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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

Pipeline to a Diverse Bench

Women lawyers, between 2006 and 2015, applied for superior court judicial appointments in Canada at roughly half the rate of men in the same time period, reports Cristin Schmitz in the September 16, 2016 issue of The Lawyers Weekly. In her article, Women Not Applying for Federal Benches, Schmitz reports the following previously unpublished statistics on who is seeking federal judicial appointments in Canada:

  • 1,531 women and 3,244 men applied between January 23, 2006 and October 19, 2015
  • 188 women and 396 men were appointed to federal courts during this same decade
  • Judicial advisory committees recommended 1,236 of the 3,003
. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

The Big Data Problem for AI in Law

Artificial intelligence is a big deal. It will change our society, and the way we do things. Just maybe not immediately, and in law it might be even longer.

The function of artificial intelligence is directly connected to the concept of big data. The superior functioning of artificial intelligence over current processes is based in part on the superior ability of computing large amounts of information, data sets that are so large and so complex that the traditional means of processing this information simply isn’t adequate enough when compared to techniques like predictive analytics.

For this reason, much of the . . . [more]

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

The Rise of the Polyamorous Family: New Research Has Implications for Family Law in Canada

On 20 June 2016, the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family began a study on Canadian perceptions of polyamory, advertised with the assistance of the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association, gathering preliminary data with a public survey. The information gathered thus far, from the 547 people who answered our survey, paints a fascinating picture of polyamorous individuals and their family arrangements, and has important implications for the future of family law in Canada.

The polyamorous families we are looking at are those created by three or more freely consenting adults, in distinction to faith-based, and usually patriarchal, forms . . . [more]

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

Taking My Own Advice

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted here. That’s mostly because I’ve been working hard at taking my own advice this summer, focusing on taking real breaks from my work, scheduling time for fun and doing things I love. Not all the time, mind you. Sometimes I forget what I know to be true about how to maintain a sense of balance in my life and fall off the rails awhile.

There’s that trigger word — balance. I know some of you may be about to quit reading. For many lawyers, the concepts of balance and wellness are anathema to what . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Franchise Law Tenet: Disclosure! Disclosure! Disclosure!

LAWPRO is seeing an increase in claims against Ontario lawyers by franchisees and franchisors. These claims tend to involve significant damages which often approach or exceed the available limits under the primary LAWPRO policy.

Franchises are governed by the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), 2000 (the “Act”) which was enacted by the Ontario government to provide protection to franchisees in relation to their dealings with franchisors, and to address the imbalance of power that exists between the parties.

Franchisees often share similar characteristics: They are not sophisticated business people or are not experienced with franchises; they are running a “mom-and . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Mediation Works: Should Mandatory Mediation Be Expanded?

The Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family had the opportunity to survey the participants of the 2014 National Family Law Program in Whistler, BC, a popular and well-attended legal education program that attracts hundreds of judges and lawyers from across the country. Among other things, we asked lawyers how their files typically resolved and the results were astonishing.

Probably the most important conclusion to be drawn from the 176 responses to our survey was that less than a tenth of lawyers’ files are resolved at trial (9.3%). The lion’s share of our files are resolved through negotiation (40.7%) . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Hello, My Name Is…

… Pulat Yunusov. This is my first blog post here. You may have read my columns on Slaw (A Proposal for Automated Online Dispute Resolution, Part 1; and What Is Blockchain and Why It’s Important for Law Practice) and a piece on the recent CBA startup competition.

Expect more of the same! I am interested in two things: how law practice is changing and how technology is affecting that change.

I spend most of my public-facing time in my litigation practice. When I founded it in 2011, I wanted to do a few things from scratch . . . [more]

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

Steer Clear of Real Estate Claims by Asking These Five Questions on Every Deal

The real estate lawyer’s job is more than just conveying title, and not every matter will be straightforward. Communication errors and inadequate investigation are the biggest causes of real estate claims at LAWPRO, respectively 41 per cent and 26 per cent of claims reported in the past 10 years. Busy, high-volume practices often lead to situations where the lawyer is not taking the time to communicate with the clients properly.

Lawyers need to take the time to speak to clients to ensure they’ve gathered all the relevant information.

Here are five questions lawyers should be asking their clients or themselves . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Law Firm Managers Need Training in Organizational Behaviour

We often hear that lawyers are trained in the law, not in how to operate a business. One of the most basic management skill lacking though can be found in the field of organizational behaviour (OB).

Dr. Larry Richard recently gave a talk at the CBA conference in Ottawa, where he presented “breakthrough ideas to boost your engagement.” The need for employee engagement is even more important during turbulent economic times, when law firms are facing considerably more instability than in the past. Much of what he had to offer corresponded with the OB skills deficit.

Dr. Richard noted that . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Open a File for Pro Bono Matters Too

Pro bono work is something nearly every lawyer does occasionally. Here’s one practical tip for avoiding some pro bono pitfalls: open a file for every matter you handle.

By “open a file”, we mean treat the work like you would any other work. Run a conflicts check; diarize deadlines; document the client’s instructions, your advice and the steps you take; and docket your time (even if you won’t bill it).

Treating an “off-books” matter like any other case makes it less likely that you will skip steps, overlook conflicts or deadlines, or fail to take the notes that may protect . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Canadian Bar Association Runs a Startup Competition at Its Annual Conference

Imagine the taxi industry investing in Uber. Well, maybe it should have.

Despite the comparisons between lawyers and the taxi industry, the preeminent lawyers’ organization in Canada—the Canadian Bar Association, is running the Pitch—a contest to select the best legal tech startups in the country. The Pitch takes place at the CBA Legal Conference on August 12, 2016. The CBA partnered up with important players from the startup world to reward the winners.

The China Angels Mentorship Program will consider all Pitch finalists for at least a $200,000 investment.

The winners of the Pitch will also get . . . [more]

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

Hassles: Transforming Court Services

When it comes to court services and legal services, there is a huge gap between what customers really want and what they settle for. Those gaps between what people really want and what they settle for represent opportunities for new products.

In Demand Adrian Slywotzky writes that each hassle (a needless step) is a problem and that answers to problems represent possible business ideas. As it currently stands, using court services requires overcoming many hassles. And, like the hassles associated with buying books in stores, the Internet has made many of the steps associated with using court services unnecessary. For . . . [more]

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