September, 2014 Archives – Slaw
Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for September, 2014

Law Students: In the Midst of Change

The report of the CBA Futures project found, unsurprisingly, that “the legal profession in Canada is entering a period of major change.” From my perspective as a 2L law student, the thought of entering the profession in the midst of such change is both exciting and overwhelming. Exciting because there will be novel opportunities; overwhelming as uncertainty in the profession could make the transition from law student to lawyer a tough one. Many of the 22 recommendations in Futures report have special resonance with students: from admissions, to debt reduction programs, to post-call training.

One such recommendation is the idea . . . [more]

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

Don’t You Know, We’re Talking About a Tuition Revolution

Students have two clear goals upon graduation: getting a job and paying off their debt. There is a third thing though that at one point is a motivating factor for many idealistic students—doing meaningful social justice law work. For most law students and recent graduates this third thing has fallen off the map at a time when everyone from the Chief Justices of the Supreme Court to the Bar Associations, law schools and LSUC are talking about increasing access to justice.

Steadily rising levels of tuition have become a tremendous financial barrier for students entering law school and for . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Access to Justice: An Opportunity for Law Schools – Part 2

The CBA’s Equal Justice Report

In my last column, I focused on the Canadian Bar Association’s Access to Justice report released in December, entitled Equal Justice: Balancing the Scales (disclaimer – I am a member of the committee). The committee proposed 31 targets to achieve access to justice in Canada. The report can be found here.

Some of the access to justice targets involved Canadian law schools. They provide an opportunity for law faculties to modernize their curriculum while playing a significant role in the biggest legal issue of our generation.

In this column I will focus on some . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education

Tips Tuesday

Here are excerpts from the most recent tips on SlawTips, the site that each week offers up useful advice, short and to the point, on technology, research and practice.

Technology

Reopen a Just Closed Browser Window Tab Wit Ctrl+Shift+T
Dan Pinnington

Every so often you will accidently close a browser window tab that you wanted to keep open. Hate when that happens! And after doing so, you want to get it back. Typically, most of us will open Google Search in a new tab and try to reconstruct the search terms that got us to the tab in the . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Of #HeForShe Feminism and the Autumnal Equinox

During an autumnal equinox the Sun spends about an equal time above and below the horizon at all points of the Earth. September 23 is the date for this year’s equinox. For the rest of 2014, the northern hemisphere will pine the loss of sunlight as the other half of the globe rejoices its gain. For a brief period during equinox, however, we are all equals. At least in this single, solar respect.

In most other departments, that simple, elegant equality does not resolve tidily. Not on any day of the year, in fact. Once you’re on the ground, inside . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous

Clio Announces “Next” UI at User Conference

For many legal software companies, major announcements and product enhancements have traditionally been saved up for release at ABA Techshow or LTNY. But with the advent of their own user conference last year, Clio looks to be borrowing from the tech sector (think Apple or Google) and utilizing their own annual event for these types of product releases.

This morning’s opening of the Clio Cloud Conference showcased two new such announcements, namely: a revamp of the product’s UI, dubbed Clio Next; and the release of the company’s new smartphone app for Android.

Clio Next updates include:

  • A revamp of
. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology: Internet

Manage Malpractice Risk by Recognizing Cultural Diversity

In the social realm, cultural differences can be awkward for those on both sides; but in the context of legal services, cross cultural
misunderstandings and other culture-related factors can occasionally lead to malpractice claims against lawyers. The good news: claims with a cultural component are easily preventable as they tend to reflect certain recurring themes.

One category of claims arises where a lawyer is unfamiliar with the culture of his or her client or is not comfortable asking questions about culture, and so makes false assumptions or ill-advised communication “adjustments” that lead to misunderstandings and mistakes.

In a subset of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Lawyers, Learn to Code With This Free eBook

If you’ve been thinking about learning how to do some coding, or want to learn more about the software that powers the applications you use everyday, then you’ll be interested in this eBook by V. David Zvenyach: “Coding for Lawyers.” Zvenyach is the General Counsel to the Council of the District of Columbia and considers himself an “accomplished armchair coder.” He also insists that “Lawyers can code. In fact,” he says,

“… if you’re a lawyer, the truth is that it’s easier than you think. I am a lawyer, and a coder. In the course

. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology

CPD and the Futures Report

The CBA Futures Report was released last week. The final topic in this wide-ranging report was legal education: law school, pre-call training, and CPD. The entire report is interesting, but the legal education section is especially interesting to me.

It’s impossible to argue with the most of the statements the report; many of the recommendations are music to my ears; for example, that lawyers should engage in life-long learning.

Legal education issues have received such a lot of attention recently, particularly issues of affordability, whether legal education makes new lawyers practice-ready, or whether all or part of an undergrad degree . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

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. National Magazine Blog  2. Canadian Privacy Law Blog 3. Library Boy  4. DroitDu.net  5. Thoughtful Legal Management

National Magazine Blog
Don’t stop believing

If someone told you that you could be unbelievably happy practising law, would you believe it? I’d understand if you said no: You’ve probably heard lots . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

The Trouble With Kerning and Spacing

Writing clearly and concisely is a goal that often eludes lawyers, especially when writing factums.

Justice Barbier of the United States District Court Eastern District of Louisiana ruled on a motion on Sept. 15, 2014 in the complex litigation surrounding the BP oil spill, In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig “Deepwater Horizon” in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010.

Although denying the motion, Justice Barbier commented on the response by BP, in particular in their formatting:

…the Court must address the format of BP’s opposition memorandum.

The briefing order allowed BP’s counsel to file a

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

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.

PÉNAL (DROIT: Une enseignante ayant exploité sexuellement un adolescent doit être punie comme le serait un professeur ayant eu les mêmes gestes envers une élève; en l’espèce, il y a lieu de condamner l’accusée, reconnue coupable notamment d’agression sexuelle à l’endroit d’un élève de 15 ans, à 20 mois de . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday