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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

Interview With Knights CEO David Beech: Alternative Business Structures Across the Pond

...Laura Snyder Thank you for this post. I'm sorry that it escaped my attention until now. If you have further interest in the thoughts, ideas and experiences of people who have created, are managing or are employed by an ABS in England & Wales or an ILP in Australia, you might like to have a look at the 50+ interviews I conducted from 2014 to 2016. You can find them here: http://notjustforlawyers.com/stories/...
Posted in: Legal Technology

Everybody Wants to Rule the World

John Gregory I would disagree with Professor Hadfield that the Law Society's decision not to pursue alternative business structures was a failure of professional responsibility. It is simply not true that the evidence absolutely proves that ABS would improve access to justice. The evidence is at very best ambiguous, and it does not take much to see it as showing that a few areas of law - notably routine civil litigation - serves as a loss...
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

The Devil’s Advocate

Gavin MacKenzie, Amy Salyzyn and I participated in August in the Ethics Debate at the Canadian Bar Association Legal Conference. Amy moderated the debate. Gavin and I were the debaters. The topic was Should lawyers have a monopoly on the provision of legal services? I argued for the proposition. Gavin argued against. The general topic was broken up into three separate propositions, each of which was separately debated. My role was to support...
Posted in: Legal Ethics

Online Courts: Using Technology to Promote Access to Justice

Congratulations to Canada for its online Small Claims Court that will become mandatory next year. The Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) in British Columbia is slated to hear small claims cases online next spring. The jurisdictional threshold for “small claims” has yet to be established; however, the mandate is that it will eventually rise to approximately $20K USD. CRT adjudications will have the same effect as court orders and will provide the...
Posted in: Justice Issues, Technology, Technology: Internet