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Bencher Election? What Bencher Election?

The dust has settled on another Ontario Bencher election, but it seems that most lawyers in Ontario barely noticed.

Only 34% of eligible voters exercised their franchise in the easiest, most convenient Bencher election in history; log into the website, then click on candidate names – done in 90 seconds.

Even so, 66 percent of voters thumbed their noses at the entire process – they couldn’t be bothered to vote for even one candidate.

To anyone paying attention, the message is clear:

The vast majority of Ontario lawyers don’t care who is elected as a Bencher.

And the vast majority . . . [more]

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

Patent Utility Update in Canada – Clarity May Not Be Explicitly Promised

In the past five years, the Canadian Federal Court has invalidated several patents based on an arguably “technical” deficiency – the “Promise/utility” requirement.

The most recent trend however suggests an increasing reluctance to both find an “elevated Promise”, and require a patentee to meet such a Promise. Instead the Federal Court of Appeal in late 2014 reinforced a “pro-patentee” approach by applying the “rule in favour of saving an invention rather than invalidating it” and is now consistently holding that Promises must be “explicit” ie. supported by clear and unambiguous . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Manitoba’s Legal Landscape Is Changing

The prairie landscape is notorious for its endless horizons, enabling the traveller to see far ahead. This long view is evident in recent changes proposed to regulation of the legal profession in Manitoba, changes that are clearly oriented toward the future.

As reported on Canadian Lawyer’s Legal Feeds blog last week, the Manitoba government on May 7, 2015 introduced a number of amendments to The Legal Profession Act.

The proposed amendments included in Bill 19 include:

  • Altering the composition of the governing body of benchers
  • Amending the definition of a law firm
  • Permitting the regulation of law firms
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Substantive Law: Legislation

ABS v ABS+ for A2J

This post is authored by David Wiseman, Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa’s Common Law Faculty.

A noteworthy aspect of the Canadian debate on whether to introduce alternative business structures into the legal services sector is the emphasis being given to the potential of ABS to improve access to justice. Instead of just assuming it will happen, I think we need to integrate specific measures into the regulatory framework to make sure that it does. We need to create what I’m calling ABS+.

I have argued that while the middle class may benefit from gains in access to justice . . . [more]

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

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. Henry v. British Columbia (Attorney General), 2015 SCC 24

[2] Mr. Henry brought a civil suit against the City of Vancouver (“City”), the Attorney General of British Columbia (“AGBC”), and the Attorney General of Canada (“AGC”), seeking damages for his wrongful convictions and imprisonment. The claims against the City and the AGC are not at issue in this appeal. We are . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Prosperity

Not all countries prosper … Why?

There are over 190 countries in the world today. Some prosper, some do not. Why?

Some answers to such a question is the subject of a book by Francis Fukuyama in 2014 titled Political Order and Political Decay.

Some elements of prosperity include the free market ideas of Adam Smith plus an honest and effective government. Apparently democracy is not required for a country to prosper, even though a majority of countries (over 115) are today democracies.

An effective government provides an array of public goods, such as clean air, defense, public safety, public . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Women, Wisdom and Wall Street

What’s it like to be the only woman in the room during corporate board meetings? Or the first woman to chair a financial regulation authority in the midst of an economic crisis? Last week, three groundbreaking leaders – all lawyers by training – came together to talk about their experiences as women affecting change in a male dominated industry.

The event was hosted by the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. Moderated by Ron Suskind, a journalist and leader of the Center’s Project for Public Narrative, the panel featured:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Control

Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.

– Kahlil Gibran

As I looked at quotes about the word “control”, I was struck by the variety of themes that emerged. My intention with this article was to talk about the effect of trying too hard to have control. But many people struggle with the need to take control. Where is the happy line between taking control of your life, and letting control overwhelm your life?

I’ve been told many times over the years, by various people, that I have “control issues”. This . . . [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.

Technology

Remove the Background of a Picture or Clipart in PowerPoint, Word or Excel
Dan Pinnington

When adding a picture or clipart to your PowerPoint or Word document, you may run into a situation where you don’t want its background to appear. This happens most frequently to me when I place a logo or symbol onto a PowerPoint slide and its background is a different colour than the background of . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Of a Social Media Evidence Checklist and Prepping for Lawmageddon

When it comes to technology, are we not always hearing about the breakneck speed of change? The inexorable pace and ubiquity of it? How technology is revolutionizing law and practice? Our magazines, CLEs and law bloggings are replete with calls to brace for one type of Lawmageddon or another—the imminent (or at least happening really, really, probably, rather soon) confluence of events that will change lawyers’ lives forever. Anything short of fully encrypted communication between lawyer and client will spell negligence. You will become or be devoured by an alternative business structure. Cybersecurity will become the mantra by which you . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Public Review of LegalDocML’s Akoma Ntoso v1.0

OASIS* is a “nonprofit consortium that drives the development, convergence and adoption of open standards for the global information society.” Under the OASIS umbrella is the LegalXML Member Section a group of “lawyers, developers, application vendors, government agencies and members of academia” working on the creation of “standards for the electronic exchange of legal data.”

The OASIS LegalDocumentML (LegalDocML) Technical Committee recently announced a month long review period to gather feedback for a number of standards they have development.

The OASIS LegalDocML TC works to advance worldwide best practices for the use

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

Inside the Lawyer’s Mind: Resilience

Following up on his previous posts on lawyers’ personality traits (autonomy, skepticism,urgency), and sociability) Ian Hu (practicePRO and Claims Prevention Counsel at LAWPRO) discusses “resilience”, a measure of how well lawyers bounce back from setbacks.

A lawyer high in resilience is receptive to criticism and feedback and is not defensive. He is less likely to take criticism personally and is better at focusing on accomplishing the task at hand. If he suffers a loss or is rejected, he will bounce back easily. With all the challenges lawyers face, you’d think we score high on resilience. . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended