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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

When I Stopped Vomiting, I Learned to Hate Teraview

Technology, particularly legal technology is supposed to make the delivery of legal services more convenient. However, sometimes lawyers get in the way and muck things up. Teraview is a perfect example.

Back in the day, anyone could walk into the local registry office and register any document they wanted. Since the mid-1980s registration documents were not witnessed, nor were signatures checked. The system was one of openness and accessibility.

Then along came Teraview – which allowed registration from anywhere in Canada via the internet. A seemingly great idea that would make real estate transactions faster and smoother. However, everyone forgot . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Solving the High Cost of the “Review” Stage of Electronic Discovery

This article provides more details on the following comment that I posted (April 10th) to Dan Pinnington’s article of April 8th, “Ontario Judge Strongly Pushes for Greater Use of Technology in Courts and Orders E-Trial”:

My Comment, excerpted:
Make the preparation work of a lawyer making production comparable to that of an accountant. The client doesn’t give the accountant 100,000+ records and say, ‘here, you make up our financial records and then do the audit.’ The litigation lawyer should be able to work the same way, by combining the searching and reviewing into one act.

. . . [more]

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

10 Tips for Safe Pro Bono

Access to justice is an ongoing problem across Canada and the call is out for lawyers to contribute to the solution.

Late last fall, the Canadian Bar Association’s Task Force on Access to Justice issued a final report, Envisioning Equal Justice. The Task Force set targets to bridge the growing gap between those who can afford legal services and those who are eligible for publically funded legal services (i.e. legal aid). One of those targets is that by 2020, all lawyers will volunteer legal services at some point in their career.

Around the same time, the Action Committee on . . . [more]

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

What Would Happen to the Profession of Law if It Became a Business?

We’re obviously talking about the high-minded ideals of the profession, and not the day-to-day reality of a sole practitioner trying to balance the books, but lawyers historically don’t like to think of themselves as being part of the rough and tumble of the business world.

The fear is that lawyers who are worried about the business end of the business will be distracted from their higher purpose – how do you preserve justice when at the same time you need to promote shareholders’ interests?

This sort of philosophical rhetoric is really the purview of big firms with separate accounting departments. . . . [more]

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

Are Online Dispute Resolution Processes Necessarily Access to Justice Strategies?

As a PhD student studying the use of knowledge technologies and access to justice strategies, I am following with interest the development of the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) [Civil Resolution Tribunal Act, SBC 2012, c.25;] in BC – an online dispute resolution process which will provide an alternative to the courts for small claims and strata property disputes. I want to share some thoughts regarding online dispute resolution processes and to pose the possibly provocative question: Are online dispute resolution processes necessarily access to justice strategies?

You might ask how an online process could not be . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Red Bean Buns and Law

I was in my wife’s favourite Chinese bakery the other day searching for red bean buns. The décor is nothing special, but the baked goods are exceptionally well done and insanely fresh! It’s no wonder then that we’re willing to travel a little bit out of our way to go there. And judging by the line-ups, many others feel the same way.

There are other places we can go to in Chinatown for baked goods, but we choose this one because of the quality of their goods. And they can compete against other bakers on quality because none of the . . . [more]

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

Pausing to Reflect, but Not to Rest

Yesterday was Equal Pay Day in the United States, and while the statistics released by the Pew Research Centre on the pay gap between men and women in the U.S. showed progress in shrinking the gap over time, the evidence overall revealed a persistent difference.

Last month, on the day before International Women’s Day, the federal government announced seven judicial appointments. Only one of the appointees is a woman.

It is challenging to keep from becoming frustrated with a plodding pace of change that sometimes feels like one step forward, two steps back. I know I am not . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Identifying and Addressing Reputational Risk in a Law Firm

How well do most law firms understand and address reputational risks? Last week, I referenced the extreme example of Dewey & LeBoeuf, a bankrupt global firm that ignored reputational risk to the point where it now serves as the profession’s poster child for what-not-to-do.

This week, I’ll be more constructive.

Why pay attention to reputational risk?
It’s said that we’re now operating in a reputation economy where “who you are” matters more than “what you sell”. Research shows that across all sectors of society, transparency is now valued more than tradition, sharing more than showmanship and security more than . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Could It Be Time for Apprentices Again?

It wasn’t so long ago that would-be lawyers didn’t go to law school. Instead, they were apprenticed to experienced lawyers and learned their skills on the job.

It wasn’t until the 1950s and 60s in Canada that law degrees became de rigeur and apprenticeships were compressed into an articling year to be completed before writing the bar exam.

Flash forward to an age of soaring law school tuition rates and declining job openings, when students complain of heavy debts and a lack of practical training, and suddenly the age-old apprenticeship seems like a suitable tool for modern times.

“Adding apprenticeship . . . [more]

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

Ontario’s Court Filing System Needs Fixing

A great video recently made the rounds in which a Canadian doctor handily defended the Canadian health care system when it was criticized by a partisan U.S. senator. While some in the U.S. may look northward to the Canadian health care system for inspiration, it is exactly the opposite when it comes to comparing the U.S. court system with Ontario’s.

In the U.S., court documents are easily accessible by PACER. PACER means “Public Access to Court Electronic Records”, giving access to over 500 million U.S. federal court documents, including a listing of parties involved in the litigation, . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

McLachlin Opening Keynote at CCCA

The following is a guest post by Lynne Yryku, Managing Editor, CCCA Magazine:

Under the general theme of women in law, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin opened the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association’s National Conference in Calgary this morning. Her colleague and friend, former Supreme Court of Canada Justice John Major had praised her ability to maintain harmony and collegiality in the Supreme Court of Canada as way of introduction, and her open and frank style of discussing such a hot topic lived up to expectation.

The Chief Justice began by reviewing the great progress Canada had made over the past . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Guidelines to Sharia Law in Great Britain

On March 13, 2014, the Law Society of England and Wales announced that it had released guidelines to help solicitors in the United Kingdom apply Sharia law succession rules. Specifically, the guide deals with drafting wills, trust issues and disputes over estates, and explains in detail how to write wills that respect Islamic traditions while complying with UK law. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Foreign Law