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Sailboats and Project Management

I love to race sailboats.

(To an outsider, a sailboat race usually falls somewhere between incomprehensible and watching-paint-dry boring. Trust me – it’s very, very different when you’re on the boat!)

I’ve raced everything from one-person dinghies to a 45-footer (14 meters) we owned until my wife noted she preferred adventures that didn’t involve frigid Pacific Northwest water. Currently, three buddies and I share a couple of Etchells-class boats – fast, fun, cheap, and easily sailed with two to four people per boat. We race them Thursday nights against other Etchells’ and similarly sized boats.


An Etchells – not ours . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Tenant Owing Over $50,000 in Arrears Evicted

A panel of 3 Divisional Court Judges has dismissed the appeal of a tenant who owed over $50,000 in rent and who was nearly 3 years in default on her rent payments.

After her initial default the tenant entered into a mediated agreement under which she had to make certain payments, failing which her tenancy would terminate. Not surprisingly, the tenant defaulted on the mediated agreement and failed to make any payments at all over the following 20 months.

The tenant appealed the eviction order and successfully had her own appeal adjourned one time. She tried to have the hearing . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment

A Look at How One Firm Is Trying Alternative Fee Arrangements for Litigation

This article is by Ian Hu, claims prevention & practicePRO counsel at LAWPRO.

In recent years more focus has turned to alternative fee arrangements as a way to offer clients more predictable costs and affordable legal services. Hughes Amys LLP, based out of Hamilton and Toronto, offers alternative fee arrangements which have proven successful for them. Here is a look at how they’ve done it.

“We’ve been doing alternative fee arrangements for over 20 years,” says managing partner William (Bill) S. Chalmers. “In the early days it was a blended rate, where the client would pay one hourly rate regardless . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Smart Contracts?

Click to view full-sized image. Image source: pricewaterhousecoopers

People have long used technology to help them make and carry out their contracts. Even an old-fashioned vending machine offers goods to the public, understands an order for particular goods, recognizes execution by the buyer through the deposit of the appropriate payment, and delivers the goods.

However, we do not usually think of the vending machine as smart or its implied contract of sale to be a smart contract. Apparently we need to see a computer to attach that label. A smart contract these days is generally considered a contract the performance . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

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 seventy 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. University of Alberta Faculty of Law Blog  2. Global Workplace Insider 3. Combat Sports Law Blog  4. Clio Blog  5. Canadian Immigration Law Blog

University of Alberta Faculty of Law Blog
What is Section 91?

Dear Sir or Madam: Today we write to you regarding the emergence of section . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

In Defence of “Safe Spaces” on Campus

A university student walks on to campus, wearing a hat that appears to support Donald Trump. Controversy ensues. Oh yeah, the campus was in Canada.

The video of the incident attracted far broader attention, including renewed discussions of the role of “safe spaces” on campus. The debate in Canada followed right after a similar discussion at the University of Chicago, where the Dean of Students told the incoming class of 2020,

We do not support so-called ‘trigger warnings,’ we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual

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

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.

PÉNAL (DROIT) : La Cour rend jugement dans le dossier type concernant la divulgation de la preuve en matière d’alcootest à la suite de l’arrêt de la Cour suprême R. c. St-Onge Lamoureux (C.S. Can., 2012-11-02), 2012 CSC 57, SOQUIJ AZ-50908040, 2012EXP-3884, J.E. 2012-2079, [2012] 3 R.C.S. 187.

Intitulé :  . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Is File History Estoppel Coming to Canada?

The use of patent prosecution history is a standard part of analysing patents in the United States but the courts in Canada have resisted using the prosecution history for parsing the words of patent claims. A recent decision highlights a situation where the use of the patent prosecution history would have resulted in a different analysis in Canada and the trial judge asks whether it is time to consider the prosecution history and imposing consequences on parties that argue differently at court than before the patent office.

During the patent filing process, the applicant, through their patent agent, often makes . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

The Devil’s Advocate

Gavin MacKenzie, Amy Salyzyn and I participated in August in the Ethics Debate at the Canadian Bar Association Legal Conference. Amy moderated the debate. Gavin and I were the debaters. The topic was Should lawyers have a monopoly on the provision of legal services? I argued for the proposition. Gavin argued against.

The general topic was broken up into three separate propositions, each of which was separately debated. My role was to support the first two propositions and to argue against the third.

  • There is no good reason to allow anyone other than lawyers to provide legal services.
  • Professional
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Ethics

Thursday Thinkpiece: Harrington on Niche Practices and Becoming an Expert

Each Thursday we present a significant excerpt, usually from a recently published book or journal article. In every case the proper permissions have been obtained. If you are a publisher who would like to participate in this feature, please let us know via the site’s contact form.

One of a Kind: A Proven Path to a Profitable Law Practice
© 2016 Attorney at Work. Reprinted with permission.

Jay Harrington is an attorney and co-founder of Harrington, where he leads the agency’s Brand Strategy, Content Creation and Client Service teams to help lawyers and law firms increase market awareness and improve . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Pipeline to a Diverse Bench

Women lawyers, between 2006 and 2015, applied for superior court judicial appointments in Canada at roughly half the rate of men in the same time period, reports Cristin Schmitz in the September 16, 2016 issue of The Lawyers Weekly. In her article, Women Not Applying for Federal Benches, Schmitz reports the following previously unpublished statistics on who is seeking federal judicial appointments in Canada:

  • 1,531 women and 3,244 men applied between January 23, 2006 and October 19, 2015
  • 188 women and 396 men were appointed to federal courts during this same decade
  • Judicial advisory committees recommended 1,236 of the 3,003
. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

CASL Still Confusing

CASL, the Canadian anti-spam legislation, came into force on July 1, 2014. July 1, 2017 will be an important date for CASL, as a private right of action will become available. Anyone (class actions are likely) will be able to sue CASL violators. Statutory damages means that it won’t be necessary to prove actual damages.

CASL is a complex, illogical statute. Many businesses don’t comply because they don’t think emails they send could possibly be considered spam. After all, spam is about illicit drugs, diets and deals scams, right? Not according to CASL.

Nor do they understand they must keep . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation