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An Ontario Benchers’ Candidates’ Word Cloud

The candidates for the forthcoming elections have all – save one – drafted statements or manifestos to garner support.

What these documents frame is what’s on the minds of the candidates as they try and anticipate the issues that most concern the lawyer members of the legal profession who will shortly be voting.

The picture speaks volumes. The size of the text reflects how frequently the concept occurs in all of the candidate statements.

. . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law

Why the 2015 LSUC Bencher Election Deserves Your Attention

I recently spoke with Henry J. Chang, one of the Toronto candidates in this year’s Law Society of Upper Canada (“LSUC”) bencher election. I asked him why members should pay particular attention to the elections this year and what issues are most important to voters. A summary of our conversation appears below. . . . [more]

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

Protecting Lawyers From Sexual Harassment and Assault

Sexual harassment is much in the news in Canada these days. Most harassment policies define sexual harassment as including acts such as sexist jokes, suggestive or obscene comments, demands for sexual favors or unwanted touching. Rarely do policies include sexual assault as this is may be seen as a crime beyond the scope of a workplace policy with its own remedies under the law.

Sexual harassment is not just a woman’s issue. Men can be subject to pressure to enter into sexual relations with more senior women or from more senior men, if they are gay. The feelings of helplessness . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Tax Season Reveals Opportunities for Improvement

Tax season often illuminates financial management philosophies we could – and should – revisit. For me, reviewing revenue and expenses has illustrated a year’s worth of daily activities that really added up. Here are some considerations to check on a regular basis.

Start with structure
Many professionals still practice without a clear financial goal for the year. My wise accountant once distilled the goal-setting process down to these questions:

  1. How much revenue do you want to earn and why?
  2. What percentage of that revenue will you invest in your practice and why?
  3. How much money do you need to manage
. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law: Practice Management

The Smartwatch Era Is Here

If you are an Apple fan, April 24 2015 marks the beginning of the smartwatch era – the date the Apple Watch is available. (Preorders start Apr 10th.) Smartwatches have been around for a while, but given the Apple reality distortion field, they will initially sell in large numbers, even though they are the most expensive ones available. The basic Apple watch is functionally the same as the most expensive gold watch edition that starts at $10,000. (Someone said that if you can afford a $10,000 watch, you probably don’t need to know what time it is.)

But there . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

The Case for Case Studies

After lawyers’ profiles, some of the most frequently visited parts of law firm websites are the Frequently Asked Questions section and Case Studies. Which two website sections are the most difficult to get lawyers to contribute? FAQs and Case Studies.

It shouldn’t be difficult to figure out why FAQs and Case Studies are so popular. When we have a question nowadays, we don’t go to an encyclopedia, we hit the Search button on our electronic device of choice and enter a search term. If your website comes up in a client’s search for the meaning of some arcane term in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

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. De Cruz Lee v. Lee, 2015 ONSC 2012

[29] Self-represented litigants whose aim it is to protract court proceedings to force the other side to expend significant resources on legal costs due to scurrilous allegations that are without any evidentiary foundation and are entirely irrelevant to the issue before the Court will meet the hammer of a cost’s award. In our . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Commissioners of Oaths in Alberta Have New Rules

Waaaay back in 2013 there was an Alberta Bill passed that consolidated the Notaries Public Act and the Commissioners for Oaths Act. These two pieces of legislation are in place to make the rules for notarizing and commissioning documents clear and to provide a way to deal with any problems that crop up, among other things. The Notaries and Commissioners Act SA 2013, N-5.5 will come into force on April 30, 2015.

All notaries in Alberta are also commissioners, so combining the legislation makes sense.

The new legislation does contain some changes for commissioners:

Old legislation: commissioners appointments (if . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

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

Law Reform Publications for Research
Shaunna Mireau

Yesterday at Slaw, I posted about the Alberta Law Reform Institute Final Report 106 Assisted Reproduction After Death: Parentage and Implications. Today’s Tip is a reminder to look to law commission reports when researching items that touch on public policy. As Michel-Adrien Sheppard wrote in a 2013 Slaw post, these reports have hidden treasures…

Practice

The Working Stay-Cation
Garry Wise

I shoulda . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Automation in the Legal Market

Tom Davenport is, among other things, a distinguished professor at Babson College, a research fellow at the MIT Center for Digital Business, and director of research at the International Institute for Analytics. He is recognized as one of the pioneers in the field of knowledge management (KM). In 2000 he co-authored, along with Larry Prusack, one of the early books in the field of KM, Working Knowledge: How Organizations Manage What They Know. He is acknowledged as one of the most trusted consultants and the third leading business-strategy analyst (just behind Peter Drucker and Tom Friedman) by Optimize Magazine . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Court Confirms Homeowners Lose Warranty Rights Upon Sale of House

A panel of three Divisional Court Judges have affirmed that when a homeowner sells their home, they lose their standing to maintain a Tarion warranty claim under the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act (the “Act”).

Ms. Blair took possession of her new condominium townhome in February, 2010. Thereafter she made a complaint to Tarion about insufficient heating in the home. Ultimately, Tarion ordered that duct modification work was required in all nine townhouse units in the complex.

Ms. Blair installed a gas fireplace in her home without Tarion’s approval (to address the heating issue) and claimed compensation for the . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Of Lowest Common Denominators, Government Surveillance and the Uncumberbatchable Task of Fighting Apathy

Merciless epithets are just one reason to watch last night’s episode of HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver — the primary being his face-to-face interview with Edward Snowden. “Uncumberbatchable” was the six syllable term Oliver coined in his warm-up act to describe the uncharming Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who is apparently so bereft of likeability that not even the gifted character actor Benedict Cumberbatch can (by Oliver’s review) imbue his character with any grace. But the searing candescence of Oliver’s satire—and his Assange put-down is certainly putting the Twittersphere in stitches—is just an invitation to treat. The . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous