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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’

Paper Tiger Fences

The Vancouver Sun recently described the issue of insufficient access to justice in British Columbia as a “fast-approaching cliff” and urged the Law Society of British Columbia to lead efforts to address the problem.

That article reminded me of the oft-cited metaphor used by Richard Susskind in describing legal services as providing either a fence at the top of a cliff or an ambulance at the bottom.

The United Nations’ Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor, in its’ 2008 report Making the Law Work For Everyone identified access to justice as one of four pillars to legal empowerment of . . . [more]

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

Law School vs. Lawyer School

The American Bar Association’s Task Force on the Future of the Legal Education met this past weekend to discuss what is seen as an urgent need for bold changes in the legal education in the United States, as reported in a New York Times article

According to this article, some of the suggested changes are described as follows:

Many recommended reducing the core of law school to two years from three to cut costs. Others suggested that college juniors should be encouraged to go directly to law school, the bar exam should be simplified, accreditation standards should be relaxed

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

What if the Western Provinces Saved the Profession?

Last week I missed my appointed blog date – but for a good reason. I was honoured to speak at the Law Society of Alberta Plenary Session as part of the CBA winter conference in Edmonton. While few would suggest Edmonton as a preferred January destination, for me it was a hotspot of discussion around change in the legal services industry.

I continually find that west of the Upper Canadian border, law societies become progressively more forward-thinking and open to changing things in the public interest. It seems to me that law societies east of the Rockies and west of . . . [more]

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

Don Tapscott Interview – Making Internal Collaboration Work

Don Tapscott, author, speaker and advisor on new technologies and media, was interviewed by McKinsey Quarterly back in September 2012, and a video excerpt plus transcript of the interview was released last month. See: Making internal collaboration work: An interview with Don Tapscott. This interview has been raising questions around the web, and thought it would be useful to look at it here on SLAW.
Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology: Office Technology

Is a Court a Place or a Service?

This interesting question is raised by Richard Susskind in his newest book “Tomorrow’s Lawyers” (Oxford University Press). In this book, as in his 2008 work “The End of Lawyers? Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services”, Susskind explores the implications of Information Technology on the practice of law. You can read an excerpt here.

The prediction that there will be more electronic filing of documents, more screens in the courtroom so all participants are looking at the same page and real time transcripts, come as no surprise, but if Susskind is right we can also expect to see virtual courtrooms  . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

The Alternative Lawyer – When Traditional Practice Doesn’t Work

Far too often we hear the stories of tragedy and demise when discussing the future of the legal profession. Some room for optimism is always warranted as well though. According to CareerBuilder and the Economic Modeling Specialists in an article in The Globe, lawyers are one of the professions in Canada with the most positions added since 2012.

But not everyone with a law degree wants the traditional legal practice. Kim Covert of CBA’s PracticeLink has a new article on opportunities outside of practice. She touches on articling shortages, as well as the significant numbers of women who leave . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Solicitors v. Barristers

When the rules were changed in the 1990’s in the UK granting extended rights of audience to solicitors, I had no difficulty believing what was so commonly heard on the street at the time – the independent profession of barrister was going the way of the dodo.

I spent a week in London last month mostly among trust litigation lawyers. Of them, about half were barristers and half were solicitors. It became clear to me that the profession of barrister is alive and well. And I think I know why.

It always struck me as odd why solicitors and the . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Bloomberg Law Video: Furlong Interviewed on Cross-Border Mergers

A couple of days ago Edward Adams of Bloomberg Law’s Behind the Headlines interviewed one-time Slaw columnist Jordan Furlong on the topic of recent mergers between Canadian and U.S. law firms. Most of Bloomberg Law is behind a subscription paywall, but there’s a lot of Bloomberg video goodness on YouTube, and in this case Slaw has been given permission to show you the twelve-minute video of this interview here in the website.

Even though he’s piped in via Skype (would Google Hangout produce better quality?), Jordan is as thoughtful and informative as ever.

. . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Lawyers as Low-Hanging Political Fruit

It seems funny to me that lawyers believe that we are complete masters of our own fate. We aren’t. Each province’s Law Society Act, which creates a monopoly for lawyers and allows us to be self-governing, was created and passed by the local legislature – and it can also be changed by the local legislature.

Now, if one looks at the current political environment across Canada we see a few interesting things.

British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia will all likely go to the polls in 2013.

The Ontario Liberal party is in the midst of a leadership campaign that . . . [more]

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

Canadians Still Search for “Lawyers,” Not “Attorneys”

Up until the Judicature Acts in 1873, lawyers in England and Wales practicing in the common law courts were known as attorneys-at-law, or attorneys for short. After this time they adopted the term solicitor, which was previously used for the courts of equity. Of course in Canada lawyers are both barristers and solicitors, although neither term is used much in common parlance.

Anthony Castelli of Circle of Legal Trust recently compared searches for “lawyer,” “lawyers,” “attorney” and “attorneys” using Google Trends in the U.S. and concluded,

…the obvious the word of choice to optimize for is attorney. In the United

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

Court Technology and the Private Sector: Bridging the Chasm

Every day, Canadian courts and tribunals help resolve thousands of cases under the rule of law in a civilized, fair, impartial and independent manner. Technology has held, for decades, the promise of increased effectiveness and better efficiency. Ah… The plain enjoyment of one’s day at work when the right information is at your fingertips! If the technology objectives are simple and the outcomes easy to imagine, then why is it so difficult to rejuvenate courts and tribunals with better technology?

We strive for justice on demand that is simple from a litigant’s point of view. For example, simple cases with . . . [more]

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