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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’

What Do We Really Mean, When We Talk About Diversity?

The business case for diversity is a strong one, says Omar Ha-Redeye, but paradoxically it rarely encourages change.

The issue of diversity – or the lack of it – extends across most spheres but studies have shown the legal profession to be a particularly noted offender; Dr. Arin Reeves, speaking at the 2013 CBA Legal Conference in Saskatoon this summer said this is the case no matter the country.

Diversity was the topic of the fifth weekly CBA Futures Initiative Twitterchat Tuesday night. Moderator Ha-Redeye encouraged participants to discuss the reasons for the lack of diversity in the profession, and . . . [more]

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

Paying Proper Attention to Basic Principles

I recently heard a respected lawyer comment that if the legal profession allows disputes to be resolved outside of traditional legal systems, then we cannot ensure that proper attention will be paid to basic legal principles of fairness, justice and the rule of law.

That got me wondering, do lawyers have a monopoly not only on legal practice, but also on fairness, justice and rule of law? Are we the sole keepers of these ideals, delivered to us by governments who wisely recognized that only those called to the profession of law could meet the responsibility of ensuring adherence? (And . . . [more]

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

No Easy Answer on Access to Justice

When lawyers say they can’t afford their own services, you might have an access to justice problem.

Regina lawyer Alex Shalashniy said during the CBA Legal Futures Initiative’s Twitter chat Tuesday night that he’s heard lawyers admitting they would be unable to pay their own fees if they needed a lawyer – something he calls a “telling illustration” of the access to justice problem in Canada.

A number of people participating in the third weekly Twitter chat, this one dealing with how legal services can be changed to increase access, pointed to cost as a barrier.

Corinne Boudreau, owner of . . . [more]

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

Risk Versus Odds

As some readers may know, I retain a small commercial real estate practice. I apply as much of my thinking to my practice as workable. The upside is that my practice runs on very low overhead and is cost-effective for me and my clients. It also forces me to assess risk with my clients so that I don’t negotiate every sentence of every document; which is the essence of being a “trusted advisor.”

The downside is dealing with lawyers (most of whom are from Biglaw) for whom concepts of cost-effectiveness, efficiency and thoughtfulness are completely unknown; lawyers who can’t stop . . . [more]

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

How Would You Improve CLE?

Is continuing legal education the professional equivalent of renewing your driver’s licence – requiring little of you beyond that you show up, pay your fee and get your picture taken?

That was one of the questions asked during Tuesday night’s Twitter chat this week, where the discussion focused on the utility – or futility – of CLE.

While some participants made the argument that CLE is useful – Karen Dyck, for example, says lawyers will often have an “Aha!” moment that will send them back to the office to implement lessons learned. Sara Cohen says CLE is essential, “especially for . . . [more]

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

LawPro Creates Cybercrime Coverage

♫ Digital, criminals you’ll make meals in cyber-crime Let’s all plan ahead, 2 times, I keep the chimes to a great mind… ♫
Lyrics and music by GZA, Inspectah Deck, Killah Priest.

LawPro, the Lawyers’ Professional Indemnity Company (LAWPRO) has announced that they will be providing a $250,000 sublimit coverage for eligible cybercrime losses in the 2014 policy year. LawPro is a wholly Canadian owned insurance company that provides professional liability insurance to lawyers in Ontario and TitlePLUS title insurance coast-to-coast. LAWPRO is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The cybercrime coverage appears to have been prompted by cyber attacks in . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Ontario’s ABS Struggles Continue

Earlier this month I was invited to the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Alternative Business Structures symposium. It was a bringing together of international speakers, thinkers and interested parties to discuss the possibility of allowing Alternative Business Structures (ABS) in Ontario – read: allowing outside investment in legal services providers, as is permitted in the UK and Australia.

Kudos to Benchers, Susan McGrath and Malcolm Mercer for organizing the event.

For those of us who were there, the consensus seemed to be that if ABS was allowed in Ontario the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse would not descend upon our . . . [more]

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

Growth Is Dead? for Who?

“Looking out for Number One is the conscious, rational effort to spend as much time as possible doing those things which bring you the greatest amount of pleasure and less time on those which cause pain.” Looking Out for Number One-Robert J. Ringer

I recently attended a wonderful evening hosted by Above the Law with key comments provided by Bruce MacEwen, a well known law firm strategist, commentator and lawyer who runs the consultancy and blog titled Adam Smith, Esq. Not surprisingly, Mr. MacEwen rightly has a large American following and an immense level of credibility among the AmLaw200 . . . [more]

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

On the Utility of Articles

An interesting perspective on the Canadian system of articling was offered up during this week’s Twitter chat by Valarie, @YoungSmartLegal, who has recently moved here from the United States.

“The idea of articles sort of baffles me,” Valarie said in response to questions about the advantages and limitations of articling for professional training.

Twitter chat moderator Omar Ha-Redeye noted that Canadians seem to think it’s necessary, to which Valarie responded: “In principle it makes sense, but if you’re going to a big firm it just seems like a way to keep salaries low.”

Articling students would be first-years at U.S. . . . [more]

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

On the Future of Law School

Over two and a half crisp autumn days last month, The University of Alberta Faculty of Law capped its centenary celebrations with a stimulating conference: The Future of Law School. I imagine a conference so named can either entice or repel, depending on one’s interest in the plethora of discourse on practice-ready graduates, tomorrow’s lawyers and the goals of legal education. Firmly in the camp of the enticed, I made the homecoming weekend trip to the U of A to hear the thoughts of the stellar lineup of presenters.

The keynotes, panels, and question sessions brought external experiences and . . . [more]

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

Legal Upstarts

Last Friday I attended a symposium on alternative business structures (ABS — and not to be confused with anti-lock braking systems, American Bureau of Shipping, the absolute value of a number regardless of its sign, etc.) hosted by the Law Society of Upper Canada. I hope that over the next few days, I and a couple of other Slawyers who were there, can fill you in on some of the interesting stuff that we heard (though I’m happy to say that broadly speaking none of it would have been news to a dedicated reader of Slaw). But today I want . . . [more]

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

Video of Keynote by Stephen Mayson at the College of Law Practice Management’s Futures Conference

The College of Law Practice Management’s held its 5th Futures Conference last Friday and Saturday at Chicago-Kent College of Law. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend due to work and personal commitments. However, those of us who missed it are in luck as the presentations were recorded and are available online.

If you listen to any of the sessions from the conference, I strongly recommend you listen to Stephen Mayson’s keynote: The Future of Law – Who Will Perform It? Who Will Regulate It? Stephen has said much over the years about the changing nature of law practice . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice