and the world marks the welcoming of Movember. At MB, McCague Mo’s, our Movember team, was back in action and ready to take on the mustachioed world.

With 8 dedicated members of the firm, including yours truly, donating their upper lips to support the fight against prostate cancer, and the entire firm making donations to support this valiant effort, McCague Mo’s managed to raise over $1,700 during Movember.

The sense of team camaraderie that I experienced with my fellow Mo Brothers and Sisters, as we all united for one noble, although fuzzy, cause, truly formed a bond that will extend until long after our mo’s have been rinsed down the drain. Our weekly photos quickly turned into sessions of storytelling about tasks that would normally seem routine, but have taken on a whole new life due to our Mos; previously mundane conversations now end with “is it itchy yet?” and a previously quick walk to a lawyers’ office is now surely interrupted by the snickering of others.

...being able to relax and partake in non law related extracurricular activities is essential.

Spending the amount of time that lawyers and students do at the office, being able to relax and partake in non law related extracurricular activities is essential. In the combined 8 months I have been at MB, I have participated in Movember, played with the firm’s softball team, competed in a charity volleyball tournament and attended the firm’s annual US Thanksgiving football party. These activities not only allow a break from day to day life at the office, but also allow me to get to know my coworkers outside of their professional jobs. This, in turn, leads to the forming of friendships, something that directly contributes to happiness while at work.

Although Movember is now over, its memory, and the contribution we all made to this worthwhile cause, will not be forgotten. Further, the experiences enjoyed with my peers truly contribute to a work environment that fosters friendships and collegiality alike.

Everyone ready for Decembeard?
Dave O.

Wednesday 4 December 2013

A Few of My Favourite Things… Holiday Wish List

from free digital photos - feelartIt doesn't show signs of stopping, so I've brought some ideas for shoppin’. And since we've no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

The weather outside is indeed frightful, so I have had to master the PATH for getting place to place. While this subterranean labyrinth at one time terrified me, it has now become my refuge from the ice-wind tunnels that blast between the skyscrapers.

Frost bitten cheeks aside, I have to say, this is  one of my favourite times of year! Not only are all the Bay Street lobbies rivaling each other with festive trees and holiday garlands, MBers are even adding a personal touch to their workspaces! And mastering the PATH has given me great ideas for this week’s blog: gift ideas for favourite current or future articling students!

Articling students at this time of year might be too busy to properly clothe themselves, scrimping to pay off those law school loans, or even saving up to buy presents for the people who helped them get to where they are today. So, it may be nice to give or get something a little special that will be equal in panache and practicality. To help you buy for a friend or create your own list, the following is some of my favourite things:

To help you buy for a friend or create your own list, the following is a few of my favourite things...

  1. Tote with Wheels – great for weekend trips, commutes to various courts in the city and province, and when you need to take a little work home.
  1. Stylish Flats – let’s face it, running shoes paired with suit or dress just isn’t going to cut it. But running to court or around the office in a pair of heels is a liability, and articling students need to stay in tip-top shape for six more months!
  1. Gym Membership or Gift Certificate for a massage – this will keep busy articling students in at the top their game mentally and physically.
  1. Handsome Portfolio – we are always jotting things down on our note pads, might as well look good doing it!     
  1. Mug of Epic Proportions – whether it is full of coffee, tea, or smoothies, it will come in handy for long days.
  1. Chic Toiletry Bag – with a tooth brush, hair brush, hand cream, and other goodies, this is nice to have if you are on a big project, a windy trip to the courthouse, or onions in your lunch.      
  1. Top Coat / Pea Coat – when the seasons start to transition, and you reach for the big coat you used to wear back and forth to class, it might become apparent that you do not have the most industry appropriate outerwear. You, present or future worker bee, might need an addition to your winter collection.
  1. Tablets – for those with bigger budgets, tablets are great for note taking and reading from the couch, on the train, while in a meeting, etc. There are all kinds of helpful apps specifically designed for lawyers. Plus they double as a fun gadget you can kick back with around the holidays!
Keep bringing on the holiday cheer!! And let it snow!
Emily C.