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Archive for ‘Columns’

Tackling Technology

The intersection of legal ethics and technological competency has been a recurring theme in Slaw and other forums for a number of years (see, for example, here, here, and here).

Exactly what type of technological competence a lawyer needs to have has been debated and, presumably, will constantly evolve as technology itself evolves (for discussion of what minimum tech standards might look like, see Mitch Kowalski’s and Omar Ha-Redeye’s previous Slaw posts here and here). There is a growing consensus, however, that all lawyers require some level of technological competence in order to meet their professional . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

ODR as a Viable Business Model for Resolving “Right to Be Forgotten” Disputes

[Sarit Mizrahi assisted in the preparation of this column.]

By now, we’ve all heard about the Google Spain SL, Google Inc. v. Agencia Española de Protección de Datos (AEPD), Mario Costeja González decision rendered last May by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). However, for those who’ve been living under the proverbial rock, let us go over the facts:

A complaint was lodged with the Spanish Data Protection Authority (“AEPD”) by Mr. Gonzalez on March 5, 2010 against a Spanish newspaper publisher, Google Spain and Google Inc. due to the fact that, when his . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Motivation by Deadline

I used to have it bad. In university I pulled all nighters for my papers, and crammed for exams. I even tried cramming for my Chinese 101 exam – trying to memorise two hundred plus Chinese characters in one night is not something I would recommend to anyone. Let me just say, it didn’t end well.

This last minute frenzy approach to work followed me into professional life and meant that I was stressed out, fighting the clock, and left wondering if my good work product could have been great if I had a little more time to give it. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Are Faster Horses Our Future?

When I sat down to write this post, it was going in a whole different direction. Given the hot topics of innovation and the future of the legal industry, I was thinking I might add to the growing discussions around the recommendations of the CBA Futures Report (see here, here and here).

Then, about half way down the social media rabbit hole I was following as part of my “blog research”, I came across this interview (thanks @karenskinner) with Alex Novarese, editor-in-Chief of Legal Business, discussing the future of the legal industry in the UK. In the interview . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Tweeter or Twitter? Teaching a Federation Approved Legal Ethics Course

This summer I again provided the Federation of Law Societies with the syllabus for my legal ethics course. The Federation requested the syllabus for, presumably, the purpose of verifying that the University of Calgary’s course complies with the Ethics and Professionalism Competency as set out in Table B of the Federation’s Implementation Report for the Approved Law Degree. As it did the past two summers fulfilling the Federation’s request left me feeling both uneasy and uncertain.

Uncertain because I am not sure what the Federation wants to do with the syllabus. Are they simply ascertaining that it is a stand-alone . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Access to Justice: An Opportunity for Law Schools – Part 2

The CBA’s Equal Justice Report

In my last column, I focused on the Canadian Bar Association’s Access to Justice report released 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.

Some of the 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.

In this column I will focus on some . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education

CPD and the Futures Report

The CBA Futures Report was released last week. The final topic in this wide-ranging report was legal education: law school, pre-call training, and CPD. The entire report is interesting, but the legal education section is especially interesting to me.

It’s impossible to argue with the most of the statements the report; many of the recommendations are music to my ears; for example, that lawyers should engage in life-long learning.

Legal education issues have received such a lot of attention recently, particularly issues of affordability, whether legal education makes new lawyers practice-ready, or whether all or part of an undergrad degree . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Parlez-Vous Français? How to Practice Your French, and Other Foreign Language Immersion Tips

I’ve been trying to prepare for the IFLA conference in Lyon, France for months. IFLA is the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions and I don’t recall ever attending one of their meetings. But I thought this year, it’s in France, and in Lyon. My first name is Lyonette – it’s fate! And the IFLA Law Libraries Section has been offering great sessions on authentication of and access to digital legal information (such as official gazettes) in various regions of the world. I could look forward to immersing myself in French culture, speaking French, and learning about new developments . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Intermediary Liability: Part 2 – Policy Questions

My previous column gave a number of examples of how governments, regulators and even spies focus on intermediaries to achieve what they want. The intermediaries used may or may not be online themselves, though most of the examples involved Internet Service Providers and web hosting services.

This column reviews the policy questions, though without attempting any definitive answers. Feel free to propose your own answers in the Comments, or raise further questions, or improve my analysis.

Approaches to liability

Three major approaches are taken to the role of intermediaries, as we saw in the previous column (without so classifying them): . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Independence and Self-Regulation: I’m OK but I’m Not So Sure About You!

It is entirely human to fail to appreciate when one’s judgment is affected by a conflicting personal interest or duty. Our conflicts rules reflect this problem. Where there is a substantial risk of impairment of representation, clients get to decide whether to accept that risk. Where representation will be materially impaired, lawyers cannot act even with client consent.

This concern about conflicting interests is well rooted in behavioural psychology. Dan Ariely, an author and a professor of psychology and behavioural economics[i], writes on this topic[ii].

In his book The Honest Truth about Dishonesty, Professor Ariely . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Legal Business Development: Are You the Tortoise or the Hare?

Let’s be honest, most lawyers want the business development process to be more like a sprint to the winners circle. But the reality is that the winner’s circle is reserved for the slow and steady. THAT is not what you wanted to hear, I’m sure!

The fact of the matter is that CONSISTENCY is a silver bullet. Yes, a slow silver bullet! You see, many are looking for the right tool… SEO, Google Ads, social media, blogs, You Tube channel, articles, networking, etc, etc, etc! But these are simply tools, just like your phone is a tool. Your phone, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

3D Printing and Intellectual Property

Last month, Home Depot announced they would start selling 3D printers in some of their stores. This seems like the next step in the consumerization of technology that began as exclusively for high end users such as automotive manufacturers and architects but is now becoming useable for almost anyone. Even the Toronto Public Library has 3D printers “even for beginners to use.” What effect will the increasing use of 3D printing technology by consumers have on intellectual property and what effect will intellectual property have on the technology?

3D printing is generally a term for additive printing where material is . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property