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McLuhan and the Practice of Law

Have a look at Jason Wilson’s latest rethinc.k post, “The Document Life: Why “lawyer” is moving from a profession to a metaphor.” In actual fact, the post, after a brief intro by (legal publisher and Slaw columnist) Wilson, is a reproduction of an article written in 2008 by Ross Reeves for the Virginia Bar Association News: “Marshall McLuhan in the Modern Law Office: Has Technology Changed the Way We Think?”

McLuhan, the hometown boy and media messenger, is back in the world’s good graces again, after a number of years in the wilderness. And, of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

McLuhan Centenary

The new electronic independence re-creates the world in the image of a global village.

– Marshall McLuhan

In 2011, the University of Alberta will host the Herbert Marshall McLuhan Edmonton Centenary. Being the city of McLuhan’s birth, Edmonton boasts a special connection to the Canadian icon, even though others are also celebrating.

I offer you this link as tribute to Marshal McLuhan – the 1971 convocation address when the University of Alberta awarded him with an honorary Doctor of Laws.

Considering the number of times he has been mentioned here, I wonder what Prof. McLuhan would say about . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Partisan Advantage Seeking Fails to Meet Pressing and Substantial Objective

Following the decisions by the Ontario and Saskatchewan Court of Appeal over the constitutionality of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, the Supreme Court of Canada is expected to hear their appeals on Sept. 22-23, 2020.

The provinces did not wait for the courts to resolve this matter entirely, and in Ontario, the Minister of Finance at the time protested loudly on April 11, 2019 in the legislature,

Mr. Speaker, while our government takes deliberate steps to make Ontario open for business and open for jobs, the federal government is taking deliberate steps to make the cost of nearly

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement: A Call for a Little Give and Take

After much Trump-inspired drama over Canada’s participation in his new North American trade accord, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) was issued on September 30, 2018 (with final ratification by the three countries still pending at this point). While there is much ado about cheese, milk, and automobiles to it, intellectual property rights also figures prominently in the agreement. Its intellectual property provisions seek “the promotion of technological innovation… to the mutual advantage of producers and users… [in] a balance of rights and obligations.” While this would seem to make it all about patent regulation, it also allows for a need . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property, Legal Publishing

Presentations and Legal Project Management

If you’re managing legal projects, there will be times you need to present information to your boss(es), your clients, or your team.

I’ve seen many successful projects perceived as troubled simply because the project manager couldn’t “manage” a presentation.

In a project management presentation, PowerPoint (or its equivalent) is good for two things, and two things only:

  • Visuals, and
  • Signposts

It is a very poor tool for the purpose most people use it: transmission of information.

The “Bad” of Slides

Asking people to read a detailed PowerPoint slide will induce a) eyestrain, b) boredom, or c) both. It will rarely . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Thursday Thinkpiece: McCormick on “by the Court” Decisions

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.

‘By the Court’: The Untold Story of a Canadian Judicial Innovation

Peter McCormick
Osgoode Hall Law Journal, Vol. 53(3), 2016, Forthcoming

Excerpt: pp 1-6, 18-27. Footnotes omitted. They can be found in the original via the link above.

What do the BCE case of 2008, the Securities Reference case of 2010, the . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

A Response to the CBA Legal Futures Initiative

The Canadian Bar Association is running through its CBA Legal Futures Initiative which ostensibly looks at allowing outside investment into law firms, the so-called, Alternative Business Structure (ABS). This initiative should be of interest to all lawyers, but most particularly to younger lawyers, as it may determine the course of their careers – perhaps for the worst.

Younger lawyers should take note of the behaviour of the CBA and various law societies in the late 1990’s and the early 2000’s around Multi-Disciplinary Practices (because of backward-thinking individuals in the CBA and in provincial law societies, MDPs have been regulated into . . . [more]

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

Let the Students Lead Us

I’ve been teaching at University of Ottawa Law School’s compressed January term, which means a 3 hour class every day. It’s given me a sneak peek at the future lawyers of this country – and I like what I see.

If my class is indicative of the rest of the second and third year law students in Canada, they are bright, eager – and anxious.

Bright and eager is to be expected given that they’re beginning a new challenging career – the anxiety however is troubling.

There is concern over articling positions for those staying in Ontario – no surprise . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: Law Schools, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

You Might Like … to Reflect on Nerf Guns, Big Bangs, Big Data, Bike Locks, the Inner Child and More

This is a post in a series appearing each Friday, setting out some articles, videos, podcasts and the like that contributors at Slaw are enjoying and that you might find interesting. The articles tend to be longer than blog posts and shorter than books, just right for that stolen half hour on the weekend. It’s also likely that most of them won’t be about law — just right for etc.

Please let us have your recommendations for what we and our readers might like.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous, Reading: You might like...

The Lower Your Costs, the More You Keep

Let me throw some controversy into your world today.

When I speak to groups about innovation in legal services the topic that always hits a raw nerve is the subject of office space. Next to personnel costs, office space is one of the largest fixed costs of any business, including law firms. However, much like the weather, every lawyer talks about it, but no one does anything about it.

It is a space planning rule of thumb that law firms need between 600 – 1,000 square feet of space per lawyer. Think of the savings if that number could be . . . [more]

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

Social Media: Neither Social Nor Media. Discuss.

This weekend I was in Montreal for PodCamp Montreal, an event bringing together people interested in social media. Most sessions (at least, the ones I attended) took the format of presentation and then Q & A. Sunday morning, however, the session Is Social Media Really a Social Media? brought out the true spirit of podcamp conversation with a contentious discussion that delved into the semantics of the term. Pier-Luc Pettitclerc, IT Director at Commun, brought in his boss Martin Ouellette, a traditional ad agency owner, to battle out the question. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Virtual Appearances

A bill now before the U.K. House of Lords would remove the right to be present at a hearing for certain matters consequent upon being charged with an offence. Amendments to the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 proposed in the Coroners and Justice Bill 2008-09 [PDF] (Part 3, Chapter 4: Live Links – p.56) would allow authorities in a number of London and North Kent police stations to determine that an accused should appear before a bail court, or for trial of minor offences, via a live video link to a remote courtroom. (See the story in the Times.) . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation