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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’

Alternative Business Structures and Access to Justice … for Whom?

The Canadian legal profession is currently engaged in a much-needed debate about the future of legal services in general and whether to allow the use of so-called alternative business structures (ABSs) more particularly. Thankfully, the issue of access to justice is figuring prominently in the general debate, as evidenced by the recently released CBA Legal Futures report and the ongoing work of the Action Committee on Access to Justice. Beyond that, the potential for ABSs to improve access to justice is being put forward as a key reason for allowing them, as can be seen in Slaw columns of . . . [more]

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

A Step Closer to IBM Watson in the Law?

Are we getting closer to machines in the practice of law? In his blog post “Meet your new lawyer, IBM Watson,” Ron Friedmann describes a meeting between IBM senior management and top-tier law firm CIOs at last week’s ILTA conference. He says:

It sounds like IBM intends Legal Watson to replace junior associates or at least perform much of their work (see also The Future of LawAmerican Lawyer, Aug 2014). Legal Watson’s success depends on the answers to three questions:

  1. What information – and how much – does Watson need to ingest and, to the extent necessary,
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Diagramming for Statutory Interpretation

Juana Summers of NPR detailed this week the use of sentence diagramming, a grammar technique once widely used in America,

Burns Florey and other experts trace the origin of diagramming sentences back to 1877 and two professors at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute. In their book, Higher Lessons in English,Alonzo Reed and Brainerd Kellogg made the case that students would learn better how to structure sentences if they could see them drawn as graphic structures.

After Reed and Kellogg published their book, the practice of diagramming sentences had something of a Golden Age in American schools.

The practice fell into disuse . . . [more]

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

Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Experience: A Young Lawyer Carves Her Own Path

When Carli van Maurik shares her practice philosophy with other lawyers, she’s usually met with one of two responses: raised eyebrows or enthusiastic support.

Carli van Maurik

Thankfully, most colleagues fall into the latter category.

Ms. van Maurik is a lawyer with the British Columbia business law firm Whiteboard Law. She’s based in Victoria, where she honed her legal skills at one of the city’s well known firms before branching out to follow her entrepreneurial instincts.

Most lawyers eventually narrow the focus of their practice or notice that clients could be better served by a different approach. But not . . . [more]

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

Of Snowden’s Call to Encrypt and the Role of Our Law Societies

Slaw Columnist Simon Chester recently tipped us off about another fascinating interview with Edward Snowden. Building on earlier interviews with the enigmatic NSA and CIA rogue, the Guardian’s editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger, and its intelligence correspondent, Ewen MacAskill, talked to Snowden a little over a year since his defection. The earnest 29 year-old is now an earnest 30 year-old, only seemingly much older and seemingly aging at an accelerated rate. A partway time-lapse to Noam Chomsky.

I’d watch the interview if for no other reason than to hear Snowden’s caution about the challenges facing the legal profession in this era that . . . [more]

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

Final CBA Futures Report Is Now Available

2 years in the making.

7 key findings.

22 recommended actions.

Those are the numbers behind the CBA’s Futures: Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada report, released today.

The initiative was established in 2012 to “examine the fundamental changes facing the Canadian legal profession and to help lawyers understand and respond to those changes.”

The 106-page report identifies seven key findings, the result of thousands of hours of work through commissioned research and extensive online and in-person consultations with “a broad cross-section of lawyers, clients, law students, and other legal stakeholders,” and in-depth interviews with selected innovators. . . . [more]

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

CBA Futures Chat: Spotlight on Innovation

Next week, the CBA will release Futures: Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada, our report on the future of legal practice in Canada. Over the past two years we have heard from the legal community in Canada –and abroad – and the clients we serve. Futures: Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada sets out our vision for how we might educate and regulate the profession differently. Our objective: to ensure that Canadians benefit from a vibrant and relevant legal profession. Our recommendation: innovation.

The report calls for some significant change. We hope that the CBA . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Tracking Currents and Following Flotsam

The Atlantic reported this week on the outcome of a 1997 cargo ship spill. The story was picked up yesterday by CBC’s As It Happens (listen here). Here’s what happened as described in The Atlantic article:

It started in 1997. On February 13 of that year, a rogue wave hit the New York-bound cargo ship Tokio Express while it was only 20 miles off Land’s End, on Britain’s southwest coast. The ship stayed afloat; some of its cargo, however—62 shipping containers—were thrown overboard as the vessel pitched. One of these containers contained Legos. Tons of Legos—many of them,

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

Edward Snowden Tells the Legal Profession That Protecting Client Confidentiality Now Requires Encryption

From Saturday’s Guardian – here is the complete transcript.

The NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, has urged lawyers, journalists, doctors, accountants, priests and others with a duty to protect confidentiality to upgrade security in the wake of the spy surveillance revelations.

Snowden said professionals were failing in their obligations to their clients, sources, patients and parishioners in what he described as a new and challenging world.

No matter how careful you are from that point on, no matter how sophisticated your source, journalists have to be sure that they make no mistakes at all in the very beginning to the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Reading: Recommended, Technology: Office Technology

Slaying the Internal Giants to Maximize Your Career

At the heart of ancient Palestine is the region known as the Shephelah, a series of ridges and valleys connecting the Judaean Mountains to the east with the wide, flat expanse of the Mediterranean plain. It is an area of breathtaking beauty, home to vineyards and wheat fields and forests of sycamore and terebinth. It is also of great strategic importance.

This is how Malcolm Gladwell begins his new book, released last fall, David and Goliath.

The Shephelah, Gladwell notes, was where John Hyrcanus of the Maccabees fought the Seleucid Empire (he calls “Syria”), before forcibly converting the inhabitants . . . [more]

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

I’m a Non-Engineer

It happened again yesterday in the CBA Futures Twitterchat – the term “non-lawyer” once again reared its ugly head. Granted, it was a Twitter chat with 140 character limits but even so, there must better ways to describe the vast majority of the population who are not licensed to practice law.

I’ve written here previously on my views of this term; since then, I’ve only become more deeply entrenched in my point of view, to the point where use of the term now grinds in my ears like fingernails on a chalkboard. (Incidentally, does anyone under 30 even know what . . . [more]

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

CBA Futures Chat: Lawyers Learning to Play With Others

It’s National’s turn (finally!) to host a Twitter Chat with CBA Futures. The topic: What will it take for lawyers to learn to play with others?

It might strike some as an odd choice of topic. Lawyers are a versatile bunch, capable of representing clients in a variety of industries. They’re good at learning about different businesses and the challenges they face. Inevitably, in practicing their trade, they regularly come into contact with a wide array of professionals.

But that doesn’t mean that they listen to diverse points of view when it comes to running their own affairs.

Part . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice