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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

#Cbafutureschat Recap: Law & Design

What if every law firm and court had a basement lab where developers and designers hung out and built solutions?

That was a question posed by host Margaret Hagan during Tuesday’s CBA Twitterchat on the topic of law and design.

Hagan, who works at Stanford’s d.school and will soon work at the university’s law school, focuses on bringing user-centred design to legal services.

One of the key findings of the CBA’s Legal Futures Initiative is that the client needs to become the centre of the legal universe if the profession is to maintain its relevance in the face of transformative . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology

Dress Down for Success

Most of us have heard it over and over and over again – you need to dress for the job or the position that you want. Silvia Bellezza et al. describe this phenomenon in the June 2014 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research,

In both professional and nonprofessional settings, individuals often make a significant effort to learn and adhere to dress codes, etiquette, and other written and unwritten standards of behavior. Conformity to such rules and social norms is driven by a desire to gain social acceptance and status.

What they don’t tell you is the exception to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Marketing

Have You Notified Your Insurer?

Manitoba lawyers recently received a memo from the Law Society’s Insurance Department reminding them that it’s time to pay their 2014/15 liability insurance premium.

That memo also contains the annual reminder to practising, insured lawyers to “Speak now or forever hold your peace” with respect to known or potential claims. The Law Society reminds lawyers that:

Because our Professional Liability Insurance coverage is written on a claims-made basis, if you know of any circumstances which might possibly, at some point in the future, give rise to an insurance claim against you and you want coverage under your Insurance Policy, then

. . . [more]
Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Are You an “Invisible”?

Do you avoid self-promotion? Do you grimace when others go on and on (and on) about their accomplishments and activities? You might be an “Invisible”.

In his new book, Invisibles: The Power of Anonymous Work in an Age of Relentless Self-Promotion, writer David Zweig explains why some people shun the spotlight while others aggressively compete for centre stage.

Quoted in an interview with Maclean’s Ken MacQueen, Zweig says that “Invisibles” are driven by “a strong sense of responsibility, a meticulous attention to detail and an ambivalence about recognition.” He adds that “they find their reward through work itself” and . . . [more]

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

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