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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

Assange’s Appeal to the UK Supreme Court

Julian Assange’s extradition appeal was heard at the UK’s highest court on 1 and 2 February. Assange is trying to avoid being sent to Sweden to face allegations relating to sexual encounters there in 2010. The key issue is whether a public prosecutor is a valid judicial authority.

Two things about this appeal illustrate the flexibility of what is wrongly thought to be a crusty, fossilized world. Both barristers in this extremely high profile case are women. And the proceedings were broadcast live from the court room. Here is an extract from the hearing.

And Simon Chester’s post today reports . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Is There a Fraudster in Your Office?

Not all fraudsters are strangers. Even partners, associates, law clerks or other employees may turn to fraud because of financial pressures from a divorce, failed business venture, or other personal crisis. Its usually the last person you’d expect, and often one of your most long-standing and trusted employees.

Here are the red flags:

  • Someone never takes vacation or sick leave, works overly long hours, or refuses to delegate work.
  • A firm member undergoes a sudden change in lifestyle or change in temperament.
  • The firm receives mail for a corporation for which no client file is opened or billed, or minute
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Quebec Bar Association Presents First Report Card on Rule of Law

The Quebec Bar Association last week published its first annual report card on the rule of law in the province, or Bilan de l’état de droit au Québec (in French only).

In the report, the Association summarizes its public interventions over the past year.

But what appear fairly unique are its efforts to measure the level of respect for the “rule of law” by authorities in the province and in Canada according to 4 criteria:

  • public authorities and their representatives are subject to the law and courts are independent
  • the protection of rights and freedoms of all citizens is assured
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Systemic Discrimination in Law Firms: Perception or Reality? My Point of View

According to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Section 15 (1)):

Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

Of course, and unfortunately, this is not always the case in practice. Many people continue to deny others equal treatment, intentionally and not. Law Times offers a recent example of alleged systemic discrimination; the case Law Society of Upper Canada v. . . . [more]

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

Access to Justice Falling Off the Federal-Provincial Agenda

Last week the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Justice met in Charlottetown for an annual conference started four decades ago by then Minister of Justice John Turner. With the big price tag attached to the federal government’s omnibus crime bill C-10 and budget cuts on the horizon, there were no significant spending commitments by the federal government.

Legal aid is still on the agenda at these meetings, but barely. By my count, it is item number 16 out of 19 in the post-conference communiqué. Here is what the carefully-crafted language said:

Ministers affirmed their commitment to a responsive,

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

Interactive Law?

My post today is a question.

I recently heard an interview in which a major newspaper editor said the traditional model of “active” journalist and “passive” reader, is dead. He gave the following illustration. On the opening night of a new opera production the most experienced and highly regarded opera critic in the world can write a review for the next day’s paper. It will be brilliant as usual, but it is “nonsensical” to think the other 700 people in the audience have nothing of value to add.

He likened this change in perspective to flipping a switch in our . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Clio Raises $6 Million in Funding

Who are these guys and why are they so happy? You’re looking at Clio co-founders Rian Gauvreau on the left and Jack Newton (Slaw blogger) on the right; and they’ll be smiling right now because they’ve just announced at Legal Tech that Clio has raised six million dollars in its Series B round of financing. From the Clio press release:

Clio will use this new funding to extend its product leadership position, aggressively developing new functionalities and supporting its growing customer base. In addition, the company aims to expand its footprint beyond the U.S. (which currently represents 95% of

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

Prisons as a Dumping Ground for Mental Health

Steven Slevin had a lifelong history of mental illness. On August 24, 2005, Slevin was charged with driving while intoxicated and receiving or transferring a stolen vehicle, and checked into the Dona Ana County Detention Center.

He was placed in solitary confinement, and remained there for approximately 18 months. He was briefly released for 14 days to receive psychiatric care and was returned to solitary confinement, for a total of 22 months, before the charges were dismissed and he was released on June 25, 2007 due to incapacity of participating in his own defence.

Slevin files suit on December 23, . . . [more]

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

Occupy the Courts

Winston Churchill once famously rejected a desert saying, as he pushed it away, “This pudding has no theme.”

Of the many criticisms that can be justifiably leveled at my weekly post on this blog, lack of theme, I hope, is not one.

The theme of my posts is the need to preserve our adversarial system of civil justice; to prevent it from morphing into one that basically offers only interest-based dispute resolution because the energy and the skills needed to determine rights, have fallen into disuse.

I carry that theme around all during the working week, and after hours too. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Building Your Practice Profile Through Social Media

On Friday I had the pleasure of speaking to an audience of lawyers at The Commons Institute‘s eCommerce and the Practice of Law conference in Toronto. I was given the large topic of using social media in a legal practice.

Below are the slides I started with in the discussion, but the real meat of it was the many excellent questions that were put to me by the group. I hope to blog more about those questions, either here or over on my personal blog (will let you know!). In the meantime, I hope these slides are helpful.

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

Ontario Justice Not on Target

In 2008, the Ontario Attorney-General launched “Justice on Target,” a project intended to reduce wait times and delays in the criminal court system. The initiatives were broken down into several programs:

The new Attorney General, Hon. John Gerretsen, announced today to the media that the project may not meet its goal of 30% reduction in appearances,

It’s difficult for all of us to change the way we’ve traditionally been doing things,

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