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Archive for ‘Miscellaneous’

Taking Time for a Social Media Sabbatical

By this time each year, most of us need a break from the onslaught of information available on our phones, tablets and computers. I’ve planned to take a carefully planned break from online activity during the next few weeks.

Why a mini social media sabbatical is a good idea

Why I need . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Of Senate Vacancies and Canada’s Constitutional Galahads

On Parliament Hill there stands a statue depicting one of King Arthur’s knights, Sir Galahad. It was erected in honour of a heroic young civil servant who perished in the Ottawa River while trying to save a cabinet minister’s daughter who had fallen through weak ice. The tragic hero was Henry Albert Harper, and the statue of Sir Galahad, King Arthur’s most virtuous knight, was meant as a testament to Harper’s selfless heroism.

Speaking of Harper and paladins of another kind, 2014 might well go down as a banner year. The recent batch of Galahads on Parliament Hill kind of . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law: Legislation

Setting Up Virtual Teams for Success: Expert Advice

In a recent survey of 1,700 knowledge workers, 79% of respondents indicated that they always or frequently work in dispersed virtual teams. The trend is echoed in law firms of all sizes, as business operations are reconfigured for greater efficiency and individuals seek increased flexibility in work arrangements.

Author and speaker Keith Ferrazzi published practical tips to set virtual teams up for success in the December 2014 issue of Harvard Business Review. Based on my experience working with groups in multiple law offices and time zones, his advice rings true.

Ferrazzi says that virtual teams should focus on . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Reading, Technology: Office Technology

When Lawyers May Not Be the Best Appointments to the Supreme Court

Jian Ghomeshi just hired a brilliant and fearless “shark” of a lawyer, Marie Henein, to defend him against criminal assault charges. There is a school of thought in legal ethics that maintains Henein is professionally obliged to play by the criminal defense playbook, right up to the point of transgression, and directly or indirectly enter the complainants’ sexual histories into evidence. If she can also get their medical records and the clinical notes of their therapists in, she must put all personal moral qualms aside and do everything within the confines of the law to get her client off. It’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous

Of Parent-Child Connections and Next-Gen Tools for Family Law Professionals

While the adversarial system has its strengths, few would argue that its impact is particularly positive in the lives of children after separation.

When I practiced a mix of civil and family litigation, a mentor of mine often said that “law is a substitute for warfare.” Bellicose terms like “A Litigators Arsenal” abound in the world of litigation, and comparison between legal and martial strategy and theory can get pretty deep (e.g. think Antonin Pribetic and his paper on strategic functionalism and Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, which preceded his award-winning blog, Trial Warrior). But . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous

Suzanne Côté Takes Justice LeBel’s Chair at the Supreme Court

On the eve of Justice Louis LeBel‘s retirement, the PMO has announced his replacement. A Gaspésienne. A woman. A litigator in private practice at Osler’s Montréal office. Suzanne Côté. In every way a safe appointment, which has already been warmly received, and which raises none of the delicate difficulties of the previous announcement concerning Justice Marc Nadon. The timing is interesting on a day when all eyes are on Pierre Karl Peladeau announcing that he’ll run – and Doug Ford saying he won’t. This story may get lost.

The announcement stated:

« Je suis ravi d’annoncer la nomination

. . . [more]
Posted in: Announcements, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Diversity of Manitoba Society

Manitoba’s Provincial Court is advertising a position as a Provincial Court Judge based in Winnipeg. Some of the requirements for those seeking the position are:

  • practised for not less than five (5) years as a barrister and solicitor in Manitoba;
  • a member in good standing of The Law Society of Manitoba;
  • and be entitled to practise as a barrister and solicitor in Manitoba;
  • or have other equivalent experience.

The Judicial Nominating Committee’s mandate is to “assess the professional excellence, community awareness and personal suitability of candidates, while taking into account the diversity of Manitoba society (c. 275, The Provincial Court . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous

Observing the Office Grouch

Monday, November 10th marked the 45th anniversary of ‘Sesame Street’. I grew up watching the show. I’m not so grown up that I didn’t smile when I saw my favourite characters in the news coverage of the milestone event.

Many of the lessons Sesame Street taught us about how to get along with the people in our neighborhood actually still serve us well in the workplace.

Consider Oscar the Grouch, for example. Okay, he’s a Muppet, not a person. But his traits aren’t too different from some of the curmudgeonly colleagues I’ve worked with. When I . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

LSUC: No Yurts!

The Law Society of Upper Canada is located in beautiful Osgoode Hall on Queen Street in the heart of downtown Toronto. The large, manicured grounds in front are partly surrounded by an ornate iron fence that’s interrupted at a few points by elaborate gates known as “cow gates,” baffle affairs that would indeed keep cows out (or in) and that are enjoyable to wiggle through.

I happened to pass by recently and saw that No Trespassing notices had been posted at these gates. Perhaps they’ve been there for a while and I’ve just never noticed them before. At any rate, . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Who’s Watching the Spies?

Much of the debate following the shootings in Ottawa and Saint-Jean-sur-le-Richelieu has turned on whether or not increased surveillance by Canadian law enforcement and intelligence agencies could have prevented the actions of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau and Martin Couture-Rouleau. Then comes the follow-up: Must we adopt stronger measures and would they put our civil liberties at risk?

To be clear, this has nothing to do with the recent tabling of Bill C-44, drafted months ago. For reasons well explained by Craig Forcese, these measures aim primarily to assist CSIS in obtaining warrants for overseas investigations and to help protect the identity . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Sponsorship and Sincerity

I recently attended a workshop that was sponsored by several law firms, major corporations and large organizations. The event and the law firms will remain anonymous (for obvious reasons), but the sponsorship implied trust, integrity and commitment by the business community to a contemporary organizational issue.

Event attendees participated in a productive discussion; some were clients of the firms whose logos were included on the promotional material and some would probably be good clients for those firms to have.

There was just one problem. None of the law firms who sponsored the workshop had sent a representative to participate in . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law: Marketing

Employers Requiring Disclaimers in Employees’ Social Media Posts

In the USA, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) oversees not just unionized workplaces but many others too. Among the issues attracting its attention these days are social media policies of employers. As one might expect, the NLRB protects free speech by employees, especially where employee rights and relations with employers are concerned.

However, the Board has recently confirmed that employers may require employees to disclaim speaking for the employer on the employees’ social media sites. The risk that employers could get in trouble for ideas otherwise imputable to them was considered a valid reason for such disclaimers. However, disclaimers . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, ulc_ecomm_list