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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

Reminder: New Quebec Code of Civil Procedures Effective January 1, 2016

Quebec lawyers are reminded that they need to prepare for upcoming changes to the Quebec Code of Civil Procedures passed into law on February 20, 2014. These significant changes are in effect January 1, 2016, and will improve overall access to justice. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: CLE/PD, Justice Issues, Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

The Medium Is the Message

In “Legal Practice and Legal Delivery: An Important Distinction”, Mark Cohen argues that technology has transformed the delivery of legal services but not the practice of law. He defines delivery as “how services are rendered” and practice as “what lawyers do and how they do it”.

The delivery of legal services is a play with many actors…The days of law firms having a stranglehold over legal delivery have given way to the rise of in-house lawyers and departments, legal service companies, and technology companies “productizing” tasks that were once delivered as services. Again, it is not legal practice that

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology, Technology: Internet

Augmenting the Practice of Law

In a response to comments in my last blog post about IBM Watson I mentioned a presentation that Kyla Moran gave at the last American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) conference. The presentation was called, “Contestant, Doctor, Lawyer, Chef: IBM Watson Moving from Jeopardy to the Legal Landscape,” and if you’re an AALL member you can watch the recording if you click that link.

For non-AALL members Jean P. O’Grady, Director of Research & Knowledge Services, at DLA Piper in Washington D.C., reports on this session in the recent AALL Spectrum: “Hand in Hand with . . . [more]

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

WatsonLaw Next?

Thomson Reuters and IBM announced earlier this month that they will be joining forces to “enhance customer solutions across Thomson Reuters using Watson.” A very interesting, if not a somewhat inevitable, development in 21st century legal research.

In the press release Mike Rhodin, senior Vice President of the IBM Watson Group enthusiastically said:

“Working with Thomson Reuters, and their vast trove of data, is an incredible opportunity to combine Watson’s cognitive capabilities with a global leader in decision making solutions across science, legal, tax, and finance. The result will be accelerated discoveries for the professionals that rely

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Lawyers Need Less Face, More Time

Are you tired of being tired at work, sitting at your desk simply because there are more senior lawyers still burning the midnight oil? Not only could you be costing your firm in lost productivity, but you could be costing yourself you health as well.

The Swedish city of Gothenberg is attempting an experiment with public sector employees by reducing their workday to six hours.

The city is also maintaining a control group at regular hours and the same pay. They hope the experimental employees will demonstrate indicators such as higher productivity and lower absenteeism, and preliminary results appear promising. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Have We Been Mishandling Our Alienation Cases? Let’s Try a Different Approach

Family law cases involving sincere allegations of parental alienation are difficult, highly emotional and profoundly conflicted. Although a certain number of these cases were likely to be high-conflict anyway, adding allegations of alienation to the mix makes conflict a near certainty. I can, however, imagine an alternative, more child-centred approach to these cases that just might encourage negotiation and curb the usual headlong rush to trial.

Allegations of alienation are extraordinarily painful to all involved, and it seems to me that it is the intensity of our emotional response to such allegations which sparks the fight-or-flight response spurring conflict and . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

The News of ABS’s “Aliveness” Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

My previous Slaw post has generated, among other things, an unprofessional (and since deleted) comment and criticism that ABS is not dead as I suggested, because the Working Group has only determined that “majority control” by non-legally trained people is dead.

It’s true from a purely technical point of view that ABS can exist with minority ownership by non-legally trained people.

It’s also true that a comatose person whose body is functioning only with the support of a machine, is not dead.

I see remarkable similarities between the ABS debate and those surrounding MDPs at the turn of the century . . . [more]

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

Elder Law Conference Coming to Vancouver in November: Save the Date!

The Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, Canada’s leading providing of continuing professional training for lawyers, and the Canadian Centre for Elder Law are hosting the Canadian Elder Law Conference on 12 and 13 November in 2015. The conference is open to anyone with an interest in the legal and other issues affecting Canada’s elder population, but will be of most interest to lawyers, financial planners and mental health professionals.

The conference is extremely timely, given Statistics Canada‘s recent report showing that there are now more Canadians who are older than 65 than those who are under . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

It’s Complicated

Last week’s comment by English Supreme Court Justice Lord Sumption that it may take another 50 years to achieve a gender-balanced roster of judges in England brought the issue of gender equality to the front pages. Not content to raise a minor storm, Lord Sumption went on to urge patience:

We have got to be very careful not to do things at a speed which will make male candidates feel that the cards are stacked against them. If we do that we will find that male candidates don’t apply in the right numbers. 85 per cent of newly appointed judges

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

Appeal Judge Rips Trial Judge’s Conduct Towards Self-Represented Defendant

A Superior Court Judge has tossed out a Small Claims Court judgment for a long list of reasons which primarily involve the inappropriate manner in which the trial judge dealt with the self-represented defendant throughout the course of the trial.

The reasons for granting the appeal span 92 paragraphs. The conduct of the trial judge becomes increasingly unbelievable as the reasons unfold. The decision is worth a read in its entirety and the findings include the following:

The trial judge had not read any of the material before the trial;

The trial judge gave the defendant “two minutes” to explain . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law

ABS in Ontario Killed by the Foul Stench of Protectionism

It would be really easy to read last week’s report from the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Working Group on Alternative Business Structures as thoughtful and considered.

Afterall, it has all the hallmarks of a judicial decision – using all the right words and heck, even using numbered paragraphs; no surprise given that Convocation is over-weighted with litigators, many of whom aspire to be judges themselves.

But if you scratch beneath the surface of the report, one quickly finds that all the judicial language in the world cannot hide what really happened in the LSUC Star Chamber amid the fine . . . [more]

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

Rethinking Risk Management

Most risk management advice is based on how to avoid bad things through taking proactive and preventative steps. For example, use checklists on every file to avoid missing crucial steps. Document the advice you’ve given, particularly if your client isn’t likely to follow it. Use retainer letters to set clear expectations for your clients.

Other advice is based on avoiding risk through knowing when to leave well enough alone. The best is example is the axiom that a lawyer should never sue for fees because that’s a frequent trigger for a legal malpractice claim or law society misconduct complaint.

But . . . [more]

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