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Archive for ‘Archived’

Restrictions Placed on Retired Judges Who Return to Practice Do Not Go Far Enough

Retired judges who return to court as counsel pose a serious threat to the perception of judicial impartiality, an issue that recently caught the attention of the Law Society of Upper Canada.

On January 28, the Professional Regulation Committee made a series of policy amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct that deal with retired judges returning to practice.

Under the old Rule 7.7-1.4, judges who previously served on the Superior Court of Justice were permitted to appear in court as counsel after a three-year “cooling off” period. With the new amendments, retired Superior Court of Justice judges who want . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Law Student Week

Making the Mental Transition From Student to Professional

This article is by Ian Hu, claims prevention and practicePRO counsel at LAWPRO.

As a law student I struggled with the transformation to become a professional. For years I had survived as an unkempt academic, free to meander about and philosophize high-mindedly about the meaning of life. It didn’t help that I was the youngest of my brothers and consequently the least responsible. See – I still can’t take responsibility for my lack of responsibility in my “youth”. In my hubris, I wanted to be judged on the delusional brilliance of my thoughts alone, not by other people’s standards. Little . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week

Mental Health Is a Professionalism Issue

Michele Hollins, former President of the Canadian Bar Association said “Studies have shown that lawyers may have the highest rates of depression among various occupational categories…many in our profession think that it makes good business sense to keep concerns to themselves.”

About 20% of the legal profession suffers from clinically significant levels of substance abuse, depression, anxiety or some other form of psychopathy. Lawyers suffer from major depressive disorders at a rate 3.6 times higher than non-lawyers who share key socioeconomic traits. In 2010, the Ontario Lawyers’ Assistance Program reported that 42% of their calls were related to mental health . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Sole Practitioner?

One-third of the more than 25,500 lawyers in private practice in Ontario are sole practitioners. as a solo, it’s great to have the freedom that comes with being your own boss, but you also have full responsibility for all aspects of the operation of your law practice. Do you have what it takes to be a sole practitioner? See this self-assessment quiz to answer that question.

The chart helps identify your strengths and weaknesses and gives you a better idea of whether you’re cut out for solo or small firm practice. Ask yourself whether you possess some or all of . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week

To Be or Not to Be? Totally Up to Her

There’s nothing quite like streaming clips of our American colleagues pitching for clients. Talk about free entertainment! You’ll see lawyers dragging flaming hammers through the ground or drug dealers thanking their counsel for past services as they move on to the next deal. Above all, you’ll hear screaming. Tons of it. You begin to imagine that the Law Society is on to something about refraining from advertising that brings the profession into disrepute. Indeed, the ads are brash, sassy, cheeky—pick your adjective. The underlying subtext of course is that Joe Smith, or whoever, is tough and aggressive, your . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week, Practice of Law: Marketing

LAWPRO Student Magazine: What Do Law Firms Look For?

Law students – like all students – are prone to anxiety about their career prospects. High-profile news about the employment challenges faced by new grads in the U.S. and changes in the articling requirements for Ontario have combined to create a climate of worry.

But worrying about trends and generalizations can obscure the fact that the employment relationship is, in essence, an interpersonal relationship. Each successful employer/employee match happens because an individual firm takes a chance on an individual lawyer for reasons that are not only unique, but also personal, and sometimes instinctive.

We spoke with law firms across the . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week, Practice of Law: Practice Management

The Ethics of ‘The Tweeting Lawyer”: Powerful Platform or Risky Undertaking?

Social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube) are web-based technologies that enable users to create and share content and to participate in interactive online communications. As the use of social media grows and becomes a powerful and indispensable tool for lawyers, so do the ethical risks facing lawyers.

Why “tweeting” is powerful. It is interactive, easy to reach, fast to use, cost effective, and informative. Social media is an excellent tool that can help lawyers establish broader professional networks, build and develop brands, and enhance professional profiles. While social media can provide powerful marketing tools, lawyer should . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week, Practice of Law: Marketing

Talk Claims Prevention With Your Articling Students

This article is by Nora Rock, corporate writer & policy analyst at LAWPRO.

While it’s easy to view articling students as a source of extra help, the primary purpose of articling is to provide a valuable apprenticeship to the student, not simply to lighten the lawyer’s load. Today’s law school curriculum has a strongly theoretical focus. Students spend a great deal of time learning to research the law and to “think like lawyers”, and limited time learning about how to operate a law practice.

That’s where articling comes in. As an articling principal, you are charged with teaching students about . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Professional Responsibility as Reconciliation: Law School and Legal Obligations

An accused has a constitutional right to a fair trial and may raise concerns about race and discrimination if they identify it as an issue in their case. Furthermore, lawyers have an obligation to remind their client of this right. This very issue arose in R v Fraser (Fraser). In Fraser, a white student accused a Black high school teacher of committing “sexual improprieties”. The appellant raised concerns about racial bias both before and during the jury selection, but his lawyer nonetheless failed to tell Fraser that he had the right to challenge for cause. Upon . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Justice Issues, Law Student Week

The Perspectives of Future Members of Our Profession

We have been fortunate to have taught legal ethics over the past two decades at four law schools: U of T, Osgoode, Windsor and uOttawa. We quickly came to appreciate the multiplicity of experiences and perspectives that students bring to the discussion of these issues. We both have included requirements that students write short analytical papers, along the lines of the blogs that appear here on Slaw, or newspaper op-eds.

We both encourage students to dissect a particular issue, to push themselves and to be creative. We have been well-rewarded with thoughtful and original pieces. The work of these . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week

Incorporating Skills-Based Learning Throughout Law School

When we leave law school to become articling students and then junior associates, we will likely spend the majority of our time researching and writing memos. Knowing this, how is it possible that law students can leave school without a strong foundation in these skills?

All law students at UVic have at least some exposure to legal research and writing through taking Legal Research and Writing (LRW) in first year. However, this is our first introduction into legal research and writing. At this early stage in our education, it is difficult to fully appreciate and absorb all the material covered . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

A New Approach to Legal Research and Writing?

I have now taken the better part of two legal research and writing courses (though the term paper still looms) and on the whole I have found them to be a beneficial to my legal research both in other classes and in the workplace. However, if there is one thing that I find these courses a bit short on, it is direct feedback and a corresponding opportunity to put this feedback into practice, and observe and evaluate the end results.

While I was an undergraduate I had the opportunity to participate in a writing intensive class as both a student . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week, Legal Information: Libraries & Research