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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’

Should We Defund the Civil Rules Committee in Ontario?

Past Ontario Bar Association president David Sterns argues that we should defund the Ontario Civil Rules Committee. In its place we should involve new voices and take an inter-disciplinary approach to building the committee. I agree.

We need to either supplement or change the Civil Rules Committee. We must look towards engaging new people. Let’s not just tinker around the edges. Let’s engage new voices. We need new perspectives. We need to hear what lay people think. We need to hear the insight of experienced practitioners and judges. We need to hear what articling students and law students think. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Service and Filing by Email: Courts Are Being Forced to Adapt

In March 2020, courts across Canada have been forced to confront issues arising from social distancing measures. The Supreme Court of Canada is now allowing documents to be filed by email, with original paper copies to be filed subsequently at a later date. Further information can be found here.

Similarly, the Ontario Court of Appeal is allowing material to be filed by email. More information can be found here.

In Morris v Onca, 2020 ONSC 1690, Justice Myers dealt with an urgent matter, wherein he allowed material to be filed by email. In this case, the judgment . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Commissioning Affidavits: The LSO Is Only Part of the Picture

To many people’s delight, the Law Society of Ontario has stated that it is interpreting section 9 of the Commissioners for Taking Affidavits Act to include virtual commissioning. Reponses to a Slaw post by Pulat Yunusov from last November, in support of the LSO’s then position against virtual commissioning were dismissive of his concerns about virtual commissioning; they also illustrate the eagerness with which people are keen to throw off the bonds of in-person commissioning. (Yunusov stressed the importance of the ritual, as well as the inability of meeting some requirements through technology.)

However, the LSO is not the only . . . [more]

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

A Tale of Two Legal Services Entities

The Atrium debacle has now moved out of the legal innovation news cycle having been mostly savaged (and rightly so) for its lack of understanding of the market it purported to serve, its inability to learn from the past, and a seemingly waste of investor money. It remains a sad example of how an entity built solely around hype is able to gain huge profile and raise massive amounts of money with no reasonable ROI, while entities doing really good work impacting far more people (on a shoestring!) are largely ignored.

One of the claims made on Twitter during the . . . [more]

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

Alberta Fair Registration Practices of Regulatory Bodies Proclaimed in Force

The Alberta Fair Registration Practices Act is proclaimed in force on March 1, 2020, to speed up the process of newcomers getting their credentials recognized so they can work in the careers they trained for, and remove unfair barriers. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Justice Issues, Legal Information, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

A Day in the Life of a PBO Hotliner

Prior to Ontario’s most recent provincial election, I didn’t know much about Pro Bono Ontario (“PBO”), a registered charity since 2001 which serves just under 30,000 clients each year from 11 locations. I wasn’t a litigator, and my clients were large corporations, not regular, everyday Canadians, so it wasn’t part of my world. But earlier this year, PBO gave a most impressive presentation to the Legal Innovators Roundtable describing how it was achieving maximum impact with a modest budget through its Free Legal Advice Hotline, using a thoughtful blend of volunteers as well as old and new technology. It sounded . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Are Design Flaws in the Court System Like Eye Drops?

The court system is designed by lawyers for lawyers for a bygone era. As technology develops and the numbers of self-represented litigants increase, the design flaws in our paper based court system becomes more apparent.

Recently, the Chief Justice of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the Honourable Heather Smith addressed this issue with the Toronto Star. Justice Smith stated that “there really is no difference walking into a courtroom at 361 University Ave than there was 40 years ago.” Justice Smith further adds that the way paper moves through the court system is madness. “Even digital files . . . [more]

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

In Praise of the Honourable Justice Clement Gascon

Recently, the Honourable Justice Clement Gascon of the Supreme Court of Canada addressed his momentary absence from work on May 8th, 2019.

For over twenty years, I have been dealing with a sometimes insidious illness: depression and anxiety disorders. This is an illness that can be treated and controlled, some days better than others. On the afternoon of Wednesday, May 8, affected both by the recent announcement of a difficult and heart-rending career decision and by a change in medication, I conducted myself in an unprecedented and unaccustomed manner by going out without warning and remaining out of touch for

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

Another Quebec Law on the Religious Neutrality of the State

On March 28, 2019, the Coalition Avenir Quebec government tabled Bill n°21: An Act respecting the laicity of the State to fulfill an election promise to ensure the religious neutrality of the state and prohibit many public sector employees from wearing religious symbols at work. The proposed legislation is being studied in parliament at this moment.

After the failed attempts of the Parti Québécois with its charter of values in 2014, and the Liberal Party with Bill 62 in 2017 with an Act to foster adherence to State religious neutrality and, in particular, to provide a framework for requests for . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Riverview Law Sees the World Through EY

The recent announcement of EY’s proposed acquisition of one hundred percent of the shares in Riverview Law (closing at the end of August, 2018) has elicited a number of different responses around the globe all speculating on what this transaction means for the future of legal services? Was this a lifeline to Riverview Law? Will clients really want legal and accounting to be done by the same firm? Aren’t the Big Four just marginally less clunky than Biglaw? Will BigLaw be worried? Some of those comments are here.

But like all fast-breaking stories, there is some fog. So it’s . . . [more]

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

List of Fastcase 50 Legal Innovators for 2018

Fastcase, an American-based provider of electronic versions of U.S. primary law (cases, statutes, regulations, court rules, and constitutions), has unveiled its list of Fastcase 50 winners for the year 2018.

“Created in 2011, each year the Fastcase 50 award honors a diverse group of lawyers, legal technologists, policymakers, judges, law librarians, bar association executives, and people from all walks of life. In many cases, honorees are well known, but in many others, the award recognizes people who have made important, but unheralded contributions.

Simon Fodden, the founder of Slaw.ca, was recognized as one of the Fastcase 50 in . . . [more]

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

The Future of Lawyer Licensing: In Defense of an LPP-Like Program for Articling

Knowledge is fundamentally what the professions offer. As we transform from a print-based society to a technology-based Internet society, the role of the profession will change.

In “The Future of the Professions”, Richard and Daniel Suskind define knowledge as having particular characteristics. Its use by one does not diminish what is left for others. It can be turned into machine-processable bits. It is difficult to prevent non-payers from using it. For now knowledge resides in the heads of professionals, in books, in systems of their institutions. However, this is at odds with how knowledge is shared in a technology-Internet based . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice