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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

Nice New Software Tool for Herding Cats

Trello, from Joel Spolsky‘s Fog Creek Software, is a really nice tool for organizing a project, collaboratively, and for free.

Launched back in September, I just found out about the software today reading and interesting note he wrote showing the difference between vertical and horizontal software products.

This looks like it might be a big help in law offices, and anywhere teams need to collaborate on multifaceted projects. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

2012: The Year of Access to Justice in Canada?

This could be The Year of Access to Justice in Canada. Whether it is a good year or a bad year for Access to Justice is TBD. The fate of Access to Justice is to be determined by governments, by the courts, by the legal profession and yes, by lawyers ourselves.

Dark Clouds on the Horizon: Justice Budgets 2012

In 2012, we are likely to see serious fiscal pressures on Access to Justice through budget freezes or cuts to legal aid plans, courts and other justice programs. Serious cuts to legal aid have already been proposed in the UK . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

A Small Claims Flash Mob

When Heather Peters was dissatisfied with the proposed class-action settlement for her 2006 Honda Civic hybrid, which didn’t provide the promised fuel economy, she opted for Small Claims Court instead.

She is taking Honda Motor Co. to court this Tuesday in in Torrance, CA for $10,000, the new limit in California starting January 1, 2012, which by far exceeds the $100 and rebates she would have received from the class action. Best of all, the rules of the jurisdiction require Honda to provide an employee representative who is not a lawyer,

Small Claims Court is a special court where you

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

Have You Read 2011’s Top Cases?

Subjective top ten lists are great for starting arguments given the improbability of any two people sharing precisely the same worldview. It’s a little tougher to engender heated debate over objectively measured top ten lists, but not impossible. After all, we can still dispute methodology and relevance! I invite Slaw readers to infer meaning and to offer analysis of the results.

So with that, I’m pleased to present for 2011 the top 10 most consulted cases on CanLII.

  1. Bruni v. Bruni, 2010 ONSC 6568
  2. Indalex Limited (Re), 2011 ONCA 265
  3. Dunsmuir v. New Brunswick, 2008 SCC 9
  4. Bedford v. Canada,
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Ode to the Trial

This was how David Sterns, one of the panel members at an OBA civil litigation session last week, described the Ontario Court of Appeal’s 5 December judgment interpreting the new summary judgment rule. (See Simon Chester’s post last week for a good description of the amendment and the decision.)

Despite all the energy and resources being devoted in our modern system of civil justice to mediation, alternative dispute resolution and most recently judicial dispute resolution, in its 111 page judgment in Combined Air and four other cases, the Court of Appeal reinforces the primordial elements of the trial in our . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Seasonal Disclaimers – and Copyright?

‘Tis the season for law firms (and no doubt others) to send out season’s greetings by email, most often accompanied by the usual wordy and sometimes bilingual notices that the content of the email may be confidential, privileged and subject to diverse prohibitions that we are more or less politely admonished to comply with.

Here’s a typical, though polite, version (French omitted):

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: The contents of this electronic mail message are confidential and strictly reserved for the sole use of its intended recipients. This message may contain information protected by the solicitor-client privilege. If you receive this message in

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Frauds Targeting Lawyers Continue at High Level: Don't Be Duped

[This is the text (updated for SLAW) of a Fraud Alert that LAWPRO sent to Ontario Lawyers December 15, 2011.]

LAWPRO continues to see high numbers of bad cheque frauds targeting lawyers across Canada and the U.S., as well as several other countries around the world. On a monthly basis, 250-300 lawyers advise us that have been targeted by bad cheque frauds. We are seeing the same types of scams over and over again, and on a weekly basis we are seeing two or three new fraudster client names. And these frauds are becoming more sophisticated. Very experienced lawyers have . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Rashomon Like Views of the Thomson-Reuters Merger – and Why Bloomberg Is Gaining

The English media came back this weekend to re-examine the health of Thomson-Reuters and reached wildly different conclusions. The BBC talks of Thomson moving to establish hegemony over business data, whereas the Guardian focuses on the weaknesses of post-merger integration and the long-term challenge that Bloomberg presents.

The doyenne of the DC law library community, Jean O’Grady has a fascinating piece suggesting that Thomson may well acquire Wolters-Kluwer

Her analysis is:

Factors Favoring Such a Merger

1. Thomson Reuters Leadership Changes.Exane BNP suggests that TR appears to be “in restructuring

and crisis mode” since they failed to achieve top

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Publishing, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Copyright Infringement Claims in Small Claims Court

Can a copyright owner enforce his rights in small claims court? The answer varies depending on which side of the 49th parallel you are on. In Canada, yes! In the U.S., no. Perhaps this is about to change. The U.S. Copyright Office is accepting submissions from the public until 16 January 2012 on remedies for copyright infringement suits in small claims courts. U.S. Congress has asked the Copyright Office to investigate and seek comment on how small copyright claims have been managed in the past and to outline recommendations for changes and alternatives to current procedures.

This is not the . . . [more]

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

Judicial Mediation Policy Day

In my 26 September post here I touched on the issues raised by judicial mediation.

On 9 December the OBA presented a full day program on the topic.

Four panels covered the interprovincial landscape and experience, the Ontario experience, the private mediation landscape and perspectives, and finally the client’s perspective. Two breakout sessions considered the pros and cons, and the essential elements of good judicial mediation.

Of particular interest are the developments in Judicial Dispute Resolution in Alberta.

The Alberta new rules of court which came into force in Alberta on 1 November 2010 make JDR (or another form of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Ontario Auditor General’s Report on Auto Insurance Regulation

Ontario’s Auditor General tabled 2011 Annual Report in the Legislative Assembly today. Features of the report included:

  • Auto Insurance Regulatory Oversight
  • Electricity Sector—Regulatory Oversight
  • Electricity Sector—Renewable Energy Initiatives
  • Electricity Sector—Stranded Debt
  • Forest Management Program
  • Funding Alternatives for Family and Specialist Physicians
  • LCBO New Product Procurement
  • Legal Aid Ontario & Office of the Children’s Lawyer
  • Ontario Trillium Foundation
  • Private Career Colleges
  • Student Success Initiatives
  • Supportive Services for People with Disabilities

Of particular interest to the litigation bar in Ontario was the Auto Insurance Regulatory Oversight, reviewing the operation of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) and the auto regime . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law