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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’

Climate Change Class Actions Could Spur Greater Emergency Preparedness

There are no such things as natural disasters, only situations with disastrous consequences due to lack of social preparedness. This sentiment was a quite common one to encounter during my time working in emergency management. For example, Ilan Kelman states,

The term “natural disaster” is often used to refer to a disaster which involves an event originating in the environment. The term has led to connotations that the disaster is caused by nature or that these disasters are the natural state of affairs. In many belief systems, including Western thought, deities often cause “natural disasters” to punish humanity or

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

A New Generation Requires New Structures for Law Firms

The early articling hire-back numbers look dismal for a number of firms in Toronto, and this, coupled with the lengthening number of years that it takes associates to make partner – if they ever do – and the merry-go-round of serial lateral partners, should make all lawyers stop and think about how this environment is shaping the next generation of Canadian lawyers, and in turn, the structure of legal services providers.

My friend, consultant, John Chisholm was recently quoted in Australia’s, Lawyers Weekly. “I hear from senior associates who have had to wear the fact that their partnership prospects . . . [more]

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

Where’s the Lawhacker Website?

I am an avid reader of the website Lifehacker. Every day, there are new posts on an incredible range of topics with the single goal of making life easier. Yesterday, for example, there were hacks on communicating with seniors, peeling hardboiled eggs, getting roadside assistance for your bicycle and applying the GTD philosophy in dealing with your emails.

Lifehacker absolutely lives up to its motto:

Tips, tricks, and downloads for getting things done.

I’ve noticed that Lifehacker has a way of pinpointing issues in my daily life that I’ve not yet identified as issues, and in many cases, . . . [more]

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

Career Coaching Begins in Law School

Last week I suggested that we need a greater emphasis on the students in legal education, instead of publications and sponsorship. A positive school experience as a student will typically result in an employee who is more engaged in their profession and experiences higher levels of well-being. The reason why this is important is because law school faculty have tangible effects on the trajectory of a lawyer’s career.

A new Gallup-Purdue study has shown that a student’s experience in school matters far less than the school they went to. The study suggests that what students are doing in school and . . . [more]

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

Future Law, Free Law?

The second annual FutureLaw Conference took place last Friday at Stanford University. Hosted by Codex – Stanford Center for Legal Informatics this was a conference “focusing on how technology is changing the landscape of the legal profession and the law more broadly.”

Judging by the comments in the storified #FutureLaw Twitter stream it looks like it was a very interesting and successful event. It was also live streamed and the day’s videos will be made available soon for those of us unable to attend.

Richard Susskind opened the proceedings with a talk entitled, “The Future of Lawyers: From Denial . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology

With TWU Decisions – Whither the Federation of Law Societies?

There has been much discussion about Trinity Western University (“TWU”) law school and whether or not, students who go to there should be able to practice law in Canada. I have no intention of wading into this very polarizing debate. What is more interesting, is the impact of three very different decisions about TWU, made by three different law societies.

No matter how one feels about TWU, one must consider the impact of any decision.

Decisions cannot, and should not, be made in a vacuum.

So, let’s recap.

The Federation of Law Societies claims to be the national co-ordinating body . . . [more]

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

Online Dispute Resolution, Courts and Tribunals: What Are the Threshhold Issues?

Many people are only starting to get used to the idea of ODR – Online Dispute Resolution. ODR uses increasingly familiar things, like online communication and information sharing, and uses the internet to combine them with dispute resolution. But what is stopping us from combining ODR with our justice systems?

In his CBA Legal Futures Initiative report, Key Trends in the Marketplace, Professor Richard Susskind invited us to contemplate whether court is a service or a place. If we commit to the view that it should be a service, then ODR would seem poised to become a key delivery . . . [more]

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

When I Stopped Vomiting, I Learned to Hate Teraview

Technology, particularly legal technology is supposed to make the delivery of legal services more convenient. However, sometimes lawyers get in the way and muck things up. Teraview is a perfect example.

Back in the day, anyone could walk into the local registry office and register any document they wanted. Since the mid-1980s registration documents were not witnessed, nor were signatures checked. The system was one of openness and accessibility.

Then along came Teraview – which allowed registration from anywhere in Canada via the internet. A seemingly great idea that would make real estate transactions faster and smoother. However, everyone forgot . . . [more]

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

What Would Happen to the Profession of Law if It Became a Business?

We’re obviously talking about the high-minded ideals of the profession, and not the day-to-day reality of a sole practitioner trying to balance the books, but lawyers historically don’t like to think of themselves as being part of the rough and tumble of the business world.

The fear is that lawyers who are worried about the business end of the business will be distracted from their higher purpose – how do you preserve justice when at the same time you need to promote shareholders’ interests?

This sort of philosophical rhetoric is really the purview of big firms with separate accounting departments. . . . [more]

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

Red Bean Buns and Law

I was in my wife’s favourite Chinese bakery the other day searching for red bean buns. The décor is nothing special, but the baked goods are exceptionally well done and insanely fresh! It’s no wonder then that we’re willing to travel a little bit out of our way to go there. And judging by the line-ups, many others feel the same way.

There are other places we can go to in Chinatown for baked goods, but we choose this one because of the quality of their goods. And they can compete against other bakers on quality because none of the . . . [more]

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

Could It Be Time for Apprentices Again?

It wasn’t so long ago that would-be lawyers didn’t go to law school. Instead, they were apprenticed to experienced lawyers and learned their skills on the job.

It wasn’t until the 1950s and 60s in Canada that law degrees became de rigeur and apprenticeships were compressed into an articling year to be completed before writing the bar exam.

Flash forward to an age of soaring law school tuition rates and declining job openings, when students complain of heavy debts and a lack of practical training, and suddenly the age-old apprenticeship seems like a suitable tool for modern times.

“Adding apprenticeship . . . [more]

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

Guidelines to Sharia Law in Great Britain

On March 13, 2014, the Law Society of England and Wales announced that it had released guidelines to help solicitors in the United Kingdom apply Sharia law succession rules. Specifically, the guide deals with drafting wills, trust issues and disputes over estates, and explains in detail how to write wills that respect Islamic traditions while complying with UK law.
Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Foreign Law