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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

May the (Task) Force Be With Us!

We have been quick to use the word “crisis” to describe the state of articling in Ontario. Maybe too quick. Certainly the rather abrupt rise in the rate of “unplaced lawyer candidates” – students unable to find articling positions – from 5.8% in 2008 to 12.1% in 2011 is an eye-popper and potentially a game changer. But a crisis, as the Globe and Mail reports today? Maybe.

Those that work in the legal trenches have known for years that another crisis exists – the access to justice crisis – now well documented by the Ontario Civil Legal Needs Project . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Practice of Law

Court Says NO to Live Tweets

♫ You’re no one if you’re not on Twitter…♫

Lyrics, music and recorded by Ben Walker.

Kendyl Sebesta reported on Oct 31, 2011 in The Law Times that Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Maranger has banned the use of Twitter and such tools inside his court in a high profile murder case.

His ruling permitted the use of electronic devices inside the courtroom, but only for the purposes of the taking of notes.

“Electronic devices that have the capability to transmit or receive wireless signals may not be set to ‘silent’ or ‘airport mode’ settings, but must be completely

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

Scary Halloween Tricks for Canadian Lawyers?

Imagine going into Walmart, Superstore or Loblaws to buy Halloween candy and being offered the chance to make a will or get summary legal advice on some issue. This might sound spooky or even scary to many Canadian lawyers but could become a reality in England and Wales with the launch of Alternative Business Structures (ABS) under the UK Legal Services Act. The New York Times has a great article today on non-lawyer ownership of legal services. Australia has permitted non-lawyer ownership of law firms for several years and the US is seriously considering it with the American Bar . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Articling and Access to Justice: An Ontario Legal Corps – Why Not?

We need to create an Ontario Legal Corps composed of lawyers and articling students to address the access to justice crisis in this province and we need to do it now. An Ontario Legal Corps will also go a long way to addressing the current deficit in available articling positions.

The articling crisis in Ontario is a supply-side program. It deals with the issue of the scarcity of supply of articling positions. As many judges and now the Governor General have reminded us, we have an Access to Justice crisis which is a demand side problem. The demand for legal . . . [more]

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

Huge Collection of Fake IDs, Documents and Cheques Given to Lawyers by Fraudsters

Fraud attempts against lawyers can involve a great deal of counterfeit documentation, starting with the initial client ID (passports, licenses), various agreements, loan documents and bank statements, and ending with the cheque that finally arrives at the lawyer’s office. When we add posts about a fraud to the AvoidAClaim blog, we also provide images of these fake documents that lawyers have provided to us.

On a new page on the AvoidAClaim blog we have post a large selection of the fake passports, licenses, documentation and cheques in one place. The page is called “Huge collection of fake IDs, documents . . . [more]

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

Bilingualism in the Federal Courts

Given the recent interest in whether the nominees for the Supreme Court should be bilingual, I thought readers might be interested in a dispassionate overview from those great folks at the Legal and Legislative Affairs Division of the Parliamentary Information and Research Service: “Bilingualism in the Federal Courts,” [PDF] by Marie-Ève Hudon.

This document analyzes the rules that govern the use of both official languages in the federal courts, that is, the courts established by Parliament. It gives a brief overview of Canada’s court system before examining the legislative, constitutional and judicial framework of bilingualism in the federal

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

CBC: Auto Insurance One Year Later

The CBC Radio Show “Ontario Today” recently covered the auto insurance reforms that went into play one year ago,

One year after changes to auto insurance in this province, who’s better off?

Hear from a doctor who says insurance companies are turning almost everything down; a lawyer who says there is a lot less money for treatment if you’re in a car crash; and an insurance industry spokesperson who says you will be taken care of if you’re hurt.

The changes continue to be highly contentious, with insurers saying they were desperately needed, and many clients and assessment centres saying . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Letter to a Law Student

Dear Prospective Law School Student:

So you want to go to law school?

In making your decision, I encourage you to closely examine your reasons for wanting to embark on this path and make sure you have considered the pros and cons of doing so. Law school is now quite expensive and involves 4 years of your life (3 years of law school plus typically 1 year of articling). As such, you should not make the decision lightly.

Many of the 10 tips that follow may give the impression that I am against you entering law school. That is . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Practice of Law

Quantum Physics and Mediation

Last week I was half-listening to a CBC radio interview in the “Gamechangers” series on the Current, in which a physicist was explaining parallel universes and quantum computing. There was something about his delivery that made me pay more and more attention. His language was simple and clear. I was being drawn in to what felt like relatively effortless understanding (listen especially around the 12 – 16 minute mark). I turned up the volume and gave the radio my full attention, realizing I was being captured by excellent advocacy.

It is of course the fundamental goal of all advocates to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

A Monday Miscellany

Hats off to the judges present and past (four retired judges) of the Prince Edward Island Court of Appeal who are giving up evenings in November to provide educational sessions for islanders on PEI’s courts, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, public law, criminal law, civil law and family law. It will also include a tour of the Sir Louis Henry Davies Law Courts building where participants can see the courtrooms, holding cells, law library and public areas.

The free sessions will take place November 8, 15 and 22 starting at 6:45 p.m. and registration is limited to 50 people. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Reading: You might like..., Technology: Internet

Ontario Public Interest Articling Positions – Host Deadline October 24th

The Law Foundation of Ontario is helping to coordinate articling positions in the Public Interest community, in conjunction with Pro Bono Students Canada (PBSC). From the LFO’s information page:

The Law Foundation of Ontario (LFO) is pleased to announce that it is now accepting applications from prospective host organizations for its groundbreaking Public Interest Articling Fellowship Program for the 2013-14 articling period.

The Public Interest Articling Fellowship was conceived to meet both a significant need for legal assistance within the public interest community and to allow law students to gain valuable experience in public interest law. The program expands

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

BC Privacy Commissioner Releases Guidelines for Social Media Background Checks

The OIPC BC released Guidelines for Social Media Background Checks yesterday. The Guidelines were developed “to help organizations and public bodies navigate social media background checks and privacy laws.”

The Guidelines outline the privacy risks associated with the use of social media to screen and monitor current and prospective employees, volunteers and candidates, including:

The collection of potentially inaccurate personal information;

The collection of too much or irrelevant personal information;

The inadvertent collection of third-party personal information; and

The overreliance on consent for the collection of personal information that may not be reasonable in the circumstances.

The Guidelines also provide . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Reading: Recommended, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology: Office Technology