Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’

Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services – a Year Later

Last year the CBA Legal Futures Initiative released its report, Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada, in St. John’s.

The Futures Initiative has been gratified by the largely positive and enthusiastic reaction to our report, which has had a much broader reach and impact than we could have hoped. We outlined a bold vision for the future of the legal profession, encouraging a crucial conversation that’s taking place not just within Canada, but around the world.

Here’s a taste of what we’ve done since the report was published:

We’ve been talking

In the past year CBA President . . . [more]

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

Need for Emotional Intelligence (EI) When Deploying Artificial Intelligence (AI)

One year after the CBA Futures Report, the debate over ABS still rages on and appears to be the most contentious issue, even while foreign firms state they’re eyeing our territory for opportunities. Although there are concerns about professionalism, much of the resistance, especially by personal injury lawyers, is based in protectionism.

Yet ABS may be the great bait and switch of legal innovation. The alternatives to practice may not come in the form of other business structures, but in other technological structures which allow for law to be conducted in different ways.

Legal services rely on enormous amounts of . . . [more]

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

When Bloggers Get Appointed to the Bench

In 2015, practitioners in all types of firms blog. It’s a necessity of modern practice these days, and most have come around to understanding the importance of some social media presence.

If you don’t create your online footprint, someone else will for you – usually a disgruntled client.

One of the prerequisites to being appointed to the bench though is that you have to be a lawyer, usually for a good number of years. Although we’ve seen blogging lawyers appointed to the bench in recent years, and Slaw is one of the few sites where we’ve had guest judge bloggers, . . . [more]

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

The Winds of Change

A strong west wind is blowing across my prairie landscape this week. After weeks of heat and humidity warnings and near-daily thunderstorms, there’s a change in the air. The sun is nearly set by 9 p.m. Small flocks of Canada geese are beginning their flight training. The day lilies in my garden have lost their bloom and summer is passing before my eyes.

The winds of change are blowing across Manitoba’s legal landscape as well. The Law Society of Manitoba’s latest Communique 2.0 newsletter outlines some of the changes in legal governance on the horizon for Manitoba lawyers, including entity . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Legal Innovations: A Few of Our Favorite Things

Innovation means different things to different people – to some, it’s about a small tweak that makes a big difference; to others, it’s a complete disruption in the force.

In Canada, the discussion about legal innovation has lately become bogged down in the debate over alternative business structures (ABS). But that’s not where innovation begins or ends.

On July 23, Friedrich Blase of Thomson Reuters and Natalie McFarlane of LawLignment will host a CBAFutureschat to discuss favourite legal innovations – just what do you define as a legal innovation? What tools make your business model possible? What innovations have you . . . [more]

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

The Cultural Shift Observed Post-Hryniak

The SCC’s decision in Hryniak v. Mauldin last year was expected to foster a cultural shift on the effective use of judicial resources, in particular in areas like Toronto where courts are cluttered with arguably needless motions. Justice Karakatsanis stated,

[2] Increasingly, there is recognition that a culture shift is required in order to create an environment promoting timely and affordable access to the civil justice system… [3] Summary judgment motions provide one such opportunity…

[5] To that end, I conclude that summary judgment rules must be interpreted broadly, favouring proportionality and fair access to the affordable, timely and just

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

Drama at the Quebec Bar Association: Bencher Suspended After Shoplifting Allegations

On July 3, 2015, Quebec lawyers found out that the recently elected (63% of votes) bencher of the Quebec Bar Association, Me Lu Chan Khuong, was suspended with pay from her duties by the board of directors of said association. . . . [more]

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

Change Now

By Richard Susskind

In her introduction to ‘A Guide to Strategy for Lawyers’, a booklet that I have written for CBA members, Michele Hollins, the CBA President, quotes Jack Welch, the former CEO and Chairman of General Electric, who advises organizations to ‘change before you have to’. I had not heard this phrase before, but will undoubtedly use it again, because it so succinctly sets the agenda for practising lawyers in Canada and advanced jurisdictions around the world.

The legal marketplace, in my view, is in the middle of a period of unprecedented upheaval. Indeed I believe we . . . [more]

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

Keeping an Eye on the Horizon

The most used app on my phone, after the camera, is probably the weather app. It’s the farm girl in me, I think, that remains a little obsessed with what’s on the way.

Growing up on a prairie farm, we learned to watch weather patterns closely. To keep abreast of what was coming, we monitored:

  • A thermometer for temperature
  • A weather vane for wind direction
  • A rain gauge for rainfall
  • The Farmer’s Almanac for long range forecasts
  • Fog (we counted 100 days after fog and expected rain)
  • Radar for approaching storms
  • And of course, weather forecasts from local and regional
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

MaRS LegalX Launch

I was at the spectacular MaRS space at College/University tonight for the launch of the Legal X “industry cluster” dedicated to stoking entrepreneurship in the world of legal services.

Before the presentations even began I was inspired by the physical plant. The vast light-filled glass and stone entrance. An enormous main floor auditorium. Airbnb’s offices are just outside its stunning high glass walls. Delicious food and wine circulated briskly among the 200 strong crowd. The whole place throbbed with energy.

Law Scout – a MaRS based legal tech start up demonstrated how they deliver fixed fee legal services to small . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Of Learning to Re-Think the CBA

We have 11 days left to re-think the Canadian Bar Association. No pressure at all. But if you want to help, put on your rethinking cap.

I don’t represent or speak for the CBA in any way, but last Friday I did take part in a “Re-Think” session held at a Richmond airport hotel. I at least feel sufficiently authorized to draw attention to the work being done—which is nothing less than a stem-to-stern review and, if necessary, a redefinition of what the CBA does.

The room was filled with a few dozen people: dedicated members of our . . . [more]

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

Merit in Diversity

Does merit trump diversity? Can’t both coexist and in fact, isn’t it possible that an individual’s merit is enhanced by that individual’s background, skills and experience?

These questions rolled through my brain as I read yesterday’s Financial Post article, Firms adopting diversity policies but few commit to targets for women on boards. The suggestion is that increasing diversity in membership of corporate boards may have a negative impact on the effectiveness of those boards. Some corporations are hesitant to set targets for gender diversity on their boards, the lawyers interviewed explained:

…the most common reason given by companies for

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