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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’

Three Reasons Why the LPP Will Replace Articling Forever

The Law Practice Program (LPP) is about to change the way lawyers are licensed in Ontario.

The LPP is the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC)’s solution to “the articling crisis.” It’s meant to provide an alternative to law graduates unable to secure the 10-month lawyer-in-training jobs they need to become licensed in Ontario.

The gist of the LPP is that instead of 10 months of mandatory paid work at a law firm, the LPP requires only four months of paid or unpaid work experience and four months of coursework.

Starting in the 2014-2015 licensing year, the LPP . . . [more]

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

What Law School Omits to Teach You About Opening Your Own Practice

We began our respective legal practices within a year after finishing our articles; we both wanted to be able to express our personal ethics and practice law our way. We had to develop new skills, ranging from file organization to client management, grapple with unforeseen stressors, and learn to congratulate ourselves for victories big and small. Our biggest surprise was that neither law school nor former employers had ever taught us the things we needed most to run our business. So to that end, and in honour of Law Student Week at slaw, here are ten facts you may also . . . [more]

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

50 Shades of Neutrality: A Review of “Professionalism”

With an uncritical eye the Chief Justice of Ontario’s report on professionalism makes a virtuous call for higher standards of professionalism for lawyers. It is a response to the reality of declining professionalism. The report, as well as the prevailing discussion on professionalism, does not reflect certain realities. The discourse bifurcates professionalism and morality in a way that the concept of professionalism is assumed to be morally neutral. The elements of professionalism are listed as: scholarship; integrity; honour; leadership; independence; pride; spirit; collegiality; service; and balanced commercialism. Not only does the list exclude a recognition of some fundamental attributes, but . . . [more]

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

The Ethics of 24/7 Lawyering

Lawyers work hard and play hard, except for the play part. This asymmetry is owed to the great demands on time and energy that the law profession features as it clings to the old adage that being a lawyer is not a job, it’s a life. With an air of resignation, this vision of the 24/7 advocate is largely accepted. After all, it’s the law profession. Forfeiting a balanced life is just part of the deal. Whether this vision should be accepted, however, is another question. Testing the ethical soundness of the lawyer’s exemption from a work-life balance begs examination . . . [more]

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

The Changing Legal Industry Sparks Opportunities for Library and KM Professionals

In the April 20123 issue of Spectrum, the American Association of Law Libraries’ monthly magazine, I read the article “Law Firm Changes Offer Opportunities for Libraries” by Sarah Sutherland with great interest. Sutherland is Manager of Library Services at McMillan LLP in Vancouver and currently Vice-President of the Vancouver Association of Law Libraries.

In this article, Sutherland closes the loop on a couple of key legal industry ideas:

  1. “Certain aspects of the practice of law are changing”

    …the movement toward KM, alternative billing, and initiatives to automate some aspects of legal practice is a movement away

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Equation for a Trusting Relationship

We in Canada have little understanding of the legal services industry in Australia, whether this is due to geography or wilful blindness is unclear. But given our common legal heritage and commonwealth brotherhood (whenever I’m in Asia, Canadians seem to bond easiest with Aussies – in the pubs at least) we should pay much more attention to the land down under. Especially since it’s thinking on legal services delivery is years ahead of our own.

So I count myself fortunate to be able to grow my contacts in Australia.

Aussie management/legal consultant George Beaton has put me onto a post . . . [more]

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

The Rain-Maker Era Coming to a Close?

In the large business arena, we are starting to see some interesting developments that impact the way law firms are selected for work – which in turn is starting to impact the role of rain-makers in firms.

In larger companies, procurement teams are becoming more active and influential in the legal field. General Counsel are being pushed harder to do more with less and C-suite executives are becoming less convinced that selecting law firms is different from selecting property managers or other suppliers.

Procurement brings a more disciplined and rigorous approach to selecting firms that focuses on costs, but also . . . [more]

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

Law Students Take on the Dean

We’re once again inspired by the badass ways in which some law students are taking on their institutions. Earlier this month, the Dean of the Faculty of Common Law at the University of Ottawa sent out an email to all the students at the law school warning them that a student Research Assistant had filed a grievance that was against the interests of all other students. As a result, the Dean wrote, there would be less research positions available to everyone this summer. Two Stewards from CUPE local 2626, the Teaching and Research Assistant’s union, then responded to the Dean, . . . [more]

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

Changing Expectations and Changing Minds

It’s no secret that public perception of lawyers is generally poor. This was highlighted for me again when I came across the recent post 15 Things Your Clients Are Sharing About You on Twitter. While some of the clients quoted said positive things about their lawyers, many repeated a variation of the oft-heard refrain: Too expensive, too shifty and too incompetent.

Jordan Furlong recently wrote here on Slaw about the Ontario Bar Association’s proposal to enhance the image of Ontario lawyers through another marketing campaign. He concluded that the problem of poor image is a consequence of the way . . . [more]

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

Foreign Lawsuits to Fund Access to Justice?

Access to justice is a common debated theme, most notably how to get the necessary resources to improve the accessibility to and of our judicial system. It was with interest that I read today’s article from UK’s The Guardian entitled: “Foreign lawsuits may face higher UK legal fees: Justice secretary Chris Grayling says he wants to ensure that those who litigate in British courts pay their fair share.” This other article, published two weeks ago in the same newspaper, also provided some additional concrete figures and examples of foreign lawsuits being adjudicated in the UK (many of these made headlines . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

The Ugly Side of Legal Blogs

It is astonishing to me that there are practising lawyers who take time away from helping clients to write (often foul-mouthed) blogs and comments attacking those who advocate different ways to deliver legal services. In the minds of these attackers, we have “666” tattooed to the backs of our heads.

The old saying, “Is this the hill I want to die on?” comes to mind for those with boundless energy to expend trash-talking people who think differently.

It’s as if the attackers don’t follow what’s happening in the world around them (which is also exceptionally poor risk management):

Megan Seto . . . [more]

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

From Full Mobility to Outside Investment?

On February 28, 2013, the Law Society of Upper Canada became the first Canadian law society to ratify the national mobility provisions allowing for full and permanent mobility of lawyers between Ontario and Quebec.

Most Canadians will be forgiven for failing to be as joyful as the Benchers were that day, as the agreement does much to enhance lawyer mobility (and hence fee-earning capability), but does nothing to address access to justice.

The Law Times piece on this matter was done by Yamri Taddese and can be found here.

How much better it would have been if Benchers had . . . [more]

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