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Reminder: Mandatory Training on the New Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct for Quebec Lawyers

On March 26, 2015, the new Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct (nouveau Code de déontologie des avocats) for Quebec lawyers came into force. All lawyer members of the Quebec Bar are required to complete a three-hour training session by December 31, 2015. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: CLE/PD, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

In Praise of Judicial Empathy, Humility and Simplicity

It takes a big person to admit they have made a mistake; it takes an even bigger judge. Justice Shaun Nakatsuru of the Ontario Court of Justice is such a judge.

In a remarkable judgment that has attracted significant media attention from the likes of the Toronto Star, the CBC and CTV, Judge Nakatsuru issued a personal and collective judicial mea culpa. While Justice Nakatsuru did not actually make a mistake per se, he admitted that as a judge he had “sinned” in terms of writing less than user-friendly judgments over the course of his ten years on . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Get Out and Vote

I don’t have a horse in this race — I’m not eligible to vote in the Law Society of Upper Canada (aka Ontario) Bencher election. Nonetheless, I know who I’d be voting for if I could.

Bencher elections are notorious for low participation rates across the country. I don’t understand this. Lawyers are typically engaged with politics in general, but for reasons I’m not privy to, fail to demonstrate the same level of engagement in respect of their own professional governance.

That’s a shame, but also an opportunity. Law society elections create an opening for the voices of lawyers from . . . [more]

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

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. Law Society of Upper Canada v Hamalengwa, 2015 ONLSTH 57

[27] The Lawyer blamed the MAG and the LSUC for profiling him and picking on him because he is a black man. But the fact remains that the Lawyer billed about one-half of the $1.5 million in public funds spent on the Wills’ lawyers and amicuses. The Lawyer was the highest . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Rethinking Success in a Modern Legal Career

In the summer of 1998 I was a freshly called lawyer working in the regulatory policy shop of a national phone company. As we gathered in the boardroom to celebrate a colleague’s 25th anniversary, I leaned over and whispered to a co-worker “wow, I’m not sure I’ve even been toilet trained for 25 years.” To that point, five and a half years delivering the local newspaper to my own house was the longest I had ever done a single job. A personal longevity record that stands unbroken today.

Point of fact, I eventually did spend over 10 years with . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Plot for Thought

I am old enough that I have both observed and given presentations on clear film with an old school overhead projector. I was thinking about time and visualizing time and studying statistical process control and using charts to help with decision making. Suddenly, I had a perfectly clear visual of a stack of overhead film with run chart plots overlaid with each other for comparing data.

Statistical Process Control, specifically Run Charts (a line graph where a measure is plotted over time), are useful tools that allow us to:

  • Display data to make process performance visible
  • Determine if a change
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Ontario Reformats Its Electronic Laws Site

Ontario’s e-laws site has been reformatted to conform with the general provincial presentation standards – without changing the integrity of the content.

The new version of e-Laws has several improvements, including:

• Easier navigation between related documents (e.g. statutes and regulations, consolidated law and source law, current versions and previous versions)
• A cleaner look and feel
• Quick and easy search and browse functions for each law category, (e.g., current consolidated law, source law, repealed and revoked law, and law in force at particular times)
• Simplified “Help” information
• More accessible for more people, including those who

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing

A Cautionary Handmaiden’s Tale

Margaret started working with senior partner Lawrence right out of her articles. In her first years of call she worked with many lawyers at the firm, but slowly Lawrence commandeered more and more of her time until he provided the majority of her billable work. Lawrence had churned through many associates before Margaret. She was the first one who was good enough to meet his exacting standards and the only one who would put up with his daily criticisms of her work. Lawrence kept her apart from his clients. Even as Margaret increased in seniority he held tightly to his . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

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.

Research

Point, Click, Hover, Interact
Shaunna Mireau

Today’s Tip is about interacting with your research world. We are involved in an increasingly complex universe of data that has increasingly complex functionality. In order to get the most out of what is in front of you I suggest that you engage with the data. Mouse over text and images; set your browser status bar to visible so that you can read . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Of Prima Facie Discrimination and Humanizing the Street Homeless

The long-dead brains of history are still quite handy when you need to brandish something with rhetorical flourish—Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare, Milton, Locke, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill are some obvious choices. But it’s rare that a quote at the head of a judgement is as good as what BC Supreme Court Justice Sharma gave us this past Friday in Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users v. British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. Here’s how the reasons begin:

“Near the end of the 19th Century, the poet, author and Nobel laureate Antole France composed this oft-cited saying: ‘[t]he law in its

. . . [more]
Posted in: Case Comment, Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Average Lawyer Is 90% More Skeptical Than Everyone Else: What This Means for Your Clients, Your Colleagues, and Your Firm

A skeptical lawyer is a good lawyer. He scrutinizes every line in a contract. He questions the opposing party’s arguments. He looks for hidden motives. He looks at the law with a critical eye. His legal decisions are guided by a healthy pessimism, which helps him guard against mistakes.

At the same time, a skeptical lawyer is not fun to be around when he is not dealing with legal issues. Because of his cynical, argumentative and judgemental character he doesn’t play well with others. He is less accepting, less trusting, and less willing to give others the benefit of . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Copyright, Author Rights and Open Access

Anyone involved with clearing copyright permissions to allow for open access to digital resources on a personal website or in an institutional repository are probably familiar with the SHERPA/RoMEO database.

SHERPA/RoMEO began as a UK research project developed at the University of Loughborough and is now maintained by the Centre for Research Communications (CRC) at the University of Nottingham. It’s an excellent starting point to find summaries of “permissions that are normally given as part of each publisher’s copyright transfer agreement.” Policies can be searched for by journal titles or their ISSNs or by a publisher’s name. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing