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Legal Advice Services Cannot Be Automated by Alternative Business Structures

The fact that legal advice services cannot be automated is of critical importance in determining whether the legal profession should accept proposals for “alternative business structures” (ABS’s). They are being promoted by a Committee of the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) as a means of lowering the cost of legal services.[i] The “unaffordable legal services problem” afflicts both kinds of legal services: (1) legal advice services; and, (2) routine legal services that don’t require legal advice. ABS proposals have three parts: (1) law firms can be invested in (owned—up to 49% or 100%) by non-lawyer people and entities; . . . [more]

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

Thursday Thinkpiece : Boddie on Succeeding as Outside Counsel

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.

SUCCEEDING AS OUTSIDE COUNSEL: A LAWYER’S GUIDE TO PROVIDING FIRST CLASS LEGAL SERVICES FROM THE CLIENT’S PERSPECTIVE

by Rod Boddie © 2014 American Bar Association. Reprinted with permission of the American Bar Association. All rights reserved. (ABA LPD 2014)

Excerpt: Chapter 1: Legal Services

To begin the discussion about the provision of legal . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Maybe I Should Do What I Say…

I was recently asked to give a presentation on marketing and communications for a national firm. The target audience has various levels of knowledge and experience within the organization. The presentation needed to have a practical component ensuring everyone would have a something to take away. To add a bit more complication, the group did not share a practice or to a large extent a client base.

No problems right? Many of us have been given similar assignments and have been able to come up with topics that we think would appeal to the audience.

I put together what I . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

The Bluebook Challenge, and a Promise to the Public Domain

We see a noteworthy update this week in the back-and-forth between public domain advocate Carl Malamud and representatives of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation®.

As I understand it and as you might know, Mr Malamud has been working for some time to challenge both the appropriateness and the legality of the copyright protection claimed in The Bluebook. This week, on behalf of Mr Malamud and his foundation, Public.Resource.Org, Professor Christopher Sprigman of the Engelberg Center on Innovation and Policy wrote to counsel for the Harvard Law Review Association to outline its current position.

The letter is fascinating. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing

TWU Law and the New Reality

As a Bencher of the Law Society of BC, I voted against the accreditation of TWU Law on two occasions—first in the original Benchers’ debate on the subject in April, and then again in September following a Special General Meeting of BC’s lawyers. Both votes were defeated.

Between the two votes, I penned a Slaw column entitled TWU Law and the New Segregation. It was lauded in some corners for capturing the evolved public interest in equal treatment of LGBTQ people, and panned in others for being long on emotion and short on analytical rigor. The latter view noted . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Good Intentions and Rhetoric Won’t Suffice

Why is it so hard for the legal profession to act on what we know about the benefits of working in an environment that reflects the diversity of those we provide services to?

As a member of numerous volunteer committees, both inside and outside the legal profession, I’m often struck by the extent to which diversity challenges pervade most every sector. In the social and community services sector where I work and volunteer, I often find myself involved in committees made up largely of women and often failing to reflect the diversity of the service users in that sector. In . . . [more]

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

October Is Cyber Security Awareness Month

The goal of Cyber Security Awareness Month is to remind us to guard against cyber threats. The Canadian Government getcybersafe website has resources to describe the risks and suggest ways to protect against things such as cyberbullying, scams and fraud. It covers both personal and corporate risks for smartphones, social networking, online banking, online shopping, and more. It also explains the differences between common threats such as pharming, phishing, and spoofing.

If you’ve ever wondered how many people actually fall for what appear to be blatant phishing attempts, take a look at this infographic that shows that even a very . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

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. Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia v. British Columbia (Attorney General), 2014 SCC 59

[1] The issue in this case is whether court hearing fees imposed by the Province of British Columbia that deny some people access to the courts are constitutional. The trial judge, upheld on appeal, held that the legislation imposing the fees was unconstitutional. I agree.

[2] In . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Finally, a Tablet That Can Replace a Laptop!

Finally, a tablet that can replace a laptop. Much as lawyers love their iPads – and they are great for surfing, e-mailing and presenting evidence in court – they are not true laptop replacements when it comes to business productivity. This is the next true war – consumer tablets have reached a saturation point and consumers are not replacing them as fast as manufacturers had hoped.

Always in search of profits, the major manufacturers have finally come to recognize that the enterprise table market is hot hot hot for any company that can get the technology and the security right. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Stop Doing That

I have too many RSS feeds. I receive and send too many emails. My calendar is too full. My project list is too lengthy. I am a totally average person working in a law firm. What to do?

  1. Figure out what in your world is waste
  2. Stop doing it

Simple, right? Perhaps one thing I should stop is asking redundant questions.

One way to consider your actions with the goal of stopping waste is use the 5 Whys method for your daily work. What is the root cause for why you are doing what you are doing?

Here is a . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law

Warning Re: Claims Exposure Where Private Mortgage Advance Goes to Third Party

[The following is the text of a LAWPRO alert sent October 7, 2014. This post mirrors the alert, but includes samples of the new exemption clauses we have seen in claims files.]

LAWPRO has become aware of a new exception to coverage in certain title insurance policies which could expose real estate practitioners to claims from their private lender clients.

The issue has recently arisen in connection with private residential mortgage transactions, and in particular where the lender and borrower are separately represented, as required, because the loan is more than $50,000. This is the basic scenario: After the lender’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements

How to Boost Your Referrals

Most lawyers say they receive the majority of their business through “word of mouth” or referrals, even in the internet age. But how can you improve your referral rate?

Be a Good Networker

Networking and building your system of contacts is the obvious first step in boosting your referrals. To get business, you first need to build your reputation and get to know people so they can develop trust in you and your work.

If you want to boost your referrals, focus more on building relationships with other professionals, strategic alliances and referral sources and strengthening your relationships with existing . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing