Canada’s online legal magazine.

What Do You Do?

What do you do? It is a seemingly easy question. It may be an invitation for small talk or formal proposal. But how do you respond? What things should you mention? How much should you say? It is an open-ended question that should be easy to answer and yet your response is dictated by where you are, who you are speaking to and what you have to offer them. Yikes!

The basic principle of a good response is to cover as much territory as you can in as small a space as possible. You do not know what will pique . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Thursday Thinkpiece: Sharp on the Right of Access to Justice Under the Rule of Law

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 Right of Access to Justice Under the Rule of Law: Guaranteeing an Effective Remedy

Graham Sharp, 3rd year student, University of Saskatchewan College of Law

Winner of the 2016 Christine Huglo Robertson Essay Prize. The Prize recognizes a paper that makes a significant contribution to scholarship concerning the administration . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Default vs Diversity

I recently attended an access to justice conference where the majority of speakers and attendees were white men. As a South Asian woman my presence felt conspicuous. This circumstance didn’t feel intentional or nefarious, it was clearly a matter of the organizers working within the default mode. The same default that is common not only in the legal world but also in other spheres such as academia and the technology sector.

This default is currently being pierced by humour and frank conversation. Recently, The Globe and Mail launched a new podcast called Colour Code that examines race in Canada. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Robson Hall Diary…Week 4

So far, so good. My first few weeks at Robson Hall have been uneventful. We’ve had a few full group lectures in Legal Methods, where first year students are being immersed in practical topics ranging from basic legal research to how to think like a lawyer to exam-writing tips. Right now they ought to be finishing off their first case brief assignment, struggling with how to summarize 87 dense pages from the Supreme Court into no more than 6 double spaced pages.

So far, I have been most grateful for the course coordinator, Richard Jochelson. He just joined . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools

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 Vader, 2016 ABQB 505

[687] The culpable homicide of Lyle and Marie McCann is either a murder or manslaughter: Criminal Code, s 222(4). A homicide is murder (Criminal Code, s 230) if Mr. Vader killed the McCanns:

1. during commission of a robbery (Criminal Code, s 343);

2. if Mr. Vader intended to cause . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Naughty Secrets – Findings in the Ashley Madison Breach

A quote attributed to FBI Director Robert Mueller is “There are only two types of companies: those that have been hacked and those that will be”. The assessment of the Ashley Madison cyber-attack has lessons for all organizations who may face this risk.

July 15, 2015 a website run by Avid Life Media Inc. (ALM), called Ashley Madison targeted at people seeking a discreet affair, was breached by a group or person calling themselves The Impact Team. The personal information of members was threatened to be exposed unless ALM shut down the Ashley Madison and another ALM website. ALM did . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Regulate This

Most people today are employees who drive cars and get married. Most people today deal with law only when they are fired, ticketed, or divorced. (It’s nice that the vast majority of people never interact with the criminal justice system.) So most access-to-justice issues have to do with employment, personal injury/traffic, and family law. This is because these are the main three areas of social complexity and government regulation in most people’s lives. When there is no complexity or regulation, there are few access-to-justice issues because there is no need for lawyers.

Tomorrow, most people will be freelancers (the gig . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology

A Risky Appetite for Apps: Can Best Practices Help?

Apps are everywhere. A 2014 study found that there are roughly 18 million apps users in Canada and that Canada’s apps enterprises generate $1.7 billion annually. These numbers have presumably only increased in the last two years.

The market for legal apps, in particular, is significant and growing. Research that I’ve done along with colleagues at the University of Ottawa estimates that there are now several dozen apps available in Canada that purport to help with law-related issues. This number is continually growing. In the United States, the numbers are exponentially larger: hundreds of legal apps are available.

The developers . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

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 and writing, practice, and technology.

Research & Writing

Save Time: Start With Secondary Sources
Bronwyn Guiton

Here’s a tip I always mention when I’m introducing students to the legal research process: you will save time if you start by consulting the leading secondary sources on your topic, rather than going straight to the legislation or case law. …


The Efficient to-Do List
Andrea Cannavina

Time is money. Three words which pretty much . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

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. Administrative Law Matters  2. Excess Copyright 3. Michael Spratt  4. Environmental Law & Litigation  5. Éloise Gratton

Administrative Law Matters
New Paper — Royal Treatment: The Crown’s Special Status in Administrative Law

Although I have not been blogging much for various reasons (hampered most recently by the sad demise . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Six Strategies for Dealing With Fear, Worry, and Self-Doubt

As we journey through our professional careers, one valuable tool to acquire is a personal formula for overcoming the inner obstacles that often hold us back from taking on vital challenges, rich with learning and opportunity.

Fear and self-doubt don’t just come up for newly called lawyers, they also vex seasoned lawyers as well.

When I think back on this past year I remember of couple of my own brushes with these inner obstacles and the sinking, heavy, feeling that comes with them.

Oh no, I am not up for this.
I am going to fail this.
I am not
. . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Insights Into Billables From Cloud Computing

The Clio Cloud Conference is sort of like the Burning Man Festival of the legal industry. You have to attend it at least once in your lifetime, and once you do, there are no words to truly describe the experience.

There’s the high-energy environment, with a concert-like production. And when you look at the fellow groupies in the audience, you notice they’re all leaders in the law. Years later, I’m still talking about it.

This year the conference provided another extra tidbit – insight into how lawyers apply the billable hour in their practice. The advantage of a large cloud-based . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice