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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

The Lawyer Licensing System in Ontario

A vital part of the Law Society’s legislated mandate is to ensure that all lawyers called to the Bar in Ontario have the demonstrated competency to practise law at an entry level.

There are many stakeholders across the legal profession in Ontario who believe that the current licensing process is unfair and unsustainable over the long term, and needs to continue to evolve. There is no consensus, however, on the shape or scope of that change.

The Law Society understands that any change in the fundamental components of lawyer licensing must be supported by the profession.

In this article, I . . . [more]

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

Crossing the Border With Your Devices — as a Lawyer

I’ve been kindly invited to be a regular/irregular contributor to Slaw, and I’m delighted to take them up on this offer.

Even before the change in government in the United States, I’m often asked — by other lawyers, the media and other folks — about whether you can be required to surrender your electronic devices and passcodes to unlock them on demand by border agents. This question has become a bit more acute as the media is increasingly reporting about individuals being not only required to surrender their devices and their passcodes, but also their social media credentials to border . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

The Future Is Bright

As I wrapped up my last class at Robson Hall last week, I remarked to that whip-smart group of 1Ls that I hoped they had learned at least half as much in their two terms of Legal Methods as I did in the teaching of the course. This was my first experience teaching in a law school setting and looking back, I know for certain that I learned more than I likely imparted.

You may recall that last fall, my stated intention as I went back to law school as a sessional instructor was to keep a record of my . . . [more]

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

ONCA Clarifies Scope of Court’s Jurisdiction to Award Costs Against Non-Parties

In what is certainly the most significant decision regarding the court’s ability to award costs against non-parties in over 45 years, the Ontario Court of Appeal has clarified the source of the court’s jurisdiction to award costs against non-parties and the applicable tests to be applied.

Chief Justice Strathy, writing for a unanimous court, noted that there had been considerable ambiguity in the case law as to whether the court possesses inherent jurisdiction, in addition to its explicit statutory jurisdiction, to award costs against a non-party. Strathy C.J.O. concluded that the court does in fact possession inherent jurisdiction in addition . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law

LSUC Finally Fights Back Around Legal Advertising

Legal marketing has begun to run amok in many major cities in Canada.

I raised attention to this nearly 2 years ago in National Magazine, and since then the mainstream media has picked up on it as well. In particular, the Toronto Star has run a series of articles, focusing primarily on the personal injury bar. There were apparently 604 complaints about licensee advertising in Ontario between 2011-2015, over half of which were initiated by the Law Society of Upper Canada itself.

In response to this, Convocation last Friday introduced a number of changes. The first was to implement . . . [more]

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

Tweaking Mediation

Civil justice resources should be deployed so that there is a gravity-assisted, downhill run to the courtroom where disputes will promptly be judicially determined, if mediation fails. Unless the parties decide otherwise, failed mediation and the judicial determination step should be linked.

There can be no doubt that promotion of the settlement of civil disputes through mediation, is a wise policy. But it must not effectively be the final step in the civil justice process.

If parties are at the point of emotional and financial exhaustion by the time they reach mediation, it will not be practical for them to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Reduce Communication-Related Claims by Understanding Cognitive Bias

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

Understanding cognitive biases can help reduce communication-related claims, which are the biggest source of malpractice claims. While many cognitive biases are dealt with by following some common sense principles, others are not as obvious. From anchoring effect to decision fatigue, knowing how your client makes decisions can help you build rapport with your clients, effectively give recommendations, and help ensure you and your client are on the same page.

1. Let your clients make a good decision –decision fatigue

Decision fatigue has perhaps the highest profile of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Reading: Recommended

To Succeed Where Others Fail

Almost 70 percent of organizational change initiatives fail. At that rate, you might wonder why law firms – which are notoriously change resistant – would try at all. But they do. And some succeed by taking a more thoughtful approach right from the start.

Change can evoke pain, loss and uncertainty. All too often, change initiatives are communicated in a way that causes people to feel defensive, rather than inspired.

Perhaps it’s a matter of taxonomy; “transformation” or “evolution” might be better descriptions of the adjustments that many firms need to undertake to improve performance and profit.

Regardless of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

No Access to Remote Justice in L’Orignal, Ontario?

Recently we took on two Small Claims Court actions for good clients. In both cases we acted for the plaintiff.

Anyone who has commenced a Small Claims Court proceeding knows that the Small Claims Court Rules provide that the plaintiff is generally required to commence the action in the jurisdiction where the defendant lives or carries on business. In both cases our client operated from Toronto. In both cases, we had to commence the action in L’Orignal, Ontario as a result of that being where the defendant carried on business.

For those of you who don’t know, L’Orignal is about . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Technology

Lawyers & Limelight

The chaos south of the border has pushed many immigration & refugee issues into the limelight. Over the past few weeks, I’ve spoken to reporters from CBC, Law Times, Winnipeg Free Press, the Canadian Press and Metro News. They have asked for quotes on various topics, radio interviews and even one request for a TV interview at a time I was unavailable. For this post, I will not get into all the substantive issues of Trump’s Executive Orders and how they may impact Canada. Instead, I want to review my recent experiences with the Canadian media . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Marketing

Finding the Best Ways Forward: A Symposium on Children’s Participation in Justice Processes

I am delighted to announce Finding the Best Ways Forward, a two-day national symposium scheduled for 15 and 16 September 2017 in Calgary, featuring keynote speakers Mr. Sheldon Kennedy of the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre and Dr. Nicole Sherren of the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative.

Finding the Best Ways Forward is aimed at gathering together leading stakeholders to share information and dialogue about how the voices of children and youth are heard, how their interests are protected, and how their evidence is received in justice processes. The symposium will generate innovative proposals for policy reform, best practices, . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Why Is Domestic Violence More Often Becoming a Workplace Responsibility?

It is understood that domestic violence has been known to effect employees at work in a number of ways; a recent study shows that the problem is widespread. “Can Work Be Safe, When Home Isn’t,” (PDF) by researchers at Western University and the Canadian Labour Congress, outlines the preliminary results of a Canada-wide survey of more than 8,000 workers on how domestic violence effects workplaces. The results are startling in many ways, but unsurprising in others.

For instance: . . . [more]

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