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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’

Random Thoughts on Articling

If you took in the #articling discussions on twitter today, you’ll know that the debate has been postponed until November 22nd, and that the opinions on this issue are incredibly strong. Lawyers have obviously had a lot of time to reflect on the value of the articling process, what it provided them personally, and the value it provides to the profession. So intense were the discussions, that it trended in Canada on Twitter (in the number one position) for well over an hour.

I’d like to share a couple of random observations here, as a non-lawyer who has worked . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Benchers Hijack a Convocation Gripped by Fear

What if a law society created an articling task force that canvassed the view of stakeholders over the course of many months, prepared an interim report, then a final report and then asked for a vote.

One would think that a vote would then take place, no?


Today the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Bencher debate was hijacked by a group of Benchers who – wait for it – wanted even more time to study the issues and seek stakeholder input.

The climate of fear in Convocation was palpable as a number of Benchers seemed completely unprepared to vote . . . [more]

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

Time for Change in the Courts?

♫ Change
Now it’s time for change
Nothing stays the same
No it’s time for change… 

Lyrics and Music by Nikki Sixx, Donna McDaniel, recorded by Mötley Crüe.

On Oct 24-25, the second Canadian Forum on Court Technology will be held in Montreal. The challenge that this forum will be facing is how to bring about meaningful change to a dispute resolution process that has been resistant to change. Of course, the voices demanding increased access to justice and responsiveness to the needs of society are only getting louder. The factors for the courts to consider are . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Debate the Article “Crisis” at Convocation – Online

The Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) is dealing with a highly contentious issue – the future of articling in Ontario. After consulting with stakeholders and reading submissions from across the province, Laurie Pawlitza, the former LSUC Treasurer described the feedback as “disparate” in the 2012 Canadian Bar Association (CBA) National Student edition.

The Articling Task Force released their Final Report this week, Pathways to the Profession: A Roadmap for the Reform of Lawyer Licensing in OntarioA preliminary cost assessment of the minority view’s preliminary cost is also available. But what is the Law Society to . . . [more]

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

London Calling – but Are We Listening?

On my recent trip to London, England, it was arranged for me to be part of a panel discussion at Middle Temple Hall, one of the oldest legal buildings in London. Indeed, the room in which I spoke (Parliament Chamber) hosted the very first performance of Twelfth Night in 1602. By way of background, Middle Temple is one of four Inns of Court in London that are able to call men and women to the Bar.

So there I was, at the beating old heart of the common law, criticizing the current model of legal services delivery; suggesting that it . . . [more]

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

Trueing Up in 2012

“…being in accordance with the actual state or conditions; conforming to reality or fact…real; genuine; authentic; being or reflecting the essential or genuine character of something.”

I was in court last week and obtained an order that transferred real property from the registered owner to my client as an equitable remedy based on a constructive trust. There was some urgency: the property was uninsured and there was a perceived danger of other pending judgments against the legal owner which might be registered against the property.

Recognizing this, the judge wrote out a judgment by hand (about half a page of . . . [more]

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

New Thinking on Articling From the UK

If I had any doubt that the UK was the absolute undisputed centre of legal innovation, the past 5 days I’ve spent in London have certainly laid that to rest.

Earlier this week I came across Nigel Spencer, Director of Learning and Development – EME for Reed Smith. Nigel is constantly re-thinking the trainee model (for Canadians read: articling model) and other professional development opportunities for the firm. Fortunately, he has the freedom and support of firm management to do some truly exciting things. Thanks to Maeve Jackson for the introduction!

In particular, he has a strong desire to ensure . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

A Trade: Shares for Rights?

UK online newspapers and blogs are buzzing with the proposal outlined by George Osborne, a British Conservative politician and Chancellor of the Exchequer, at the Tory conference yesterday: in exchange for shares given by their employer, newly hired employees would have to give up certain employment rights (see here for The Guardian article). Under this program, employees would be able to waive certain rights with regard to unfair dismissal, redundancy, flexible work time and receive rights of ownership. This employment-ownership scheme would see a large deregulation of the labour market and encourage start-up companies that are concerned with all the . . . [more]

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

I Can Pay My Mortgage Online… but I Can’t File a Factum

In my last post I talked about a case in which Justice Brown noted that the Ontario Court system “lacks modern administrative infrastructure including, for example, proper electronic case management and document filing technologies.”

This week a friend of mine directed me to this interesting link about the state of the internet which got me to thinking, just how technologically archaic is our legal system?

Although (dare I say) most lawyers communicate by e-mail, you can only serve court documents via e-mail on counsel (you can’t serve self-represented parties) and this requires counsel to send back an acceptance of service. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Law Students – Stay Calm and Carry-On

This week, it was (on campus interview) OCI week at Western University Law School with law firms recruiting for summer jobs in 2013. For those who don’t know, students who don’t get a summer job are less likely to get an articling position, and those who don’t get an articling job are unable to practice. Not to put too fine a point on it but, 13% of students in Ontario last year did not get articling jobs. So the pressure on students can be immense.

Some students missed my class due to this time-honoured rite of passage that was only . . . [more]

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