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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’

Implications of Ontario Election to Legal Sector

As a result of the provincial election this past week, the majority Ontario Liberal Party government will reintroduce the budget they had proposed which had triggered the election. There are a number of features in this budget which focus on the legal system.

The first is increases to legal aid, by increasing the threshold for income eligibility, an increase that has not occurred since the 1990s. This initiative has been commended by the Criminal Lawyers Association,

“We applaud the government’s recognition of the importance of Ontario’s legal aid system,” said Anthony Moustacalis, President of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association.

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

More on Rationing Civil Justice

Adam Dodek’s excellent post on these pages a week ago stirred up some lively comments.

The topic deserves more attention.

Everyone seems to be in agreement that there is no political appetite for more public funding for civil justice.

The solution proposed by Adam Dodek is: setting time limits for cases, limiting expert testimony and, by default, motions in writing.

Some commentators call on the judiciary as the stakeholder with the power to impose a solution. Some warn of the tendency for rationing to increase prices. Others point to the liability issues arising from leaving out marginally relevant evidence, and . . . [more]

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

How to Start a Legal Project Management Initiative in Your Firm: 11 Ideas

Are firms becoming more attuned to the benefits of legal project management (LPM)? Are clients? Judging from a workshop I attended on this topic last month in Chicago, the answer is “yes”.

But many firms – including almost every firm I’ve encountered – still struggle with the question of how to encourage organizational and individual changes required to inculcate wide-spread adoption of LPM.

The panelists who spoke at the “LPM Showcase and Workshop” lead some of the firms that have been the most successful at LPM implementation – Baker & McKenzie, Loeb & Loeb, Foley Hoag . . . [more]

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

The Fundamental Importance of High Quality Advocacy

The UK Court of Appeal last week overturned a decision staying a complex financial fraud prosecution on the ground that no suitably qualified lawyer was willing to be retained to defend the case at the reduced compensation rates being offered by the State.

The UK Ministry of Justice had previously announced its intention to cut by 30% the rate of remuneration to counsel in such cases. None of the respondents were able to find counsel to instruct.

The judge of first instance concluded, “to allow the State an adjournment to put right its failure to provide the necessary resources to . . . [more]

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

#Cbafutureschat Recap: How to Become a Legal Innovator

Think outside the box.

Think of ways to use current tools creatively.

Think big.

Think niche.

Think of ways to blow up the current paradigm.

Think of ways to make the current paradigm work better.

… Essentially, opinions about how to transition into a future-ready legal profession are like vital organs – everyone alive has at least one that works for them, but there isn’t one that works for everybody.

Since the CBA Legal Futures Initiative was launched, many ideas about the challenges facing the profession have been postulated – their causes, their effects, and appropriate responses to them. One . . . [more]

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

The Implications of Mandatory Retirements in Partnerships

The Supreme Court of Canada decision in McCormick v. Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, mentioned recently by Simon Chester, will have implications beyond just how human rights legislation applies to mandatory retirement provisions in partnership agreements. Because such provisions will be upheld, firms can be expected to include and rely on them further, and the baby boomer population of lawyers who are quickly approaching retirement age may now expect a forced retirement from partnership.

Some economists reject the “lump labour” theory, which suggests that unemployment can be, in part, attributable to the refusal of older workers to retire. However, even . . . [more]

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

CBA Futures Chat: How to Be a Legal Innovator

{Pre-text: It is quite humbling and even feels premature to be hosting a CBA Legal Futures Twitter Chat on How to be a Legal Innovator. That said, I welcomed the invitation, as my completely unexpected trajectory as a lawyer has admittedly led me a few times to take a step back and re-trace my thought-process over the past 3+ years since I took the entrepreneurship route: À-la, “What tha..??! This is shaping up to be pre-tty cool. Geez, how did I get here?” And I have kept some notes.

<<Cue Sophia’s voice from Golden Girls here>> Picture it. Toronto. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Climate Change Class Actions Could Spur Greater Emergency Preparedness

There are no such things as natural disasters, only situations with disastrous consequences due to lack of social preparedness. This sentiment was a quite common one to encounter during my time working in emergency management. For example, Ilan Kelman states,

The term “natural disaster” is often used to refer to a disaster which involves an event originating in the environment. The term has led to connotations that the disaster is caused by nature or that these disasters are the natural state of affairs. In many belief systems, including Western thought, deities often cause “natural disasters” to punish humanity or

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

A New Generation Requires New Structures for Law Firms

The early articling hire-back numbers look dismal for a number of firms in Toronto, and this, coupled with the lengthening number of years that it takes associates to make partner – if they ever do – and the merry-go-round of serial lateral partners, should make all lawyers stop and think about how this environment is shaping the next generation of Canadian lawyers, and in turn, the structure of legal services providers.

My friend, consultant, John Chisholm was recently quoted in Australia’s, Lawyers Weekly. “I hear from senior associates who have had to wear the fact that their partnership prospects . . . [more]

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

Where’s the Lawhacker Website?

I am an avid reader of the website Lifehacker. Every day, there are new posts on an incredible range of topics with the single goal of making life easier. Yesterday, for example, there were hacks on communicating with seniors, peeling hardboiled eggs, getting roadside assistance for your bicycle and applying the GTD philosophy in dealing with your emails.

Lifehacker absolutely lives up to its motto:

Tips, tricks, and downloads for getting things done.

I’ve noticed that Lifehacker has a way of pinpointing issues in my daily life that I’ve not yet identified as issues, and in many cases, . . . [more]

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

Career Coaching Begins in Law School

Last week I suggested that we need a greater emphasis on the students in legal education, instead of publications and sponsorship. A positive school experience as a student will typically result in an employee who is more engaged in their profession and experiences higher levels of well-being. The reason why this is important is because law school faculty have tangible effects on the trajectory of a lawyer’s career.

A new Gallup-Purdue study has shown that a student’s experience in school matters far less than the school they went to. The study suggests that what students are doing in school and . . . [more]

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

Future Law, Free Law?

The second annual FutureLaw Conference took place last Friday at Stanford University. Hosted by Codex – Stanford Center for Legal Informatics this was a conference “focusing on how technology is changing the landscape of the legal profession and the law more broadly.”

Judging by the comments in the storified #FutureLaw Twitter stream it looks like it was a very interesting and successful event. It was also live streamed and the day’s videos will be made available soon for those of us unable to attend.

Richard Susskind opened the proceedings with a talk entitled, “The Future of Lawyers: From Denial . . . [more]

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