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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’

Needs and Nerves: Delegating to Part-Time Employees

I’ve had several recent conversations with senior lawyers who are reluctant to delegate work to part-time administrative staff. They don’t want to be perceived as demanding. They’re afraid of confrontation.

They are actually more open to the concept of flexible work arrangements than most people give them credit for, but they need reassurances that part-time staff are just as committed to quality work as their full-time counterparts.

Unique challenges of delegating to part-time administrative staff
With more and more of us working outside the office or part-time, there is less opportunity for face-to-face communication, which means that it takes longer . . . [more]

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

Reminder: Mandatory Training on the New Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct for Quebec Lawyers

On March 26, 2015, the new Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (nouveau Code de déontologie des avocats) for Quebec lawyers came into force. All lawyer members of the Quebec Bar are required to complete a three-hour training session by December 31, 2015. . . . [more]

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

Get Out and Vote

I don’t have a horse in this race — I’m not eligible to vote in the Law Society of Upper Canada (aka Ontario) Bencher election. Nonetheless, I know who I’d be voting for if I could.

Bencher elections are notorious for low participation rates across the country. I don’t understand this. Lawyers are typically engaged with politics in general, but for reasons I’m not privy to, fail to demonstrate the same level of engagement in respect of their own professional governance.

That’s a shame, but also an opportunity. Law society elections create an opening for the voices of lawyers from . . . [more]

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

Requiring Diversity in Law Society Structures

The Law Society of Upper Canada Bencher Elections are currently underway, with voting concluding on April 30, 2015.

As with elections in society generally, bencher elections matter, and help determine the course and future of the legal profession. But lawyers, who fully understand the relationship between representatives and policies undertaken, have a lower voter turnout than the general public.

In 2014, the provincial elections in Ontario enjoyed a 52.1 per cent turnout, an increase following five successive drops in turnout and even a record low. Similarly, in the 2011 LSUC Bencher Election, voter turnout increased and reversed a long-term . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Is the Goal of the Future to Catch Up With the Past?

Yes. Sort of. But only if by “the past”, we mean some idealized period when things were easier, cheaper, simpler and better. Apply those same adjectives to the future, and you will forever be chasing the horizon or the end of the rainbow.

In discussions of access to justice issues or legal service markets, the present is the problem and the future looks even worse. For lawyers and the public we serve, everything is already too complex, too time or labour intensive, too expensive, too unjust, or just too hard. Accordingly, process improvement proposals or tech-driven solutions are not offered . . . [more]

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

Why the 2015 LSUC Bencher Election Deserves Your Attention

I recently spoke with Henry J. Chang, one of the Toronto candidates in this year’s Law Society of Upper Canada (“LSUC”) bencher election. I asked him why members should pay particular attention to the elections this year and what issues are most important to voters. A summary of our conversation appears below. . . . [more]

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

An Alternative ABS Structure for Better Legal Business

Alternative Business Structures (ABS) is all the debate right now in Ontario, with a current discussion paper released by the law society. Over 40 responses were received from various organizations and stakeholders. The interim report presented to convocation in February included a wide range of views on ABS, from strongly for it to staunchly opposed.

The incentives for adopting ABS appears to primarily be for the purposes of attracting capital and promoting access to justice. The report references an alternative to plain ABS called ABS+, to focus specifically on how this capital could be harnessed to address those . . . [more]

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

Connecting the Dots Just Got Easier

It’s tempting (and fun!) to dismiss futurists and trend spotters as people who see connections and consequences where none exist. It is equally tempting (and fun!) to assume the role of the clairvoyant because, in the words of Future Babble author Dan Garder, the soothsayer can never lose: “Heads I win, tails you forget we had a bet.” Sometimes, however, it can be quite easy for everyone to see the future.

Last week, many of us were reading and sharing the latest “future of law” warning. The fine folks over at The Economist offered a sobering look at just . . . [more]

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

Of German Email Encryption Tool Tutanota and Other PETs

I’ve written updates before on encryption for communications and why the legal profession should be interested in tools and trends like encrypted ephemeral messaging, Edward Snowden’s warnings for legal professionals, and the upcoming Chrome extension for end-to-end email encryption.

Much of the whys and wherefores around encryption and Privacy Enhancing Technologies (“PETs”) and their place in legal practice are part of a broader conversation around lawyers’ digital competency — such as what Amy Salyzyn often writes about here on Slaw. This in turn engages the larger topic of internet security (and for a general background see this . . . [more]

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

Lex Machina: Bringing Analytics to Law

Peter Neufield is a J.D. student at the Osgoode Hall Law School and the current features editor of the IPOsgoode blog IPilogue. He’s posted a short interview with Owen Byrd, Chief Evangelist & General Counsel at Lex Machina. Lex Machina started life in 2010 as a partnership between Stanford University’s Computer Science Department and the Law School with some great support from a number of “tech companies and law firms.”

During the interview Byrd describes Lex Machina’s approach as similar to the story told in the Michael Lewis book Moneyball. This is the . . . [more]

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

“Birds Fly. Humans Create”

Last week, I joined some 25 others at a Winnipeg bar for Paint Nite. Many of those present were painting for the first time since elementary school. Nonetheless, two hours (and a few beers) later, we each walked out proudly holding the product of the evening’s work. I posted a picture of my creation online and soon received a lot of positive (and some incredulous) feedback on the painting.

That experience got me thinking about what we mean when we talk about creativity. How is it that a room full of individuals who don’t normally paint could each manage . . . [more]

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

Law Librarians and the Technology-Ready Law Student

Christine M. Stouffer, Director of Library Services at Thompson Hine LLP in Cleveland, has a nice article in the February issue of the AALL Spectrum. It’s called, “Closing the Gap: Teaching ‘Practice-Ready’ Legal Skills,” and talks about the “widening gap between legal education and real-world legal practice skills” and the role that law librarians can play in narrowing that perceived gap.

Stouffer touches on the January 2014 report from the American Bar Association Task Force on the Future of Legal Education. She provides a good review of this report and I would recommend reading this . . . [more]

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