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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’

CBA Looks Into Legal Futures With Susskind

Canadian Bar Association Young Lawyers National Directorate

I just wrapped up meetings this weekend in Montreal with the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) Young Lawyers conference. The National Directorate from across Canada conducted brainstorming and discussions on issues of importance to young lawyers, particularly the future of the profession.

As expected, the articling debate in Ontario has been closely watched in other jurisdictions. Young lawyers across Canada are thinking deeply about where entry to practice licensing should end up. You can read some of my thoughts about the motion passed this week at Convocation in an article yesterday by Kirk . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Articling Debate Exposes Convocation’s Flaws

Today the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) once again considered the issue of what to do with articling in Ontario.

Once again, the matter was webcast so that all could see the debate.

Once again, viewers were shocked by what they saw.

Once again, Benchers came across as clubby and out-of-touch.

Time and again, they stood up and made verbose, rambling arguments based on nothing more than anecdotes, personal experience and emotional pleas.

Given that most are litigators, it’s astounding that so many do not understand how to make brief, pithy remarks; they’ve clearly been trained (perhaps during articling) . . . [more]

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

Legal Need in Australia (And Canada)

The Law and Justice Foundation of New South Wales has published a series of reports on legal need in the various states and the country as a whole based on empirical surveys. The Legal Australia-Wide Survey: Legal need in Australia, for example:

provides the first comprehensive quantitative assessment across Australia of an extensive range of legal needs on a representative sample of the population. It examines the nature of legal problems, the pathways to their resolution, and the demographic groups that struggle with the weight of their legal problems.

The Legal Australia-Wide Survey

had the largest sample of the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

The Future of Articling – in Canada

There have already been several posts on Slaw and elsewhere about the current articling debate in Ontario.

As one of the invited moderators of the debate I have been actively involved in reflecting and commenting on the issues, and I’m quickly coming to the conclusion that this could be the start of changes across Canada. A recent article in The Lawyers Weekly noted that even though Manitoba graduates currently can find articling positions, the situation there may drastically change because of what is going on in Ontario.

Where We Are Right Now

During October Convocation a number of legal organizations . . . [more]

Posted in: 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