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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’

Times New Roman, Coffee and Ditching Reason

One of my favourite things about being a lawyer is that legal work provides unending opportunities for problem solving.

As a youngster, I loved math best when we were focused on the solving word problems, and when algebra was introduced, I couldn’t get enough of it. Fast-forwarding to today…my legal practice consists primarily of hiring myself out to identify and analyze problems and propose a range of solutions.

I still love problem solving. That’s why two recent blog posts from SeyfarthLean Consulting CEO, Ken Grady caught my eye, both on this subject.

In The Arts of Coffee and Law, . . . [more]

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

“Old Brain Thinking”

When I left a mid-sized firm to set up my own litigation practice three years ago, to describe my approach to civil litigation I used Seneca’s famous axiom which frames my business logo – “Truth hates delay”.

That message reverberates with new power through a decision released this month by Justice F. L. Myers in Letang v. Hertz Canada.

Myers J. refused a defendant’s request to adjourn a trial to permit discovery on 465 pages of documents produced by the plaintiff a month before trial.

The new productions suggested the plaintiff’s damages were $120,000 higher than the $3.5 million sought . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

U of T Watson Team 2nd in University Competition

Congratulations to the team from the University of Toronto for their second place finish in the first IBM Watson Cognitive Computing Competition. Their legal research application Ross “allows users to ask Watson legal questions related to their case work, speeding research and guiding lawyers to pertinent information to help their case.” You can get a feel for Ross in this short video demo from the competition.

First place, and the winners of $100,000 in seed funding, went to the University of Texas at Austin for CallScout which aims to provide easy access to information about social . . . [more]

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

The Root of All Growth

Do you ever get that feeling that the universe is trying to communicate some idea or message to you? I do. There are times I find myself besieged with a persistent theme through a range of sources, from my personal reading to blog posts to conversations I’m part of. While I don’t always notice until much later, every so often I snap to attention right away.

This week has been like that. Lately, I’ve been reading and hearing a lot about the process of experimenting as a means to uncover a solution to a problem. This is, of course, the . . . [more]

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

Let the Next Generation In

The idea that any of our law societies could sanction ABS – business structures that permit fee-sharing, multi-disciplinary practice, and ownership, management and investment by persons other than lawyers – has prompted vociferous debate about whether the legal profession should change. Benchers, legal ethicists, personal injury lawyers, and academics dominate the debate, with some arguing that if there’s no prospect of benefit to the public, we shouldn’t adopt ABS, versus others who argue that if the access to justice crisis continues, we shouldn’t maintain the status quo.

Often lost in the debate are the perspectives of those who stand to . . . [more]

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

Some Ground Rules for a Constructive ABS Discussion

As is apparent from the OTLA, and the many comments on my previous post, the upcoming Bencher elections in Ontario finally have an issue that has grabbed the attention of lawyers across the province: Alternative Business Structures.

While this issue may drive better voter participation in the April election, it has also greatly divided the profession in this province.

One can already see the huge generational rift among lawyers; those at the twilight of their careers fighting to retain a 19th Century business model, while younger lawyers want to move the profession into the 21st Century so as . . . [more]

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

Back to the Future of Lawyers

For the Generation X lawyers on this site, 2015 has special significance. This was the year that Marty McFly from Back to the Future II travelled to, specifically on October 21, 2015.

Many of us who saw this movie back in 1989 wondered how much of this fictional reality would actually come true. One prediction in particular is of interest to those of us who have ended up being lawyers,

Marty McFly: You said this had to do with my kids.

Doc: Look what happens to your son.

Marty McFly: [Reading the newspaper from 2015]

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

Anti-ABS Arguments Continue to Be Based on Emotion – Not Fact

I’m tired.

Tired of ABS fear-mongering.

Tired of disingenuous and protectionist arguments made by those who know very little about ABS – yet are fiercely opposed to it.

And tired of the misinformation being floated by ABS opponents.

Now I know what it was like in the McCarthy-era.

Lawyers (particularly trial lawyers) are trained to argue a position based on logic and evidence – not hyperbole and emotion.

OTLA’s recent pronouncements in the Law Times on December 29, 2014, are particularly troubling:

“We have studied ABS from the time it was first raised by the law society in the . . . [more]

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

Creative Use of Six Sigma Tools

I am on a path toward certification in Lean Six Sigma; I should probably say further certification since I passed a Green Belt certification exam in November. One of the most interesting aspects of the courses that I am taking is the introduction to a plethora of analysis tools. One such tool is the House of Quality.

A House of Quality is a method to reconcile what customers want with what can be designed. Often referred to as “Quality Function Deployment”, this tool originated in Japan (in a shipyard), and it graphically links customer needs to product capabilities. It also . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

IBM’s Watson Is in Town!

In fact, Watson has been downtown learning about law and legal research at the University of Toronto since sometime early this fall. IBM approached 10 schools and challenged them to “put an entrepreneurial spin on Watson’s artificial intelligence.” U of T was the only Canadian university invited to participate in this IBM Watson Cognitive Computing Competition. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Death Knell for the Billable Hour? Bank of Nova Scotia v. Diemer ONCA

In this important decision released 1 December 2014 the Court of Appeal for Ontario upheld a motions judge’s refusal to approve a court appointed receiver’s fees, and comments on the undesirable features of the billable hour model.

The motions judge held the legal fees charged were “disproportionate ” to the size of the receivership, that the usual or standard rates were too high, and that excessive work was done by senior counsel on routine matters. The judge found the fees charged “greatly exceed” what he viewed as fair and reasonable.

Relying on its inherent supervisory jurisdiction over a receiver’s requests . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Achieving the Fundamental Goal of the Civil Justice System

Justice David Brown delivered a paper on 21 November 2014 at the Carleton County Law Association Annual Meeting in which he sets out a 5 point action plan for moving the judicial system towards achieving its fundamental goal – the fair, timely and cost effective determination of civil cases on their merits.

You can read it here:

This is “Part 2” to the paper Justice Brown presented last June at the OBA end of term dinner on creating a sustainable civil justice system. (My post on it is here.)

It offers some concrete solutions to some of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice