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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’

Introducing the Alberta Limited Legal Services Project

Much of the research and writing on access to justice issues in the last five years, including that of the Canadian Bar Association and Julie Macfarlane’s National Self-Represented Litigants Project, has discussed unbundling as a potential, albeit partial, remedy.

The idea here is that the usual full-service retainer, ever so commonplace in civil litigation, makes lawyers’ services unaffordable and prevents many litigants from accessing justice. (Professor Macfarlane’s landmark 2013 study on the issue of self-representation found that “inability to afford to retain, or to continue to retain, legal counsel” was the overwhelming reason why the litigants she spoke to . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Justice Issues, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Why Face Time Matters More Than Ever

No, not the Face Time app on your iPhone, “face time” as in one-on-one meetings with direct reports and others in your firm.

As organizations pursue efficiency by automating processes, collecting loads of data and creating “lean” teams, more of us are deliberately disengaging from our work.

And we often blame management when things don’t improve. Bad management, to be exact. A 2014 Gallup poll showed that companies fail to hire proper management 82% of the time. Ouch.

What exactly makes a “good” manager? Harvard Business Review recently published a summary of research done in studies of knowledge-based . . . [more]

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

How Black Is the AI Black Box?

It’s always interesting to me how things can sometimes coalesce and synchronize around an idea. For example, I’ve been thinking about a comment that Nicole Shanahan made in a recent collection of presentations delivered at Codex, the Stanford Center for Legal Informatics. She was talking about “lawyering in the AI age” and touched on “predictive policing” where the computer is used to predict human behaviour. Based on her experience with how algorithms and data work Shanahan characterizes this as “not really a rational goal.”

However, she notes, there are products on the market today and, . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Fear and Machine Learning: AI and Legal Practice

In late September leaders from legal, business and technology gathered in New Orleans at Clio Con, also know as the Clio Cloud Conference.* Andrew Arruda, ‎CEO and Co-Founder of ROSS Intelligence, delivered a talk called, “Artificial Intelligence and the Law: Science Fiction or Science Fact?

Arruda sets out to clarify some of the misconceptions that surround artificial intelligence and demonstrate how AI is currently being used. He provides examples of AI inside and outside of the legal environment and concludes that if it’s working elsewhere it can work for law too. He then talks . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

“The First Thing We Do, Let’s Poll All the Lawyers”

Courthouse Libraries BC (CLBC) just launched its #CLBClawyersurvey2016. Now we’re looking for sweet, precious survey fuel to reach the moon-like destination of 350 respondents—our statistically significant sample. By “survey fuel” I mean, of course, human lawyers in BC capable of clicking through a 10-minute survey. Eligible takers can start the online survey now.

CLBC has a long history in BC. We have served lawyers and the public for over 40 years in (and beyond) dozens of branches in courthouses throughout the province. This survey is the first of its kind for us, and it should help CLBC evolve  . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology

Everybody Wants to Rule the World

I’m looking forward to reading Gillian Hadfield’s new book, “Rules for a Flat World: Why Humans Invented Law and How to Reinvent It for a Complex Global Economy,” which was released at the beginning of this month. As reported in a recent article in The Lawyers Weekly, Hadfield has been exploring the relationship between law and technology and how it impacts access to justice.

At a conference on civil justice and economics sponsored by the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice (CIAJ) she described it like this:

“We need to attract some of the capital

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

‘If Not Us, Who? if Not Now, When?’: Reflections on the Law Society’s Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group Report

The Law Society debate, set for December 2, 2016, is the most significant acknowledgment of the obligation to address issues of systemic racism within the Ontario legal profession to date. It is a call to action. The Law Society’s commitment is anchored in its 1997 Bicentennial Report and the Report of the Bicentennial Working Group. Much has changed since the Law Society’s largely unimplemented response of 1999 to the Canadian Bar Association Recommendations flowing from the Report on Racial Equality and my own complementary Virtual Justice Systemic Racism in the Canadian Legal Profession Report. In the intervening two . . . [more]

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

Should Lawyers Learn to Code?

There have been many articles written suggesting that lawyers should learn how to code software. This Wolfram Alpha article is a good one, although many of the articles are far more adamant that every lawyer needs to learn how to code. The rationale is that because software will have an increasing effect on how lawyers practice, and who will be competing with us to provide our services, we should learn to code.

So should we learn how to code? For most lawyers, probably not.

I knew how to code before law school, and for me it has been very useful. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

New Legal Trends Report Provides Data Insights for Small- to Medium-Sized Law Firms

In the 4,000-year history of the legal profession, unbiased information sharing has never been the norm. Instead, insights have remained siloed in large institutions—or traded anecdotally among groups at networking events.

That changes with today’s release of the Legal Trends Report. The Legal Trends Report is being published by Clio, the world’s most widely-used legal practice management platform (disclosure: I am the founder and CEO of Clio). By leveraging anonymized, aggregate data from 40,000 active Clio users and over $60 billion in billing volume, the Legal Trends Report provides new insights into topics including average billing rates by state, . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Reading: Recommended, Technology, Technology: Internet

Regulate This

Most people today are employees who drive cars and get married. Most people today deal with law only when they are fired, ticketed, or divorced. (It’s nice that the vast majority of people never interact with the criminal justice system.) So most access-to-justice issues have to do with employment, personal injury/traffic, and family law. This is because these are the main three areas of social complexity and government regulation in most people’s lives. When there is no complexity or regulation, there are few access-to-justice issues because there is no need for lawyers.

Tomorrow, most people will be freelancers (the gig . . . [more]

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

Insights Into Billables From Cloud Computing

The Clio Cloud Conference is sort of like the Burning Man Festival of the legal industry. You have to attend it at least once in your lifetime, and once you do, there are no words to truly describe the experience.

There’s the high-energy environment, with a concert-like production. And when you look at the fellow groupies in the audience, you notice they’re all leaders in the law. Years later, I’m still talking about it.

This year the conference provided another extra tidbit – insight into how lawyers apply the billable hour in their practice. The advantage of a large cloud-based . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Pipeline to a Diverse Bench

Women lawyers, between 2006 and 2015, applied for superior court judicial appointments in Canada at roughly half the rate of men in the same time period, reports Cristin Schmitz in the September 16, 2016 issue of The Lawyers Weekly. In her article, Women Not Applying for Federal Benches, Schmitz reports the following previously unpublished statistics on who is seeking federal judicial appointments in Canada:

  • 1,531 women and 3,244 men applied between January 23, 2006 and October 19, 2015
  • 188 women and 396 men were appointed to federal courts during this same decade
  • Judicial advisory committees recommended 1,236 of the 3,003
. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law: Future of Practice