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The Conflict Resolution Practitioner of the Future

I am writing this post from our boat in the Gulf Islands of British Columbia – a welcome break from the usual flurry of activity and a time for deeper reflection than is usually available.

The feeling that we are living in a bubble of safety and tranquility was amplified when we picked up a major newspaper at our last port of call. It contained a full frontal onslaught of horrendous news from around the globe: the Gaza Strip, the Ukraine, Iraq, ongoing conflict in Syria, Somalia, the Ebola crisis in West Africa and the environmental disaster in BC’s interior, . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Of Unicorns and Leprechauns: Applying the Threatened Species Taxonomy to Administrative Law

A colleague & I were recently discussing the ever-shrinking categories of questions in administrative law that might attract a correctness standard (see paras. 58-61 of Dunsmuir and paras. 25-26 of McLean). I suggested that true questions of jurisdiction could be likened to unicorns and general questions of law of central importance to the legal system as a whole might be more in the nature of leprechauns. She suggested a better parallel might be found in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s threatened species taxonomy. In her view, true questions of jurisdiction are “extinct in the wild” . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

How Effective Is Assisted Self-Help?

We know that a significant proportion of litigants across Canada are choosing, for a variety of reasons, to represent themselves in court proceedings. Dr. Julie MacFarlane and numerous others have extensively explored this continuing trend. What is less known, or perhaps unknown is whether existing resources designed to assist self-representing litigants (SRLs) are effective in providing support to those litigants.

Across the country, self-help services for SRLs are available through a combination of court and community-based service providers. In Manitoba, self-help services are not available at the courts; rather, the courts refer SRLs to community-based services like Legal Help Centre . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Misquoted in the Media? Set the Record Straight.

Being interviewed for a news item or feature story on your area of expertise is a great way to build a professional reputation. It looks good in a Google search. It associates your esteem with that of the publication. And you can refer to the coverage in marketing materials without sounding self-aggrandizing.

But what if you’re misquoted?

As reporters rush to meet deadlines and editorial departments dwindle, your erudite articulation might come across as an arcane patois.

Communications expert Marsha D’Angelo has some advice on options to set the record straight. D’Angelo has worked with an impressive list of clients . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Marketing

Legal Publishing and Market Research – Getting It Right

Robert MacKay, the philosopher publisher from New Fetter Lane, recently posted yet another thoughtful piece on a matter of interest to legal publishers and their customers under the title The Customer is Sometimes Right (April 29, 2014).

This time, Robert addresses the subject of the dynamic that exists, or rather should exist, between the publisher and the customer in the development and re-development of major legal information products. Specifically he comments on “the methodologies used to define and understand user needs by way of direct customer contact”.

As Robert says, the next product or service that will astound us will . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Wednesday: What’s Hot on CanLII

Each Wednesday we tell you which three English-language cases and which French-language case have been the most viewed* on CanLII and we give you a small sense of what the cases are about.

For this last week:

1. Cruz v. McPherson, 2014 ONSC 4841

[30] Based on the information contained in the marketing brochure, the Cruzs’ Statement of Claim alleges that there is a partnership between Summit Legal (a corporation) and Fireman Wolfe LLP. The Statement of Claim, however, does not allege – nor could it allege – that there is a partnership comprised of a corporation (Summit Legal), . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

T.V. Show Prompts Plaintiff to Try to Re-Open Case

According to Mr. Mehedi he was scammed. He paid $3,742 to a company to provide career development services and assist him in finding a job. Prior to paying the fees, Mr. Mehedi asserts that he was promised that the company would find him a job as a project manager with a salary of $70,000. That job never materialized.

Mr. Mehedi sued the company and its principals. He lost at trial. The trial judge found the defendants to be credible and concluded that there was no basis for finding that any of the defendants made any promises or commitments to Mr. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment

Law Firm Advertising

I still love advertising. Even with its diminishing popularity, particularly in print form, creating beautiful ads that pack punch for clients makes me happy. We’ve had clients frame our ads, float them around the firm, send home clippings of their announcement ad, and we’ve had several posted to social media sites just for fun. What’s not to love?

My suspicion is that there is more care going into law firm advertising. That’s only an empirical observation, but I do believe there are fewer lawyer-produced (or directed) ads getting published lately. Just as you can spot a contract that was torn . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Tips Tuesday

Here are excerpts from the most recent tips on SlawTips, the site that each week offers up useful advice, short and to the point, on technology, research and practice.

Technology

Handy Checklist Will Help Prevent Unauthorized Access to Your Gmail Account
Dan Pinnington

In just the last few weeks, I have talked to two lawyers dealing with hacked email accounts. In the past year or so, I have seen frauds perpetrated where a hacker hacked into a client’s email account and waited until the opportune time (just as a real estate deal closed) to send instructions to the lawyer . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

A Step Closer to IBM Watson in the Law?

Are we getting closer to machines in the practice of law? In his blog post “Meet your new lawyer, IBM Watson,” Ron Friedmann describes a meeting between IBM senior management and top-tier law firm CIOs at last week’s ILTA conference. He says:

It sounds like IBM intends Legal Watson to replace junior associates or at least perform much of their work (see also The Future of LawAmerican Lawyer, Aug 2014). Legal Watson’s success depends on the answers to three questions:

  1. What information – and how much – does Watson need to ingest and, to the extent necessary,
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

practicePRO Resource: Technology Use Policies and Resources

Written policies that clearly establish guidelines and requirements governing the acceptable use of firm technology can help reduce cyber exposures and give staff clear direction on what they are permitted and not permitted to do with law firm technology resources.

Use these resources and sample policies to create polices for your firm (These resources supplement the information in the Cybercrime and Law Firms issue of LAWPRO Magazine): The model policies are also available in Word and RTF formats.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology

KF Modified: A Law Classification for the Small American Law Library?*

In the June issue of Technical Services Law Librarian Karen Wahl talks about Kristen M. Hallows‘ article called “It’s All Enumerative: Reconsidering Library of Congress Classification in U.S. Law Libraries” published in the Winter issue of the Law Library Journal.

In her review Wahl says:

The major thesis is that a subject classification scheme, rather than a jurisdictional classification scheme, may better support the needs of users because it will collocate related materials better, leading to better browsability for the patrons. It implies that the hyper-specificity of LCC makes this more difficult for a smaller law

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research