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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’

The Promising Fallout From Hryniak v. Mauldin

Following the release of the SCC decision in Hryniak in January of this year, the widely held view was that the decision would deal a death blow to trials in Canada and would open the floodgates to summary judgment motions.

The Advocates’ Journal Summer 2014 has run an interesting piece by Jonathan Lisus which suggests that, on the contrary, Canadian courts and creative counsel are using the Hryniak to craft procedures that bring cases to trial in a more efficient and cost effective way, than has any other access to justice initiative.

After reviewing the treatment of the SCC decision . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

#Cbafutureschat Recap: Law & Design

What if every law firm and court had a basement lab where developers and designers hung out and built solutions?

That was a question posed by host Margaret Hagan during Tuesday’s CBA Twitterchat on the topic of law and design.

Hagan, who works at Stanford’s d.school and will soon work at the university’s law school, focuses on bringing user-centred design to legal services.

One of the key findings of the CBA’s Legal Futures Initiative is that the client needs to become the centre of the legal universe if the profession is to maintain its relevance in the face of transformative . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology

Ontario Litigators Circle July 1 on Your Calendars

Not because it is Canada Day, but because the Superior Court of Justice is revoking all of its existing Practice Directions and implementing new Practice Directions on July 1st.

Over the past year the Ontario Superior Court of Justice undertook to review and consolidate all of its Regional and Provincial Practice Directions.

The stated intention was to achieve an “administrative re-set” and to try to identify and eliminate obsolete and redundant Practice Directions while at the same time consolidating, simplifying and better organizing the Practice Directions that are to remain in effect.

As of July 1, 2014, the new Practice . . . [more]

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

“Some Thoughts on Creating a Sustainable Public Civil Justice System”

This was the title of a paper delivered by Mr Justice David Brown at the OBA Civil Litigation and Insurance Sections End of Term Dinner held 11 June 2014.

It addresses why our system is not achieving its fundamental goal of achieving fair, timely and cost-effective determination of civil cases on their merits.

The paper is in three parts: symptoms, causes and the remedies needed to unleash institutional ability and skills so that the Ontario Superior Court of Justice is the best trial court in North America.

You can read it here - 2014.OBA.Civil.end.term.paper.june.14

Among other things, the paper sends . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

CBA Futures Chat: Law and Design

I’m excited to be hosting a Twitter Chat next Tuesday with the CBA, chatting about Law & Design.

This month I’m finishing up my year-long fellowship at Stanford d.school, where I’ve gotten the chance to experiment in what it means to take a user-centered, design-driven approach to how legal services are delivered. In the Twitter Chat, I’ll be talking about some of the experiments we ran & the projects I’m launching out of them.

I’m particularly interested in how we can use Design Methodologies — which put an emphasis on quick prototyping, frequent testing, and (above all) a focus on . . . [more]

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

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