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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

It’s Time to Amend the Bank Act So Clients Can Collect on Judgments

Ontario utilizes a “loser pays” legal system in which the losing party is usually ordered by the court to pay a portion of the successful party’s legal fees. As a result, regardless of who wins, someone ends up with a piece of paper requiring the other party to pay money.

Assuming that the losing party does not voluntarily cut a cheque, a bank garnishment ought to be the most straightforward and direct means to collect. I emphasize the word “ought”.

Put simply, once a bank is served with a Notice of Garnishment it is required to seize any funds the . . . [more]

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

CCCA National Conference – April 6-8, 2014 in Calgary

The next Canadian Corporate Counsel Association National Conference will be taking place in Calgary from April 6 to 8th. The conference theme this year is “Energy matters” explained below (from the website):

Energy as resource, as catalyst, as inspiration. The energy of in-house counsel, ignited.

The Canadian Corporate Counsel Association (CCCA) is the official voice and forum of Canada’s in-house counsel community; a community that is passionate, energetic, and always evolving.

Join us at The Westin Calgary in Calgary, April 6-8, 2014 for our National Conference, the largest gathering of in-house counsel in Canada. Featuring a program

. . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Practice of Law

Victim Compensation Reexamined in Ontario

In the aftermath of the disappearance and death of a high profile Toronto lawyer, the legal community has expressed a greater interest in the victim compensation fund in place for clients of lawyers and paralegals practicing in Ontario.

At the February Convocation, new guidelines were put in place for the victim Compensation Fund, which has been in place since 1953. The fund serves to protect the public per s. 51(5) of the Law Society Act, and is administered by a Compensation Fund Committee established under By-Law 12. The Guidelines created by this Committee was recently upheld by the Divisional . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

CBA Futures Tweet Chat

Perhaps after 3 trips to Oz in the last 6 months I’ve become too attached to that “sun-burned country.”

Or perhaps, it’s the deliberate myopia of many lawyers and Benchers in Canada that raises my ire.

Anyone who has an informed interest in alternative business structures (ABS) – structures that permit outside investment in law firms – will know that Australia, not the UK, was the first country to allow outside investment into law firms.

A reasonably informed person will know that the state of New South Wales (population of about 7 million and whose capital is Sydney) permitted this . . . [more]

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

Frenemy Mine: Building Trust Between Colleagues

I’ve been feeling somewhat guilty about my post last week regarding the Edelman Trust Barometer and perceptions about the legal profession. Several lawyers have since asked if I have any advice on how to build trusting relationships within their own firms, never mind on behalf of the profession. I’ve heard laments bemoaning the loss of collegiality, too.

The real expert in this regard is Robert F. Hurley, a professor at Fordham University in New York. Hurley leads the Consortium for Trustworthy Organizations housed at Fordham’s School of Business and is the author of a bestselling book, “The Decision to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Reading: Recommended

The Why?

On the first day of class at University of Calgary Law School this week, one of the first things I wrote on the white board was one word: Why?

Of course, I got a number of eye-rolls from students.

But as the course has continued, “why” has become a common part of the class lexicon.

Can we “five why” this issue?

Why do law firms do what they do?

Why are they structured as they are?

Why did Heenan Blaikie disintegrate?

Why are partnerships difficult to govern?

Why can’t outsiders invest in law firms?

Why am I in law school? . . . [more]

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

Ontario’s Law Society Tribunal Website Launches

The announcement comes in a communication from David A. Wright, Chair of the new Law Society Tribunal:

I am delighted to announce that with the formation of the Law Society Tribunal today by Bill 111, the Modernizing Regulation of the Legal Profession Act, 2013, we are launching our new website. The website is designed to provide lawyers, paralegals, the public and the media with easy and transparent access to information about the Tribunal. Many resources may be found here, including legislation, rules and forms, guides for self-represented licensees, notices to the profession and a “reach out” to stakeholders. I

. . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements, Practice of Law

Trust Me, I’m a Lawyer…

The world’s largest public relations firm, Edelman, released the results of its annual Trust Barometer study in February.

Each year, I look forward to the results for no other reason than to gauge the impact of changing public expectations on the business of law.

Edelman’s methodology included surveying 33,000 people in 27 markets around the world regarding their trust in information sources and the specific issues that influence trust in business and government.

Some of the statistics in this year’s study surprised me. There are implications for private law firms both big and small.

1. Trust in non-governmental organizations . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Law, Rebar, and Disruptive You-Know-What

I’ve tended to stay out of the disruptive innovation discussion as it pertains to law if for no other reason than that my experience with large law firm and “Bay Street” practice is essentially nil. I understand — as anyone might, experienced or not — that new approaches that shake things up could bring about beneficial change, and that change, beneficial or not, will occur willy-nilly because it’s just the way things are. And I understand that the proponents or prophets of disruptive innovation mean something rather more precise by the phrase — perhaps something lying in the gap between . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Celebrate Women by Diversifying Teams

I have long been an advocate for greater diversity in law, in all of its forms. One of the main barriers we faced in the legal industry in the 20th century was gender diversity, and it’s a barrier that is still with us today.

Yesterday we celebrated International Women’s Day. Two recent studies out of Ryerson University help illustrate contemporary obstacles.

The first looks at leadership roles in the business sector by examining female representation in senior positions at major corporations in Toronto. Although there has been some growth between 2009-2014, women still remain underrepresented. Gender disparities have even . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

The Fight for ABS Is Just Beginning

The recent Law Society Committee report on Alternative Business Structures has resulted in much excitement across the world among legal innovators.

I wish I could share that joy.

The report is thorough – and lengthy. One wonders how, with two jurisdictions having adopted ABS (Australia a decade ago and the UK over 2 years ago) there could be any debate on the rationale behind allowing such structures?

Why do we need a uniquely Canadian solution?

What is so unique about the Canadian legal environment that Australia and the UK do not already provide a well-researched, well-documented and well-experienced solution?

I’ve . . . [more]

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