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Archive for ‘Reading: Recommended’

Older Law Society of Upper Canada CPD Materials Now Available Online Free of Charge

Ontario lawyers might be familiar with the Law Society of Upper Canada’s AccessCLE service, which is a database that provides electronic PDF access to papers and materials from LSUC events since 2004. Previously this service was pay-for-view.

However, the Law Society just announced that articles older than 18 months are now free of charge! Articles newer than the 18 month time frame will still be available on a pay-per-view basis, at costs ranging from $25.00 to $35.00 per article. Lawyers outside Ontario can access all these articles as well.

AccessCLE allows you to conduct a full text search, preview the . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

The Virtual Estate: Are You Talking About This With Your Will Clients?

CBC news recently reported that the average Canadian spent over 41 hours online each month in the fourth quarter of 2012, and that Canadians are the world’s second-heaviest users of the internet (just behind Americans). While there is a great deal of variety when it comes to the nature of this online activity, there is no question that a substantial proportion of it leads to the creation of property that has value – whether it’s objective, measurable commercial value, or simply personal value.

In his article “The legal status of virtual goods” in the May 31 edition of the Lawyers . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

The Future Is Now

With today’s release of The Future of Legal Services in Canada: Trends and Issues, the consultation phase of the CBA’s Legal Futures Initiative begins.

Trends and Issues puts data and insight from original research commissioned by the CBA into a single document meant to provide an overview of major challenges facing the profession. The report – and the questions it raises – form a starting point for discussions and further consultations with stakeholders in the legal services industry.

We’ve been showing you bits of those papers here, and on the interim Futures website, for the last seven weeks. If . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Reading, Reading: Recommended, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Conflicts Tune-Up: 5 Steps to Avoiding Conflict of Interest Claims

Every so often, a case about a lawyer removed from a matter or reprimanded for acting while in an “obvious” conflict of interest pops up in the media. These cases make all of us (or at least they should) shake our heads in dismay: Surely everybody knows how to avoid a conflict – don’t they?

LAWPRO claims experience makes it clear that lawyers don’t always accurately identify conflicts… or that sometimes they decide to be wilfully blind. Consider the following a brief primer on how to tune-up your conflict of interest avoidance systems.

There are three typical scenarios that lead . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Scholarly Exchange on Eric v. Lola

There’s some good stuff happening over on Osgoode Hall Law School’s IFLS blog, which is managed by the impressive Sonia Lawrence. I’m referring to a “roundtable” discussion about the recent Supreme Court of Canada case Quebec (Attorney General) v. A, 2013 SCC 5, otherwise known as Eric v. Lola. The old song says “whatever Lola wants, Lola gets” — but not this time. The majority of the court supported the exclusion of de facto spouses from the provisions of the Civil Code governing spousal support and division of property, making Québec (yet again) unique among the provinces. This, . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Justice Issues, Reading: Recommended, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Inadequate Investigation/Discovery Now the #1 Cause of Claims

The devil – as they say – is in the details.

And it’s the details that appear to be creating issues for lawyers when it comes to the principal underlying cause of LAWPRO claims.

Back in 1998, “inadequate discovery of fact or inadequate investigation” was the fifth most common cause of a claim when we looked at the top five reasons a claim was made against a lawyer.

Since then the claims cause of “inadequate investigation” has climbed steadily upwards to the number one spot: By 2011, this category of errors had more than doubled in frequency. Moreover, claims resulting . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Avoid the Unintentional Expansion of Retainers

Here’s the scenario: A lawyer is retained to assist a client with a tort claim and an accident benefits claim. The client, meanwhile, has been informed that the long-term disability (LTD) benefits provided by her employer’s group plan are about to be terminated. In an effort to forestall the termination of benefits, she asks the lawyer to send a copy of a medical report that the lawyer has on file to the LTD insurer. The lawyer does so, enclosing a cover letter that reads “my client has requested that I forward the enclosed to your attention.”

After the tort litigation . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Spring Clean Your Practice!

Nora Rock, corporate writer & policy anylist at LAWPRO, has some good advice for lawyers now that the weather is getting warmer. While this article was initially aimed at Ontario lawyers, all lawyers in Canada could stand to do some ‘spring cleaning’

We had flurries last night here in Ontario – but we’re not fooled: spring is around the corner. Time to roll up the slush mats and slide in the bug screens.

We challenge you, in the next month or two, to bring a little of the spirit of spring cleaning to your legal practice. What do we mean? . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Don’t Miss Family Law Issues When Drafting Wills!

We at LAWPRO have occasionally cautioned lawyers who specialize in one area of law about the dangers of dabbling in another, unfamiliar area. As a refreshing twist on that general advice, we’re reminding lawyers that while dabbling can be dangerous, KNOWING the law in another area is never a bad idea. When it comes to the intersection between wills and family law, it is essential that wills and estates practitioners maintain a basic working familiarity with family law issues so that certain drafting pitfalls can be avoided.

From a family law perspective, the greatest potential risk for a will-drafting lawyer . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

The Lender Client: Not Just a Third Wheel in a Purchase Transaction

It isn’t uncommon for real estate lawyers to be retained to act for both the purchaser of a property and the mortgage lender that is financing the purchase. However, a review of lender claims against lawyers for negligence suggests a misconception by some lawyers who believe that their only obligation to the lender client is to register the mortgage. The reality is that unless the lawyer’s retainer is explicitly limited to registering the mortgage (which should be confirmed in writing where possible), the solicitor should always be mindful of the additional responsibilities that are owed to the lender leading up . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Access to Justice Reports Released

Earlier this month, Kirk Makin of the Globe and Mail scooped an announcement of a major set of Reports on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters, an inititaitive that started with the Chief Justice’s challenge to the Canadian Bar Association last summer.

The four Reports from Working Groups chaired by Justice Thomas Cromwell were officially released this morning:
Report of the Court Processes Simplification Working Group
Report of the Access to Legal Services Working Group
Report of the Prevention, Triage and Referral Working Group
Report of the Family Justice Working Group

And a background literature review: Family . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Reading: Recommended, Technology: Internet

Be the Messenger (And Don’t Get Shot)

The #1 cause of claims against Ontario lawyers practising in most areas of law is problems with lawyer-client communication.

Considering lawyers’ reputation for verbosity, this statistic seems counterintuitive, at least until you consider that some things are easier and more fun to talk about than others.

Fun to communicate with clients about: success (and our role in it); progress; winning; good news. NOT fun to communicate: failure (and our role in it); setbacks; losing; increase legal costs; bad news.

The risk: Failing to promptly and appropriately communicate bad news (and therefore, failing to take steps to mitigate setbacks) exposes lawyers . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended