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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’

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

A Teaching Hospital for Law School Graduates

After a visit to the Mayo Clinic, the dean of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University decided that there was a need for a “teaching hospital” for law school graduates to gain experience and learn their trade while being assisted by experienced lawyers. Thus, this summer, Arizona State is setting up a non-profit law firm for some of its graduates to work under seasoned lawyers and be paid to provide a wide range of services at relatively low cost to the residents of Phoenix.
Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: Law Schools, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Legal Innovator’s Round Table

Having coffee one day with Mitch Kowalski, whom I met through these pages, the idea bubbled up of regular informal meetings of like-minded legal professionals interested in delivering legal services in a way that suits the 21st Century – not the 19th.

No agendas, no speakers, no membership lists — just a regular place and time for people to drop in and chat about what we’re doing, following or finding in our efforts to make the legal profession more like a modern business.

Mitch took the important step of actually organizing it. The first meeting took place . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

De-Constructing Legal Services

Last Fall, I read an article about the General Counsel for Kia who creates tests for his external legal counsel. The tests have nothing to do with law and everything to do with process. In one test, external counsel should have taken 20 minutes to complete a mundane task using an excel spreadsheet. The average time taken by Kia’s nine outside law firms? Five hours. Simon Fodden also has a great piece on this, here.

There are many takeaways from this, but an important one is that its shows that lawyers are not always the most efficient personnel . . . [more]

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

Kia’s Outside Counsel Tech Audit

There’s a series of three articles over on’s Law Technology News that you might find interesting. D. Casey Flaherty, corporate counsel for Kia Motors America, came to the realization that the billable hour was often spent in . . . well, unnecessary ways. Particularly:

[T]echnological incompetence is endemic to the [legal] profession; and the quantity of resources wasted on busywork is shameful.

As a consequence he devised a test, an audit, of potential outside counsel for Kia, and has run it nine times. His articles (The Origin of the Outside Counsel Tech Audit, Kia Motors Tests Outside . . . [more]

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

ABS – the Fear in Canada Is Palpable

The ABS debate continues among many Canadian provinces. The Law Society of British Columbia has already made the same mistake as the American Bar Association recently made by declining to allow outside investment in law firms. One of LSBC’s reasons was that local lawyers didn’t feel a need for it; this reminds me of a comment made by a lawyer in the UK and likely echoed by some in Canada, “We’re smart people. If there was a better way to do things we would have already figured it out.” Or to more bluntly put it, LSBC’s rationale is like asking . . . [more]

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

Paper Tiger Fences

The Vancouver Sun recently described the issue of insufficient access to justice in British Columbia as a “fast-approaching cliff” and urged the Law Society of British Columbia to lead efforts to address the problem.

That article reminded me of the oft-cited metaphor used by Richard Susskind in describing legal services as providing either a fence at the top of a cliff or an ambulance at the bottom.

The United Nations’ Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor, in its’ 2008 report Making the Law Work For Everyone identified access to justice as one of four pillars to legal empowerment of . . . [more]

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

Law School vs. Lawyer School

The American Bar Association’s Task Force on the Future of the Legal Education met this past weekend to discuss what is seen as an urgent need for bold changes in the legal education in the United States, as reported in a New York Times article

According to this article, some of the suggested changes are described as follows:

Many recommended reducing the core of law school to two years from three to cut costs. Others suggested that college juniors should be encouraged to go directly to law school, the bar exam should be simplified, accreditation standards should be relaxed

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

What if the Western Provinces Saved the Profession?

Last week I missed my appointed blog date – but for a good reason. I was honoured to speak at the Law Society of Alberta Plenary Session as part of the CBA winter conference in Edmonton. While few would suggest Edmonton as a preferred January destination, for me it was a hotspot of discussion around change in the legal services industry.

I continually find that west of the Upper Canadian border, law societies become progressively more forward-thinking and open to changing things in the public interest. It seems to me that law societies east of the Rockies and west of . . . [more]

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

Don Tapscott Interview – Making Internal Collaboration Work

Don Tapscott, author, speaker and advisor on new technologies and media, was interviewed by McKinsey Quarterly back in September 2012, and a video excerpt plus transcript of the interview was released last month. See: Making internal collaboration work: An interview with Don Tapscott. This interview has been raising questions around the web, and thought it would be useful to look at it here on SLAW.
Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology: Office Technology

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