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Archive for ‘Miscellaneous’

Red Tape Awareness Week

January 19-23 is the CFIB’s (Canadian Federation of Independent Business) 6th annual Red Tape Awareness Week.

During the week the CFIB will make several announcements, starting off by announcing the winner of its annual Paperweight Award, citing the most egregious example of government red tape on small businesses. My guess is that CASL will win that.

My personal view is that government does a better job of talking about reducing red tape than actually accomplishing it. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Some Ground Rules for a Constructive ABS Discussion

As is apparent from the OTLA, and the many comments on my previous post, the upcoming Bencher elections in Ontario finally have an issue that has grabbed the attention of lawyers across the province: Alternative Business Structures.

While this issue may drive better voter participation in the April election, it has also greatly divided the profession in this province.

One can already see the huge generational rift among lawyers; those at the twilight of their careers fighting to retain a 19th Century business model, while younger lawyers want to move the profession into the 21st Century so as . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Ontario’s Proposed Provincial Retirement Plan and PRPP Legislation

Fewer than 35 percent of workers in Ontario currently have a workplace pension plan. Coverage for workers in the private sector is even lower—only 28 percent are members of a plan. Several studies have shown that, due to the limited benefits provided by the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS), significant numbers of Ontarians will not have sufficient savings to maintain similar living standards throughout their retirement years. As a result, the Ontario government has decided to establish a made-in-Ontario pension plan and to implement the federal government's Pooled Registered Pension Plan.
Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

10 Resolutions for Change for Unhappy Lawyers

Tomorrow begins a new year, open with possibilities for new opportunities and improvements upon the status quo. At this time of list making and reflection upon the year past, my contribution focuses on what I know best – taking the leap from a joyless legal practice to an enthusiastic and impassioned approach to work. Having implemented this kind of change in my life, from time to time I hear from dissatisfied lawyers asking for advice on how they can do the same. What follows are some of the bits of advice I have given over the years, in no particular . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

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