Canada’s online legal magazine.

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 research, writing, and practice.

Practice

Learn to Leverage Your 80%: Practice – What is a “learning experience”?
Sharon VanderKaay

Merely “having an experience” does not guarantee how much we will learn from that experience. Lawyers are rarely trained to excel in the most basic skill required to thrive in today’s work environment: How to learn faster in action. A widely accepted rule of thumb is that 80% of the knowledge needed to do your

. . . [more]
Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Reduce Communication-Related Claims by Understanding Cognitive Bias

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

Understanding cognitive biases can help reduce communication-related claims, which are the biggest source of malpractice claims. While many cognitive biases are dealt with by following some common sense principles, others are not as obvious. From anchoring effect to decision fatigue, knowing how your client makes decisions can help you build rapport with your clients, effectively give recommendations, and help ensure you and your client are on the same page.

1. Let your clients make a good decision –decision fatigue

Decision fatigue has perhaps the highest profile of . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

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 more than 80 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.Labour Pains 2.Canadian Appeals Monitor 3. 2.FamilyLLB (Russell Alexander) 4. Canadian Securities Law 5. Condo Adviser

Labour Pains
If a Termination Provision Potentially Violates the ESA, It Is Void: ONCA

“If a [termination] provision’s application potentially violates the ESA at any date after

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

“Counsel, I Demand Justice!” – “Most Definitely! How Much ‘Justice’ Can You Afford?”

Might that majority of society who cannot afford a lawyer’s advice (“the problem”) soon use the social media to demand the abolition of law societies? Indeed; “off with their heads!” Quite fitting for a law society, created during the last years of the French Revolution, which had so taxed the heads of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette but a few years before. Ontario’s Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) was created on July 17, 1797, in Wilson’s Hotel, at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, by 10 of the 15 lawyers in the then British colony of Upper Canada. (See: Christopher Moore, The . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Burning the Provisions, Not the Witches

Codification can be a wonderful thing. It helps consolidate all of the myriad of rules and exceptions that exist in the common law, and lays it out in one place for everyone to find.

But codification also has its drawbacks. Once enshrined in statute, there can be a tendency towards complacency.

The best example of this of course would be the Criminal Code of Canada. First enacted in 1892, it was modeled after a proposed a codification in Britain written by James Fitzjames Stephen, which never made it past Second Reading there. The reason for its codification was that John . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, 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 juge de première instance a commis une erreur en faisant reposer l’abus des procédures sur l’atteinte à l’équité du procès en raison de la simple substitution des accusations portées contre l’intimée; il y a lieu d’ordonner la tenue d’un nouveau procès.

Intitulé : R. c. Dumont-Chamberland, 2017 . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Marketing Strategy II: Do You Know Where Your Clients Are?

If your firm has been around for a while, how has it changed? Let’s say you’re in a mid-sized Canadian city and the firm has been in existence since the 1970s. Chances are that at least one set of partners has retired from the firm and new recruits have brought new interests (and new clients) into the firm. New industrial developments on the outskirts of town have yielded new clients, who in turn have referred other new clients from even further out of town. Before anyone has realized it, your firm is serving clients province-wide, yet you’re still promoting yourselves . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Partisan Political Arguments in the Workplace, Part 2

In February, we posted a discussion with respect to how workplace political expression could go awry with human rights law. The article also provided best practices on how human resources professionals and employers can appropriately address human rights complaints specifically on the basis of political belief, activity or association. However, a comment sparked further discussion on how workplace political expression could also contravene harassment provisions under occupational health and safety legislation. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Thursday Thinkpiece: Case Management Tools for Solo & Small Firms

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.

The 2017 Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide

© 2017 American Bar Association. All rights reserved. Slaw readers can receive a 10% discount on purchase of this book. Use the discount code LTG2017 at checkout; this offer is valid from 4/2017-7/2017.

John Simek, Vice-President of Sensei Enterprises, Inc.
Michael Maschke, . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

What Actually Goes on in Articling? Ethical Obligation of Regulators . . .

The Law Society of Upper Canada is undertaking (yet another) review of its licensing process. This is at least the fifth time that it has examined changes to the licensing process since 2000. However, in all of these reviews, the Law Society has never actually examined the actual working conditions of articling students. In this it is not alone. I am not aware of any Law Society in Canada that has done so. The Law Society of Upper Canada now has the opportunity as well as the responsibility to undertake such research.

There is both a policy imperative as . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Is a Docusign E-Signature an Original for the Purpose of a Court Rule?

If a court or regulator allows e-filing but requires the filer to retain an original signed document, can that original itself be electronic?

A bankruptcy court in California recently issued sanctions against an attorney who filed electronic documents without retaining an “original” of the documents as required by the Rules – because the documents held by the attorney were signed using Docusign, and they did not qualify as originals for that purpose. Here is an article about the decision.

Here is the rule in the Court Manual:

Court Manual section 3.4(1)(4): Retention of Original Signatures. The registered CM/ECF User

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

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. Lanigan v. PEITF, 2017 PECA 3

[17] The Teachers’ Federation asserts that the judgment is the product of (i) fundamental errors of law regarding interpretation and application of the duty of fair representation, and (ii) a multiplicity of factual errors involving findings not based on the evidence and contrary to the evidence, which are palpable in nature and overriding in effect. . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII