Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

Keeping Up With the Joneses — or Not

This post is by Ian Hu, Claims Prevention and practicePRO Counsel at LAWPRO.

Lawyers often talk about the stress and burden of debt. If there is one piece of advice worth giving, it is a simple one: spend less than you earn.

As a new lawyer, I was excited when I received my first paycheque. I forgot what I spent it on, but I remember it disappeared as soon as I received it. Soon I was living paycheque to paycheque. How could it be possible to live hand to mouth on Bay Street? . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

LawNow Special Report: Self Represented-Litigants

In the most recent issue of LawNow, a publication of the Centre For Public Legal Education Alberta, there is a “Special Report” on self-represented litigants.

It includes 3 articles:

What Self–Represented Litigants (Actually) Want by Sarah Burton, a lawyer with the Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre in Calgary: “Countless reports, working groups, and studies have asked this question, and reached diverse and creative conclusions. However, these papers often share one critical failing: none of them actually ask SRLs what they think. Enter the Self-Represented Litigants Project (Dr. Julie Macfarlane, “The National Self-Represented Litigants Project: Identifying and Meeting . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Be Heard: The Ontario Ministry of Labour Wants to Hear From You!

Public consultations commenced in Toronto on June 16th as part of the Ontario Ministry of Labour’s (“MOL”) implementation of the Changing Workplaces Review, and are expected to continue throughout the summer until mid-September.

The Changing Workplaces Review was announced earlier this year as part of MOL’s mandate to increase protection for workers and create a support environment for businesses to thrive. The review will consist of public consultations in regions across Ontario to address the changing nature of the modern workplace. The consultations will focus on potential amendments to the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (“LRA”) and the Employment . . . [more]

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

Practice Compassion

July 1 and Q3 begin after midnight. I cannot believe that the year is flying by so quickly, again. One strategy that is helping me to maintain focus with my very busy portfolio is to have a theme for the week. These themes are meant as reminders – I guess they are in the spirit of mindfulness – on ways to approach being part of a team/firm/practice/group.

Last month’s theme, it was a good one so it prevailed, was resilience. Picturing Dory from Finding Nemo singing “just keep swimming” was useful and entertaining. As far as resilience goes, . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Geographical Scope of the Master Expanding

Masters have been a fixture in the Toronto Court system for many years. For those who are unfamiliar, a Master is an adjudicator who is permitted to hear certain proceedings and make certain Orders. Unlike a Judge who has inherent jurisdiction, the Master takes his/her jurisdiction from statute and the Rules of Civil Procedure.

In municipalities and counties where there are no Masters a Judge hears all matters. As such, in municipalities and counties where there are Masters, the Masters typically lift a heavy burden off of the Judges in those jurisdictions. Indeed, the Toronto Masters carry a heavy . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Change Now

By Richard Susskind

In her introduction to ‘A Guide to Strategy for Lawyers’, a booklet that I have written for CBA members, Michele Hollins, the CBA President, quotes Jack Welch, the former CEO and Chairman of General Electric, who advises organizations to ‘change before you have to’. I had not heard this phrase before, but will undoubtedly use it again, because it so succinctly sets the agenda for practising lawyers in Canada and advanced jurisdictions around the world.

The legal marketplace, in my view, is in the middle of a period of unprecedented upheaval. Indeed I believe we . . . [more]

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

Keeping an Eye on the Horizon

The most used app on my phone, after the camera, is probably the weather app. It’s the farm girl in me, I think, that remains a little obsessed with what’s on the way.

Growing up on a prairie farm, we learned to watch weather patterns closely. To keep abreast of what was coming, we monitored:

  • A thermometer for temperature
  • A weather vane for wind direction
  • A rain gauge for rainfall
  • The Farmer’s Almanac for long range forecasts
  • Fog (we counted 100 days after fog and expected rain)
  • Radar for approaching storms
  • And of course, weather forecasts from local and regional
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

MaRS LegalX Launch

I was at the spectacular MaRS space at College/University tonight for the launch of the Legal X “industry cluster” dedicated to stoking entrepreneurship in the world of legal services.

Before the presentations even began I was inspired by the physical plant. The vast light-filled glass and stone entrance. An enormous main floor auditorium. Airbnb’s offices are just outside its stunning high glass walls. Delicious food and wine circulated briskly among the 200 strong crowd. The whole place throbbed with energy.

Law Scout – a MaRS based legal tech start up demonstrated how they deliver fixed fee legal services to small . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Of Learning to Re-Think the CBA

We have 11 days left to re-think the Canadian Bar Association. No pressure at all. But if you want to help, put on your rethinking cap.

I don’t represent or speak for the CBA in any way, but last Friday I did take part in a “Re-Think” session held at a Richmond airport hotel. I at least feel sufficiently authorized to draw attention to the work being done—which is nothing less than a stem-to-stern review and, if necessary, a redefinition of what the CBA does.

The room was filled with a few dozen people: dedicated members of our . . . [more]

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

Access to Justice: Limited Scope Representation

This article is by Ian Hu, Claims Prevention & practicePRO Counsel at LAWPRO

Increasingly, legal services are moving away from the full-service model. Outsourcing document review, e-discovery, and other discrete legal services are becoming more common-place. Small practitioners and larger firms alike can offer limited scope representation, or “unbundled” representation, which let clients pick and choose when they want to engage with a lawyer during the life of a transaction or litigation. Limited scope representation provides greater access to justice, as clients need not retain a lawyer for the whole life of a file, and can instead save money by . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Merit in Diversity

Does merit trump diversity? Can’t both coexist and in fact, isn’t it possible that an individual’s merit is enhanced by that individual’s background, skills and experience?

These questions rolled through my brain as I read yesterday’s Financial Post article, Firms adopting diversity policies but few commit to targets for women on boards. The suggestion is that increasing diversity in membership of corporate boards may have a negative impact on the effectiveness of those boards. Some corporations are hesitant to set targets for gender diversity on their boards, the lawyers interviewed explained:

…the most common reason given by companies for

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

Settlement Counsel

It is often said in discussions on the future of the practice of law that the days of the general practitioner are numbered. Lawyers in the future must specialize.

One emerging specialty in Canadian civil litigation is that of settlement counsel.

A party to litigation retains two lawyers – one performs the standard role of litigation counsel whose objective is to successfully prosecute or defend the action. The goal of the other is to negotiate a settlement out of court.

The two lawyers work as a team. They share all of the same information. They communicate fully with each other . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice