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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’

The Final Say

Tomorrow I am speaking with law students at Robson Hall as part of a Do Law Differently launch event hosted by the MLSA and Canadian Bar Association. I’ve been invited to talk about my own career path, about lessons I’ve learned and what I look for when hiring.

I’ve prepared my 20 minute talk and can tell you it is full of optimism and hope for a new kind of legal profession that holds to old-school values like integrity and honour and generosity while boldly facing a new economic order that mostly values faster, better, cheaper.

Frankly, I’m not feeling . . . [more]

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

Technology as Positive Enabler

The British magazine Managing Partner has been providing information on law firm management since 1998. Their target group is the “senior management team” and they provide resources covering strategic management, case studies, analysis, and opinions from “industry experts and senior managers at leading law firms.” Their March issue reports on the ARK Group’s Legal IT conference held in London in January 2016.

In her introduction publisher Helen Donegan concludes her summary of the event this way:

“While clients were a major focus of the discussions, the question also predictably arose over the future role of the lawyer. With technological

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

Before Doing Differently, We Have to Teach Differently

During the Toronto launch of Doing Law Differently this past week, I had the opportunity to sit down with Jordan Furlong and some of the NewLaw Pioneers featured in the report. Nate Russell previously summarized the report here.

The report is important because the changes in the legal profession don’t affect anyone more acutely than law students and young lawyers, who will actually live to see the changes sweep across the industry. “This report needs to be read by every student in the country,” said Fred Headen, a past President of the Canadian Bar Association and chair of the . . . [more]

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

Doing Law Differently

I’ve been thinking about legal career paths since last week’s release of Do Law Differently, Futures for Young Lawyers. The guide, published by the Canadian Bar Association’s Legal Futures Initiative, includes Jordan Furlong’s thought-provoking analysis of the current state of the profession and commentary from a number of Canadian “new law pioneers” about the skills and competencies that lawyers will need to make the most of the opportunities ahead.

My Slaw colleague Nate Russell gave his take on this guide here yesterday. When you read it (and you should), you’ll note he’s rather less enthusiastic about the publication, . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Of Legal Futures — Darker or Better

A couple days ago CBA Young Lawyers released the 11th report in the Legal Futures Initiative, Do Law Differently: Futures for Young Lawyers. The report features profiles on 26 pioneers of the #NewLaw movement (one is my colleague Audrey Jun @AudreyyJun), and identifies emerging “new legal careers” along with the skills new lawyers will need to forge a life for themselves beyond the crumbling “old system” of equity partnership track positions, mentorship, associate positions or, well, to put it bluntly… any kind of full-time “lawyer job”. Everything is in flux and much is about to become myth over . . . [more]

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

Law Firm Regulation

Law-firm regulation is moving closer to becoming a reality in most Canadian provinces, but there are still a few misconceptions about what it is, and what it will mean for lawyers and the profession.

Nova Scotia has been studying ways to regulate legal entities, in addition to individual lawyers, for several years, and recently published a draft self-assessment tool for public discussion. The three Prairie provinces recently collaborated to publish “Innovating Regulation,” a discussion paper in which entity regulation figures prominently. The Law Society of Upper Canada also recently published a discussion paper seeking public input on entity . . . [more]

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

Stamping Out Systemic Discrimination in the Legal Professions

This weekend we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Black Law Students Association of Canada (BLSAC). The organization is one that has held special importance to me throughout law school and following, and one to which I credit much of my momentum in this field.

The conference was held this year in Toronto at the DoubleTree Hilton, immediately adjacent to the construction site of the new provincial courthouse, and historic site of the British Methodist Episcopal Church, one of the key locations of the Underground Railroad.

The Julius Alexander Diversity Moot this year was held at the Ontario Court . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Promoting Better Practices – a Proactive Approach to Lawyer and Paralegal Regulation

Among regulators across Canada, and internationally, there is increasing interest in proactive regulatory initiatives that focus on better practice management to achieve improved client service and professional conduct. Traditionally, law societies have worked to ensure proper professional conduct by establishing rules and by discipline. This is primarily a reactive, complaints-driven process.

The Law Society of British Columbia, Prairie Law Societies and the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society are all considering proactive regulation. Other regulators in Ontario have implemented forms of proactive regulation, as have legal regulators in Australia and in England and Wales.

Last June, the Law Society of Upper . . . [more]

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

Documentary Discovery: How It Should Look

A litigation culture has arisen in this province over the last three decades which extols creating and litigating peripheral procedural disputes, instead of moving towards the timely adjudication of disputes on their merits. That culture now lauds, as the skilled barrister, the motions specialist, not the final hearing expert.

The culture of creating and litigating peripheral . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

The Profession of the Privileged

Last week my Facebook feed lit up after the article by Eric Girard, “What I learned at law school: The poor need not apply”, was published in the Globe. Mr. Girard, a 3rd year student at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, was on the verge of leaving school due to his financial circumstances until a friend stepped in and, at the last minute, offered to co-sign a loan. Mr. Girard’s story ends well but it highlights some significant problems with legal education in Canada. The high cost of a legal education puts it out of reach from . . . [more]

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

Logic Models and Legal Education

Over the weekend, I had opportunity to speak with a high school student about the path to law school and into the legal profession. We spoke at some length about the importance of her pre-law education, in terms of ensuring her grades were high enough to get into law school but even more in terms of ensuring she has a strong background in relevant skills, e.g. business administration, project management, accounting or engineering. I urged her to be practical in terms of making her under-graduate choices so as to position herself well for a future in a changing profession.

The . . . [more]

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

Innovating Regulation on the Prairies

Several years ago on this site, Mitch Kowalski posed a question that merits another look. In his post “What if the western provinces saved the profession?”, Mitch asked:

What would happen if a group of western provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba for example) decided to strike out on their own and allow ABS-type structures in their jurisdictions?

His conclusion was that “…once the snowball starts rolling in any province it will be unstoppable.”

Well, it’s winter on the prairies and guess what? It’s snowing.

The law societies in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta have recently released a discussion paper on . . . [more]

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