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Delegation Communication: Questions Lawyers (Sometimes) Forget to Ask

If you’ve worked in a law firm long enough, you’ve probably been assigned work in a way that left you confused (if not annoyed). When it’s time to delegate your own work, it can be a mistake to default to the delegation style that you’ve become used to, assuming that it’s effective.

That assumption might be wrong if you’re working with new people, clients and/or matters. Try asking the following questions when you need to enlist help with a task. They involve people in taking responsibility for their work and they show respect for others’ expertise.

  1. What is the best
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Should Search Engines Index Court Decisions?

In the days of electronic access, judicial decisions (and sometimes other court records that have always been public in principle) no longer benefit from practical obscurity. Court have had to wrestle with the consequences of this, including tailoring the way decisions are written to reduce the amount of personal information they contain.

The Canadian Judicial Council has published material on this, as have the federal and state courts in the US.

Recently a US lawyer proposed that databases of court decisions should block search engines from indexing the decisions – a block that is very easy to implement, with a . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

.sucks TLD Sunrise Period Starts March 30

New TLDs (top level domains) continue to become live. There are hundreds to choose from. Gone is the day that there were only a handful, and a business could tie them all up for their corporate name and brands.

Also gone is the day that they are all inexpensive. Some of the new TLDs command a premium price. A .lawyer TLD, for example, costs US$6500. A .guru domain is a bargain at US$29.

This Yahoo article talks about the .sucks TLD, which will be in the sunrise period on March 30, and generally available 60 days later. Some think . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Ontario Joins Wider Move Toward Online Dispute Resolution to Ease Court Burdens

As John Gregory reported in a recent SLAW post, the Ontario government is looking at online dispute resolution (ODR) for a variety of provincial offences. The system could start with minor traffic offences, and be expanded to other provincial and municipal offences, such as parking and by-law violations.

The proposal reflects a growing trend toward ODR for both civil and administrative matters.

The Ontario consultation document notes the high cost of dealing with provincial offences, with about 1.6 million charges laid annually. In Toronto alone, for example, provincial offences courts cost about $50 million a year, plus $5.5 million . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

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. Nissen v. Durham Regional Police, 2015 ONSC 1268

[1] In a criminal law context, “informer” privilege is almost absolute. What this means is that a person who provides information to police about actual or suspected criminal activity, in exchange for a promise of anonymity, is guaranteed that anonymity will be preserved. It is only where innocence is at stake that the . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

CALL Measuring for What Matters

I have been absent from Slaw for a couple of months while I wrapped up an extended stint as a student in the Villanova University Master Certificate in Six Sigma program. I have finished the part of my learning that requires a university ID number. I have not lost my interest in continued learning in the area of defining, measuring, analysing, improving and controlling the processes that help my organization give excellent client service. Like many Slaw readers, I look forward to the next educative moment – which is just around the corner!

This May, I am looking forward to . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD

How Courtroom Innovations Help Self-Represented Litigants

The Toronto Star posted an interesting story this past weekend discussing how courtroom innovations in New York, the U.K. and Windsor, Ontario are helping self-represented litigants navigate the legal waters.

You can read the story here.

There is a complete absence of mention of what is being done in Toronto. If the answer is “nothing”, then perhaps we should all be looking at what can be done. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

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

Get the Music You Want for Every Mood or Occasion From Songza*
Dan Pinnington

There are loads of music streaming sites on the web. One of the best is Songza.com. It suggests different playlists for the mood you are in and it has playlists for every conceivable music type. There is a Music Concierge that will give you options like Brand New Music, Working to a Beat, Working (no . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

We Have Other Practice Areas?

It happens all the time in organizations, people get so busy doing their own work they stop hearing what other people in the company are working on. Although understandable to some extent, there are two really big issues that can arise because of it – both of which affect your clients.

We are all trying to get more revenue out of the clients we already have. Unfortunately we know that too many people only focus on the work they do for a client and we fail to learn as much as we can about the client. This has been discussed . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Of German Email Encryption Tool Tutanota and Other PETs

I’ve written updates before on encryption for communications and why the legal profession should be interested in tools and trends like encrypted ephemeral messaging, Edward Snowden’s warnings for legal professionals, and the upcoming Chrome extension for end-to-end email encryption.

Much of the whys and wherefores around encryption and Privacy Enhancing Technologies (“PETs”) and their place in legal practice are part of a broader conversation around lawyers’ digital competency — such as what Amy Salyzyn often writes about here on Slaw. This in turn engages the larger topic of internet security (and for a general background see this . . . [more]

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

Is This the Job You Want?

On the face of it, interviewing should not be all that difficult – particularly for lawyers. As members of a profession who primarily make their living either writing or speaking, the idea that having a conversation about your interests and abilities in your own profession sounds both logical and easy.

But throw the words “job interview” into the mix and a whole new paradigm emerges. With seemingly so much at stake, job interviews take on a new meaning for people who ordinarily would not shy away from talking about the field they have chosen and the background that they bring. . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Terminating for Cause? Prove It!

In January 2015, the Ontario Superior Court provided another example of how, as an employer, if you’re going to terminate an employee for cause, you better have a good case backed by solid evidence. The case, Partridge v. Botony Dental Corporation, 2015 ONSC 343 (CanLII), is a relatively simple one. The employee, a dental hygenist, Ms. Lee Partridge, was terminated for cause by her employer, Botony Dental Corporation, after 7 years of employment. On her record of employment and in defence, the Employer alleged versions of the following grounds for termination:

[35] […]

  1. Partridge chose to reject her

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions