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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’

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

Rethinking the Role of Professional Membership Organizations

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus is quoted as saying the only thing that is constant is change.” As lawyers, we often resist the tides of changes, by resting on the comfort of status quo and the notion that stare decisis is written in stone.

The Court in Carter v. Canada (Attorney General) recognized that the doctrine of precedent is fundamental to our legal system, as it provides some certainty, but stated at para 44,

However, stare decisis is not a straitjacket that condemns the law to stasis.

Changing societal contexts and shifts in our understanding of the law have allowed the . . . [more]

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

The Future of Lawyer Licensing in Ontario – Consultation on Four Options

On May 24, 2018, the Law Society of Ontario released a consultation paper to launch the second phase of its comprehensive analysis of the lawyer licensing process. Developed by the Professional Development and Competence Committee, the document outlines possible options for a long-term appropriate and sustainable licensing system for lawyer licensing candidates in Ontario.

The consultation paper follows last year’s Dialogue on Licensing, which looked at the realities, challenges and opportunities of lawyer licensing in the province. Throughout the Dialogue, the Law Society heard a wide range of views from lawyers, licensing candidates, law students, academics and legal organizations, highlighting . . . [more]

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

Hipster Antitrust’s Potential to Make Competition Law Sexy Again

A renewed scrutiny of corporate governance was inevitable in light of the current political climate and the backdrop of the recent recession and notable market failures.

This revisionist approach towards competition law expands the scrutiny beyond notions of consumer welfare standards into non-traditional economic considerations like fairness, underemployment, income inequality, wealth concentration and broader social contexts. Derisively referred to as “Hipster Antitrust,” it finds its modern roots in America in the 1978 text The Antitrust Paradox by Robert Bork, which has already influenced American competition law. Hipster Axntitrust would go further and reconsider historical assumptions in a new information economy . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Artificial Intelligence: What Is AI and Will It Really Replace Lawyers?

This article appeared in the February 2018 issue of LAWPRO Magazine.

If you scanned social media or the headlines in many online or print-based newspapers or magazines published in 2017, you were pretty much guaranteed to see posts and articles on artificial intelligence (AI).

Most of these articles suggest that AI is in the process of fundamentally changing our lives at work, home and play. And if you believe the comments in these articles, the good news is that we will have more free time to enjoy virtual-reality worlds and have our self-driving cars take us around the countryside. The . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Deloitte Class Action Indicative of Legal Future

Earlier this year, Justice Perell approved a replacement class representative in Sondhi v. Deloitte Management Services LP on a motion for what has already been an exhausting certification process in a class proceeding.

The matter involves a class, who although technically are lawyers, have not been considered as such by their employer or the parties procuring their services. These members typically consist of younger lawyers and new graduates who have been unable to otherwise find employment as lawyers in a traditional context.

I do know many of these young lawyers. I know that they are bright and talented, and would . . . [more]

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