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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

On the LSUC Dialogue on Licensing, Pt 2: Where Is Access to Justice?

This blogpost addresses a second shortcoming in the foundational framing and materials for the Law Society of Upper Canada’s unfolding Dialogue on Licensing. In Part 1, I argued that the initial arguments and subsequent materials that have framed the Dialogue do not provide a clear or compelling demonstration of a ‘need for change’ in the current system for licensing of lawyers in Ontario. In this Part 2, I argue that a further shortcoming is a failure to adequately acknowledge the relevance of the ongoing inaccessibility of justice in Ontario. Proper recognition of access to justice issues could provide the . . . [more]

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

The Rise of Predictive Programming in the Law

With the rise of technology, new programs are being created to predict the outcome of legal cases. These programs are often built on algorithms.

These algorithms generate outcomes by applying the facts of previously decided cases to the facts inputted by users. This means that the quality of the prediction is only as good as the data inputted by both the user and the programmer.

However, these programs should come with a warning. In “Weaponized Lies: How to Think Critically in the Post-Truth Era” by Professor Daniel Levitin he states:

GIGO is a famous saying coined by early computer scientists:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

The Mysterious Magic of Routines

This article is by Nora Rock, corporate writer and policy analyst at LAWPRO.

As a child, did you step carefully over every sidewalk crack? Tap each post of the hockey net before settling into the crease? Wear your lucky socks to every law school exam?

Even those of us who scorn superstition rely on routines and rituals for our own protection: we swallow a daily multivitamin, fasten our seatbelts, return our passport to the drawer after a trip. Routines conserve mental energy, allowing us to sidestep day-to-day hazards while saving our intellectual energy for novel or challenging problems.¹

Building routines . . . [more]

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

“Apps” and the Waning of the Solicitor-Client Relationship

“Apps’” (as used herein, means the application of software to create electronic systems, programs, processes, devices, etc., in relation to legal services) are being developed in many locations. They appear to be an important part of the Law Society of Upper Canada’s (LSUC’s) response to the unaffordable legal services problem (“the problem”). It exists because the method of producing legal services dictates that there can be no economies-of-scale in the practice of law, i.e., the cost of production cannot be lowered by greater volumes of production. To gain the necessary economies of scale, support services methods . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Applying Artificial Intelligence in the “Legal Aid Space”

I’ve never been more optimistic more excited about where we’re going with technology than I am today. This is just an absolute, I mean, we’re in the middle of a revolution and I think it’s going to completely impact how we deliver legal services. And I actually think that in this space, in the nonprofit legal aid space, we’re going to make great strides in this, and kind of lead the way in many ways.”–IV Ashton


 

IV Ashton is a Chicago-based attorney and founder of LegalServer, a “web-based case management platform for the legal aid community.” . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

SlawTips and Practice Management

It goes without saying that law school does not teach us how to run an office. For that, I have had to learn on the job, one step at a time. When I founded this firm 2 1/2 years ago, I blocked off Friday afternoons for managing the business end. Of course, the busier I got on the legal side, the more time I needed to spend on business tasks. Thankfully, there is no need to reinvent the wheel and there are many easy solutions out there for sole practitioners – once you find them. For office management and . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

October 1, 2017 and Upcoming Minimum Wage Increases

Five Canadian provinces are increasing the general minimum wage rate October 1, 2017 as follows: Alberta ($13.60), Manitoba ($11.15), Newfoundland and Labrador ($11.00), Ontario ($11.60) and Saskatchewan ($10.96). The general minimum wage rate increase results in corresponding increases to other rates in the respective provinces.

Note that British Columbia’s general minimum wage increased September 15, 2017 to $11.35 per hour. Other provincial minimum wage rates were also adjusted at that time. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

A Sign of the Times

A new Practice Direction from Manitoba’s Court of Queen’s Bench reflects increasing acceptance of the fact that litigants without lawyers are no longer an anomaly in civil litigation. The notice sets out that contested motions and applications involving at least one self-representing litigant must be set for a case management conference before a contested hearing takes place. This is already the norm for contested motions in the Family Division of the Court of Queen’s Bench, regardless whether there is a self-represented party, but is new in the Civil Division.

Other than the procedural change, two specific aspects of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

The Struggle Is Real

We’ve made great advances in recent years in Canada in examining mental health in the legal profession, and prior, in law school.

In large part this can be attributed to Orlando da Silva, former President of the Ontario Bar Association, who used his term as the head of the largest legal organization in Ontario to bring attention to his own personal plights. Da Silva was awarded the Law Society Medal last year for these contributions.

Similar conversations are occurring south of the border as well. One of the most prominent ones is a new series on Above the Law called . . . [more]

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

On the LSUC Dialogue on Licensing, Pt 1: Is There a Need for Change?

Over the summer months, the Law Society of Upper Canada has been conducting a Dialogue on Licensing to prompt information sharing, discussion, input and reflection on the future of the requirements for licensing of lawyers in Ontario. Based on materials disseminated as part of the Dialogue, a series of discussion sessions were held and summary reports released. Submissions were also invited through a broad call open into August. According to a late June update, the Professional Development and Competence Committee (PDCC) of the LSUC will spend the remainder of 2017 reviewing the input, with a view to producing . . . [more]

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

Tribunal Addresses Disabled Employee Resignations

In addition to affirming that an employee’s resignation must be clear and unequivocal to be valid, this case tells us that employers do not have a greater onus when it comes to long-term disabled employees who resign. The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal did not accept the employee’s claim that it was unreasonable in the circumstances for her employer to conclude that she wished to resign without further inquiry. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions