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Archive for ‘Columns’

Would a Ryerson Law School Need a Law Library?

It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything about Ryerson University’s plan to open a law school. Both the Letter of Intent and the whitepaper (Training Tomorrow’s Legal Professionals) prepared to document the proposal have been taken down from the web, so it’s difficult to check the details. The proposed new law school would purportedly be radically different from the other “traditional” law schools in English Canada. Its innovative and transformative curriculum would address changes in the profession by focussing on innovation in legal education and offering more opportunities for experiential learning geared towards “new competencies” such . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Professional Development Galore!

Happily, I work for a continuing education organization that really walks the talk when it comes to professional development for staff; everyone is encouraged and expected to take advantage of these opportunities.

Sadly, though, we don’t have unlimited time or budgets, and not a week goes by without a flurry on Twitter, Storify, or other social media sites from the latest legal education, information, or technology conference. I am tempted more often than I can participate. It’s great that we can follow on social media, though; between the tweets and subsequent blog posts I can usually get a good idea . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

GitHub Workflow and Legal Drafting

There are a few posts on Slaw about Git/GitHub and the law, including several posts by Tim Knight. In most cases, the discussion centers on using GitHub to publish legislation and track legislative changes. I promise this column isn’t merely a regurgitation of previous content.

On Slaw, and in any post on the Internet that talks about Git and legal content, the fact that some legal document has been posted on GitHub is seen as an indication that somebody is trying to make things more transparent or collaborative, or just trying to bring the law closer to technology.

I think . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The Cost of Justice (Research)

At the end of Rules for a Flat World[1], Gillian Hadfield offers five steps to improve how legal systems operate. In this post, I want to elaborate a little on the fourth of her recommendations: catalyze and fund research.

Hadfield describes the state of knowledge about legal infrastructure as “abysmal”. She notes the lack of data about how legal systems work and about who has access to them. She exhorts governments to collect more data about legal institutions and make this data available to researchers, making the case that more and better research is necessary to improve our . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

No. Small Word. Big Impact. Focusing on What’s Most Important

No. Two letters. One complete sentence.

No. The word we loved to say as kids and have so much trouble expressing as adults.

No. The important boundary we set to protect our values, priorities, and deepest needs.

The solution to many challenges we face in our personal and professional lives is rooted in something called the Positive No.

The term Positive No originates with international mediator and negotiator, William Ury. One of the most important and regular book recommendations I make is for Ury’s Power of a Positive No. I have written about the Power of a Positive . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

A Duty to Be Technologically Competent: Coming Soon to a Professional Code of Conduct Near You?

When I suggested ten years ago that email would become the principal means by which clients and lawyers would communicate, many people suggested I was dangerous, that I was possibly insane, that I should not be allowed to speak in public, and that I certainly did not understand anything about security or confidentiality but [email] technology and many other emerging technologies have now firmly taken hold.[1]

So much has changed in a relatively short period of time when it comes to our use of technology in delivering legal services. As noted by Richard Susskind above, the use of email . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

How ODR Can Benefit From R. v. Jordan… How R. v. Jordan Can Benefit From ODR

As most lawyers would agree, few recent court cases have had the impact of last year’s Supreme Court decision in R. v. Jordan. A quick look at the CanLII website tells us that it has already been cited in over 200 other decisions in the 8 months since it was rendered and many court administrators have been tasked with finding new ways to comply with its teachings.

As a reminder, the decision affirmed, among other things, that:

[49] The most important feature of the new framework is that it sets a ceiling beyond which delay is presumptively unreasonable. For . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

“Counsel, I Demand Justice!” – “Most Definitely! How Much ‘Justice’ Can You Afford?”

Might that majority of society who cannot afford a lawyer’s advice (“the problem”) soon use the social media to demand the abolition of law societies? Indeed; “off with their heads!” Quite fitting for a law society, created during the last years of the French Revolution, which had so taxed the heads of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette but a few years before. Ontario’s Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) was created on July 17, 1797, in Wilson’s Hotel, at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, by 10 of the 15 lawyers in the then British colony of Upper Canada. (See: Christopher Moore, The . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Marketing Strategy II: Do You Know Where Your Clients Are?

If your firm has been around for a while, how has it changed? Let’s say you’re in a mid-sized Canadian city and the firm has been in existence since the 1970s. Chances are that at least one set of partners has retired from the firm and new recruits have brought new interests (and new clients) into the firm. New industrial developments on the outskirts of town have yielded new clients, who in turn have referred other new clients from even further out of town. Before anyone has realized it, your firm is serving clients province-wide, yet you’re still promoting yourselves . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

What Actually Goes on in Articling? Ethical Obligation of Regulators . . .

The Law Society of Upper Canada is undertaking (yet another) review of its licensing process. This is at least the fifth time that it has examined changes to the licensing process since 2000. However, in all of these reviews, the Law Society has never actually examined the actual working conditions of articling students. In this it is not alone. I am not aware of any Law Society in Canada that has done so. The Law Society of Upper Canada now has the opportunity as well as the responsibility to undertake such research.

There is both a policy imperative as . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Cut It Out – Making Webinars and Demos Better

I’ve recently returned to knowledge management in a private firm, and had lost some touch with legal tech offerings. I dove back into the deep end of the pool, and have, over the last few months, watched many webinars and demos.

It may be some time before I subject myself to another one.

Vendors are Key Players in the Industry

I appreciate vendors tremendously. They – not the legal sector – are pushing the envelope on everything from core functionality to cloud computing to next-gen AI. Vendors are always willing to share thoughts and even data on the state of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Proposal Resumes

Building an effective resume for proposals is hard but it doesn’t have to be. Resumes used for proposals and resumes used for job seekers may offer similar content but they are two very different documents. Understanding the difference and how to present “you” is key to delivering an effective proposal resume.

Often the marketing team is tasked to draft resumes for the lawyers that will be part of a proposal. The goal should be to balance the desire of the lawyer to include what they want while ensuring brand consistency that the firm requires. Resumes are personal and people have . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing