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Archive for ‘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

College of Law Practice Management Futures Conference

If you missed the 2012 Futures Conference and Annual Meeting of the College of Law Practice Management in Washington, D.C. late last month (as I unfortunately did), then you also missed out on an extraordinary exploration of change and innovation in the legal marketplace.

Here are two excellent summaries of what went down at the Futures Conference:

• Ron Friedmann of Fireman & Co., co-chair of the conference, published an extensive report at his Strategic Legal Technology blog titled “Overview of the New Legal Normal.” Key quote: “One panelist noted that given how many consumers cannot afford . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Legal Thoughts Induced by the Dentist’s Chair

Today I went to the dentist – an experience that most people loathe as much as going to a lawyer.

As I lounged in discomfort, I had several thoughts:

First, I knew exactly how much I was going to pay for the professional services being rendered. Most dental work is done on a fixed fee basis, no matter how long, or how little time, the procedure may take. Some work, could, as my dentist explained to me take longer, but it all balances out in the end by other quicker work.

Small legal practitioners like myself understand the concept of . . . [more]

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

Growth Is Dead, the Must-Read Series

Adam Smith, Esq. is on a roll. Or at least, Bruce MacEwen, author of the Adam Smith, Esq. blog is. His blog posts, “Growth is Dead” have been an on-going series looking at the changes to “BigLaw” since the economic problems of 2008.

Revenues of firms have significantly dropped since that time. One pressure is coming from clients with respect to pricing. From Part 1 of the blog:

Simply put, clients are pushing back as never before. Among other things, they are:

  • serious, for the first time, about alternative fee arrangements, caps and blended rates, rate freezes, and so on
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Reading: Recommended

Lower Legal Cost – Same Legal Expertise?

Yes it is possible.

And from it follows increased access to justice, as night follows day.

Re-reading Richard Susskind’s book “The End of Lawyers?” this weekend, I was struck by how straightforward it is.

Advocacy cannot be replaced by improved technology or outsourcing. It is like an element: it cannot be further reduced. Quality advocacy is the result of the proper analysis of facts, and preparation. It may be improved by experience, but the advocate must have dissected out what has to be proved, and must know the factual record cold. There are no shortcuts.

The client cannot expect to . . . [more]

Posted in: 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?

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