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Be the Messenger (And Don’t Get Shot)

The #1 cause of claims against Ontario lawyers practising in most areas of law is problems with lawyer-client communication.

Considering lawyers’ reputation for verbosity, this statistic seems counterintuitive, at least until you consider that some things are easier and more fun to talk about than others.

Fun to communicate with clients about: success (and our role in it); progress; winning; good news. NOT fun to communicate: failure (and our role in it); setbacks; losing; increase legal costs; bad news.

The risk: Failing to promptly and appropriately communicate bad news (and therefore, failing to take steps to mitigate setbacks) exposes lawyers . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

LawTechCamp 2014 This Weekend

The fourth annual LawTechCamp takes place this Saturday at Ryerson University’s DMZ building. LawTechComp provides an opportunity to “bridge the gap between the tech and legal communities and encourage the exchange of ideas and knowledge.”

This is an unconference type event organized against the following schedule:

  • Impact of CASL on Lawyers and Entrepreneurs
  • Panel Discussion: Future of the Legal Profession in the Age of Disruption
  • Panel: Alternative Models of Legal Service Delivery
  • Law Technology Retrospective and Future Insights

In addition Chris Bentley, former Attorney General of Ontario, will deliver a lunchtime keynote talk on “Law, Technology and the Public Interest.” . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Monday’s Mix

Each Monday we present brief excerpts of recent posts from five of Canada’s award­-winning legal blogs chosen at random* from sixty recent Clawbie winners. In this way we hope to promote their work, with their permission, to as wide an audience as possible.

This week the randomly selected blogs are 1. Rule of Law  2. Combat Sports Law 3. Environmental Law and Litigation  4. Legal Post  5. IP Osgoode

Rule of Law
Can You Revoke a Quebec Notarial Will by Destroying a True Copy?

A notary in Quebec always retains the original of a notarial will and registers it under . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Texan Court Refuses Jurisdiction for Pre-Suit Discovery in Anonymous Blogger Defamation Case

The Supreme Court of Texas has refused to provide the identity of an anonymous blogger, in a 5-4 split decision released this week. The blogger initially claimed to be an employee of the Plaintffs’ company. He created a site in 2007 which targeted a business and its CEO, making a number of disparaging comments about the Plaintiffs and alleging involvement in a Ponzi scheme.

The Plaintiffs sought the identity of the blogger through Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 202, which states,

202.1 A person may petition the court for an order authorizing the taking of a deposition on oral

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law

Summaries Sunday: Maritime Law Book

Summaries of selected recent cases are provided each week to Slaw by Maritime Law Book. Every Sunday we present a precis of the latest summaries, a fuller version of which can be found on MLB-Slaw Selected Case Summaries at cases.slaw.ca.

This week’s summaries concern:
Barristers and Solicitors/ Courts / Evidence / Torts / Criminal Law

Barristers and Solicitors – Courts – Evidence – Torts

Summary: The plaintiffs hired the defendant lawyer and his law firm to represent them in their lawsuit against HouseMaster Inspection Service for a deficient house inspection.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Summaries Sunday: SOQUIJ

Every week we present the summary of a decision handed down by a Québec court provided to us by SOQUIJ and considered to be of interest to our readers throughout Canada. SOQUIJ is attached to the Québec Department of Justice and collects, analyzes, enriches, and disseminates legal information in Québec.

Énergie, mines et ressources: Le recours de Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation Ltd. qui visait à faire modifier un accord conclu en 1969 avec Hydro-Québec sur le prix de l’électricité pour la centrale de Churchill Falls est rejeté.

Intitulé : Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation Ltd. c. Hydro-Québec, 2014 QCCS 3590
Juridiction . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Summaries Sunday: OnPoint Legal Research

One Sunday each month OnPoint Legal Research provides Slaw with an extended summary of, and counsel’s commentary on, an important case from the British Columbia, Alberta, or Ontario court of appeal.

Insurance Corporation of British Columbia v. Stainton Ventures Ltd.,
2014 BCCA 296

1. CASE SUMMARY

AREAS OF LAW: Intellectual property law; Official marks; Passing-off

~It is not a violation of the Trade-marks Act nor does it constitute passing-off to create a webpage or Internet domain that pairs an official mark with a non-distinctive word such as “advice”~

BACKGROUND: The Appellant, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, has adopted the . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Best of Breed v. Integrated v. Piecemeal v. Outsider

Just as the business of law is at the start of a revolution, the platforms supporting firms, Practice Management Systems (PMS), are facing similar challenges. There are the traditional PMS brands that have been around for decades, and others that seem to have sprung up almost overnight.

Some with many thousands of users, and a maturity that deserves more attention than a feature checklist comparison typically provides. Just this week I received a phone call from a firm that has tried/used 4 PMS’s in the last few years. Experience ranged from “awful” and “incomplete” for two local under-capitalized products, to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The Friday Fillip: Shoes That Talk

Now, if shoes could tell where they’ve been
When you say you’ve been visiting a friend
Ain’t you glad?
Hey hey hey, ain’t you glad?
But ain’t you glad, glad that shoes don’t talk?
Ry Cooder, “If Things Could Talk”

Trouble is, it turns out that things can talk — in a manner of speaking. Seems that when a sound is emitted the vibrations of the air don’t rest when they’ve hit our eardrums but continue radiating out, causing, well, most everything to oscillate in sympathy. This isn’t — or shouldn’t be — exactly news to anyone, certainly anyone who’s . . . [more]

Posted in: The Friday Fillip

Alternative Business Structures and Access to Justice … for Whom?

The Canadian legal profession is currently engaged in a much-needed debate about the future of legal services in general and whether to allow the use of so-called alternative business structures (ABSs) more particularly. Thankfully, the issue of access to justice is figuring prominently in the general debate, as evidenced by the recently released CBA Legal Futures report and the ongoing work of the Action Committee on Access to Justice. Beyond that, the potential for ABSs to improve access to justice is being put forward as a key reason for allowing them, as can be seen in Slaw columns of . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

A Look at Unionization Rate in Canada in Light of This Year’s Labour Day

Labour Day originated in the labour union movements of the 1800s as a way to celebrate the social and economic advancements and to pay tribute to the driving force of our economy. The history of Labour Day continues to be connected with organized labour. Initially, the first unofficial “Labour Days” in Canada were actually protests against a law that made it a crime to be a member of a union. In 1872, this law was abolished, but various union protests and parades continued, and there was pressure to make Labour Day a national holiday. In 1894, the federal government declared Labour Day a national day of recognition for workers across the country.
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Thursday Thinkpiece: Dodek on the Death of Legal Icon Heenan Blaikie

Each Thursday we present a significant excerpt, usually from a recently published book or journal article. In every case the proper permissions have been obtained. If you are a publisher who would like to participate in this feature, please let us know via the site’s contact form.

CANADA: DEATH OF A LEGAL ICON, DAWN OF CHANGE?
Adam Dodek*
Legal Ethics, Vol 17, No. 1, June 2014, pp. 135-137

Excerpt: pp.135-136

When the end came for the storied national law firm of Heenan Blaikie, it came abruptly. On 5 February 2014, the firm issued an understated three-paragraph Press Release . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece