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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’

#CBAFutureschat Wrap-Up

“Is it just me,” asks a regular CBA FuturesChat participant, “or is there greater discussion and interest on ABS and technology than ethics and regulation?”

It’s not just him.

Since the CBA’s Legal Futures Initiative began conducting its Tuesday night Twitter chats in October, the greatest engagement and participation came during discussions about innovating within the legal profession with new kinds of business structures, many of them made possible by technological advances.

“Ethics” seems an immutable concept, something for philosophical debate late into the evening rather than an action item – as Joshua Lenon, in-house-lawyer for Clio, said in the . . . [more]

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

Embedded Counsel Criss-Cross the Globe

As part of my recent tour of Australia – well, the south-eastern part any way – George Beaton invited me to speak at a few of his live and taped events. One of the many points that interested me was his modelling on Axiom. As many know, Axiom provides embedded counsel to companies needing to fill gaps in its skill sets on short term bases. It has grown rapidly and profitably over the past 10 years.

According to George, Axiom, grew its revenue at a 72% compound annual growth rate from 2002 to 2011 while at the same time, . . . [more]

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

Law Society of B.C. Approves Major Changes in Regulation of Legal Services

In a news release dated today, the Law Society of British Columbia has announced approval in principal of three recommendations made in the final report of the Legal Service Providers Task Force, to wit:

  • The Law Society and the Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia seek to merge regulatory operations.
  • That a program be created by which the legal regulator provide paralegals who have met specific, prescribed education and/or training standards with a certificate that would allow them to be held out as “certified paralegals.”
  • That the Law Society develop a regulatory framework by which other providers of
. . . [more]
Posted in: Announcements, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Oz Leads the Way in Open Office Concept Law Firms

They laughed at me when I suggested that law firms should move to open concept offices for all lawyers with fun amenities like rooftop terraces.

Not possible! they yelled.

We could never get any work done! they sneered.

We need our offices! they pompously carolled.

We’re not techies working for Google! they laughed.

Now Australian law firm, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, with offices across Australia employing over 500 lawyers has proven them all wrong.

Walking into Corrs’ new Sydney office at state-of-the-art new office tower, 8 Chifley Place was like walking into a dream.

Click on image to

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology, Technology: Office Technology

Lawyers and Their Clients: Who’s in Charge?

Lawyers who practice family law in Winnipeg are familiar with the Tuesday morning motions court, known as the “zoo” for reasons that will soon be obvious. For those unfamiliar with this docket court, the recent decision of Associate Chief Justice Rivoalen in Skinner v. Skinner is instructive:

[10] There is a lot going on as the Family Motions Coordinator, parties and their lawyers navigate their way through the typical Family Uncontested Motions melée, and not only because there are so many matters on the List. Moreover, the Court’s registry staff, clerks, sheriffs, stand-by master and judges are fully engaged….


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Posted in: Case Comment, Justice Issues, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Future of Legal Writing: Online and Short Form

In 1936, Yale law professor Fred Rodell wrote “[t]here are two things wrong with almost all legal writing. One is its style. The other is its content.”

Some things never change, but the growth of legal blogging over the past decade would give hope to even Professor Rodell that not all legal writing must suffer from these twin deficiencies. In fact, the good professor might even be persuaded to accept that short form legal writing through blogs serves as a valuable source of legal scholarship.

In the context of a for-credit tech law internship overseen by the University of Ottawa . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Bay Street Hiring Described as “Bloodbath”

Times are rough for everyone, but law students are still feeling the brunt of the economic contraction as there are less and less jobs. Osgoode and Ottawa students seem to be affected the worst, while Queen’s, Western and UofT have fared slightly better. A total of 351 students were hired by Bay Street firms this year, which can be compared to 379 hires in 2012, 403 in 2011 and 444 in 2010.

Theses figures are available through UofT’s law student paper, Ultra Vires, which describes the situation as a “bloodbath.” The data was compiled through information provided by firms, . . . [more]

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

Regulating Law Practices as Entities: Is the Whole Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts?

In Canada, law is largely a self-regulating profession: our Law Societies create and administer standards of lawyer conduct as means of guarding our professional independence and promoting lawyers’ professionalism. But as the legal profession absorbs shockwaves from increasing globalization, technology, and liberalization, it’s worth asking whether the public interest continues to be served by traditional means of regulating lawyers’ conduct. As the practice of law changes and innovates, what’s the best way to ensure standards are met amongst lawyers – and how do we ensure any standards at all for non-lawyers involved in new models of legal practice?

For the . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Australia Points the Way Toward a Bright Future for Legal IT Professionals

Having spent the last 3 weeks in Australia and Hong Kong, I will be using Slaw to discuss some of the ideas and the firms that I met while out in the Wild East. *** Listen for the audible sigh of relief from everyone at the Law Society of Upper Canada as they learn that I won’t be throwing any more daggers at them – this year ***.

Australia is a beautiful country with a legal market not that dissimilar to Canada. Although with a population of about 20 million people and about 37 law schools, Australia is ripe for . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Access to Justice in Canada

If ideas and discussion about access to justice in Canada interest you, consider setting aside your next fifteen-minute break (or 13:35 of it) to hear a good presentation. Andrew Pilliar,a PhD student at UBC Law, recently delivered a TEDx talk on “why you should care about access to justice.” Andrew addresses the widespread unaffordability of legal services—including for people who would not qualify for legal aid but whose circumstances might turn dire were we to find ourselves in need of legal help.

He directs the talk to the general public, to the profession, and also specifically to law . . . [more]

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

Is Technology the Revolution?

Nearly 30 legal professionals – and who knows how many lurkers – participated in Tuesday night’s Twitterchat about legal technology and access to justice.

What if it were this easy, wondered Casey Hall from Thomson Reuters Legal, to pool time to answer those in need?

That strikes straight to the heart of the access to justice conundrum: everyone has lots of ideas about what the basic problems are and what could be done to fix them, but there appears to be more eagerness to discuss the issue than to deal with it.

That there are areas of overlap in the . . . [more]

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

Ontario Law Society Announces Providers of Alternative to Articling

The Law Society of Upper Canada has just now announced that Ryerson University and the University of Ottawa will provide the Society’s “Law Practice Program” of training for graduate JDs who choose not to, or are unable to, article. Ottawa will provide it in French and Ryerson in English. Unlike the University of Ottawa, Ryerson University has no law school.

As well, Ontario’s newest law school at Lakehead University will offer yet another alternative to articling, within its current JD program:

Additionally, the Law Society has approved another innovative option for fulfilling the experiential training component of its licensing requirements:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training, Practice of Law: Future of Practice