Canada’s online legal magazine.
Solo lawyer start-up guide
LexisNexis Legal Products

Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’

LSUC’s Worrisome ABS Proposals

The Law Society of Upper Canada’s (LSUC’s) “alternative business structures” proposal (the ABS proposal in its Discussion Paper)[i] will bring about a critically important and worrying change to the practice of law in Canada. Therefore all of Canada’s lawyers should consider the following three categories of factors when questioning candidates for all Bencher elections, particularly the April 30, 2015, Bencher election in Ontario:

A. Such proposals are particularly vulnerable to a questionable initiation process and subsequent use because:

  1. They are not subject to the established methods of prevention and discipline, i.e., by: (a) legislation; (b) the regulator (the
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

LSBC Clears Up Cloud of Confusion

Last Monday, I asked if the LSBC has just killed cloud computing for lawyers in BC. My question was prompted by statements made by the LSBC’s President, Jan Lindsay, that led me and others to believe that the LSBC had come down against non-BC-based cloud computing providers.

Ms. Lindsay has published a response to this question on the LSBC President’s Blog, and clarifies that non-BC-based providers are permitted, with the caveat that lawyers acting for clients that are prohibited from out-of-jurisdiction data storage must act accordingly.

David Bilinsky, also of the LSBC, posted a helpful response on Slaw with . . . [more]

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

Cross Country Conversation on Affordable Legal Services

After Rex Murphy attended the Canadian Bar Association (CBA)’s conference this past August, he must have returned with quite an impression of the pending crisis in the legal profession. Murphy hosted a keynote at the conference, but was also exposed to the CBA’s Futures Initiative, which released its final report that weekend.

Murphy hosted a nation-wide conversation this afternoon on CBC Radio One’s Cross Country Checkup, which was framed as follows:

The cost of hiring a lawyer or going to court is proving too much for many Canadians. An increasing number are going it alone despite the fact

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

Did the LSBC Just Kill Cloud Computing for Lawyers in BC?

As a frequent public speaker, I’ve seldom found myself speechless on stage, however, last week I stood in front of an audience of over 200 lawyers in stunned silence for the first time in recent memory. I did so after the Law Society of British Columbia (LSBC) President, Jan Lindsay, boldly pronounced that, in no uncertain terms, BC lawyers are prohibited from using US-based cloud computing providers.

To set the stage, let me rewind to Friday, November 14. I was invited to talk at the CBABC Annual Meeting in Scottsdale, AZ. My topic, “The Security and Ethics of Cloud Computing,” . . . [more]

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

Legal Innovation in Canada: Does It Need to Be Seen to Be Believed?

Here at the CBA Legal Futures Initiative, we’ve sought to demonstrate to the Canadian legal profession that great opportunities await those who embrace change; opportunities to put clients at the centre of our work, to better serve Canadians, to provide new kinds of services, to open up new models of legal service delivery, to work in conjunction with others, and most importantly, to creatively re-imagine what it means to “be a lawyer” in the future.

We launched our flagship report, Futures: Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada, in August of this year. Contained within the report are . . . [more]

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

8 Legal Tech CEOs Talk About Their Work

Last month CodeX hosted a “video demo event” called EVOLVE LAW. CEOs from eBrevia, Casetext, Traklight, LawGives, Ravel Law, Wizdocs, Hire an Esquire and ClearAccess IP were invited to talk about the “nuts and bolts of starting a legal tech business, funding experience, marketing and sales strategies and brief video demos of their products.” The session is almost two hours long so I thought I’d break it down and give you a chance to jump into the video where it might interest you most. However, if you have the time . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Machine Learning: Using Technology to Enhance the Practice of Law (Part 2)

Last week I looked at Harry Surden’s paper on the application of “machine learning” techniques to the practice of law and the recent talk he gave at a Codex Speaker Series in Stanford. After introducing the concept of “machine learning,” Surden notes that although artificial intelligence is still unable to stand in for complex human thought processes we can still get “intelligent results without intelligence.” He also points out that, the goal here is not to replace attorneys with machines. Instead these algorithms “act as a compliment” which can help to make litigation processes and attorneys themselves more efficient. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Machine Learning: Using Technology to Enhance the Practice of Law

I would have loved to have been in the audience when Harry Surden spoke at an afternoon CodeX Speaker Series event a few weeks ago at Stanford Law School. But, you know, California is way over there and I’m way over here. So, although I could not actually attend I was prompted to go back and read his recent paper, “Machine Learning and Law.” And, thanks to the folks at Codex, it turns out the session I missed was recorded and is also now available for viewing.  . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

No Agreement on Legal Aid Funding

Justice ministers from across Canada met in Alberta this week to discuss funding for legal aid, but no agreement was reached.

According to provincial justice ministers, legal aid used to be shared equally with the federal government. However, since 2003 there has been no new funding from the federal government, meaning any shortfall is left to the province. What that means is that in some provinces like Alberta, federal contributions to legal aid have dropped to 16 per cent.

Andrew Swan, Manitoba Justice Minister, said,

I don’t understand how a government in Ottawa that claims to be in support

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

Elementary My Dear Watson …?

Paul Lippe and Daniel Martin Katz offer “10 predictions about how IBM’s Watson will impact the legal profession.”

They note in part:

Many imagine Watson might displace lawyers for legal reasoning. We believe that systems like Watson are very unlikely to displace the reasoning processes of lawyers. But it’s equally true Watson may illuminate how rare it is that lawyers have to solve “bespoke” reasoning problems, and how common it is to apply “proven” approaches in slightly different contexts. But Watson doesn’t have to displace legal reasoning to have an impact.”

Which made me think of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Surge of Requests to Be “Forgotten” Online

Following the European Court of Justice decision earlier this year in Google Spain v AEPD and Mario Costeja González, Google has had a flood of requests to have webpages deleted from their index. More than a third of these requests, or over 60,000 links, come from the U.K.

Google released data today demonstrating where the requests originate from:

To date, Google has evaluated nearly 500,000 links for removal. More than half of all urls reviewed by Google are removed, meaning that there are still many others that they do not.

This data also reveals that the vast majority of . . . [more]

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

Legal Advice Services Cannot Be Automated by Alternative Business Structures

The fact that legal advice services cannot be automated is of critical importance in determining whether the legal profession should accept proposals for “alternative business structures” (ABS’s). They are being promoted by a Committee of the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) as a means of lowering the cost of legal services.[i] The “unaffordable legal services problem” afflicts both kinds of legal services: (1) legal advice services; and, (2) routine legal services that don’t require legal advice. ABS proposals have three parts: (1) law firms can be invested in (owned—up to 49% or 100%) by non-lawyer people and entities; . . . [more]

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