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Archive for ‘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

The Lord Chief Justice’s Report 2015

Last week the UK’s most senior judge delivered his annual report to Parliament. It echoes many of the concerns being discussed in Ontario.

The report describes the UK judicial system as now “unaffordable to most”, and the current court system as “not really designed” for the increased number of self represented litigants.

Two areas where the judiciary has pressed its views concerning civil justice are: the need for proportionality between the costs of a case in relation to the value of the claim; and the succession of significant court fee increases.

To address the costs proportionality issue, the judiciary is . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Is Doc Review Legal Work?

It has been said that over 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years alone.

The proliferation of documents has changed the way legal work is done. Litigation files with thousands or even millions of documents have spawned an entire industry devoted to document review. Wikipedia defines document review as “the process whereby each party to a case sorts through and analyzes the documents and data they possess … to determine which are sensitive [privileged] or otherwise relevant to the case.”

In Ontario, Deloitte has a department devoted to document review. It is filled with . . . [more]

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

Drum Machines and the Legal Profession

An interesting post by lawyer and cognitive scientist Peter Macmillan, was captured in part by comments in the LinkedIn Legal Innovation and Technology group, caught my attention last week. In his post, “Robot Lawyers are Not the Future,” Macmillan begins by noting that “industry outsiders are pushing technologies that many believe will transform the legal profession from a technological backwater to a shining example of cognitive computing.”

And, although he knows that advances in technology will not stop happening, he contends that, “Robot Lawyers are not the future, at least not in the sense that they’ll rule . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

May 2016 Be the Year of Collaboration

“Being a giver is not good for a 100-yard dash, but it’s valuable in a marathon.” – Adam Grant, Give and Take 

In each jurisdiction, the same issues frequently arise, causing counsel to duplicate work. For example, let’s say you are litigating a case where informed consent plays a central role. As competent defence counsel, you research the law on informed consent and draft a corresponding memo on the case law. Down the street, defence counsel on a separate case has the same central issue. They also research the law on informed consent and draft a memo. Both are medical . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice