Canada’s online legal magazine.
Carswell Start-up Guide for Sole Practitioner
LexisNexis Legal Products

Monday’s Mix

Each Monday we present brief excerpts of recent posts from five of Canada’s award­-winning legal blogs chosen at random* from sixty recent Clawbie winners. In this way we hope to promote their work, with their permission, to as wide an audience as possible.

This week the randomly selected blogs are 1. Lee Akazaki  2. U of A Faculty Law Blog 3. Labour Pains  4. Blogue du CRL  5. Legal Feeds

Lee Akazaki
Why can’t a lawyer be more like a share capital corporation? A reflection on the CBA Legal Futures Final Report

Henry Higgins, in My Fair Lady, famously sang, . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

External Legal Spend Management – Controlling “Rate Creep”

Background

It would be a safe bet to assume that almost every in-house lawyer and CFO in the country expresses concern about managing external legal spend. A material amount of effort is spent with external legal service providers about managing rising legal costs. However, typically this focuses solely on the current rate structure being offered. This is only one part of a well defined legal services delivery platform. In addition to articulating the current fee structure, an intentional approach to fee reviews is necessary to effectively manage the effect of “rate creep” (the year over year increase of fees without . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Diagramming for Statutory Interpretation

Juana Summers of NPR detailed this week the use of sentence diagramming, a grammar technique once widely used in America,

Burns Florey and other experts trace the origin of diagramming sentences back to 1877 and two professors at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute. In their book, Higher Lessons in English,Alonzo Reed and Brainerd Kellogg made the case that students would learn better how to structure sentences if they could see them drawn as graphic structures.

After Reed and Kellogg published their book, the practice of diagramming sentences had something of a Golden Age in American schools.

The practice fell into disuse . . . [more]

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

Summaries Sunday: SOQUIJ

Every week we present the summary of a decision handed down by a Québec court provided to us by SOQUIJ and considered to be of interest to our readers throughout Canada. SOQUIJ is attached to the Québec Department of Justice and collects, analyzes, enriches, and disseminates legal information in Québec.

Constitutionnel :Le ministre des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune a violé les droits des peuples autochtones aux termes de la Convention de la Baie James et du Nord québécois en fixant par décret la date de la chasse aux caribous du troupeau de la rivière aux Feuilles au 15

. . . [more]
Posted in: Summaries Sunday

The Las Vegas System

My criminal law professor was the stuff of nightmares. His name was Christo Lassiter and prior to joining the legal acadme, he was a prosecutor for the United States Marine Corps JAGs. Imagine The Paper Chase’s Prof. Kingsfield with the ability to shoot an M-16. That was our Professor Lassiter.

In the spring of my 1L year, a group of female law students decided to join the university intramural softball league. It seemed like a good way to relieve stress, even if most of us were creaking towards 30 (…ha!) and our opponents were going to be 20 year . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education

The Friday Fillip: Paris, the Sights, Sounds . . . and Smells

It’s still August, which means that the locals have left the city and not yet returned — a great time to visit Paris. What’s that you say? It’s just not possible at the moment for you to hop on a plane and plunk yourself down in the city of lights? Tant pis.

But the Friday Fillip to the rescue, if only virtually. Besides, this way you don’t have to exercise your execrable French and get excoriated by the experts. Our trip to la région parisienne is strictly a faute de mieux thing, requiring nothing from you other than a . . . [more]

Posted in: The Friday Fillip

Why Checks and Balances Must Come First

In my last post, I posed a question to readers: Do we need a global digital bill of rights? It was also the topic of a fascinating panel discussion I moderated at the CBA’s CLC in St. John’s last week. Perhaps predictably, there were no definitive conclusions, but there appeared to be agreement that as the World Wide Web celebrates its 25th anniversary, internet users of all stripes are struggling with a dilemma: If private internet companies are watching us, shouldn’t someone be watching them? Presumably the “someone” in question would be the government. But that’s an idea that . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Technology: Internet

Rethinking the Way a Court Formats and Publishes Its Judgments

If you could change the way a court formatted or published its judgments, what changes would you recommend? XML? Typography? Are there any courts whose judgments you think are better (looking) than the rest? Or are there any ongoing initiatives or helpful products/sources in this area you’d like to point out? I would be grateful for your comments, tips, etc. Thanks! . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology

Interesting Take on the Duty to Accommodate

An employer can do nothing and still meet its duty to accommodate, so long as it turns out that the employer could not have accommodated the complainant without undue hardship. This was the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal in the recent case, Canada (Human Rights Commission) v. Canada (Attorney General).
Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Do Less Marketing

That headline sounds like heresy coming from someone who runs a legal marketing agency for a living, but hear me out.

Try as I might to remain benevolently immature until the end of my days, there are some telltale markers of adulthood (nay, perhaps even middle-age) creeping into my subconscious of late. There are external indicia of course – one’s offspring earnestly advising how fat and bald you are, strangers calling you “sir” straight to your face with nary a hint of sarcasm – but I purposely adopt a stance of willful blindness regarding those. No, what I notice now . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Clio Conference More Than Food Trucks and Yoga

When my company started working with Clio back in 2008, I had a gut feeling they were onto something. But frankly, I never would have predicted the immense success this cloud-based software start-up would see over the next six years. Even without my admitted bias, I think most would agree that today, Clio has evolved into a major player in the legal software sector and one of the most engaged companies within the North American legal community. And by many accounts, they’re also the brains behind one of the most unconventional and enjoyable legal conferences we’ve seen to date. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Miscellaneous

If You Think Our Red Tape Is Bad…

We often get frustrated with seemingly unnecessary red tape and arbitrary rules – but every once in a while we run across requirements from other countries that are mind boggling. For those who have never encountered this, it goes something like this.

A government agency or business in a country your client does business in requires a copy of a document. If they were here, they may not need that document in the first place, but even if they do it would be a simple manner of scanning and emailing a pdf.

But no, they require a notarial copy – . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous