Canada’s online legal magazine.

The Lawyer Licensing System in Ontario

A vital part of the Law Society’s legislated mandate is to ensure that all lawyers called to the Bar in Ontario have the demonstrated competency to practise law at an entry level.

There are many stakeholders across the legal profession in Ontario who believe that the current licensing process is unfair and unsustainable over the long term, and needs to continue to evolve. There is no consensus, however, on the shape or scope of that change.

The Law Society understands that any change in the fundamental components of lawyer licensing must be supported by the profession.

In this article, I . . . [more]

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

Crossing the Border With Your Devices — as a Lawyer

I’ve been kindly invited to be a regular/irregular contributor to Slaw, and I’m delighted to take them up on this offer.

Even before the change in government in the United States, I’m often asked — by other lawyers, the media and other folks — about whether you can be required to surrender your electronic devices and passcodes to unlock them on demand by border agents. This question has become a bit more acute as the media is increasingly reporting about individuals being not only required to surrender their devices and their passcodes, but also their social media credentials to border . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

Too Many New Lawyers? Build a Wall?

Over the last few years, there has been much debate about how to deal with the significant increase in the numbers of Canadian and foreign law school graduates seeking licensing in Ontario. While the number of articling positions has significantly increased, the number of applicants has increased even more quickly. The Law Practice Program (LPP) was established several years ago as an additional pathway to address this shortfall and to pilot a new approach to experiential training.

With a recent proposal to terminate the LPP facing substantial opposition, the Law Society of Upper Canada is now developing “long-term recommendations for . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Reasonable Royalties and Non-Infringing Alternatives

In an oil and gas patent proceeding, the court ordered a 27% royalty rate for sales made prior to the grant of the patent at issue and did not consider a manual process as being a non-infringing alternative. In a recently issued decision, Frac Shack Inc. v. AFD Petroleum Ltd., 2017 FC 104, the defendant was found to infringe several of the claims in a patent relating to a fuel delivery system used for hot refueling of equipment used for hydraulic fracturing.

If a patent is found to be infringed, the patentee, or person claiming under the patentee . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

The Future Is Bright

As I wrapped up my last class at Robson Hall last week, I remarked to that whip-smart group of 1Ls that I hoped they had learned at least half as much in their two terms of Legal Methods as I did in the teaching of the course. This was my first experience teaching in a law school setting and looking back, I know for certain that I learned more than I likely imparted.

You may recall that last fall, my stated intention as I went back to law school as a sessional instructor was to keep a record of my . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Marilyn Macfarlane – the Glue That Binds

After a remarkable career, Marilyn Macfarlane has retired from the Osgoode Society. Marilyn was the first and only administrator of the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History for over 40 years. During that period, over 100 books were published and over 600 oral histories compiled. Throughout it all, Marilyn served as the point person between the Society, and the many authors, publishers and members of the legal community who were part of the process. Known for her gracious manner, thoughtfulness and careful attention to detail, Marilyn was truly the glue that bound its many disparate parts and personalities together.

My . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Researchers Play Along With “Tech Support” Scam Calls

Have you ever been tempted to play along with scammers that phone just to see where it goes and to give them some grief? Researchers at the State University of New York at Stony Brook did that and more.

They sought out scammers who claim to be from Microsoft or some sort of official tech support, and followed it through to see what happened. They set up virtual machines that looked like normal PC’s to the scammers who remote on, and let the scam play out.

This Wired article has more detail, including the paper that the researchers wrote, and . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

The Belt Challenge and the Need for a Think

This will be a bit of an odd column: I’m going to talk international relations. Yes – I know I am a lawyer and not a foreign policy wonk. But I am worried about Europe. No, I don’t mean Brexit, Greek debts, or German, French and Dutch elections. A much bigger challenge lies more to the South, below Italy’s boot. I call that challenge the Belt. It’s a bit of a crude word, because it gives the impression that it’s a single challenge. It’s not. Justice is a large part of it.

Picture yourself on the top of the Mont . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

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. Buenrostro-Ramirez, 2017 ONCJ 101

[33] While it makes little to no difference for analytical purposes, the alternative defence position, and the one I find more accurately reflects the informational function and mandatory impact of the statutory demand, is that the officer did not make an ASD demand until he read it from his notebook and translated it into non-legalese . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

What if Your Personal Digital Assistant Defames Somebody?

We recently had a discussion about police access to the recordings made by in-home digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and its (her?) ilk.

Now our focus turns to the actions of these devices if they do bad things themselves. This story reports that Siri, Apple’s version, routinely answered requests in Toronto for prostitutes by referring the inquired to an “eSports bar” – one where clients play electronic sports games. Apparently the word may be too close to “escorts” for Siri’s sense of discrimination. It is clear – take it as established for the present discussion – that the bar is . . . [more]

Posted in: International issues, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Why the LSAT Should Be Retired

Starting this fall Harvard Law School will allow applicants to submit their scores from either the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). This is a significant departure from the last 70 years, where LSATs have been considered a rite of passage.

Even though the LSAT provides a “neutral” way to measure students from diverse schools and programs, it’s continued use must be questioned.

Many of the critiques that apply to the SAT apply to the LSAT. The SAT has been “called out of touch, instructionally irrelevant, and a contributor to the diversity gaps on college . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: Law Schools

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.

Research & Writing

4 Questions to Ask About Any Database (Part 4)
Ken Fox – Law Society of Saskatchewan Library

This is the fourth and final part of a series on questions you should ask about any electronic research source. Catch parts 1-3 of this series here, here and here. 4. How are the results ORDERED? Don’t assume relevance ranking. Our databases, for example, always order the results in reverse . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday