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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

Immigration Litigation: Current Issues, Part 1

There is a small army of immigration lawyers who battle in the Federal Court of Canada. Most practitioners have the sense to dedicate themselves to the solicitor side of this practice. In Part 1, I will focus on issues with the current system based on my experiences with the Court over the past 10+ years. I will be posting subsequent parts based on recent (creative) approaches that address, or get around, some of the issues below. This is not a review of substantive law or decisions from the Court. This critique is focused on the system as a whole. . . . [more]

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

LSO Motion on Law Society Fees Ignores Impact on Courthouse Libraries

A motion set to be debated at a Convocation this week calls for the Law Society of Ontario to fix 2023 licensing fees at their 2022 level. Writing in The Lawyer’s Daily, the bencher moving the motion, Chi-Kun Shi, says her motion arises out of concern for “fiscal responsibility” and “especially” the survival of “small and sole practices”.

The motion, which is seconded by bencher Cheryl Lean, appears to be setting the stage for a 2023 bencher election in which the ‘Stop SOP’ slate hopes to campaign on the basis of fiscal restraint and reducing fees. In fairness, there . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Suggestions for Lawyers Taking Family Law Cases to Mediation

It’s usually a relief when opposing counsel agrees to take a file to mediation. Not only do you gain more control over the outcome under less pressure, you get to shrug off a lot of the anxiety litigation provokes, at least for the time being. However, going to mediation doesn’t mean that your job is done. You’re still your client’s advocate and inadequate preparation will jeopardize the chances of settlement. You also need to support the mediation process itself, which will require you to walk a fine balance between supporting your client and supporting the resolution everyone wishes to achieve. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Do Judges Read Wikipedia?

In the article, “Trial by Internet: A Randomized Field Experiment on Wikipedia’s Influence on Judges’ Legal Reasoning”, the authors Neil Thompson et al conducted a study to see if Wikipedia plays a part in judgment writing. The authors found that “the information and legal analysis offered on Wikipedia led judges to cite the relevant legal cases more often and to talk about them in ways comparable to how the Wikipedia authors had framed them”.

The study was conducted by creating 154 Wikipedia articles on Irish Supreme Court cases. “The process of creation was done in three waves. After . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

The Case for Reforming Scheduling in the Ontario Courts

Getting a motion date can be a herculean effort in Ontario. Currently the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has a patchwork of processes for scheduling. Different courthouses have different ways of scheduling court dates. Even finding out which dates are available can be frustrating.

It is problematic and an access to justice issue. Getting a date for a motion should be easy. Knowing how to obtain a date should be even easier. There is some guidance online, for example:

  • Toronto’s process – https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/practice/practice-directions/toronto/civil-t/
  • Central East process – https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/practice/practice-directions/central-east/civil-ce/ / https://www.ontariocourts.ca/scj/notices-and-orders-covid-19/ce-civil-proceedings/

The Central East Region has a Calendly process: https://calendly.com/ce-civil. This . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

Book Review: It Burned Me All Down – by Erin Durant

I recently saw a General Counsel job ad where one of the criteria was to be, “stress-resistant”. I immediately thought that the person who wrote up the ad, was either an idiot or had grossly unrealistic expectations for the role. Sadly, there’ll be a stream of lawyers applying, all of whom will enthusiastically confirm that, not only are they “stress resistant”, they also “thrive under pressure”.

Sigh.

Chief Justice Strathy has written about the “destructive myth” of stress-resistant lawyers, and law societies across Canada have put out CPD programs and resources to combat this myth. Some law schools have also . . . [more]

Posted in: Book Reviews, Practice of Law, Reading: Recommended, Technology

In-Person Conferences: Will You Show Up?

I have been told the CBA Immigration section is the most active of all the sections within the CBA. For years, the highlight for this section has been the CBA Immigration Law Conference where we regularly see 400 to 500 practitioners descent into a Canadian city to discuss recent policy & program updates from IRCC & CBSA. We review significant caselaw and hear from the lawyers who argued those cases, including lawyers from the Department of Justice who offer their perspective, and we opine (sometimes with vigor) on all the changes we would like adopted. I have been attending these . . . [more]

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

Factors to Consider When Bringing Your Next Civil Motion

“A lean compromise is better than a fat lawsuit”. – George Herbert

In Dalquee v Gandhi, 2022 ONSC 3521, the defendant brought a motion to strike the claim of the plaintiffs, without leave to amend. The relief was granted in part. The claim was struck. However, Justice Myers granted leave to the plaintiffs to deliver a fresh as amended statement of claim.

In reaching his decision, Justice Myers noted factors to consider when bringing a motion:

  • Civil litigation is about money. It is expensive and fraught with risk.
  • If the plaintiffs chose to draft the claim on
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law

Commentary on the LSO Competence Task Force Report

On May 26, 2022, Convocation is considering recommendations from the Competence Task Force. The key recommendations are outlined below:

  • Effective January 2024, all licensees who are designating as sole practitioners for the first time would be required to take a practice essentials course comprised of practical training on foundational practice and business management topics.
  • The Rules of Professional Conduct and the Paralegal Professional Conduct Guidelines be amended to adopt the commentary regarding technological competence included in the Model Code of Professional Conduct.
  • The Certified Specialist Program be wound up, effective September 1, 2022, with:
    1. current Certified Specialists able to use
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law

How Successful Law Firms Really Work

A book has come along that every lawyer who wishes to run a firm at its peak should not only have on his/her shelf but it should be well-thumbed, stained from coffee spills, its cover torn from constant use and sits on the corner of their desk within arm's reach for quick reference. I am speaking of "How Successful Law Firms Really Work" by David L. Ginsberg and Robert A. Feisee, published by the American Bar Association, Law Practice Division
Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Are the Courts Slip-Sliding Away?

Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

♫ Slip sliding away, slip sliding away
You know the nearer your destination, the more you’re slip sliding away… ♫

Lyrics, Music and Recorded by Paul Simon.

Something extraordinary is taking place in Ontario.

Family law lawyer Russell Alexander of Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Law Lawyers of Toronto and six other locations in Ontario, Canada has started an online petition on Change.org entitled: “Petition to Amend the Requirement For In Person Court Attendances.”

What are they petitioning for, you ask? Good question:

“We, the undersigned lawyers and paralegals who practise family law, hereby petition . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

The Litigator and Mental Health – a Must Read Article by Chief Justice Strathy of Ontario

In “The Litigator and Mental Health“, Chief Justice Strathy writes about mental health in our profession and what we can do to improve it. Unfortunately, practicing law can be damaging to one’s mental health. In fact, there is a strong correlation between traditional markers of success in the law and depression in lawyers.

One of the recommendations, Justice Strathy makes is eradicating the myth of the “fearless gladiator”. The fearless gladiator powers through long work hours with pride, never breaking emotionally, never taking time off, focuses exclusively on work, and has a stay-at-home spouse to take care of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law