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Archive for ‘Miscellaneous’

Executor’s Insurance in Canada: An Idea Long Overdue

For 13 years I practiced in a small community in northern Ontario, and one of the things you do in such a practice is a fair bit of estate work. One of things I quickly learned was that what appeared to be sweetness and light prior to the death of a family member is something entirely different after the death of that family member. With one sibling named executor, other siblings started to question and attack that particular sibling. Siblings that were beneficiaries started arguing with each other and in many occasions it was a very unhappy experience for everyone . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Lexum on the Departure of Colin Lachance From CanLII

CanLII’s Board of directors announced yesterday, February 9th, that Colin Lachance is to step down from his position of President and CEO of CanLII. On this occasion, Lexum wishes to acknowledge Colin’s important contribution to the development of Free Access to Law in Canada.

Colin Lachance has held the title of President and CEO of CanLII for four years. Under his leadership, CanLII became stronger and confirmed its status as a leading source for Canadian legal research. Colin is also the driving force behind CanLII*Connects – a legal commentary website which complements and enriches CanLII. He also led the . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Of Neology and Lawfare

Mastery of vocabulary is a skill lawyers hone. But if the perfect choice of words is elusive—or if you have a more serious agenda—there’s always the dark art of “neology”.

I’m a bit of a word nut. As a youngster I was obsessed with the 1971 compact edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. It had the full 13-volumes condensed into two impossibly dense books with pages so thin and print so fine it required dexterity and a magnifying glass to read. “Prestidigitation” and “myopia” are words you can find in that micronized lexicon, but also skills you will need . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Best Things I Read in January 2015

Information overload! There are just too many posts, tweets and articles flying around in the Twitterverse and elsewhere on social media and the Web. None of us can even pretend keep up. And while there is a lot of spam, self-promotional crap and other junk out there, there are some real gems that get lost in the sheer volume of content thrown at us on a daily basis. The trick is finding the content that is really interesting or helpful to you in a practical way. Patience is required, hashtags and a bit of luck can help, and identifying good . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Reading, Reading: Recommended, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

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