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Archive for ‘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

How Will Technology Change the Practice of Law?

“It’s hard to take law and technology seriously when they still have a typewriter at the courthouse – and a pen remains the judge’s weapon of choice.”

That statement from Ottawa lawyer Bryan Delaney neatly sums up the paradox faced when talk turns to incorporating new technology into legal services – some may be riding technology’s cutting edge, but other parts of the profession are still tootling around in granddad’s jalopy.

Tuesday night’s CBA Legal Futures Twitterchat, hosted by My Legal Briefcase founder Monica Goyal, featured participants representing a full range of practitioners, from traditional to tech-based. There seemed to . . . [more]

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

What Legal Consumers Want

Legal Futures this week posted on the results of the third annual survey of what clients want from their legal service provider, conducted by legal technology service provider Peppermint Technology in the United Kingdom.

The post included two points that caught my eye. First, the survey found that clients are concerned about whether their legal advisor is able to provide online accessibility:

“There is now a significant body of businesspeople for whom online access has become a necessity of their working life,” the report said. “If their legal advisers are not perceived to be up to speed with this development,

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Technology and Law’s Future: A Twitterchat

Richard Susskind’s popular book “The End of Lawyers” highlights a future where disruptive technological change and increased commoditization of legal services fundamentally changes the practice of law. Susskind and others have written on the power of automation, of computers not just changing the way we practice law, but possibly bypassing lawyers completely.

As algorithms take over an increasing amount of the investment market, and surgeons rely more on the precision of robots, what is to stop computers from taking over the practice of law?

There are examples of this sort of automation already occurring in Canada, with companies like Diligence . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Moral Superiority

Is the exclusion of “non-lawyers” from ownership of law firms simply a relic of the belief in lawyers’ superior morals? And is lawyers’ professionalism dependent on that particular organizational structure?

Those were questions raised in Tuesday night’s wide-ranging Twitterchat hosted by Monica Goyal, a partner in Aluvion Law and a member of the CBA Legal Futures Initiative’s Innovation and Business Structures team.

One of the most frequent objections to the idea of changing the current regulations regarding the ownership of law firms is the purported impact this will have on the professionalism of those involved.

“Is the reservation to diversifying . . . [more]

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

Alternative Business Structures and the Non-Lawyer Shareholder: A Twitterchat

Currently Law Society Rules do not allow for non-lawyer ownership. While lawyers working for the government can have an attorney general who isn’t a lawyer, and individual lawyers are free to work ‘in house’ for corporations whose shareholders are not lawyers; when it comes to operating a law firm in Canada, lawyers have to be in control.

The UK and Australia allow for different legal business structures, more specifically they allow for non-licensee ownership and surprisingly with little repercussions. Advocates for liberalizing business structures say that this will lead to affordable legal services. There are a few examples of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

If at First You Don’t Succeed…

“I know lawyers who are very innovative and lawyers with very traditional practices. The latter seem to make much more money,” says Noel Semple, a self-described “lapsed lawyer and aspiring professor.”

And there, in a nutshell, appear two of the biggest impediments to innovation in the legal field: the idea that if it ain’t broke, it doesn’t need fixing, combined with the real possibility that the innovation will fail – or at the very least, that the innovator will be scrambling for money until the idea catches on.

Innovations in the legal sector – and the impediments thereto – were . . . [more]

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