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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’

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

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