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Tweeter or Twitter? Teaching a Federation Approved Legal Ethics Course

This summer I again provided the Federation of Law Societies with the syllabus for my legal ethics course. The Federation requested the syllabus for, presumably, the purpose of verifying that the University of Calgary’s course complies with the Ethics and Professionalism Competency as set out in Table B of the Federation’s Implementation Report for the Approved Law Degree. As it did the past two summers fulfilling the Federation’s request left me feeling both uneasy and uncertain.

Uncertain because I am not sure what the Federation wants to do with the syllabus. Are they simply ascertaining that it is a stand-alone . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

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. R. v. Last, 2009 SCC 45, [2009] 3 SCR 146

[1] The Crown enjoys a large discretion in deciding to include more than one count in an indictment (s. 591(1) of the Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46). On an application to sever a multi-count indictment, the overarching criteria are the interests of justice. This appeal raises the issue of whether . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

The Trust Imperative: Part II

Last week, I published the first half of an interview with Aneil Mishra, Ph.D.. Mishra is a respected author and business school professor who studies the link between trustworthiness, leadership and organizational performance. He discussed the four main qualities of trustworthy leaders – reliability, openness, competence and compassion – and his latest research regarding which of these qualities might matter most in the current economy.

The interview concludes this week with a discussion of how law firm leaders can build trust within their organizations and how this can create competitive advantage in an era when trust in leadership seems to . . . [more]

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

Virtual Museum of Canada

A recent Canada Gazette Part II shared a Statutory Instrument proclaiming the sections 200-204 of Canada’s Economic Action Plan 2014 in force as of September 30, 2014, among other things. These particular sections of the act move responsibility for the Virtual Museum of Canada to the Canadian Museum of History.

The news release informs subscribers of that Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN) will cease publishing the virtualmuseum.ca Newsletter. Subscriptions will will not be transferred over to the museum. Folks who want info on the latest trends in museums and technology are encouraged to subscribe to the CHIN Newsletter (recent . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Law Students: In the Midst of Change

The report of the CBA Futures project found, unsurprisingly, that “the legal profession in Canada is entering a period of major change.” From my perspective as a 2L law student, the thought of entering the profession in the midst of such change is both exciting and overwhelming. Exciting because there will be novel opportunities; overwhelming as uncertainty in the profession could make the transition from law student to lawyer a tough one. Many of the 22 recommendations in Futures report have special resonance with students: from admissions, to debt reduction programs, to post-call training.

One such recommendation is the idea . . . [more]

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

Don’t You Know, We’re Talking About a Tuition Revolution

Students have two clear goals upon graduation: getting a job and paying off their debt. There is a third thing though that at one point is a motivating factor for many idealistic students—doing meaningful social justice law work. For most law students and recent graduates this third thing has fallen off the map at a time when everyone from the Chief Justices of the Supreme Court to the Bar Associations, law schools and LSUC are talking about increasing access to justice.

Steadily rising levels of tuition have become a tremendous financial barrier for students entering law school and for . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Access to Justice: An Opportunity for Law Schools – Part 2

The CBA’s Equal Justice Report

In my last column, I focused on the Canadian Bar Association’s Access to Justice report released in December, entitled Equal Justice: Balancing the Scales (disclaimer – I am a member of the committee). The committee proposed 31 targets to achieve access to justice in Canada. The report can be found here.

Some of the access to justice targets involved Canadian law schools. They provide an opportunity for law faculties to modernize their curriculum while playing a significant role in the biggest legal issue of our generation.

In this column I will focus on some . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education

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

Reopen a Just Closed Browser Window Tab Wit Ctrl+Shift+T
Dan Pinnington

Every so often you will accidently close a browser window tab that you wanted to keep open. Hate when that happens! And after doing so, you want to get it back. Typically, most of us will open Google Search in a new tab and try to reconstruct the search terms that got us to the tab in the . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Of #HeForShe Feminism and the Autumnal Equinox

During an autumnal equinox the Sun spends about an equal time above and below the horizon at all points of the Earth. September 23 is the date for this year’s equinox. For the rest of 2014, the northern hemisphere will pine the loss of sunlight as the other half of the globe rejoices its gain. For a brief period during equinox, however, we are all equals. At least in this single, solar respect.

In most other departments, that simple, elegant equality does not resolve tidily. Not on any day of the year, in fact. Once you’re on the ground, inside . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous

Clio Announces “Next” UI at User Conference

For many legal software companies, major announcements and product enhancements have traditionally been saved up for release at ABA Techshow or LTNY. But with the advent of their own user conference last year, Clio looks to be borrowing from the tech sector (think Apple or Google) and utilizing their own annual event for these types of product releases.

This morning’s opening of the Clio Cloud Conference showcased two new such announcements, namely: a revamp of the product’s UI, dubbed Clio Next; and the release of the company’s new smartphone app for Android.

Clio Next updates include:

  • A revamp of
. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology: Internet

Manage Malpractice Risk by Recognizing Cultural Diversity

In the social realm, cultural differences can be awkward for those on both sides; but in the context of legal services, cross cultural
misunderstandings and other culture-related factors can occasionally lead to malpractice claims against lawyers. The good news: claims with a cultural component are easily preventable as they tend to reflect certain recurring themes.

One category of claims arises where a lawyer is unfamiliar with the culture of his or her client or is not comfortable asking questions about culture, and so makes false assumptions or ill-advised communication “adjustments” that lead to misunderstandings and mistakes.

In a subset of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Lawyers, Learn to Code With This Free eBook

If you’ve been thinking about learning how to do some coding, or want to learn more about the software that powers the applications you use everyday, then you’ll be interested in this eBook by V. David Zvenyach: “Coding for Lawyers.” Zvenyach is the General Counsel to the Council of the District of Columbia and considers himself an “accomplished armchair coder.” He also insists that “Lawyers can code. In fact,” he says,

“… if you’re a lawyer, the truth is that it’s easier than you think. I am a lawyer, and a coder. In the course

. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology