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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’

Plea for a New Law Society Governance Model

Much like Bronte sisters, French hens and celebrity deaths, my comments about the Law Society of Upper Canada come in threes. And in an effort to pull Malcolm Mercer away from the dark side and bring him into the light, my comments today will focus on solutions. : )

When LSUC was formed in 1797 it was a model for the Commonwealth. More than 200 years later, the governance structure has failed to evolve (ignoring the fact that Upper Canada itself was tiny and ceased to exist in 1841 before eventually evolving into the exponentially larger province of Ontario).

In . . . [more]

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

Blaming Law Schools . . .

My Dean, Bruce Feldthusen, has written an article for Canadian Lawyer in response to criticisms in the legal profession about legal education and allegations that we are responsible for creating the perceived articling crisis in Ontario. The title of Dean Feldthusen’s article is pretty self-explanatory: “Legal Profession in Turmoil: Let’s Blame the Law Schools“. . . . [more]

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

Collecting Evidence on Licensing and Cultural “Fit”

The motion passed at November Convocation, creating a pilot Legal Practice Program, also charged the Law Society and the profession to make evidence-based decisions about the various components. The motion, as amended, will pass on some of the costs to the profession, which is yet another reason why we should be very much invested and interested in how this develops.

The Professional Development and Competence (PD&C) Department is expected to develop a formal evaluation and reporting plan before the pilot is launched in 2014.

The problem is that there are just over 2,000 potential articling candidates (and growing) every year . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Mandatory Mediation (Reprise)

My post here on 12 November “The Reasonable Refusal to Mediate” prompted a number of spirited comments in support of mandatory mediation, for which I am grateful.

One commentator cited an impressive study that shows lawyers tend to be over confident about their positions in litigation and as a result clients can make poor decisions based on lawyers’ unrealistic case assessment. Another study shows the parallel worlds lawyers and clients live in: lawyers are motivated financially; clients may be motivated primarily by an apology or an explanation.

If lawyers tend to be over confident about their cases, the solution is . . . [more]

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

The Size of Canada’s Legal Profession

As you’ll likely know, there’s been a great deal of concern expressed here and elsewhere lately about the economic state of the profession, the most recent addition to the discussion being Mitch Kowalski’s post Articling Debate Exposes Convocation’s Flaws and the comments it garnered. I made a comment on that post suggesting that one aspect of the discussion — the complaint that the law schools are graduating too many students — might be proceeding without the benefit of data and asking whether anyone had the stats.

It’s Sunday and I was reflexively lazy. But a moment later I thought to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

CBA Looks Into Legal Futures With Susskind

Canadian Bar Association Young Lawyers National Directorate

I just wrapped up meetings this weekend in Montreal with the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) Young Lawyers conference. The National Directorate from across Canada conducted brainstorming and discussions on issues of importance to young lawyers, particularly the future of the profession.

As expected, the articling debate in Ontario has been closely watched in other jurisdictions. Young lawyers across Canada are thinking deeply about where entry to practice licensing should end up. You can read some of my thoughts about the motion passed this week at Convocation in an article yesterday by Kirk . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Articling Debate Exposes Convocation’s Flaws

Today the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) once again considered the issue of what to do with articling in Ontario.

Once again, the matter was webcast so that all could see the debate.

Once again, viewers were shocked by what they saw.

Once again, Benchers came across as clubby and out-of-touch.

Time and again, they stood up and made verbose, rambling arguments based on nothing more than anecdotes, personal experience and emotional pleas.

Given that most are litigators, it’s astounding that so many do not understand how to make brief, pithy remarks; they’ve clearly been trained (perhaps during articling) . . . [more]

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

Legal Need in Australia (And Canada)

The Law and Justice Foundation of New South Wales has published a series of reports on legal need in the various states and the country as a whole based on empirical surveys. The Legal Australia-Wide Survey: Legal need in Australia, for example:

provides the first comprehensive quantitative assessment across Australia of an extensive range of legal needs on a representative sample of the population. It examines the nature of legal problems, the pathways to their resolution, and the demographic groups that struggle with the weight of their legal problems.

The Legal Australia-Wide Survey

had the largest sample of the

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

The Future of Articling – in Canada

There have already been several posts on Slaw and elsewhere about the current articling debate in Ontario.

As one of the invited moderators of the debate I have been actively involved in reflecting and commenting on the issues, and I’m quickly coming to the conclusion that this could be the start of changes across Canada. A recent article in The Lawyers Weekly noted that even though Manitoba graduates currently can find articling positions, the situation there may drastically change because of what is going on in Ontario.

Where We Are Right Now

During October Convocation a number of legal organizations . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

The End of Law Schools?

Next week Benchers of the Law Society of Upper Canada will (hopefully) decide on the future of articling in the province of Ontario. So, rightly or wrongly, one piece of the legal training puzzle in Ontario will be determined.

The elephant in the room however is the law schools.

Many will say that law schools are there simply to serve the purpose of providing a legal education that students are free to use in whatever fashion they choose; ensuring students become lawyers is not the role of law schools.

This is naïve. And it would only be the most hard-hearted . . . [more]

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

The Reasonable Refusal to Mediate

I seriously doubt the wisdom of mandatory mediation, for a number of reasons. One is that sophisticated parties who have paid lawyers to advise them, to serve pleadings and to discover evidence, should not be subjected to the additional financial and emotional trauma of mediation where without prejudice settlement discussions have been fruitless.

A UK High Court costs decision last month illustrates the point. At trial a claim for 16 million pounds for breach of a distributorship agreement was dismissed. The claimant argued that although the defendant was prima facie entitled to its costs, there should be a 50% reduction . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Educating the Digital Lawyer – the eBook

You may have already seen this, but it was new to me. In 2010-2011 Harvard Law School and New York Law School hosted a year-long contest of ideas respecting legal education called “Future Ed“. One of the results was the book Educating the Digital Lawyer edited by Marc Lauritsen and Oliver Goodenough. The book explores the question “What will legal education look like as we train our graduates to be effective lawyers in the digital world of the 21st Century?”

Published by LexisNexis, a complimentary copy of the e-book format is available here [note: clicking on this link . . . [more]

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