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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

Ontario Litigators Circle July 1 on Your Calendars

Not because it is Canada Day, but because the Superior Court of Justice is revoking all of its existing Practice Directions and implementing new Practice Directions on July 1st.

Over the past year the Ontario Superior Court of Justice undertook to review and consolidate all of its Regional and Provincial Practice Directions.

The stated intention was to achieve an “administrative re-set” and to try to identify and eliminate obsolete and redundant Practice Directions while at the same time consolidating, simplifying and better organizing the Practice Directions that are to remain in effect.

As of July 1, 2014, the new Practice . . . [more]

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

“Some Thoughts on Creating a Sustainable Public Civil Justice System”

This was the title of a paper delivered by Mr Justice David Brown at the OBA Civil Litigation and Insurance Sections End of Term Dinner held 11 June 2014.

It addresses why our system is not achieving its fundamental goal of achieving fair, timely and cost-effective determination of civil cases on their merits.

The paper is in three parts: symptoms, causes and the remedies needed to unleash institutional ability and skills so that the Ontario Superior Court of Justice is the best trial court in North America.

You can read it here - 2014.OBA.Civil.end.term.paper.june.14

Among other things, the paper sends . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Diversify Without Dabbling

In a challenging economy, many lawyers scramble to maintain a steady stream of work in their established areas of practice. Faced with pressure to keep fees stable, these lawyers sometimes decide that the only way to boost billable hours is to take on new clients with legal needs in areas in which they haven’t previously practiced, or to offer new categories of legal services to existing clients.

What could go wrong? Plenty.

Errors that flow from dabbling in practice areas outside a lawyer’s scope of competence can have significant financial consequences for clients. Those consequences can prompt a client to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

CBA Futures Chat: Law and Design

I’m excited to be hosting a Twitter Chat next Tuesday with the CBA, chatting about Law & Design.

This month I’m finishing up my year-long fellowship at Stanford d.school, where I’ve gotten the chance to experiment in what it means to take a user-centered, design-driven approach to how legal services are delivered. In the Twitter Chat, I’ll be talking about some of the experiments we ran & the projects I’m launching out of them.

I’m particularly interested in how we can use Design Methodologies — which put an emphasis on quick prototyping, frequent testing, and (above all) a focus on . . . [more]

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

Implications of Ontario Election to Legal Sector

As a result of the provincial election this past week, the majority Ontario Liberal Party government will reintroduce the budget they had proposed which had triggered the election. There are a number of features in this budget which focus on the legal system.

The first is increases to legal aid, by increasing the threshold for income eligibility, an increase that has not occurred since the 1990s. This initiative has been commended by the Criminal Lawyers Association,

“We applaud the government’s recognition of the importance of Ontario’s legal aid system,” said Anthony Moustacalis, President of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association.

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

Officers of the Worker and Employer Advisers Who Give Legal Advice Must Be Licensed Paralegals

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has ruled that employees of Ontario’s Office of the Worker Adviser and Office of the Employer Adviser who provide legal services relating to the Occupational Health and Safety Act must be licensed paralegals. The Offices of the Worker and Employer Advisers provide certain legal services under the OHSA to employees and employers in non-union environments.
Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

#Yesallwomen/#Notallmen: Sexual Harassment in the Legal Profession

How do we understand bad things done to women by men? Through the few men who do them (#Notallmen)? Through misogyny in our culture as a whole? Through the experience of all women living with the risk that such bad things can happen (#Yesallwomen)? The ferocity of recent internet debate on this topic clouds the possibility that harm done by men to women should be understood as about all these things: the men who inflict it, the society in which it occurs and the lives of the women who live with the possibility of that threat.

In this column I . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Ethics, Practice of Law

More on Rationing Civil Justice

Adam Dodek’s excellent post on these pages a week ago stirred up some lively comments.

The topic deserves more attention.

Everyone seems to be in agreement that there is no political appetite for more public funding for civil justice.

The solution proposed by Adam Dodek is: setting time limits for cases, limiting expert testimony and, by default, motions in writing.

Some commentators call on the judiciary as the stakeholder with the power to impose a solution. Some warn of the tendency for rationing to increase prices. Others point to the liability issues arising from leaving out marginally relevant evidence, and . . . [more]

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

SLA 2014 Awards: Bennett Jones Are Big Winners

This week I am at the SLA (Special Libraries Association) conference being held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. This morning at the Bloomberg BNA SLA Legal Division Breakfast & Business Meeting, the following awards were given:

  •  The Bloomberg BNA Outstanding New Member Contribution award is presented to Christine DeLuca of Bennett Jones LLP in Toronto, ON, CA.
  • The Wolters Kluwer Law & Business Innovations in Law Librarianship award is presented to Zena Applebaum of Bennett Jones LLP in Toronto, ON, CA.
  • The Thomson Reuters Westlaw Award for Career Achievement award is presented to Tracy Maleeff of Duane Morris LLP in
. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Time to Say Goodbye to an Employee?

You’ve tried clarification, reminders, warnings, patience and tolerance, maybe even retraining. But it isn’t working, and you both know it. Firing employees is not likely a task you took into consideration when you thought about becoming a lawyer; but here you are, an employer, in the position of having to fire an employee.

It will never be pleasant; but there’s a right way and a wrong way. The wrong way can lead to lawsuits, reputational damage, maybe even stolen clients or breaches of confidentiality. The right way can lead to the same things, of course; but the odds are . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Law Firm Retreats: They Can Be Small. They Can Be Anywhere.

Though we covered it in our Tips Tuesday roundup post a few days ago, I’d like to call your attention to an exceptional piece by Garry Wise on his upcoming Law Office Backyard Retreat.

What struck me as I was reading was the engrained conceptions many of us have about what a retreat is, and where it must be located. Depending on your own personal experience, you might believe that a firm retreat:

  • must always be ‘a road trip’;
  • is only applicable for larger firms;
  • requires an expensive keynote speaker; or generally,
  • is far too expensive an undertaking for 
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

How to Start a Legal Project Management Initiative in Your Firm: 11 Ideas

Are firms becoming more attuned to the benefits of legal project management (LPM)? Are clients? Judging from a workshop I attended on this topic last month in Chicago, the answer is “yes”.

But many firms – including almost every firm I’ve encountered – still struggle with the question of how to encourage organizational and individual changes required to inculcate wide-spread adoption of LPM.

The panelists who spoke at the “LPM Showcase and Workshop” lead some of the firms that have been the most successful at LPM implementation – Baker & McKenzie, Loeb & Loeb, Foley Hoag . . . [more]

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