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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’

Law by the Numbers

It takes a special kind of mind to love statistics, but only the wilfully obtuse ignore them.

Prior to the 2008 recession the statistics for the legal profession could borrow the Olympic Games’ motto – Faster, Higher, Stronger. Nearly five years later, higher numbers of law grads and rising fees are more problematic. Stronger? That’s a difficult question, and part of the impetus for the CBA Legal Futures Initiative. Phase I looked at the current state of the profession in an attempt to identify where the forces of change will take it so as to position Canada’s lawyers to flourish . . . [more]

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

LSUC’s Pickle

The Law Society of Upper Canada (“LSUC”) held its annual general meeting last night. The meeting garnered more attention than it otherwise might have due to the mysterious last minute pulling of a motion that was received on March 28, 2013. This motion dealt with a study to enlarge the paralegal scope of practice. You can read the motion here.

There has not yet been an explanation behind the pulling of this motion–a motion that was proposed well in advance of the meeting.

So we are left to speculate.

It has never made any sense to me as to . . . [more]

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

Law Is Code

♫ There’s a Law, there’s an Arm, there’s a Hand
There’s a Law, there’s an Arm, there’s a Hand… ♫

Words, music and lyrics by Leonard Cohen.

Lawrence Lessig wrote a very famous book called Code is Law (now in version 2 simply called Code v2). In these books, Lawrence (and here I am guilty of oversimplification but at least I can claim that this is Lawrence’s own oversimplification from his web site describing the books):

More than any other social space, cyberspace would be controlled or not depending upon the architecture, or “code,” of that space.

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

Six Buzzwords in Search of a Context

Globalization. Technology. Economy. Unbundling. Alternative billing. Offshoring.

A CBA-commissioned survey of the state of the research into the future of the legal profession suggests that while these words come up again and again in the thousands of pages of text devoted to the subject, that is where it ends. While there is a near-consensus on the forces driving change, and how law firms might adapt to the new normal this change will bring, there are few recipes showing how best to implement the ideas, and fewer cases still of them actually being implemented.

The American Bar Association held its first . . . [more]

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

A Response to the CBA Legal Futures Initiative

The Canadian Bar Association is running through its CBA Legal Futures Initiative which ostensibly looks at allowing outside investment into law firms, the so-called, Alternative Business Structure (ABS). This initiative should be of interest to all lawyers, but most particularly to younger lawyers, as it may determine the course of their careers – perhaps for the worst.

Younger lawyers should take note of the behaviour of the CBA and various law societies in the late 1990’s and the early 2000’s around Multi-Disciplinary Practices (because of backward-thinking individuals in the CBA and in provincial law societies, MDPs have been regulated into . . . [more]

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

On May Day and Mat Leaves

Happy May Day all! A day for celebrating the labour movement, gathering community, and strengthening the search for greater workers’ rights everywhere.

On May Day, we celebrate and support vulnerable and embattled workers as if they are outside our profession. But we’d like to return yet again to the issue of retaining women in the legal profession, and ask why, as a profession, we are so bad at turning that critical gaze inwards. An April 2013 study commissioned by the Law Society of Upper Canada and authored by Fiona M. Kay, Stacey Alarie, and Jones Adjei of Queen’s University tells . . . [more]

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

New Fork, Old Road

When we come to a new fork in an old road we continue to follow the route with which we are familiar, even though wholly different, even better avenues might open up before us.

- George Manuel

Yesterday, the Canadian Bar Association invited us to join a conversation about the future of law. The CBA’s Legal Futures Initiative launched last summer and has been in a research and information gathering phase since that time, with the results trickling out now, and to be fully released next month.

In response to their invitation, a few conversations got started on Twitter yesterday . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

What Do Clients Want?

Not every case has a crisis at its core, but each one has its own raison d’être that by its very existence causes stress for the client, whether it’s someone buying a new house or a firm buying a new company or a class of plaintiffs wanting to sue someone for a real or perceived wrong.

Everyone has an issue.

A lawyer’s job is not just to deal with the issue, but also to deal with the client. So what do clients want?

That’s a question the Canadian Bar Association posed in an online study, with the help of an . . . [more]

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

The Legal Circle of Life

I was honoured to be a part of panel discussion at the recent Georgetown Law Center Symposium “The Shrinking Pyramid: Implications for Law Practice the Legal Profession.”

Several thoughts occurred to me while attending this event; one of which I’ll share with you now.

There was some discussion about the fact that lifelong partnership at one firm is a relic of the past; there is a constant merry-go-round of lateral partners moving from firm to firm to firm. We see this in Canada as well. Lateral hires typically move for more money (and sometimes for firm management reasons) but paying . . . [more]

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

Access to Justice Reports Released

Earlier this month, Kirk Makin of the Globe and Mail scooped an announcement of a major set of Reports on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters, an inititaitive that started with the Chief Justice’s challenge to the Canadian Bar Association last summer.

The four Reports from Working Groups chaired by Justice Thomas Cromwell were officially released this morning:
Report of the Court Processes Simplification Working Group
Report of the Access to Legal Services Working Group
Report of the Prevention, Triage and Referral Working Group
Report of the Family Justice Working Group

And a background literature review: Family . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Reading: Recommended, Technology: Internet

Bringing Lean Six Sigma Process Improvement Disciplines Into Legal Services: A CCCA Spring Conference Workshop

These are notes from a workshop by Patricia Olah and Andrew Terrett of BLG Adroit from Borden Ladner Gervais, on April 15, 2013 at the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association National Spring Conference 2013 in Toronto. Note: these are my selected notes from this session; any inaccuracies or omissions are my own and not the speakers’.

In this workshop, the speakers gave a brief introductory lecture about Six Sigma and then had participants work through a scenario. These notes are from the introductory lecture only.

Workshop 103 – Process Improvement: Bringing Lean Six Sigma Disciplines into Legal Services

Patricia . . . [more]

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

On-Line Dispute Resolution

Part two of B.C.’s white paper on Justice reform commits to the appointment this year of a chair for the Civil Resolution Tribunal, and commits to invest in the technology needed to launch Canada’s first “on line” tribunal. The Tribunal is to serve as an alternative to court for small claims and civil property disputes. It will permit citizens to deal with these disputes without having to take time off work for court attendance.

On-line dispute resolution systems are gathering steam. Private systems already exist in Canada for ODR: eQuibbly. The European Parliament approved legislation last month for a . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice