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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

The Human Cost of the Adversarial System.

There is a chilling tale in the UK press this week about the trial of a man accused of abducting and murdering a child.

What is as gruesome as the fact of the murder, is the personal cost borne by the family members of the victim who gave evidence. It is a corollary of the adversarial system.

The path of the cross examinations was to show the victim’s mother was guilty of neglect, and that perhaps favouritism of the victim’s sister precipitated her death. The father’s use of pornography were put in evidence. Portions of the victim’s diary was read . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

The New Lawyer Resources Page: A practicePRO Resource for New (Or Soon to Be) Lawyers

practicePRO has worked hard over the years to make lawyers aware of the wealth of practice management and claims prevention information available on the practicePRO site. Those efforts have resulted in becoming a regular destination for many lawyers, particularly solo and small firm lawyers who may not have access to all the resources of a larger firm.

Lately there is one segment of lawyers that LAWPRO and practicePRO have made an extra effort to reach out to: new lawyers and those about to be called to the bar. Its been our experience that when lawyers were students, they really . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

lawTechcamp a Success

Omar Ha-Redeye gave an excellent write-up of some of the ideas explored at last weekend’s lawTechcamp in (and after) the sessions, but I want to make note of the event itself.

About 100 people from the law and tech industries attended the free half-day event, held at the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto. The event was organized by Monica Goyal, owner and CEO of My Legal Briefcase, Sapna Mahboobani, principal of Sapna Law Professional Corporation, and lawyer/writer Mitch Kowalski.

lawTechcamp took an informal approach, taking cues for topics from ideas submitted by registrants. . . . [more]

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

Surviving Self-Represented Litigants

This article by Carole Cochrane originally appeared in the Winter 2006 issue of LAWPRO Magazine. The advice given is just as relevant today.

Why do we all shudder on learning that our client’s adversary is self-represented on a litigation file? So often we fail to appreciate opposing counsel – until we hear those dreaded words from our client: “You know, the other side won’t be getting a lawyer.” It is only then that we realize and appreciate the benefit of there being opposing counsel on a file.

On a litigation file, opposing counsel can serve a number of important . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

It’s the End of Judges, Not the Lawyers

At yesterday’s inaugeral Law Tech Camp in Toronto, Prof. Daniel Katz of Michigan State University College of Law spoke on “Computing and the Law.” The topic was covered in The Globe earlier this week,

The crucial question for anyone heading into a court battle – whether a mighty corporation or a mere slip-and-fall victim – is the same, every time: “What are my chances?”

Depending on the answer, a client will decide to settle, or to stand and fight. The answer generally comes from across the oak-panelled desk of a lawyer, who draws on wisdom gained from years of

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

Sacred Cows and Stumbling Blocks

On 31 May 2011 Justice David Brown of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice delivered a paper under this title. His central thesis is that until certain obstacles are removed, and assuming a fixed judicial complement, little significant improvement can result from the changes to the rules of civil procedure that came into effect in 2010, or any future changes to the rules.

Brown J. identifies two sacred cows and two stumbling blocks.

The sacred cows are:
1) that the administration of the courts must remain under the control of the executive of the government;
2) that unlimited judicial resources . . . [more]

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

Build Your Firm’s Succession Plan With the Help of Law Practice Magazine

Significant numbers of law firm partners are nearing retirement age. Many firms are facing the daunting question of how to smoothly transition their clients and practices to the next generation – and most firms have taken few if any steps to tackle the thorny issues this transition can raise.

Look to the May/June 2011 issue of Law Practice Magazine if you need help with building a succession plan for your firm. It has several articles that will help you with transitioning clients, practices and leadership.

Marcia Pennington Shannon’s A Short Course in Succession Planning article gives you a snapshot of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Change and the Reluctant Minority

Earlier this week, Gartner offered up a press release that identified 5 myths of collaboration. If you have an interest in collaboration, it’s worth reading; but to summarize, those myths are:

  1. The right tools will make us collaborative
  2. Collaboration is inherently a good thing
  3. Collaborating takes extra time
  4. People naturally will/will not collaborate
  5. People instinctively know how to collaborate

The explanation given for #4 was something that particularly caught my interest:

Depending on their level of cynicism, people believe that humans naturally collaborate, or naturally don’t. While there are individuals at each end of the spectrum, most are somewhere

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

Civility as a Tactical Tool in Litigation

I had the pleasure of attending an internal presentation at my firm today by two of our partners, Eugene Meehan, QC, and Scott Maidment, on the topic of “Civility as a Strategy in Litigation: Using It as a Tactical Tool.”

The topic of civility in the legal profession has in fact been raised on SLAW in the past, including a great post by Connie Crosby called Civility in the Law, a post that prompted a lot of Comments.

However, it appears that no mention has been made on SLAW of Eugene’s writing on this topic, including an . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Creating Creative Online Defamation Settlements

Most online defamation actions I encounter primarily seek one form of relief – the removal of the offending material from the Internet. Damages and costs are often a secondary concern to clients, albeit important ones, especially in offsetting the impact on the individual’s reputation and the inconvenience of litigation.

A Malaysian case this week highlights another creative remedy that might be of interest to litigants structuring an out-of-court settlement. The Daily Mail describes the case,

Fahmi Fadzil, an opposition politician’s aide and respected commentator, claimed on the social networking site [Twitter] that his pregnant friend had been

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

New Beginnings…

This morning, I’ve awoken to a significant change at my firm. The signs have been changed. New business cards have been issued. Even the stickers in the elevator have been swapped. If you go to, you will be redirected to a new site.

Ogilvy Renault LLP is no more. It is now formally known as Norton Rose OR LLP and is of the Norton Rose Group. I have no doubt we will be informally known as Norton Rose. With more than 2,600 lawyers, the enlarged Norton Rose Group is a now top 10 international legal practice with 39 . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice