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Archive for ‘Columns’

Access to Justice: An Opportunity for Law Schools – Part 1

The CBA’s Equal Justice Report
The Canadian Bar Association’s Access to Justice Committee issued its final report in December, entitled Equal Justice: Balancing the Scales (disclaimer – I am a member of the committee). The committee proposed 31 targets to achieve access to justice in Canada. The report can be found here: http://www.cba.org/CBA/equaljustice/main/.

What isn’t well known is that some of these access to justice targets involved Canadian law schools. They provide an opportunity for law faculties to modernize their curriculum while playing a significant role in the biggest legal issue of our generation.

Last fall at the University . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education

Indexes: Still Necessary in the Age of E-Books

One of the challenges for legal librarians is making sure that library users get the most out of the resources available to them. There is an incredible amount of legal information available, but if a researcher cannot find the information he or she needs, the information might as well not exist. Fortunately there are a number of tools out there to make the process easier. On a wider level, these tools include library catalogues and bibliographies, and on a narrower level these tools include tables of contents and indexes.

A good index can be worth its weight in gold, helping . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Adjudicators’ Neutrality and Political Participation

The Ontario election is over and municipal elections are on the horizon. The Ontario election was a heated one and included the rare participation of police officers in the election campaign. Police officers have a “voice” outside of the institution of policing, since they are unionized. Adjudicators in the justice system do not have this external “voice”. (Although there are organizations of adjudicators, their main focus is continuing education and skills development). Adjudicators, like judges, are restricted from active participation in elections, even though they (like police officers) can have an interest in the outcome. Unlike judges, adjudicators (in Ontario) . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Northern Gateway: Approval Without First Nations Consent Violates International Law

There has been much debate about the federal government’s decision on June 17th to give a green light to the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline project. And there is obviously much more ahead. This will certainly be a summer of discontent in the communities along the pipeline’s proposed route and elsewhere in British Columbia and across Canada; with plans for rallies, protests and blockades already coming together. There is much to come in the courts as well, with several legal challenges already underway and others soon to follow.

There is, to say the least, much fodder for both protests and . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Become a Five-Tools Project Manager

Baseball scouts dream of finding up-and-coming five-tools players. These rising stars hit for power, hit for average, speed around the bases, throw accurately, and field their positions well. Every position player in the major leagues has solid grades on at least a few of these tools, but only a handful have mastered all five.

Legal Project Management, as well, has five tools, each corresponding to one of the five areas you can manage:

  • Manage the project, starting with the project charter.
  • Manage the client, starting with the Conditions of Satisfaction.
  • Manage time, starting with the Off Switch.
  • Manage money, starting
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law

Motivation

In 1978 China abandoned a planned economy that the government thought could facilitate productive forces and would guarantee fairness. Li Yining, a professor of economics at Peking University stated that China was wrong on both counts. See How China’s Leaders Think (2010), by Robert L. Kuhn, page 98.

Professor Li states “After several decades under the planned economy, the facts tell us that enterprises and people are not motivated – and without motivation, productive forces cannot develop. Under the planned economy, there is no competition, no equal opportunities, and no freedom to relocate. ….. After the Cultural Revolution, China’s economy . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

An Exciting Time in Canadian Competition Bureau Policy – Substantive Guidance on Reverse Payment Patent Settlement Agreements May Be Imminent?

As part of the Canadian Competition Bureau’s revisions to its IP Enforcement Guidelines, some stakeholders have requested guidance on “new” issues of concern in the Competition Law area – including reverse payment patent settlement agreements. Prior to publication of the first Draft Update of the Guidelines (“Phase 1 Update”)[1], the Bureau held a Workshop to consider issues regarding competition and the pharmaceutical industry[2]. Having regard to the high cost of pharmaceuticals ($34.5 billion in 2013), and the recent decisions of the US Supreme Court and European Commission finding that reverse payments are “valid targets for antitrust . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Hallo

Around 30 years ago, the Macintosh said Hello, as shown in this impressive 5 min video. It introduced us to user-friendly computing, including visual interfaces, multimedia and an early form of mobile computing as it was designed to be luggable. However, even its IBM mainframe joke to “never trust a computer you can’t lift” wasn’t about to convince you that this was really a human. Not so the recent Turing Test where some of the judges were fooled by the computer into believing they were conversing with a 13-year old, rather than a computer. This follows on from Watson . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

A Social Lab for BC Family Justice System?

My February post suggested that a “Social Lab” may be a way to tackle the “implementation gap” in justice reform. On June 1 and 2, an important step was taken towards using this approach in British Columbia as a strategy to improve the family justice system for children and families. The BC Law Foundation / Legal Services Society Research Fund funded a two-day workshop in Vancouver facilitated by Adam Kahane and Monica Pohlmann of Reos Partners. This post highlights the key learnings coming out of those two days.

What is a Social Lab?

The workshop provided both a deeper exploration . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Justice Incubators

Incubators are in. They are popping up everywhere; Google the word and see. Most of your hits will have nothing to do with babies born too soon. There are even national associations of incubators. In these economic times an incubator is a thing that helps starting entrepreneurs further develop and scale up their idea. For a good definition, see here. Incubators started in the strictly for-profit world. With the rise of social entrepreneurship and the idea of impact investing, they have also moved into that area. I have been asking myself for the past year how we can benefit . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Challenging a Few Myths About Legal Marketing

The business of law is increasingly competitive and success requires us to challenge long held beliefs that could be hurting your practice. See how many of the following myths you’ve been holding on to and consider if you’re ready for a new perspective.

  1. I know my clients well enough – Surveys and client interviews tell us differently. The gap between what a lawyer knows about the client and what the client reveals to a third party (best if it’s someone other than the client’s lawyer) varies, but the gap is ever-present. The gap in and of itself is not so

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Marketing

Dream a Little Dream …

I’ve been dreaming again about the future of legal publishing. How might we arrange legal information if we were not constrained by the structure and format that we’ve all grown up with? We know what the core pieces are:

Primary law: remember all those bound volumes of statutes? Remember all the print law reports? Many law libraries still carry these, but they have now mostly been replaced by a variety of online resources. Of course, in this country, CanLII is the best example.

Secondary law: we are lucky to have a huge body of secondary law in Canada, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing