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What Should LSBC’s Futures Task Force and LSO’s Technology Task Force Do?

The Law Society of British Columbia’s E-Brief for January 2019 states that LSBC has established a Futures Task Force: “… to look at the future of the legal profession and legal regulation in British Columbia. The task force is expected to identify anticipated changes that may improve or disrupt the future market for legal services, consider and evaluate the factors and forces driving those changes, as well as make recommendations to the...
Posted in: Practice of Law

Why Allowing Alternative Business Structures Could Help Articling Students

Verna Milner "By allowing Alternative Business Structures we can encourage business models beyond the equation of profit per partner per year." Has this occurred in other jurisdictions whether ABS is in place? Would profit per shareholder per year be any different? Would there be less pressure to make the business profitable to provide a return on investment? Or, would all the profits made be reinvested into the firm as opposed to increasing...
Posted in: Practice of Law

The Coming End of Lawyer Control Over Legal Regulation

At the end of last year, as John-Paul Boyd ably chronicled on this website, members of the Law Society of BC voted on three resolutions regarding access to justice. The second of these resolutions — directing the law society to bar paralegals from providing family law services under new provincial legislation and to postpone any other enlargement of paralegals’ scope of practice — received overwhelming approval. While this was a disappointing...
Posted in: Practice of Law

Canada’s Law Societies Need a National Civil Service

This post summarizes a full-text article with the same title on the SSRN, and refers to Fasken InHouse. The Law Society of Ontario (LSO) is to have a bencher[1] election on April 30, 2019. We should vote only for those candidates that present solutions to the access to justice-unaffordable legal services problem (the “A2J problem”). Governments are now reacting without law societies. Benchers have to be something more than the present part-time...
Posted in: Practice of Law

Artificial Intelligence: Will It Help the Delivery of Legal Services but Hurt the Legal Profession?

On March 23, 2018, I attended a competition among “startup” applications of artificial intelligence (AI) applied to the delivery of legal services. Here are the results by way of quotations from the website of the development institute LIZ (the Legal Innovation Zone), and my comments. “Legal Innovation Zone at Ryerson University” in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. About Us: “The Legal Innovation Zone is a business incubator designed to build and...
Posted in: Practice of Law

Possibilities Under a Non-Lawyer AG in Ontario

Although it may seem as an inconsistency, the Attorney General in Ontario need not be an attorney in that jurisdiction. With the announcement of Caroline Mulroney as the AG in Ontario this week, this possibility is now a reality. Ms. Mulroney holds an American law degree and was licensed in New York State, but is not a licensee in Ontario. The validity of a lawyer functioning in this role was resolved several years ago in Askin v. Law Society...
Posted in: Justice Issues

What Can We Learn From the English ABS Experience After Five Years?

After five years of ABS liberalization in England (and Wales), it is worth having a look at what has happened. Surprisingly and significantly, the answer is “not much”. ABS liberalization in England A decade ago, Legal Services Act 2007 brought about significant changes to the practice of law in England. These changes included allowing what were called alternative business structures to provide legal services where only lawyers were previously...
Posted in: Legal Ethics

Access to Justice: “We Have Seen the Enemy and He Is Us”

[articles cited without authors are mine] Lawyers remain the passive victims of the benchers[1] that we ourselves elected to be the law societies’ managers, instead of demanding that they get busy solving the problem of unaffordable legal services (“the problem”). The benchers are to regulate the legal profession so as to, “maintain and advance the cause of justice and the rule of law,” and, “facilitate access to justice,” and, “to protect the...
Posted in: Practice of Law

“Apps” and the Waning of the Solicitor-Client Relationship

“Apps’” (as used herein, means the application of software to create electronic systems, programs, processes, devices, etc., in relation to legal services) are being developed in many locations. They appear to be an important part of the Law Society of Upper Canada’s (LSUC’s) response to the unaffordable legal services problem (“the problem”). It exists because the method of producing legal services dictates that there can be no...
Posted in: Practice of Law

Alternative Business Structures’ “Charity Step” to Ending the General Practitioner

(This is a short version of the FULL ARTICLE posted on the SSRN (pdf.). Articles cited herein without stated authors are those of the author of this article—Ken Chasse.) The alternative business structures (ABS investors owning law firms)[1] debate is a very live one in Ontario, and will be throughout Canada, depending upon what the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) at Toronto’s Osgoode Hall decides. ABSs could bring about the end of the...
Posted in: Practice of Law

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 more than 80 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. Legal Feeds 2. Building NewLaw 3. DroitDu.Net 4. Eva Chan 5. All About Information Legal Feeds LSUC benchers push back decision on ABS...
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

“Counsel, I Demand Justice!” – “Most Definitely! How Much ‘Justice’ Can You Afford?”

Might that majority of society who cannot afford a lawyer’s advice (“the problem”) soon use the social media to demand the abolition of law societies? Indeed; “off with their heads!” Quite fitting for a law society, created during the last years of the French Revolution, which had so taxed the heads of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette but a few years before. Ontario’s Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) was created on July 17, 1797, in Wilson’s...
Posted in: Practice of Law