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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’

Pre-Emptive Lawyering: What’s the Incentive?

Many lawyers entered the profession because of a desire to do good, to help people, to support the rule of law. That’s their motivation.

Once in the workplace, though, their primary incentive is the need to make a living. That space between motive and incentive can create some cognitive dissonance for those lawyers who can’t take on the cases they’d like to tackle, particularly if it’s a question of the would-be client’s inability to pay; or the fear that the return would not justify the investment of the lawyer’s time.

Richard Susskind, in a paper prepared for the CBA’s Legal . . . [more]

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

Quebec Bar Association Wants the Right to Automatically Suspend Lawyers Facing Criminal Charges

The Quebec Bar Association (the Barreau du Québec) is seeking the legal right to automatically suspend lawyers facing serious criminal charges in connection with the exercise of their profession. The barreau expects to draft a Bill in conjunction with Quebec’s Office of Professions for the government to introduce in the legislature in 2014. The move is a response to the events of May 9, 2013, which saw three lawyers arrested and charged by the anti-corruption unit. These lawyers are under investigation for professional misconduct by the Syndic of the Quebec Bar Association (the bar’s disciplinary board).
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management

The Small Business Squeeze

Technology is often cited as the game-changing factor in the future of the legal profession. There’s an endless parade of new devices, plus software is being developed that can do some of the work lawyers used to do. Legal entrepreneurs harness the power of the cloud to power new business models.

What it’s doing to the legal profession is just one side of the equation. For clients – actual and potential – rapidly changing technology can both expand their reach to consumers, and be a legal minefield.

People who conduct any part of their business over the internet, for example, . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Lessons From the Past

John Chisholm has a nice post about his father retiring after 59 years in the same Australian law firm; a feat that will likely never be matched in this era of modern law.

John’s piece however is not just an homage to his Dad, it’s also instructive for those of us practicing today.

As John notes, in the 1950’s, the 1960’s and even the early 1970’s,

There was no place for 10 redrafts of something, you had to get your letters right the first time as paper was money and there were no photocopiers or printers. ….

You took your

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

The Role of the Judiciary in Fixing the Civil Justice System

On Thursday night the OBA Civil Litigation and Insurance sections held their end of term dinner.

The keynote speaker was Alan Lenczner. I have heard many speeches about how to fix the broken civil justice system, but this was different because of its focus on how the judiciary can assist in the fix.

Lenczner’s message was that sophisticated litigants are leaving the civil justice system in droves, opting for private arbitration. The result is a shrinking body of decided cases. To get these litigants back into the civil justice system, we have to get rid of the inefficiencies.

One of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Gunnercooke – a Truly Innovative UK Law Firm

There are many within the legal community who scoff at Twitter saying that “it’s as a useless piece of fluff”. However for those interested in learning about legal innovation and connecting with legal innovators around the globe, Twitter is indispensible. Everything that is happening globally in terms of legal transformation is shared on Twitter. Today I connected with another innovative law firm from the UK – gunnercooke.

Former general counsel Sarah Goulbourne got together over coffee with corporate lawyer Darryl Cooke in mid-2010 to chat about how a different legal model would have huge competitive advantage over existing . . . [more]

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

Review – “Gateways to Justice: Design and Operational Guidelines for Remote Participation in Court Proceedings”

Professor Tait recently sent me a 127 pages report on the topic of court remote appearances:

Rowden, E., Wallace, A., Tait, D., Hanson, M. & Jones, D. (2013), “Gateways to Justice: design and operational guidelines for remote participation in court proceedings” (University of Western Sydney: Sydney), accessed from:

This topic is very timely across all Canadian jurisdictions. The Canadian Centre for Court Technology – Centre canadien de technologie judiciaire (“CCCT”) chose remote appearances as a topic for its White Paper in 2012 (published in January 2013 and available here), and this week, the CCCT is offering a series . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Debating National Justice Care

One of the highlights of the CBA’s Envisioning Equal Justice Summit, now about six weeks ago, was a lunchtime debate on the merits or demerits, the feasability or impracticality of a national justice care system. The exchange was witty and entertaining, and solid, thoughtful, substantive arguments underlay the edgy discussion.

Beverly Spencer posted a superb summary of the debate in the CBA National Magazine’s Legal Insights & Practice Trends: Should there be a national “justice care” system in Canada?, and it is worth a read to get a flavour of the issues and arguments on either side . . . [more]

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

The Future Is Now

With today’s release of The Future of Legal Services in Canada: Trends and Issues, the consultation phase of the CBA’s Legal Futures Initiative begins.

Trends and Issues puts data and insight from original research commissioned by the CBA into a single document meant to provide an overview of major challenges facing the profession. The report – and the questions it raises – form a starting point for discussions and further consultations with stakeholders in the legal services industry.

We’ve been showing you bits of those papers here, and on the interim Futures website, for the last seven weeks. If . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Reading, Reading: Recommended, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

ODR Conference in Montreal

The Online Dispute Resolution Working Group will hold its 12th annual meeting in Montreal next week on June 16-18. This conference brings together ODR scholars and practitioners from around the world. As you might imagine, among the stellar cast of speakers (Fabien Gélinas, Colin Rule, Ethan Katsh . . .) you’ll find Slaw columnists Karim Benyekhlef and Nicolas Vermeys, who have been informing our readers about ODR for some time now. And among the discussants are Slawyers John Gregory and David Bilinsky.

The full program can be downloaded here. From that document:

The Montreal ODR Forum will serve to

. . . [more]
Posted in: Announcements, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology

Crowd Law?

There is a lot of interesting talk these days about tapping in to the wisdom of the crowd. Among the most surprising examples is which was designed to find diagnoses for illnesses that have eluded physicians. It reports “astonishing” results.

There are no liability risks on the individual “medical detectives” (not required to be physicians) who submit diagnostic suggestions: they are anonymous and submissions are pooled and combined into diagnostic suggestions to be discussed with the patient’s physician.

A quick internet search did not reveal anything similar for law. Let me try drawing on the collective wisdom of SLAW . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

What if the Next Big Thing Isn’t a Thing at All?

Garry Wise is fond of saying that “the internet and technology are the great equalizers,” in the legal world. They allow smaller players, and newer players, to gain ground swifter than 20, or even 10 years ago, making them a growing threat to larger firms.

Larger firms however, don’t see it that way. They still view themselves as kings of the hill with competition only coming from equal-sized outfits – much like American car companies in the early 1970’s.

When Japanese car makers started to export product to North America, the cars were inexpensive and of not the highest quality. . . . [more]

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