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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

May Law Blogs Be Ghostwritten?

Controversy has developed in the US about whether it is appropriate for law blogs to be ghostwritten. The ABA Journal has an article on the topic, and many comments that are about evenly divided pro and con.

Some would distinguish between a law firm blog, which sounds more like other publicity material that the firm may generate, and individual blogs that appear to – and thus arguably should – be the product of the individual personally.

Would it matter in either case if the ghostwriting were disclosed? Would disclosure matter if the firm or lawyer in whose name the blog . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology: Internet

Keep Your Guard Up: Bad Cheque Scams Targeting Lawyers Are Getting More Sophisticated

Just over two months ago I did posts on SLAW and AvoidAClaim that warned family law lawyers to be aware of bad cheque scams on matters involving the collection of outstanding spousal support. [See either of the earlier posts for the actual text of one of these messages.]

Family lawyers continue to be the targets of fraud attempts – even more so than two months ago. On an almost daily basis I am getting at 2-3 calls and emails from Ontario lawyers who have been approached to act on matters that are clearly frauds. On some occasions it appears dozens . . . [more]

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

The Checklist Manifesto and the Smarter Lawyer

The Checklist Manifesto
by Dr Atul Gawande
published by Metropolitan Books, December 2009
price: $29.50
ISBN: 978-0-8050-9174-8

Gawande shows how using checklists can significantly improve workflows and outcomes at work. The book has real lessons for lawyers and lawfirms

In The Checklist Manifesto, Dr. Atul Gawande examines how the use of checklists can significantly improve workflows and outcomes in the work environment. He focuses primarily on the aviation and construction industries, and analyzes where and how checklists are used. He speaks as well about his experience in a WHO-sponsored initiative bringing checklists to surgical operating theatres around . . . [more]

Posted in: Book Review, Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law

Ted Video: Four Ways to Fix a Broken Legal System

The annual Ted conference always has thought provoking presentations. One of the presentations this year was entitled “Four ways to fix a broken legal system“. Its worth taking the 19 minutes to watch.

The basic proposition of the presenter, Philip K. Howard, is that the legal system has become so complex that it instills fear to act. People become so self-conscious of their judgments that it skews behaviour towards failure. 

We should not just dismiss this as being unique to the American legal system. The Canadian system may not be as extreme in this regard – but . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Equine Law

Here’s a niche for the eager young lawyer: equine law (or might we say “equiny” — emphasis on the ‘whinny’ ). Makes sense, of course. There’s “a law” of pretty much anything of value in our culture. Horses, though their general use preceded the death of the buggy whip by a bit, are still with us, or some of us, that is, and are bought, sold, trained, treated, and, sadly, mistreated, all events that can have legal ramifications.

I happened across Equine Law and Horsemanship Safety, A resource for horsemen, lawyers and law students, a site at the University . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

2010 Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide

Hat tip to my friends Sharon Nelson and John Simek of Sensei who today published the 2010 edition of their annual legal technology guide. It is discussed in the latest ABA podcast.

The blurb says

This annual guide is the only one of its kind written to help solo and small firm lawyers find the best technology for their dollar. You’ll find the most current information and recommendations on computers, servers, networking equipment, legal software, printers, security products, smart phones, and anything else a law office might need. It’s written in clear, easily understandable language to make implementation easier

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

Don’t Give Away Your Key…

♫ Don’t go breaking my heart
You take the weight off me
Honey when you knock on my door
I gave you my key…♫

Lyrics and music by Sir Elton John and Bernie Taupin, recorded by Sir Elton John and Kiki Dee.

There is a disturbing post today to the IT Blog entitled: Computer Breaking and Entering is a Business.

Aside from the statement that 80% of the PC hack attacks come about thru vulnerabilities in Adobe Acrobat’s Reader (based on a report from ScanSafe, a Cisco company), the acknowledgment that there is an elephant in the room . . . [more]

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

The Speech That Justice Charron Didn’t Give

There’s a fascinating piece on Monday’s Law Times about a speech that Supreme Court Justice Charron had planned to give to the Women Lawyers’ Symposium in Ottawa. Although Justice Charron’s address was never delivered, the text of her speech, penned by a former clerk, was nonetheless circulated with the rest of the material for the symposium. The part of the text that’s caught the attention of the Law Times is as follows:

The ‘priority of profit’ represents a significant barrier to institutional change in the private practice environment. . . . Many law firms are so focused on profit

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

Handy Chart Summarizing Changes to Ontario’s Rules of Civil Procedure

[A post for Ontario lawyers]

As of January 1, 2010, big changes to three parts of Ontario’s Rules of Civil Procedure came into effect. These changes are intended to streamline the litigation process and increase access to justice. Many of the changes to the rules are a result of the Civil Rules Committees (CRC) consideration of the Osborne report. These are the most extensive amendments to the Rules of Civil Procedure since they were first adopted in 1985. There are no general transitional provisions and in most cases these amendments apply to existing proceedings.

Taran Virtual Associates has created . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Ontario Courts Ease Into the Era of Proportionality

It has been a little over a month since the changes to the Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure have brought in “proportionality” as a governing principle and brought in specific directions regarding proportionality in the discovery process. This is a summary of a quick case law review I conducted for recent Ontario civil procedure decisions citing the proportionality concept.

By numbers alone, it appears Ontario courts are citing the principle slightly more. I counted 15 civil procedure cases reported on Quicklaw that mentioned proportionality from January 1 to February 14. For the same period last year the number was eight. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

How Secure Are Your Passwords?

The two things everyone using computers is supposed to do are: back up regularly and create difficult, changing passwords. The two things that nearly everyone using computers fails to do are: back up regularly and create difficult, changing passwords. Now, the business about backing up wouldn’t apply to computers used in law offices (would it?). But it’s not so clear that all firms and lawyers in those firms have got a good password policy in place.

We’ve talked about this on Slaw a couple of times recently. John Gregory asked whether a failure to set proper — i.e. complex — . . . [more]

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