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Archive for ‘Education & Training’

Student Petition Re Ontario Law Practice Program Fees

A group of law students has drafted an open letter to the Benchers of the Law Society of Upper Canada calling for the repeal of the fee levied on licensee applicants in order to fund the LPP. According to a communication from Christopher Rudnicki, a third year student at Windsor Law:

As discussed in a previous post on Slaw, the Law Society of Upper Canada sent licensee candidates an invoice last week for $3,164 on top of the $1,695 already required to write the bar. The additional fee was levied to fund the LSUC’s new Law Practice Program, an

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Posted in: Education & Training

Articling Fees and Access to Justice

Yesterday morning, thousands of third-year law students across Ontario each received invoices totalling $4,859 for the articling licensing process (an increase of 79% from last year’s fee of $2,712). I was one of the lucky ones; after having a brief panic attack, I was able to forward the invoices to the law firm at which I will be articling to have them paid off. But for many, the fees present yet another barrier to entry into an already restrictive profession.

The increased fees, of course, restrict fair access to the legal profession – many students are forced to take out . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Justice Issues

LegalTech 2014 Opening Keynote With Jason Thomas

The LegalTech Day One Keynote with Jason Thomas of Thomson Reuters was intriguingly titled “TOR, Bitcoin, Silk Road and the Anonymous Web: Drugs, Bombs and Murder-for-Hire”. If that wasn’t enough to bring me into a crowded conference room filled with legal technology types, there was also tasty coffee.

All kidding aside, Mr. Thomas’s presentation was a great start to the 34th annual ALM Legal Technology show. Jason Thomas is the Chief Innovator at Thomson Reuters.

Jason started his session with a William Gibson quote: “The future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed.”

He asked the crowd to raise . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Technology

Does a Generational Divide Hamper Change in Legal Services?

My class at University of Ottawa Law is now over. But the thoughts provoked in class hopefully are not. U of O has, probably more so than other Ontario law schools, a social justice/access to justice bent and I have been critical of the CBA’s recent Reaching Equal Justice Report mostly because it is unrealistic and provides little hope for change. So it was interesting for me to see two presentations by students that focussed on ideas that should have been part of that CBA Report.

One student presented ways in which gamification could be used in legal services. It . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: CLE/PD, Education & Training: Law Schools, Justice Issues, Law Student Week, Legal Information, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

She’ll #IdleNoMore

Earlier today, one of our law graduate students gave a delightful performance of a poem, Why I’ll #IdleNoMore. The poem earned Michelle first place in the annual diversity writing contest the University Library sponsors in conjunction with the Provost’s Diversity Research Forum.

Michelle’s performance was evocative and thought-provoking, as is the poem itself: She rapped about the goals of the Idle No More movement, and about activism as an ally of that movement.

As stimulating to me as her performance were the remarks with which Michelle prefaced it. She spoke of how, were it not for her time . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Justice Issues

A Full and Equal Voice

Why is it still so common to see a panel predominantly made up of middle-aged white male lawyers on the dais at a legal conference or CPD session? I noted this again at a legal conference I attended last week. Of course, there were exceptions – the panel of women in corporate counsel positions and the Aboriginal law panel, for example – but shouldn’t a gender balanced, diverse panel of speakers now be the rule, rather than the exception?

These questions have been roiling about my mind since last fall, when I read the numerous, thoughtful comments to my Slaw . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing

Let TWU Have Its Law School

When Trinity Western University (TWU), a Christian-focused post-secondary institution, announced plans to pursue accreditation for a new law school, a tide of opposition swelled from within the Canadian legal establishment and academy.

A near unanimous chorus of professors, Law Deans, and student groups urged the Federation of Law Societies to reject TWU’s application on account of its homophobic “Community Covenant”. After the Federation and the provincial government approved the program last month, a prominent civil rights lawyer threatened to sue.

Personally, I was not bothered by TWU’s application for accreditation. The human rights opposition has insisted that a “one-size-fits-all” approach . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Justice Issues

Law Schools’ Fear of Social Media Is a Disservice to Students

Spending time at a law school allowed me to see something very disturbing; law students are actively and deliberately told by law schools to expunge all social media activity.

The clear message to students is: Do Not Have Any Web-Presence Whatsoever.

Given this message, it’s no wonder that most Canadian lawyers view social media with fear and take no part in it. It also explains the shocked looks when I asked my class to create Twitter and LinkedIn accounts – then use them for class participation. Oh the horror!

Imagine if I had asked them to create blogs!

In my . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology

Old School Social Networking

This week I’ll be attending the Manitoba Bar Association’s annual Midwinter Conference in Winnipeg. The conference provides lawyers with the full 12 hours of mandatory continuing professional development (MCPD), including 1.5 hours that meet the Ethics, Professionalism and Practice Management requirement, but that’s not why I attend.

In this age of webinars, online courses and individualized learning, I look forward to being in a learning environment with other lawyers, one that invariably includes time allotted for discussion and questions. Often I find I’ll learn as much from the feedback from other participants as I have from the formal presentations. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: CLE/PD, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Marketing

Fluxing Straight Out of Law School

I am seeing it increasingly commonly – newly called lawyers who set up their own shingle without working for a law firm as an associate. In part, it’s due to the changes in the market which have left a scarcity of opportunities for young lawyers, or opportunities that are otherwise undesirable. But it’s also becoming a preferred option for a generation which values creativity, personal relationships, empowerment, self-determination and entrepreneurship.

Luz E. Herrera, who launched her own solo practice in 2002, described this phenomenon in the Denver University Law Review,

The Great Recession has caused many new attorneys

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Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

McGill Podcasts

If you like podcasts, and who doesn’t — it’s hard to beat learning something and getting to close your eyes at the same time — you might take a listen to the McGill Podcasts, and particularly those in their Law & Society category. There are about twenty or so “pure” podcasts and the same number again of earlier videos.

The subjects range widely, including, for instance, “The Syrian conflict and the International Criminal Court: Interview with Human Rights Watch’s Richard Dicker,” “Tax Avoidance, Tax Evasion, and Tax Justice with Professor Allison Christians,” “Racial Profiling . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Legal Information: Publishing

Learning Plans

The end of a calendar year is a good time to reflect, assess and plan. One aspect of this reflection for me is looking at learning: what have I learned in the last year, what has adjusted based onthat learning, and what should I consider for 2014. I am a law librarian and just like every year, there are many items to add to the “things I learned this year” list. Some of that learning came from conferences and webinars offered by professional associations, some came from discussions at CBA conferences, Legal Education Society of Alberta events and . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD