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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

Need for Emotional Intelligence (EI) When Deploying Artificial Intelligence (AI)

One year after the CBA Futures Report, the debate over ABS still rages on and appears to be the most contentious issue, even while foreign firms state they’re eyeing our territory for opportunities. Although there are concerns about professionalism, much of the resistance, especially by personal injury lawyers, is based in protectionism.

Yet ABS may be the great bait and switch of legal innovation. The alternatives to practice may not come in the form of other business structures, but in other technological structures which allow for law to be conducted in different ways.

Legal services rely on enormous amounts of . . . [more]

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

Moral Outrage and Social Media: The Perfect Storm

Cecil the Lion has dominated world headlines since the announcement of his killing at the hands of American dentist Walter Palmer. Cecil’s death has brought the controversial practice of trophy hunting, the serious issue of poaching and the concerns of the animal conservation movement into the spotlight.

Cecil the Lion – photo source: Wikipedia

The outcry has been especially prevalent on social media, where news is amplified and extended at rapid pace. Lawyers representing clients accused of criminal, defamatory or regulatory transgressions are often wary of how online attention can remain focused on an issue long after traditional outlets have . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Marketing

When Bloggers Get Appointed to the Bench

In 2015, practitioners in all types of firms blog. It’s a necessity of modern practice these days, and most have come around to understanding the importance of some social media presence.

If you don’t create your online footprint, someone else will for you – usually a disgruntled client.

One of the prerequisites to being appointed to the bench though is that you have to be a lawyer, usually for a good number of years. Although we’ve seen blogging lawyers appointed to the bench in recent years, and Slaw is one of the few sites where we’ve had guest judge bloggers, . . . [more]

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

Drama at the Quebec Bar Escalates Into Legal Action

The suspended Bâtonnière of the Quebec Bar Association, Lu Chan Khuong, has filed a lawsuit against the association and its administrators to overturn the suspension and reinstate her until the court determines whether the association’s board of directors had the right to relieve her of her duty. (Find the background here on Slaw.) Khuong is also seeking $95,000 in damages. . . . [more]

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

The Winds of Change

A strong west wind is blowing across my prairie landscape this week. After weeks of heat and humidity warnings and near-daily thunderstorms, there’s a change in the air. The sun is nearly set by 9 p.m. Small flocks of Canada geese are beginning their flight training. The day lilies in my garden have lost their bloom and summer is passing before my eyes.

The winds of change are blowing across Manitoba’s legal landscape as well. The Law Society of Manitoba’s latest Communique 2.0 newsletter outlines some of the changes in legal governance on the horizon for Manitoba lawyers, including entity . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Motivating Customer Service

Continuous improvement, process improvement, lean, six sigma, kaizen, and all of the other descriptors for changing to be more effective and efficient have the core value of providing the best possible customer service. Customers are external clients and also internal clients, for example users of the network are the clients of the IT department.

In law firms, it is pretty straight forward to be motivated to give excellent customer service to external clients. It may not always easy for everyone to consistently act on the motivation, but that is a separate issue. It is a bit more esoteric to connect . . . [more]

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

Post-Vacation Productivity

Summer vacations give us time to relax, recuperate and reconnect. But eventually we also have to deal with reality.

If you’re back at the office trying to recall what it was like to spend the morning reading a novel instead of an opinion letter, here are a few ways to ease your transition back into work mode.

Before you leave

  • Jot down a to-do list sorted by priority and deadline.
  • Communicate clear expectations about your availability while away. Some lawyers refuse to create vacation alerts, lest clients or colleagues think they’re human. Don’t fall into this trap – you won’t
. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Legal Innovations: A Few of Our Favorite Things

Innovation means different things to different people – to some, it’s about a small tweak that makes a big difference; to others, it’s a complete disruption in the force.

In Canada, the discussion about legal innovation has lately become bogged down in the debate over alternative business structures (ABS). But that’s not where innovation begins or ends.

On July 23, Friedrich Blase of Thomson Reuters and Natalie McFarlane of LawLignment will host a CBAFutureschat to discuss favourite legal innovations – just what do you define as a legal innovation? What tools make your business model possible? What innovations have you . . . [more]

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

Small Claims Court Awards $2,500 in Damages and $5,300 in Costs

The Courts of Justice Act in Ontario contains a provision which limits the award of legal costs in Small Claims Court to 15 per cent of the amount claimed unless “the court considers it necessary in the interests of justice to penalize a party or a party’s representative for unreasonable behavior in the proceeding.”

This provision makes it impossible for many lawyers to litigate cases in Small Claims Court in a cost effective manner. In short, the amount of fees that will be charged to the client will be disproportionate to the amount of the potential overall recovery.

In a . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law

The Cultural Shift Observed Post-Hryniak

The SCC’s decision in Hryniak v. Mauldin last year was expected to foster a cultural shift on the effective use of judicial resources, in particular in areas like Toronto where courts are cluttered with arguably needless motions. Justice Karakatsanis stated,

[2] Increasingly, there is recognition that a culture shift is required in order to create an environment promoting timely and affordable access to the civil justice system… [3] Summary judgment motions provide one such opportunity…

[5] To that end, I conclude that summary judgment rules must be interpreted broadly, favouring proportionality and fair access to the affordable, timely and just

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

Therapeutic Interventions and the Alienated Child: Whose Interests Are We Serving, and How Are We Serving Them?

I’ve just finished writing a paper on alienated and estranged children for an recent seminar provided by the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, their tenth Biennial Family Law Conference. The paper’s subject matter has lingered with me, in particular certain concerns about the therapeutic options available to the court once alienation has been established.

I will assume that readers have at least a passing familiarity with the concept of parental alienation. Very briefly, a child’s relationship with a parent can be damaged, sometimes severed, as a result of the behaviour of the rejected parent, the behaviour of . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Drama at the Quebec Bar Association: Bencher Suspended After Shoplifting Allegations

On July 3, 2015, Quebec lawyers found out that the recently elected (63% of votes) bencher of the Quebec Bar Association, Me Lu Chan Khuong, was suspended with pay from her duties by the board of directors of said association. . . . [more]

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