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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

Modern Advocacy

Two galloping horses. A single rider, with one foot on each. The three are approaching a fork in the road.

Call me melodramatic, but this is the image that bubbled up in my mind as I examined the material I received from the Advocates Society this week.

The Advocates Journal contained an article by Sheila Block entitled “Advocacy Lessons from the Past”. It is an engaging piece sprinkled with references to the succinct styles of Maloney, Dubin and Robinette. The author reminds us of advice from Orwell on writing, relishes ‘beautiful, simple language’, and questions whether today lawyers focus enough . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Family Law Profiled at Opening of the Ontario Courts

On Tuesday, September 13, 2011 the Opening of the Courts was held in Toronto, preceded by an interfaith service at Church of the Holy Trinity. The service consisted of a fascinating mix of a number of readings, including a South African anti-Apartheid song (and dance). I couldn’t help but think that this would have been impossible a couple decades ago.

But attendees were surprised by a protest outside of the church as soon as the services completed. A video of the protest is available here, with one of the speakers saying,

We’re going to be here every single year.

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

Routine Information Sharing

Looks like litbots and databases will soon be providing routine updates of structured information to human readers via newspapers and news websites in the form of machine written articles. Narrative Science is the company behind it.

Pretty soon, such litbots will be conversing with my own personal litbots, and negotiating the purchase of routine items I need and can afford, according to the budget I set and the priorities I identify. The prospect of the online grocery appears again: I need milk, eggs, and in-season fruit every Tuesday, for delivery Wed. afternoon. The grocery’s litbot can check my calendar . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology

New Canadian Report on Wrongful Convictions

The Federal/Provincial/Territorial Heads of Prosecutions Committee today released its new report on wrongful convictions entitled The Path to Justice: Preventing Wrongful Convictions.

It was written by a committee of senior prosecutors and police officers and is follow-up to a 2005 report entitled “Prevention of Miscarriages of Justice”:

“The format of this update mirrors the original report: it provides a summary of developments in the law and reports on efforts to implement the 2005 recommendations. Those recommendations are re-examined in light of events over the past six years and, where appropriate, modifications are suggested. It also highlights international developments since

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Getting It Right

The lengthy judgment of Lord Justice Lloyd in a decision of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales released 9 March 2011, contains the following tantalizing sentence:

“For the reasons that I have given above, in my judgment the principle known as the rule in Re Hastings–Bass… is not a correct statement of the law.”

These words are all the more tantalizing because the courts of England and Wales have applied the rule in Re Hastings Bass consistently since it was handed down in 1975. (The rule essentially allows trustees, in certain circumstances, to attack their own decisions and . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Real Looking Scams Require Lawyers to Be Warier Than Ever

The following article appeared in the new Fall 2011 issue of LAWPRO Magazine.

Don’t be a dupe: That’s the advice from those who were fooled.

In the months of July and August alone, hundreds of lawyers (from across Canada, the U.S., and even elsewhere in the world) have provided LAWPRO with emails seeking to retain them on bad cheque frauds. The most common scenarios are loan or debt collections and spousal support payments. (If you get obviously fraudulent emails, please forward them to Dozens of Ontario lawyers have called looking for help in determining whether a matter they . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Reading

Do You Still Fax?

Paul Venezia of InfoWorld asks why the fax machine refuses to die. In what is a bit of a rant rather than a reasoned analysis, Venezia advises:

Consider what a fax machine actually is: a little device with a sheet feeder, a terrible scanning element, and an ancient modem. Most faxes run at 14,400bps. That’s just over 1KB per second — and people are still using faxes to send 52 poorly scanned pages of some contract to one another. Over analog phone lines. Sometimes while paying long-distance charges! The mind boggles.

A few reasons come to mind as to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology: Office Technology

The Importance of Real Time News and Information

I agree, this is not news. Our lives are getting faster and we expect to know what is happening right now in the world, not what happened five hours ago or yesterday. For those of us who work with information and live online, television and radio are often not fast enough. We expect to hear about things as they happen.

Lawyers need to stay on top of what is happening to clients so they can help respond in a timely manner. As librarians, the challenge is pulling information together so that those we serve are up to date. In the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Practice of Law: Marketing, Technology: Internet

ODR, Susskind and “the Human Element”

♬ I had some problems
And no one could seem to solve them
But you found the answer
You told me to take a chance…♬

Lyrics and music by: El DeBarge and recorded by the family musical group DeBarge.

I had a curious moment today in juxtaposing three websites today.

One was an interview of Richard Susskind OBE, who has just assumed the Presidency of the Society for Computers & Law. In assuming this position, he stated that: ” a useful role for SCL is to act as a focal point for a debate about the ways in

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

2011 Innovaction Award Winners: University of Toronto Among the Winners

It has been a long while since we mentioned the Innovaction Awards. The 2011 winners were recently announced, and a Canadian group are among the winners:

Berwin Leighton Paisner, LLP (BLP) was selected for their Lawyers On Demand (LOD) initiative which began in 2007 after BLP observed two important issues affecting the UK legal market: (1) legal services clients want to stretch their budgets further and (2) many lawyers are looking for greater flexibility and autonomy in their work. BLP created LOD to address these issues. LOD challenged the traditional models of legal service delivery and brought talented freelance

. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology

Work-Life Balance – a Québec Initiative

It goes without saying that balancing family while working for a “big-law” firm can be a challenge. I am reminded of that on a weekly basis. Other jobs are just as demanding (if not more). It has become de rigueur for employers (especially law firms) to tout their approach to promise a positive work-life balance. However, there are few ways to confirm that an employer’s advertising confirms with their employees’ reality.

In response to this issue, the Quebec government has launched a unique program: a corporate certification regarding work-family balance. The certification is for all businesses, regardless of their size. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Google Bets on Disrupting the Legal Market

Google’s venture capital arm, Google Ventures, is intent on disrupting the legal market.

First, it invested in LawPivot, a Quora-style Q&A platform for providing legal advice to businesses. LawPivot has now opened its platform to the public, allowing lawyers to answer businesses questions in a venue visible to the public.

This new twist on LawPivot’s business model will build up a valuable and publicly-accessible knowledgebase of legal advice for businesses to leverage. LawPivot will also provide lawyers a high-visibility platform to demonstrate their expertise to prospective clients.

Google Ventures has also recently invested in Rocket Lawyer, . . . [more]

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