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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

All the Ways Your Legal Skills Can Be Used

A law degree opens doors. One of those doors is the internal reigns of a company or large corporation, the role we often refer to as general counsel (also known as in-house counsel).

The increased importance of general counsel in the business world is worth emphasizing. The sheer numbers of general counsel between the 60’s and 80’s quadrupled in America, and a moved from a middle management role to one directly involved in strategic management.

Mary Daly suggests that this shift occurred due to rising legal costs, and for this reason, this trend is unlikely to reverse. Lawyers found the . . . [more]

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

A Few Thoughts for Family Law Litigants, Part Two: Comments From the Bench and Others From Me

In my recent post “A Few Thoughts for Family Law Litigants: Why it Pays to Let Bygones Be Bygones,” I wrote about the foolishness of litigants who allow themselves to be guided by hurt feelings or desire for revenge when taking their family law dispute to court. I also gave a few examples of the typical sort of silliness I often saw in my practice when parents managed their conflict by exchanging allegations and counterallegations in affidavits, such as this gem from early in my career:

Her: “You drink all the time. You’re always drunk and there are

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law

A Few Thoughts for Family Law Litigants: Why It Pays to Let Bygones Be Bygones

Difference is a necessary part of the human condition, without which we’d be an awfully dull lot. Although difference is what gives us creativity and invention, it’s also the cause of intolerance and war, and it’s what keeps family law lawyers in business. As Martin Gore famously put it,

People are people so why should it be
You and I should get along so awfully?

There are an infinite number of reasons why committed, long-term relationships break down. Some people get bored. Some grow apart as they get older. Others just turn into assholes.

Once upon a time, thanks largely . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

“Back to Billing”: My Return to Private Practice

I started my legal career as a summer student in 2008 with what was then known as Ogilvy Renault LLP in Montreal (now known as Norton Rose Fulbright Canada (NRF)). Before discovering the firm, I had not contemplated working at a big firm but I loved the people, the practice area I chose (employment & labour) and the intense intellectual challenge of working with some of the smartest people I had ever met. I wasn’t planning on leaving. I considered myself a “lifer”.

“Life” lasted only a few years. I left the firm in 2012 to lead Employee Relations for . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

New Education Plan for Alberta Lawyers-to-Be

Alberta has been the subject of some change-related discussion lately, described with words like transformation, major change, new ways and old ways, and alignment nationwide. And I’m not referring to politics.

On May 22, 2015, the Law Society of Alberta sent Alberta lawyers and students-at-law an article offering “a glimpse into the new education plan” — which plan was rolled out this Monday, June 1, 2015.

The Education Plan addresses the articling process in Alberta: According to the article, any student who applied to be a student-at-law after June 1 is to use the new plan. The plan is also . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Practice of Law

Data-Rich {LAB} Report

There’s plenty of rich data on new lawyers in Canada to be found final report from Law and Beyond (“LAB”), a study of Canadian lawyers called to the bar in 2010. The key findings of the study, released last week by Ronit Dinovitzer, provide a glimpse into the kinds of information researchers gleaned about this cohort; for example:

  • Twenty-two percent (22%) of the LAB sample are non-white, 56% are women, and 16.4% are immigrants.
  • Women remain more likely than men to work in the public sector, even in their early careers, with more than one quarter of women
. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

The Civil Jury Trial Cheatsheet

Subject to limited exceptions, all parties litigating in Superior Court have the right to have the issues of fact tried, or the damages assessed, or both, by a jury.

Despite this fundamental right, civil jury trials are much more rare than trials conducted by judge alone.

A recent decision of Mew J., provides an excellent, comprehensive, summary of the law on civil jury trials including the law pertaining to the fundamental right to a jury trial and a detailed discussion of the law pertaining to a judge’s discretion to strike a jury notice.

The decision is a useful read for . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Driving Change in Access to Justice

Why is the idea of asking service users what they need in terms of access to justice so challenging to those working in the justice system?

This is the question that I was asking myself as I participated a recent workshop on enhancing access to justice in the area of family law, coordinated by the Manitoba Law Foundation and facilitated by John Paul Boyd.

Participants represented a range of justice system service providers and included some community voices as well. Working in small groups, we brainstormed the obstacles to access to justice and ways to provide better supports to those . . . [more]

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

Of Google Indexing the Twitter Firehose and Implications for SEO and Lawyers Who Tweet

I probably won’t be making it to the Chicago Bar Association’s CLE on “How To… Get the Most Out of Twitter” tomorrow. But that’s not to say that I wouldn’t have been choked to miss Catherine Reach’s tweet mentioning it. Mostly that’s because there was something else she linked to which caught my attention: Kevin O’Keefe’s post from last Thursday heralding that “Twitter is teaming up with Google to bring Twitter’s real-time content to Google’s search results.

So there it is. Google and Twitter are getting friendly (once more). And just when you thought Mobilegeddon was . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law: Marketing, Technology, Technology: Internet

80 Hours and Counting

I heard recently about a mid-career lawyer who is a partner in a small, boutique litigation firm, and who began her career in a large firm setting. Though now well-established in her career, she still arrives at the office early each morning and rarely leaves before midnight. Those who work with her understand that this is the expectation for them as well. I suspect she’s not at all unusual in these habits and expectations.

That’s never been my approach to work and so I struggle to understand both the motivation for that kind of work-life imbalance and how it benefits . . . [more]

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

Bencher Election? What Bencher Election?

The dust has settled on another Ontario Bencher election, but it seems that most lawyers in Ontario barely noticed.

Only 34% of eligible voters exercised their franchise in the easiest, most convenient Bencher election in history; log into the website, then click on candidate names – done in 90 seconds.

Even so, 66 percent of voters thumbed their noses at the entire process – they couldn’t be bothered to vote for even one candidate.

To anyone paying attention, the message is clear:

The vast majority of Ontario lawyers don’t care who is elected as a Bencher.

And the vast majority . . . [more]

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

Manitoba’s Legal Landscape Is Changing

The prairie landscape is notorious for its endless horizons, enabling the traveller to see far ahead. This long view is evident in recent changes proposed to regulation of the legal profession in Manitoba, changes that are clearly oriented toward the future.

As reported on Canadian Lawyer’s Legal Feeds blog last week, the Manitoba government on May 7, 2015 introduced a number of amendments to The Legal Profession Act.

The proposed amendments included in Bill 19 include:

  • Altering the composition of the governing body of benchers
  • Amending the definition of a law firm
  • Permitting the regulation of law firms
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Substantive Law: Legislation