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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

LSUC Finally Fights Back Around Legal Advertising

Legal marketing has begun to run amok in many major cities in Canada.

I raised attention to this nearly 2 years ago in National Magazine, and since then the mainstream media has picked up on it as well. In particular, the Toronto Star has run a series of articles, focusing primarily on the personal injury bar. There were apparently 604 complaints about licensee advertising in Ontario between 2011-2015, over half of which were initiated by the Law Society of Upper Canada itself.

In response to this, Convocation last Friday introduced a number of changes. The first was to implement . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Marketing, Technology: Internet

Tweaking Mediation

Civil justice resources should be deployed so that there is a gravity-assisted, downhill run to the courtroom where disputes will promptly be judicially determined, if mediation fails. Unless the parties decide otherwise, failed mediation and the judicial determination step should be linked.

There can be no doubt that promotion of the settlement of civil disputes through mediation, is a wise policy. But it must not effectively be the final step in the civil justice process.

If parties are at the point of emotional and financial exhaustion by the time they reach mediation, it will not be practical for them to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Reduce Communication-Related Claims by Understanding Cognitive Bias

This article is by Ian Hu, claims prevention and practicePRO counsel at LAWPRO.

Understanding cognitive biases can help reduce communication-related claims, which are the biggest source of malpractice claims. While many cognitive biases are dealt with by following some common sense principles, others are not as obvious. From anchoring effect to decision fatigue, knowing how your client makes decisions can help you build rapport with your clients, effectively give recommendations, and help ensure you and your client are on the same page.

1. Let your clients make a good decision –decision fatigue

Decision fatigue has perhaps the highest profile of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Reading: Recommended

To Succeed Where Others Fail

Almost 70 percent of organizational change initiatives fail. At that rate, you might wonder why law firms – which are notoriously change resistant – would try at all. But they do. And some succeed by taking a more thoughtful approach right from the start.

Change can evoke pain, loss and uncertainty. All too often, change initiatives are communicated in a way that causes people to feel defensive, rather than inspired.

Perhaps it’s a matter of taxonomy; “transformation” or “evolution” might be better descriptions of the adjustments that many firms need to undertake to improve performance and profit.

Regardless of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

No Access to Remote Justice in L’Orignal, Ontario?

Recently we took on two Small Claims Court actions for good clients. In both cases we acted for the plaintiff.

Anyone who has commenced a Small Claims Court proceeding knows that the Small Claims Court Rules provide that the plaintiff is generally required to commence the action in the jurisdiction where the defendant lives or carries on business. In both cases our client operated from Toronto. In both cases, we had to commence the action in L’Orignal, Ontario as a result of that being where the defendant carried on business.

For those of you who don’t know, L’Orignal is about . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Technology

Lawyers & Limelight

The chaos south of the border has pushed many immigration & refugee issues into the limelight. Over the past few weeks, I’ve spoken to reporters from CBC, Law Times, Winnipeg Free Press, the Canadian Press and Metro News. They have asked for quotes on various topics, radio interviews and even one request for a TV interview at a time I was unavailable. For this post, I will not get into all the substantive issues of Trump’s Executive Orders and how they may impact Canada. Instead, I want to review my recent experiences with the Canadian media . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Marketing

Finding the Best Ways Forward: A Symposium on Children’s Participation in Justice Processes

I am delighted to announce Finding the Best Ways Forward, a two-day national symposium scheduled for 15 and 16 September 2017 in Calgary, featuring keynote speakers Mr. Sheldon Kennedy of the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre and Dr. Nicole Sherren of the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative.

Finding the Best Ways Forward is aimed at gathering together leading stakeholders to share information and dialogue about how the voices of children and youth are heard, how their interests are protected, and how their evidence is received in justice processes. The symposium will generate innovative proposals for policy reform, best practices, . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Why Is Domestic Violence More Often Becoming a Workplace Responsibility?

It is understood that domestic violence has been known to effect employees at work in a number of ways; a recent study shows that the problem is widespread. “Can Work Be Safe, When Home Isn’t,” (PDF) by researchers at Western University and the Canadian Labour Congress, outlines the preliminary results of a Canada-wide survey of more than 8,000 workers on how domestic violence effects workplaces. The results are startling in many ways, but unsurprising in others.

For instance: . . . [more]

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

Nasty Women in the Law

Last week, the Women’s March overshadowed Trump’s Inauguration. So what was it about Hillary Clinton that people found so nasty? What was it that triggered such comments like: “such a nasty woman”?

And what is it about women lawyers that trigger these attacks? Such as: “Marie Henein is a successful female lawyer at the top of her profession. Total bitch.”

In “Nasty Women and the Rule of Law“, Alice Woolley and Elysa Darling analyze this conundrum. They argue that women lawyers face this backlash because being a lawyer requires women to challenge and subvert gendered norms. Women are . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Introducing the Alberta Limited Legal Services Project

Much of the research and writing on access to justice issues in the last five years, including that of the Canadian Bar Association and Julie Macfarlane’s National Self-Represented Litigants Project, has discussed unbundling as a potential, albeit partial, remedy.

The idea here is that the usual full-service retainer, ever so commonplace in civil litigation, makes lawyers’ services unaffordable and prevents many litigants from accessing justice. (Professor Macfarlane’s landmark 2013 study on the issue of self-representation found that “inability to afford to retain, or to continue to retain, legal counsel” was the overwhelming reason why the litigants she spoke to . . . [more]

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

How to Print Without Shame

The paperless-office religion probably makes you uncomfortable. The preacher says kill the paper, printing is a sin. Don’t fret. Here is why you should not be ashamed to print.

I write this for lawyers, and I am not talking about mandatory printing. Courts are more likely to go extinct when blockchains end commercial disputes and self-driving cars eliminate motor vehicle accidents than to go completely electronic. (But courts hearing criminal and constitutional cases will be with us forever it seems.)

I am also not criticizing paperless. I am a huge fan. I am sure you know why paperless is . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

Selling Unbundled Family Law Services? Know Your Market. Know Your Product.

Unbundled legal services, limited scope retainers, law à la carte, discrete task representation—whatever you want to call it—is fraught with confusion and myths about its risks. Read JP Boyd’s lucid primer post on Slaw from last year if you’re new to the subject.

At Courthouse Libraries BC, we recently teamed up with Kari Boyle to host a Family Law Unbundling Toolkit. An earlier initiative, the Family Unbundled Legal Services Project hosted by MediateBC, was specific to mediation. But that project identified the value of unbundling more family law services. The Toolkit, hosted on our website for the benefit of . . . [more]

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