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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

Why Face Time Matters More Than Ever

No, not the Face Time app on your iPhone, “face time” as in one-on-one meetings with direct reports and others in your firm.

As organizations pursue efficiency by automating processes, collecting loads of data and creating “lean” teams, more of us are deliberately disengaging from our work.

And we often blame management when things don’t improve. Bad management, to be exact. A 2014 Gallup poll showed that companies fail to hire proper management 82% of the time. Ouch.

What exactly makes a “good” manager? Harvard Business Review recently published a summary of research done in studies of knowledge-based . . . [more]

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

2017: Regulating Law Firm Culture

As we say goodbye to 2016, it’s time to embrace 2017. For 2017, law societies should place an emphasis on regulating law firms.

A law firm’s culture seeps into the very make-up of its constituent lawyers. An unethical culture breeds unethical lawyers. An ethical culture breeds ethical lawyers.

In “Regulating Law Firms in Canada“, Professor Adam Dodek states that the absence of law firm regulation undermines the legitimacy of law societies. I agree.

Under the pressure from law firms to meet deadlines, win cases, win motions, appease clients, and surrounded by a certain firm culture, lawyers may find . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Promoting Parenting Assessments by Discouraging Complaints

In family law disputes, parenting assessments – also called bilateral assessments, custody and access reports, parenting evaluations and so on – are reports prepared by mental health professionals aimed at providing parents and the court with recommendations about the parenting arrangements that are in the best interests of the children. Because these reports can be rather expensive and take a fair bit of time to complete, they are generally not prepared unless the parents find themselves in an intractable disagreement about the future care of their children or the capacity of a parent. Not surprisingly, the cases in which parenting . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

OHRT Challenges Infamous Family Status Test

Written by Cristina Lavecchia, paralegal, Editor, First Reference

In a recent decision (Misetich v. Value Village Stores Inc.), the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (the Tribunal) questioned the value of various past case laws that have introduced and applied different tests for family status discrimination, including the Johnstone test. More specifically, the Tribunal disapproved of the existence of distinct “tests” for establishing family status discrimination. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Proposed Nova Scotia Accessibility Legislation

On November 2, 2016, the Nova Scotia government proposed accessibility legislation to promote equality of opportunity and increase the inclusion and participation of Nova Scotians who have disabilities or functional limitations in all areas of everyday life by promoting and encouraging the prevention, reduction and removal of barriers.

Moreover, the government intends to help make Nova Scotia a more accessible and inclusive place to live and work. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, Technology: Office Technology

Dropping the Ball on a File Transfer: Rule 48 Danger for Ontario Lawyers

This article is by Ian Hu, claims prevention & practicePRO counsel at LAWPRO.

When a file is transferred from one lawyer to another, one danger is when nothing happens on the file due to a clumsy transfer or missing critical information. A new file that has not been looked at can be a ticking time bomb. Deadlines like limitation periods can pass by unnoticed, and Rule 48 administrative dismissal dates can be discovered too late. The resulting malpractice claim can have lawyers pointing fingers at each other. Consider the following tips whether you’re transferring a file or on the receiving . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

How Black Is the AI Black Box?

It’s always interesting to me how things can sometimes coalesce and synchronize around an idea. For example, I’ve been thinking about a comment that Nicole Shanahan made in a recent collection of presentations delivered at Codex, the Stanford Center for Legal Informatics. She was talking about “lawyering in the AI age” and touched on “predictive policing” where the computer is used to predict human behaviour. Based on her experience with how algorithms and data work Shanahan characterizes this as “not really a rational goal.”

However, she notes, there are products on the market today and, . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Proposed Manitoba Accessibility Standard for Employment

The Accessibility Advisory Council’s (AAC) is inviting interested stakeholders to provide their views to its initial proposal for an accessibility standard for employment. Therefore, employment is the second of five accessibility standards being developed under the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA).

The purpose of the employment standards is to remove employment barriers for persons disabled by barriers—including the obligation to provide reasonable accommodation—under the Human Rights Code. This standard will have a timeline for compliance, however, all employers must engage in emergency planning one year after the standard comes into effect.

Specifically, the employment standards have the following . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology: Office Technology

Fear and Machine Learning: AI and Legal Practice

In late September leaders from legal, business and technology gathered in New Orleans at Clio Con, also know as the Clio Cloud Conference.* Andrew Arruda, ‎CEO and Co-Founder of ROSS Intelligence, delivered a talk called, “Artificial Intelligence and the Law: Science Fiction or Science Fact?

Arruda sets out to clarify some of the misconceptions that surround artificial intelligence and demonstrate how AI is currently being used. He provides examples of AI inside and outside of the legal environment and concludes that if it’s working elsewhere it can work for law too. He then talks . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Québec’s New Signage Laws Comes Into Force on November 24, 2016

Last May we wrote about upcoming amendments to the Charter of the French Language regarding signage in French and trademarks. The amendments received public consultations from May 4 to June 18, 2016. On November 9, 2016, final amendments to the Charter under Regulation respecting the language of commerce and business and the Regulation defining the scope of the expression “markedly predominant” for the purposes of Charter of the French language were published and registered in the Gazette officielle du Québec. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Marketing, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Legal Ethics: Misleading the Court

There is advocacy, and then there is deception. Deceiving counsel should be called out, named, and shamed.

Unfortunately, it is the very lawyers that are so adept at misleading the court that are the hardest to unmask.

Judges should look out for the following red flags to know that something sinister is happening:

  1. Only one party has filed material.
  2. Important documents are intentionally omitted to mislead the court. That way counsel can try to avoid being sanctioned for expressly lying.
  3. Counsel says that the other party “should have known” that a certain point would be argued based on the pleading
. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

“The First Thing We Do, Let’s Poll All the Lawyers”

Courthouse Libraries BC (CLBC) just launched its #CLBClawyersurvey2016. Now we’re looking for sweet, precious survey fuel to reach the moon-like destination of 350 respondents—our statistically significant sample. By “survey fuel” I mean, of course, human lawyers in BC capable of clicking through a 10-minute survey. Eligible takers can start the online survey now.

CLBC has a long history in BC. We have served lawyers and the public for over 40 years in (and beyond) dozens of branches in courthouses throughout the province. This survey is the first of its kind for us, and it should help CLBC evolve  . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology