Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for September, 2017

Better Together: The Virtues of Experiential Learning Partnerships

The University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, Common Law Section, is celebrating two important anniversaries this year: the English Common Law Program’s 60th and the French Common Law Program’s 40th anniversary. Reflecting on a law school’s history and development naturally leads one to ponder the changing nature of legal education and the evolving functions law schools serve in Canadian society. If lawyers bear the honorable burden of maintaining the public trust in the administration of justice – a trust they earn through competence and integrity – then the function of law schools must be to equip law . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education

“Internet Separation” – the Wave of the (Secure) Future?

To reduce the risk of hackers coming into government database through the Internet, the Government of SIngapore has required all public service computers to be cut off from the Internet. Public servants are allowed to use the net from separate computers that are not connected to their government data.

Yes, that means that a lot of people will have two unconnected computers on the go at the same time.

This article explains the process and the reasons, in the words of the Prime Minister. who called the move “absolutely necessary.” He does admit in the article that if a . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

October 1, 2017 and Upcoming Minimum Wage Increases

Five Canadian provinces are increasing the general minimum wage rate October 1, 2017 as follows: Alberta ($13.60), Manitoba ($11.15), Newfoundland and Labrador ($11.00), Ontario ($11.60) and Saskatchewan ($10.96). The general minimum wage rate increase results in corresponding increases to other rates in the respective provinces.

Note that British Columbia’s general minimum wage increased September 15, 2017 to $11.35 per hour. Other provincial minimum wage rates were also adjusted at that time. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Blockchain Is 2017’s Opportunity for Lawyers

Addison Cameron-Huff is an active legal force in the Toronto tech community focused exclusively on the blockchain and internet startup space. He can often be found speaking at events and previously co-chaired OsgoodePD’s Critical and Emerging issues in Blockchain Law. He recently joined Decentral Inc., the company founded by Ethereum’s co-founder, Anthony Di Iorio.

As the world reacts to the uncertainty of cryptocurrency offerings, such as initial coin offerings, initial token offerings and sales of securities of cryptocurrency investment funds, many startups in the community are having discussions on what the future of Canadian innovation in the cryptocurrency . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements, Technology, Technology: Internet

Giving Back

Giving back is when we give and then nothing happens. No benefits for you, no recognition, nothing tangible gets sent your way. The biggest and sole reward is the realization that we have made a difference. However, there is very little in life do we do and “nothing” happens. Gaining skills, knowledge and expertise are common side effects and giving others your time may bring you interesting and challenging opportunities that might not come along otherwise.

Being a good corporate citizen has many different values and is assessed in many ways. One of the key assessments is to be recognized . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Elowitt and Wasserman on Lawyers as Managers

Periodically on Thursdays, 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.

LAWYERS AS MANAGERS: HOW TO BE A CHAMPION FOR YOUR FIRM AND EMPLOYEES

Andrew N Elowitt and Marcia Watson Wasserman

© 2017 American Bar Association. All rights reserved. Slaw readers can receive a 10% discount on purchase of this book. Use the discount code LAMS17 at checkout; this offer is valid until . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

A Sign of the Times

A new Practice Direction from Manitoba’s Court of Queen’s Bench reflects increasing acceptance of the fact that litigants without lawyers are no longer an anomaly in civil litigation. The notice sets out that contested motions and applications involving at least one self-representing litigant must be set for a case management conference before a contested hearing takes place. This is already the norm for contested motions in the Family Division of the Court of Queen’s Bench, regardless whether there is a self-represented party, but is new in the Civil Division.

Other than the procedural change, two specific aspects of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Franchising the Law

Back in mid-August, the UK’s Legal Futures website took note that Edward Hands & Lewis, a Leicester-based law firm with 15 branches, was planning to launch a national network of franchised offices next year. I wish EHL every success with this undertaking, as I’ve wished good fortune to similar efforts over the past several years (and I continue to think that Canada’s Axess Law is closer than anyone to that goal).

But the fact that I first wrote about the franchised future of small law firms almost six years ago suggests that we need a lot more than good fortune . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Wednesday: What’s Hot on CanLII

Each Wednesday we tell you which three English-language cases and which French-language case have been the most viewed* on CanLII and we give you a small sense of what the cases are about.

For this last week:

1. R. v. Fearon, 2014 SCC 77

[1] The police have a common law power to search incident to a lawful arrest. Does this power permit the search of cell phones and similar devices found on the suspect? That is the main question raised by this appeal.

[2] Canadian courts have so far not provided a consistent answer. At least four approaches . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

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 research, writing, and practice.

Research & Writing

CBA Toolkits and Practice Tools
Alan Kilpatrick

Did you know that the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) website provides a wealth of free practice resources? We encourage you to check it out! Here is a break down of the amazing resources provided by the CBA. …

Practice

New Lawyers and Articling Students: Support Staff Is a Great Resource
Ian Hu

As this fall marks another season of incoming

. . . [more]
Posted in: Tips Tuesday

“Legal Advice” vs. “Legal Information”: Clearing Up the Murky Water

The distinction between what constitutes “legal information” versus “legal advice” has always been a source of confusion and substantial anxiety for legal practitioners and service providers. Given the importance of the distinction and its implications vis-à-vis the authorized practice of law, it is shocking that the term “legal information” is nowhere defined in any of the relevant statutes or regulations governing the provision of legal services. Across the provinces, the governing regulation tends to focus on defining “legal advice,” “legal services,” or “practice of law” without providing an accompanying definition for “legal information” as a point of contrast. That being . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

The Blockbuster That Is Blockchain: What It Means to the Practice of Law

Several years ago, a Canadian attorney and good friend of ours, invested $10,000 in bitcoin. Clearly, he is a lot smarter than us. We can’t even imagine the extent of his profit – several days before we started to write this article, bitcoin hit an all-time high of $4,991.66 on September 2, 2017. It is down slightly as we write, but our friend certainly hit a jackpot.

We become aware of bitcoin wallets a few years ago, as husbands (mostly) began to hide assets from their soon-to-be ex-wives in those wallets. And then came a barrage of ransomware attacks. Law . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology