action-active-activity-1174103I don’t intend to go from 60 to 0. I plan to leap over to a new highway and keep or increase my speed!

The Observation Post

Hard as it may be (for me, at least) to fathom, it seems that many people approaching retirement don’t look forward to it because they don’t know what they’ll do with all the time they’ll have when they have no job. That has never struck me as a problem, what with books to be read, writing to be written, learning to be learned (unless you already know everything), trips to plan, music to enjoy, sports to follow, chores to avoid, mislaid items to look for, naps to take, etc….not to mention human behavior forever to be baffled by.

Believe me, friends, if I had half the time my once-upon-a-time fellow wage slaves assume I have, I would be posting a post almost every day instead of once a week or so (which, I concede, may still be too often for you malcontents and party poopers out there).

So, how busy…

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Retirement Whether You Want It Or Not

It’s good to start planning your retirement life now. It may take some time to find your new passion.

Humoring the Goddess

Within a couple of months I will officially be retired.

No more worrying about driving to work in snow and slop. No more worrying about punching in late because I cant get my tired butt moving fast enough in the morning. No more scraping off my windows or driving to and from work in the dark. No more getting up at 6 a.m. and force-feeding a shower whether I need it or not.

I should be ecstatic. But somehow, I’m not 100% with that yet.

For there will also be no more beautiful sunrises to see on my way to work. I don’t usually come to my work town, so no more slow rides through the beautiful countryside that inspired two novels and a short story. No more pot lucks and sharing moaning groaning work stories with co-workers. No more chances to actually turn my job into something I love.

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Recycling Reboot

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I just toured Winnipeg’s single stream automated recycling facility, also called a material recovery facility (MRF – pronounced murf). This facility processes all the paper, cardboard, aluminum, glass and plastics collected from the curbside collection program (homes and apartments) and the recycling depots.
The vast majority of people appear to engage in Wish-cycling. This is where everything goes into re-cycling without a solid critical thought as to whether it should or not. I saw a small electrical motor going up the conveyor belt. The amount of plastic going through the plant was amazing.
We all need to do a better job on dealing with our waste and what can be recycled.

Still young inside


Think back to your first gig starting out in whatever you were doing.

Circa 1982. First moot court. Complete with long hair and mustache. The cheek protector glasses that darkened automatically when you went outside. Blue pin stripe with vest. Classic.

We all still have that youngster inside of us.

#law #legal #motivation #legalprofessionals #business

The Lake Palace


One of the highlights of our India trip was several nights at the Lake Palace. Built in 1743, the Lake Palace was home to the rulers of Udaipur, is now a heritage hotel run by the Taj group of hotels. It stands in the midst of the 696 hectare man-made Lake Pichola. The magic starts with a short boat ride from the mainland to the hotel. The hotel is one of the few buildings in the world completely surrounded by water.

Just as we entered, we were showered with rose petals from someone on the upper level. The staff are exceptional of course. There are 83 spacious rooms and suites. The center courtyard has an enchanting Lily Pond. A sole musician is often playing softly in the courtyard. In the evening, local artists provided the entertainment.

There are a few places to dine in the evening. All of it was tremendous.







Better training provides better lawyers

Ah, changes are taking the pace I’m going through
Turn and face the strange …

—David Bowie


Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education plans to roll out new Practice Readiness Education Program.


When does a venerable tradition simply become anachronistic? Possibly, when the tradition no longer fulfills its intended purpose and relies upon inertia. Perhaps.

Why tamper with a venerable tradition? Perhaps somewhere a parent used the venerable tradition of throwing their child off the dock to encourage them to swim, but this has not been documented. In any event, this approach does not always provide the required outcome.

Change is on the horizon. The Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLED) provides the training needed for new graduates to become ready for the practice of law, and it intends to roll out a new bar admission program: the Practice Readiness Education Program, or PREP.

The basis for any policy change should be a problem that needs resolving. The 2019 Articling Survey Results Report conducted for the Law Society of Alberta found a number of disconcerting issues. These included an inconsistency in competencies and level of preparedness for entry-level practices. Over half of the new lawyers surveyed lacked confidence and felt not very prepared or only somewhat prepared. Only one third said a learning plan was used.

An even more troubling figure showed that 32 per cent of articling students experienced discrimination or harassment during recruitment or articling, most of that based on sex, race or ethnicity. This suggests that practised lawyers could benefit from some sensitivity training.

Quality of mentorship and feedback is a challenge for principals/mentors and students alike. Principals and mentors suggest a lack of time, resources and training as key challenges in mentoring articling students; it seems that someone is tossing the student and the mentor off the dock simultaneously and hoping for the best.

One factor that may be missing from the Law Society of Alberta’s assessment is the overall output. The lawyer may appear satisfied that the student has the necessary competencies, but does the client receive the necessary outcome? An additional survey should be conducted to determine if the client is receiving the full value proposition (benefits relative to the costs) being promised by the newly fledged lawyer.

Getting back to the dock analogy, instead of simply hoping for the best, CPLED developed the PREP. The intent is to deliver practical skills and competencies using an integrated approach. This approach combines interactive, transactional learning within four phases, allowing students the opportunity to interact with lawyers, instructors and simulated clients to improve competencies.

The competencies of a well-rounded lawyer fall into three broad groups. The first group is lawyer skills; this involves communication skills, taking legal concepts and ideas and clearly explaining them while taking into account the audience. If you are not changing your writing style based on who is doing the reading, then you are doing a disservice to the reader. The second aspect of this involves legal matter management: taking a case from interview to resolution by researching, gathering facts, planning a strategy and advising your client. Researching, for example, does not provide the broad spectrum of experience necessary.

The second broad component includes how a lawyer practises and self-manages. This involves sections on risk management, trust accounting, technology skills, and management for conflicts, relationships, and self — all good things that can have much broader application. My rotation in project management taught me the importance of listening. In my personal life, this improved my spousal relations and reduced conflicts. Although this coursework will likely deal with legal conflicts, everything can have a broader application.

The third section deals with professional ethics and character by examining who a lawyer is and how he or she behaves. This includes, of course, the code of conduct, ethical decision-making, and understanding fiduciary duties. The other competencies include the need to be honest, trustworthy, honourable and courteous. (These last ones may be a bit tough to achieve unless it’s your mother who’s grading you.)

Although behavioural modification can be difficult, the process that CPLED laid out makes these modifications seem easy. Twelve online modules combine self-directed study and interactive assessments. The multimedia approach, in the comfort of sitting in front of your own computer screen, lays the foundation for the various competencies.

Of course, workshops then provide a bit more real-world experience. Think Disneyland with the various safety protocols in place. The workshops allow students to interact with one another. This includes role-playing, simulations and practice management. (OK, maybe not quite like Disneyland.)

This begins to congeal in PREP’s virtual law firm. Here, the student gets to manage the full lifecycle of cases in various areas. I am not sure if bonus points will be awarded for the most innovative law firm name, but let us hope some points are set aside for this category. This can be a popular approach for MBA students who gather in a virtual company to implement a business plan. The chat functions can be of enormous help in discussing this plan. Just keep in mind that what you think might be a humorous comment in an email or chat can come across as flat and critical. Ensure you attach the appropriate uplifting emoji.

PREP’s capstone is the final assessment, in which the student is provided the opportunity to demonstrate his or her skills and competencies in a simulated transaction through the full life cycle of a case. I am not sure if the simulated transaction includes immediate payment after presentation of the account. But I digress.

The bar admissions PREP program appears to be in good company. Some university faculties of medicine have been using competency-based learning for years now, and the results have been very positive. We can anticipate that lawyers coming on stream with this new approach will be more prepared for the practice of law.


close up of computer keyboard

We were talking about Microsoft office today. Our teams website pushes out a fair bit of notifications on various matters of interest. However, some include things like there are brownies in the staff room. Now, I signed up for the brownie notifications. Others don’t care about who’s child just won best in whatever category.

I asked our IT department if they could include a curmudgeon button for those that don’t want to hear about things.

Photo by Pixabay on

New Delhi’s Red Fort


The Red Fort in New Delhi served as the main residence of the Mughal Emperors. On the Independence day of India, the Prime Minister hoists the Indian “tricolour flag” at the main gate of the fort.

The fort was built between 1639 and 1648 by the architect Lahouri. He used a Indo-Islamic Mughal architecture. Of course the name comes from the use of the red sandstone.