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Archive for ‘Archived’

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, We Are the Greatest of Them All: The Ideal and Challenge of Humility in the Legal Profession

It is no secret that a career in law is generally viewed as prestigious, elite and attracting high status in Canadian society. Those in law are often typified as strong, intelligent individuals and leaders. Multiple factors may influence such perceptions: from the long schooling required to be a lawyer; the various examinations aspiring lawyers must pass; historical notions of law as a noble profession; to TV depictions of busy, wealthy lawyers; and media coverage of high profile cases.

Not surprisingly, many students-at-law and lawyers alike learn to feel proud of their role and the prestige that comes with it. In . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week, Practice of Law

Is This the Job You Want? How to Find the Right Fit – and Then Sell Yourself in the Interview

On the face of it, interviewing should not be all that difficult – particularly for lawyers. As members of a profession who primarily make their living either writing or speaking, the idea that having a conversation about your interests and abilities in your own profession sounds both logical and easy.

But throw the words “job interview” into the mix and a whole new paradigm emerges. With seemingly so much at stake, job interviews take on a new meaning for people who ordinarily would not shy away from talking about the field they have chosen and the background that they bring. . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week

Constructing Competence: One Student’s Experience in Legal Education

Since entering law school, people have told me their personal “horror” story regarding their experience with a lawyer. They generally follow the same narrative arch: “I paid X amount of dollars and the lawyer did nothing for me. They were so incompetent!” As I often stand steadfast in the defense of my chosen profession, there is a voice in my head that whispers, “maybe they’re right”. Though the law society has formed a comprehensive definition of competence, in my experience, there has been little done in the rearing of new lawyers to meet it.

The Law Society of Upper Canada . . . [more]

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

The Need for a Broader Public Safety Exception: Ethical Duties to Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence

The ethical duty of defence counsel to evaluate information under the public safety exception to solicitor-client privilege should be broadened to require disclosure when an offender is being released back into an environment where intimate partner violence will likely reoccur.

Consider a situation of domestic violence.[1] A woman calls the police to report an assault by her husband. It was not the first time he assaulted her, but she did not previously report the abuse. Charges are laid. A psychological assessment is conducted, an expert stating that the defendant has violent tendencies and is likely to reoffend. The defendant . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Law Student Week

Talk Claims Prevention With Your Articling Students

This article is by Nora Rock, Corporate Writer and Policy Analyst at LAWPRO.

While it’s easy to view 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 how . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week

The Limits of Codes of Professional Conduct and the Value of a Lawyer Following Their Own Conscience: Lessons From Atticus Finch

“Is it or is it not an ethical dilemma?” “Does such a behaviour violate the ethical rules in the Rules of Professional Conduct?” These are questions that we students were asked each day in our Professional Responsibility class. However, day after day, we were often unable to reach a conclusive answer to a myriad of ethical dilemmas. I found myself often pondering why it was often so difficult to reach a conclusive answer to an ethical issue.

As law students, we are trained to unfailingly following rules, such as the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Rules of Professional Conduct, . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Law Student Week

“Truth, Justice, and the Ethical Way”: The Legal Ethics of Government Lawyers

Ever wondered what government lawyers and superheroes have in common? Although you are unlikely to see counsel in capes, flying through the metropolis, government lawyers and superheroes serve the public in the pursuit of justice. Both are accurately described as guardians of the public interest, albeit in very different contexts. Government lawyers and superheroes also hold great power and must use it to advance the public interest ahead of all else. And with great power comes great ethical responsibility.

The intersection of professional responsibility and the public service situates the unique role of federal and provincial government lawyers in the . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week, Legal Ethics

20 Tips for a Smooth Transition From Student to Lawyer

For Law Student Week on Slaw, here is an abridged version of the LAWPRO article: “20 tips for a successful transition” – a guide for law students through the transition from student life to legal practice. See practicepro.ca/20tips for the full article.

  1. Honestly assess your strengths and preferences to identify what makes sense for you in terms of the type of firm and area of law you want to practice.
  2. Consider all the options: big firm, small firm, solo practice, government, in-house. Don’t just pursue the opportunities everyone else is pursuing – reflect on what is the best fit for
. . . [more]
Posted in: Law Student Week

Lawyers Behaving ‘Badly’: Should Lawyers Be Breaking the Rules?

The Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa is known for its expertise in social justice and in my experience many of my colleagues decided to attend this institution for this reason.[1] When I applied and accepted my offer of admission to the University of Ottawa I did so because I hoped that my professors would provide me with the knowledge and skills that I will need to practice law within a system of laws that is not “always a system of justice”.[2] I have not been disappointed in this respect. However as my time as a . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Law Student Week

David Versus Goliath – Lawyer’s Professional Responsibility & Self-Represented Litigants

The story of “David and Goliath” is a part of our cultural consciousness. Generally, the biblical tale is told as follows: a young shepherd battles a giant warrior and, using only a slingshot, comes out victorious. Today, the phrase “David and Goliath” represents a more secular meaning as a metaphor for improbable victories by a weaker party, better known as the “underdog”. A quick glimpse at popular culture illustrates that this “underdog phenomenon” has generated mass appeal – but why? Some scholars have said it is because the underdog story gives us hope for a fair and just world. However, . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Law Student Week

What I Wish I Had Known in Law School

Each year LAWPRO asks its articling students to reflect on their law school experiences and how they relate to their early working experiences. Here are the thoughts of our current students Raymond Ashurov and Rahim Andani, as written by Sarah van Scheppen, Communications Coordinator at LAWPRO.

Keep an open mind

Many students enter law school with a preconceived plan of courses and the area of law in which they want to practice upon graduation. Both Raymond and Rahim said that this is one of the most common errors that new law school students make. Without experiencing a variety of courses, . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week

Law Student Week 2017

In a decade of teaching legal ethics, I have come to realize that students bring different and often fresh viewpoints to their analysis of ethical issues in the profession. Slaw founding Publisher Simon Fodden agreed to provide a forum for our future colleagues at the bar to share these perspectives with a wider audience. We are fortunate that his successor Steve Matthews has continued to do so.

This year seven University of Ottawa students produced interesting and provocative that will be published by Slaw over the course of this Student Week (March 27th through 31st). The issues range from how . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week