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Archive for ‘Columns’

Adjudicators and Term Limits

Adjudicators who are appointed by cabinet order (variously referred to as Order in Council (OIC) or Governor in Council (GIC) appointees) have very little job security, beyond the term of their appointment. Historically, a reappointment was never guaranteed and the reasons for not being renewed in your position were not provided. The difficulty with a non-transparent system of renewal is that no one (including the adjudicator) knows the reason for a non-renewal.

Ontario instituted a new process for reappointments (or renewals) in 2006. The major reform was to limit appointments to ten years, subject to the recommendation of the Tribunal . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Quality in Legal and Professional Publishing

“Quality”. It’s one of those nouns and/or adjectives that everyone uses to describe their own output standards but for the most part is applied to whatever level – high, medium or low, that they are willing and/or able to offer. In many respects, though, that’s a good and desirable thing as more often than not there are no objective standards of quality such as those of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). In any case, sensibly, the word should be preceded by “optimum”, “appropriate” or suchlike as quality cannot be divorced from competence, price, speed, brand . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Wade Into Windows 10

The latest Windows operating system has started rolling out. Unsurprisingly, reactions to its new update method and privacy functions are mixed. If you were on Windows 7 like most lawyers, it will be an easy upgrade and – despite the negative early chatter – worth taking advantage of the free upgrade.

The Upgrade and Updates

If you have any version of Windows other than Enterprise or Windows RT, you can get the new operating system free. You may have been invited to register for a copy, in which case you’ll get a notification e-mail. You can also just grab . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

“Failure Is Not an Option.”

“Failure is not an option.”

Mission Control spoke those famous words in the quest to save the crew of Apollo 13, at least if you believe what you see in the movies. We remember that phrase – and believe in it – because the project team did not fail.

How do we deal with incipient project failure in the world of legal projects, however? It’s instructive to explore some of the difference – and similarities – between our projects and Apollo 13’s return from the moon.

Recognition of Impending Doom

Few project failures are as easy to recognize as Apollo . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

The Dutch Climate Case: Beginning of a New Era of Climate Litigation?

In an worldwide first, the Hague District Court has ordered the Dutch government to cut its greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by at least 25% compared to 1990 levels by the end of 2020. The decision, an English translation of which can be found here, has been widely reported and discussed (including in an interview on CBC Radio’s The Current with Dianne). It has rekindled hopes around the world that courts can spur governments into taking serious steps to deal with climate change.

Could a similar case be brought successfully in Canada?

Background:

The suit was brought against the Dutch . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Speeding in Espanola

While on a family road trip in summer of 2013, I was ticketed for speeding on a stretch of highway west of Sudbury, Ontario. Being a lawyer, for the hours of driving that followed I could think of nothing but how to get the fine reduced or the ticket withdrawn. After all, the police speed trap was such that even the most cartoonishly-stereotypical of deep-south state troopers would be impressed by its audacity.

I was reminded of this episode when in preparation for a discussion with some Ontario judges on innovation in the courts, I came across a treasure trove . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Moving Closer to Organizations’ Core Businesses

I somewhat shamefacedly enjoy reading professional advice books (and fashion advice books, but I wrote that column already), and one of the most memorable pieces of advice I recall was that regardless of what career path one chooses, in order to have the best career prospects, one should aim to work in an organization’s main line of business. There is generally have more room to advance as an accountant in an accounting firm than in the accounting department of a company that primarily does something else. This is reflected in the different career paths and experiences of lawyers who . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Are We There Yet? the Marketing Value of Good Signage

I spend a lot of time in law firm offices. Besides having one of the best collections of law firm mugs in Canada, I also have an extensive set of first impressions. There are the firms that clutter up their coat closets with stuff they don’t want visitors to see—which the visitors see when they hang up their coats, of course. There are the firms that have lots of firm literature displayed in their reception area—but it’s printed on everyday printer paper and it’s curling over, making it look both old and invisible. There are the firms with expensive art . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Federal Court of Canada Issues New Case Management Practice Notice Affecting IP Litigation

The Federal Court recently issued a practice notice entitled Notice to the Parties and to the Profession – Case Management: Increased Proportionality in Complex Litigation before the Federal Court. The notice affects all complex litigation before the Court, including intellectual property matters. The notice is designed to achieve increased proportionality in Federal Court proceedings, and introduce efficiencies which should save litigants both time and money. The changes should also make it easier for an action to reach trial within two (2) years from the filing of the Statement of Claim, an objective communicated in a previous notice from the . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Proposed New “Uniform Arbitration Act” Bears Careful Study

The working group on arbitration legislation of the Uniform Law Conference of Canada (ULCC) has circulated a Discussion Paper on proposed changes to the Uniform Arbitration Act (for domestic arbitrations in Canada). The proposals – and the drafting of the Act – have not yet been reviewed or approved by the ULCC. The goal is the present the proposals to the ULCC at its annual meeting this summer.

This is the second phase of a project that started several years ago to update the ULCC’s Uniform International Commercial Arbitration Act and Uniform Arbitration Act, which have been widely implemented by . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Flexibility Isn’t Just for the Yoga Mat – Try It on Your Schedule

I will forever be indebted to the young mother, a senior associate at a big firm, who shared with me one of her secret recipes for handling the challenging tension between mom-time and lawyer time: the early escape.

Here’s how it works: One night a week she stays late at the office, until between eight and ten at night, depending on the week. Then, two days later, she leaves the office in the afternoon to pick her kids up early from daycare for some special time with them.

This wonderful “life hack” checks two important boxes for her. She checks . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: Some Lessons From South of the Border?

Earlier this month, the new president of the Law Society of England and Wales, Jonathan Smithers, used the occasion of his inaugural speech to emphasize the importance of a diverse and inclusive legal profession, stating:

Equality, diversity and inclusion are absolutely at the forefront of this Society’s work, interwoven in all that we do. Our profession must reflect the country as it is and draw talent from each and every part. Social inclusion and mobility are currently in the spotlight. I am proud of the progress we have made over the last decades but do not in any way shy

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Ethics