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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

The Final Say

Tomorrow I am speaking with law students at Robson Hall as part of a Do Law Differently launch event hosted by the MLSA and Canadian Bar Association. I’ve been invited to talk about my own career path, about lessons I’ve learned and what I look for when hiring.

I’ve prepared my 20 minute talk and can tell you it is full of optimism and hope for a new kind of legal profession that holds to old-school values like integrity and honour and generosity while boldly facing a new economic order that mostly values faster, better, cheaper.

Frankly, I’m not feeling . . . [more]

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

Developing the Defining Narrative & Winning at Trial

It’s been said that whoevers owns the dominant narrative in the courtroom wins.

How do you make sure that your story becomes the dominant story?

In Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die: Made to Stick, Chip Heath and Dan Heath provide six simple elements for creating narratives that stick. These elements are:

  1. Simple
  2. Unexpected
  3. Concrete
  4. Credible
  5. Emotional
  6. Stories


To keep a story simple find the core of the theory. A great compact theory can be summed up in one statement and is profound. The most profound of theories are those that a person can spend an entire . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

An Office of One’s Own: 5 Essentials for Your Home Away From Home

This article is by Ian Hu, claims prevention and practicePRO Counsel at LAWPRO.

New lawyers, welcome to the practice of law. You now have an office of your own. You’ll be spending many of your waking hours plying your trade in this new little corner of the world. Make it a comfortable and professional place to work. Be prepared for unexpected events. What should you keep in your office? How should you decorate it? Here are five items to help make your new office a home away from home:

Emergency set of work clothes. Presenting yourself professionally at all times, . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Policy Position on Gender-Specific Dress Codes

Written for First Reference by Christina Catenacci, BA, LLB, LLM, and PHD student at the University of Western Ontario

Can you think of a store, restaurant, or bar that appears to require women to wear low-cut tops, short skirts, tight dresses, or high heels when they go to work? Well, it might be wise for those employers to take another look at their dress code policy in light of the Ontario Human Rights Commission position on gender-specific dress code announced on International Women’s Day 2016 and the passing into law of occupational health and safety provisions protecting against workplace sexual . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Technology as Positive Enabler

The British magazine Managing Partner has been providing information on law firm management since 1998. Their target group is the “senior management team” and they provide resources covering strategic management, case studies, analysis, and opinions from “industry experts and senior managers at leading law firms.” Their March issue reports on the ARK Group’s Legal IT conference held in London in January 2016.

In her introduction publisher Helen Donegan concludes her summary of the event this way:

“While clients were a major focus of the discussions, the question also predictably arose over the future role of the lawyer. With technological

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

Before Doing Differently, We Have to Teach Differently

During the Toronto launch of Doing Law Differently this past week, I had the opportunity to sit down with Jordan Furlong and some of the NewLaw Pioneers featured in the report. Nate Russell previously summarized the report here.

The report is important because the changes in the legal profession don’t affect anyone more acutely than law students and young lawyers, who will actually live to see the changes sweep across the industry. “This report needs to be read by every student in the country,” said Fred Headen, a past President of the Canadian Bar Association and chair of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Guidelines to Develop Whistleblowing System

The CSA Group (formerly the Canadian Standards Association) with the assistance of the nationally based law firm Grant Thornton LLP has developed a free guide to help organizations develop and maintain a whistleblowing system with the goal to encourage workers to report ethical and safety issues within an established mechanism. Reported issues include suspected tax fraud, accounting fraud, corporate fraud, insider trading, health and safety issues and other serious offenses. . . . [more]

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

Ask Not What Your Profession Can Do for You, Ask What You Can Do for Your Profession

In “Of lawyers, law schools, and the keeping of the gates”, Dean Ian Holloway points out the high rate of depression in the profession and asks:

Are we producing lawyers who have the right personalities for the profession they’re joining?… Depression. Alcoholism. Suicide. Together, they are a tremendous plague on our vocation, and a condemnation of how we select our successors. Don’t we owe it to ourselves — and to them — to do better?

The emphasis on numbers (grades and LSAT scores) at the exclusion of testing for “resilience, grit, or mental toughness” means that we are . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Doing Law Differently

I’ve been thinking about legal career paths since last week’s release of Do Law Differently, Futures for Young Lawyers. The guide, published by the Canadian Bar Association’s Legal Futures Initiative, includes Jordan Furlong’s thought-provoking analysis of the current state of the profession and commentary from a number of Canadian “new law pioneers” about the skills and competencies that lawyers will need to make the most of the opportunities ahead.

My Slaw colleague Nate Russell gave his take on this guide here yesterday. When you read it (and you should), you’ll note he’s rather less enthusiastic about the publication, . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Of Legal Futures — Darker or Better

A couple days ago CBA Young Lawyers released the 11th report in the Legal Futures Initiative, Do Law Differently: Futures for Young Lawyers. The report features profiles on 26 pioneers of the #NewLaw movement (one is my colleague Audrey Jun @AudreyyJun), and identifies emerging “new legal careers” along with the skills new lawyers will need to forge a life for themselves beyond the crumbling “old system” of equity partnership track positions, mentorship, associate positions or, well, to put it bluntly… any kind of full-time “lawyer job”. Everything is in flux and much is about to become myth over . . . [more]

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

Law Firm Regulation

Law-firm regulation is moving closer to becoming a reality in most Canadian provinces, but there are still a few misconceptions about what it is, and what it will mean for lawyers and the profession.

Nova Scotia has been studying ways to regulate legal entities, in addition to individual lawyers, for several years, and recently published a draft self-assessment tool for public discussion. The three Prairie provinces recently collaborated to publish “Innovating Regulation,” a discussion paper in which entity regulation figures prominently. The Law Society of Upper Canada also recently published a discussion paper seeking public input on entity . . . [more]

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

Legal Technology Businesses in Toronto

Toronto technology lawyer Addison Cameron-Huff has posted a list of “Toronto-based legaltech startups & established players.”

He notes that, “I’ve only listed startups that are active, have a software service or product, and appear to have their main office in Toronto … some of the established players are Canadian subsidiaries of foreign companies that have a larger headquarters elsewhere.”

With 40 startups listed this is a great start and he welcomes suggestions for the list at

Cameron-Huff also maintains FlatLaw, “Canada’s Flat Rate Legal Marketplace.” . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology