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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

The Best Things I Read in January 2015

Information overload! There are just too many posts, tweets and articles flying around in the Twitterverse and elsewhere on social media and the Web. None of us can even pretend keep up. And while there is a lot of spam, self-promotional crap and other junk out there, there are some real gems that get lost in the sheer volume of content thrown at us on a daily basis. The trick is finding the content that is really interesting or helpful to you in a practical way. Patience is required, hashtags and a bit of luck can help, and identifying good . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Reading, Reading: Recommended, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Plaintiff and Defendant Both Seek, and Are Denied, Leave to Appeal

Litigation produces winners and losers. Often, the loser feels that the judge got it wrong and appeals the decision accordingly.

In some cases even the winner thinks that it should have received a decision more favourable than it did and that an appeal is an appropriate route to take.

In a recent case, both the winner and the loser of a summary judgment motion thought that the motion judge got it wrong, and both sought leave to appeal.

More surprising than the fact that both sides think the judge got it wrong, is that the Divisional Court denied leave . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law

Look to Your Left, Look to Your Right…

…One of you won’t be here next year.

Variations of that famous phrase, according to legend, are routinely directed at first year law students, though now mostly in jest. Many people have been credited as being the first to warn law students that at least 1 in 3 wouldn’t be able to handle the rigours of law school and would soon be seeking other pursuits, with records suggesting the first utterances came as early as the 1930s, if not earlier. If it were ever true for law students (Hint: I doubt it. And certainly not in living memory), it is . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Incivility: Practical Consequences for You and Your Client

Debate about lawyers’ incivility – whether it’s on the increase, whether it’s worthy of concern, how it should be handled – is an ongoing one. The subject continues to be discussed, and we can expect to hear more about it in the coming months and years.

But high-profile cases aside, when does a lawyer’s conduct cross the line into unprofessional conduct, and what are the costs and other implications?

These questions are answered in a paper by Daniel Naymark of Lax O’Sullivan Scott Lisus LLP and LAWPRO’s litigation unit director and counsel Jennifer Ip. It was presented at the Advocates’ . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

First Machine Learning Course for Law Students

Daniel Martin Katz and Michael J. Bommarito II are teaching a new course on machine learning this semester at the Michigan State University College of Law. The course is called ‘Legal Analytics‘ and Katz has shared an introduction to their course on Computational Legal Studies. . . . [more]

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

Eternal Sunshine of the Legal Mind

Many years ago, when I was still early in my career as a nuclear medicine technologist, I had a co-worker named “Jackie” (not her real name), who I still think of to this day.

“Jackie” was an incredible person. She was a breast cancer survivor. She had a quirky, yet fascinating personality. And she happened to be cross-trained in both nuclear medicine and other modalities. I did everything I could to learn from Jackie, and she was always kind, patient, and understanding – basically all of the qualities we wish we encountered when we were articling, but never would because . . . [more]

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

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

Avoiding Communications Claims in Wills & Estates Law

No matter what the area of practice, the number one source of claims at LAWPRO is a breakdown in communication between the lawyer and client.

Between 2008 and 2013, nearly 4,600 communications claims – an average of 762 a year – have been reported to LAWPRO. The total cost of these claims to date is about $158 million – and likely to rise as more recent years’ claims are resolved.

In the Fall 2011 issue of LAWPRO Magazine we asked LAWPRO claims counsel with expertise in the various areas of law to provide insights into the communications mistakes they see . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

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