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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

Documentary Discovery: How It Should Look

A litigation culture has arisen in this province over the last three decades which extols creating and litigating peripheral procedural disputes, instead of moving towards the timely adjudication of disputes on their merits. That culture now lauds, as the skilled barrister, the motions specialist, not the final hearing expert.

The culture of creating and litigating peripheral . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Dealing With a Self-Represented Litigant Who Really Needs Legal Advice

Self-represented litigants are a challenging reality in today’s legal landscape. In addition to the extra time and effort that can make dealing with a self-rep more expensive for your client and more frustrating for you, it seems there is a greater potential for a malpractice claim. This is highlighted by the number of claims LAWPRO is seeing where the opposing party was a self-rep. In 2014, there were 162 such claims, almost double the 86 we saw a decade earlier, in 2004.

As you work to resolve a matter, you may find yourself negotiating directly with a self-represented litigant. In . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Reading: Recommended

The Profession of the Privileged

Last week my Facebook feed lit up after the article by Eric Girard, “What I learned at law school: The poor need not apply”, was published in the Globe. Mr. Girard, a 3rd year student at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, was on the verge of leaving school due to his financial circumstances until a friend stepped in and, at the last minute, offered to co-sign a loan. Mr. Girard’s story ends well but it highlights some significant problems with legal education in Canada. The high cost of a legal education puts it out of reach from . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

DIY A2J 4: Unbundle Your Services, Reinvent Your Billing Model

To date, my DIY A2J posts have talked about ways that lawyers can improve access to justice in family law matters by disseminating information about family law and dispute resolution processes on a voluntary, pro bono basis. Pro bono work is all well and good, and arguably a moral imperative of those practising a generally privileged profession, but at the end of the day you have a responsibility to yourself and to your family to put food on the table and keep the lights on.

It seems to me, and apparently to the Canadian Bar Association‘s Futures Committee as . . . [more]

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

Are Employers’ Financial Circumstances Relevant in Calculating Termination Pay?

In a word. No.

The Ontario Court of Appeal has reaffirmed, definitively, that an employer’s financial circumstances are not relevant to the determination of reasonable notice in a particular case.

The lower court judge had awarded teachers who had their employment terminated from their school 12 months of pay in lieu of notice. However, the judge reduced this by half, to 6 months, in large part due to the financial circumstances that the school was in. The lower court judge cited a passage from a prior decision that noted that “The law does not ignore the dilemma of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law

DIY A2J 3: Talk to Your Community

Pretty much every organization that serves the public and sees itself as having a mandate to educate is starving for new content, and if not new content then new content providers. Libraries, drop-in and community centres and social service groups usually welcome anyone prepared to provide a seminar and, best of all, they’ll do the advertising for you.

Providing public lectures, seminars and workshops is an easy and fun way (I was going to say something more bookish like “stimulating” here, but it really is fun) to improve access to justice that will take a minimum amount of time . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law

Logic Models and Legal Education

Over the weekend, I had opportunity to speak with a high school student about the path to law school and into the legal profession. We spoke at some length about the importance of her pre-law education, in terms of ensuring her grades were high enough to get into law school but even more in terms of ensuring she has a strong background in relevant skills, e.g. business administration, project management, accounting or engineering. I urged her to be practical in terms of making her under-graduate choices so as to position herself well for a future in a changing profession.

The . . . [more]

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

Innovating Regulation on the Prairies

Several years ago on this site, Mitch Kowalski posed a question that merits another look. In his post “What if the western provinces saved the profession?”, Mitch asked:

What would happen if a group of western provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba for example) decided to strike out on their own and allow ABS-type structures in their jurisdictions?

His conclusion was that “…once the snowball starts rolling in any province it will be unstoppable.”

Well, it’s winter on the prairies and guess what? It’s snowing.

The law societies in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta have recently released a discussion paper on . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

The Lord Chief Justice’s Report 2015

Last week the UK’s most senior judge delivered his annual report to Parliament. It echoes many of the concerns being discussed in Ontario.

The report describes the UK judicial system as now “unaffordable to most”, and the current court system as “not really designed” for the increased number of self represented litigants.

Two areas where the judiciary has pressed its views concerning civil justice are: the need for proportionality between the costs of a case in relation to the value of the claim; and the succession of significant court fee increases.

To address the costs proportionality issue, the judiciary is . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

The Family Law Malpractice Claims Fact Sheet

With such a large amount of claims prevention information available in LAWPRO Magazine articles and practicePRO resources, we had the idea to create simple fact sheets that CPD providers and others could use in developing their program material for specific areas of law. The latest in our series of “malpractice claims fact sheets” covers family law. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

AODA New January 2017 Compliance Deadlines

Large and small organizations in the private and non-profit sectors have a new Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) compliance deadline coming up on January 1, 2017.

1) Large organizations (50+ employees)

Starting January 1, 2016, provincially regulated organizations with 50 or more employees in Ontario must work to comply with the design for public spaces standards under the built-environment to address barriers impeding access to outdoor public spaces by persons with disabilities, but not those barriers inside buildings. This task must be completed by January 1, 2017.

This standard covers a variety of public spaces such as exterior . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Is Doc Review Legal Work?

It has been said that over 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years alone.

The proliferation of documents has changed the way legal work is done. Litigation files with thousands or even millions of documents have spawned an entire industry devoted to document review. Wikipedia defines document review as “the process whereby each party to a case sorts through and analyzes the documents and data they possess … to determine which are sensitive [privileged] or otherwise relevant to the case.”

In Ontario, Deloitte has a department devoted to document review. It is filled with . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice