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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’

Future Amendments to the Admission to a Professional Order and Governance Issues

In Quebec, to practise a profession or hold a professional title governed by the Professional Code, a person must have a permit and be a member in good standing of the professional order that governs the exercise of the profession. Quebec has 46 professional orders that supervise the practice of 54 regulated professions.

In response to recommendations in the Charbonneau Commission report on granting and management of public contracts in the construction industry, on May 11, 2016, the Quebec government tabled Bill 98, An Act to amend various legislation mainly with respect to admission to professions and the governance of . . . [more]

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

We Are All Worrying About the Wrong Thing

While lawyers in Canada were debating whether licensed paralegals should have a limited role in family law, and before that contemplating entity-based regulation, alternative business structures, and the articling crisis, change was already happening without them.

This week the century-old American law firm, BakerHostetler, announced they have hired their first digital lawyer, ROSS, the artificial intelligence system based on IBM’s Watson. What can ROSS do for this firm, one of the largest in the country?

According to the ROSS website it can provide a highly relevant answer to a question posed in natural language. You don’t get thousands of . . . [more]

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

Barreau Du Quebec Position on Hourly Billing Report Long Overdue

On March 24, 2016, the Barreau du Quebec (Quebec Bar Association) released a report « La tarification horaire à l’heure de la réflexion » (in French only and translated to say Hourly Billing: A Time for Reflection) calling for an end to hourly billing by lawyers and law firms in the hope of improving access to justice for the public and a better work-life balance for lawyers. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: CLE/PD, Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology, Technology: Office Technology

Lay Legal Advisers

In the UK in 1970 a husband who could not afford legal representation in his divorce proceedings used an Australian barrister, who was not qualified to appear in an English court, to help him. The judge barred the Australian from sitting next to McKenzie at the hearing. McKenzie appealed this decision on the ground he had been unfairly denied help. The Court of Appeal agreed, and according to an article last week in the UK Guardian newspaper, “broke lawyers’ monopoly on providing legal representation”.

There is a healthy industry of lay legal advisers in the UK today. They are called . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

More Than Just Rhetorical Questions

I am a professional working woman. My mother was, until her retirement, a professional working woman. My daughter will, I expect, be a professional working woman when she completes her education.

Issues related to the (in)equality of working women therefore are of particular significance to me.

Yesterday was Equal Pay Day in the U.S. This is a day that marks the point in time each year when women in the workforce will have earned enough to catch up to the earnings of men in the previous year. Did you get that?

In the U.S., women need to work for more . . . [more]

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

What Do We Do With All This Data?

It is said that we measure what we value and that we value what we measure. If the adage holds true, law firms’ emphasis on measurement of billable hours points ultimately to their focus on making a profit. This is hardly surprising.

Heather Douglas’ post Metrics: Beyond the Billable Hour, suggests that law firms should measure more than just billable hours and could make use of the valuable data gleaned or already in their possession. Those are good ideas that could support the profit motivation, but may require a different approach to measurement and data gathering, relying on research methodologies . . . [more]

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

The Susskinds on the End of Tomorrow’s Professions

Lawyers like to think they’re unique.

This exceptionalism can explain in part our resistance to change, and our inability to adopt best practices from other industries. Sometimes it limits our ability to recognize that our challenges are part of larger societal trends which everyone is facing.

In The End of Lawyers?: Rethinking the nature of legal services, Richard Susskind explored alternative methods of providing legal services, while pointing to some of the many failings of the existing models of delivery. In Tomorrow’s Lawyers: An Introduction to Your Future, he goes further, and describes the types of new jobs . . . [more]

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

Of Conference Debriefs and #ABATECHSHOW 2016 Chicago Travel Tips

A good conference can leave little time to explore a city itself. Hence, I’ve pathetic little Chicago lore to pass on. No Field Museum meditations, no Magnificent Mile shopping tips. Chicago may not best be described as “the appurtenance to the Hilton along Michigan Ave” but honestly, after attending the 2016 ABA TECHSHOW, I am hardly in a position to describe it any better.

The only souvenirs I acquired bleeped in when I disengaged airplane mode on a layover in Minnesota… 95 Twitter notifications from lawyers and startups I engaged with at the conference. Fellow conference attendee, LSUC’s Phil Brown, . . . [more]

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

TV Cameras in UK Courts

The UK Justice minister has just announced a pilot scheme for the introduction of cameras into criminal courts.

The project will run for 3 months in eight UK cities.

Cameras will film only the judge, and will be confined to sentencing remarks. The purpose is to “.. allow the public to see and hear the judge’s decision in their own words.”

The footage will not be broadcast live.

Leading British barrister Helena Kennedy Q.C. regards cameras in court as a threat to justice, evolving out of base commercial imperatives that are not concerned about justice or the potential impact on . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

The Final Say

Tomorrow I am speaking with law students at Robson Hall as part of a Do Law Differently launch event hosted by the MLSA and Canadian Bar Association. I’ve been invited to talk about my own career path, about lessons I’ve learned and what I look for when hiring.

I’ve prepared my 20 minute talk and can tell you it is full of optimism and hope for a new kind of legal profession that holds to old-school values like integrity and honour and generosity while boldly facing a new economic order that mostly values faster, better, cheaper.

Frankly, I’m not feeling . . . [more]

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

Technology as Positive Enabler

The British magazine Managing Partner has been providing information on law firm management since 1998. Their target group is the “senior management team” and they provide resources covering strategic management, case studies, analysis, and opinions from “industry experts and senior managers at leading law firms.” Their March issue reports on the ARK Group’s Legal IT conference held in London in January 2016.

In her introduction publisher Helen Donegan concludes her summary of the event this way:

“While clients were a major focus of the discussions, the question also predictably arose over the future role of the lawyer. With technological

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

Before Doing Differently, We Have to Teach Differently

During the Toronto launch of Doing Law Differently this past week, I had the opportunity to sit down with Jordan Furlong and some of the NewLaw Pioneers featured in the report. Nate Russell previously summarized the report here.

The report is important because the changes in the legal profession don’t affect anyone more acutely than law students and young lawyers, who will actually live to see the changes sweep across the industry. “This report needs to be read by every student in the country,” said Fred Headen, a past President of the Canadian Bar Association and chair of the . . . [more]

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