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A Proposal for Automated Online Dispute Resolution, Part 1

This essay proposes a set of draft standards for automated online dispute resolution (AODR). The drafts I propose here are for transactional disputes, and specifically for AODR that generates arbitral awards in the millions of claims for debt and breach of contract. This proposal does not consider AODR for torts or disputes with non-AODR-compliant evidence or claims.

The AODR promise is simple and a little mind-boggling:

  • Take millions of claims out of the court system.
  • Reduce cost of dispute resolution (pre-enforcement) to zero.
  • Increase speed of dispute resolution (pre-enforcement) to infinity (limited only by bandwidth and machine capacity).
  • Give a
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law

More Than a Google Search: 4 Ways to Assess Your Reputation

When I ask lawyers how they plan on building their reputations, the answers that I usually hear range from “do whatever I’m told” to “don’t screw up” to “execute my stellar marketing plan”. Of course, there’s more to it than that.

A reputation rests on:

  1. The esteem in which you are held
  2. The respect people have for you
  3. Your perceived level of trustworthiness
  4. The admiration that stakeholders have for your character

Having a “good” reputation means knowing what matters to those whose opinions affect your career. It doesn’t just result in referrals and job offers. It’s also about getting . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Marketing

Confucius

Who was Confucius?

See the book Confucius: And the World he Created by Michael Schuman (2015). Many of the words and phrases below are those of Michael Schuman.

Confucius was born in China in 551 B.C. and died in 479 B.C. He was a teacher, politician and philosopher. In Asia his influence ranks with Abraham, Jesus and Buddha. He spent most of his professional life teaching – he taught the wisdom of Chinese antiquity, a timeless code of morality. He handed down the standards for human morality.

Confucianism offers a moral code to guide human behavior analogous to the Ten . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

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

Go Gender Neutral
Neil Guthrie

Strive for neutrality, or at least balance. As Richard Wydick suggests in his excellent Plain English for Lawyers, ‘many readers, both women and men, will be distracted and perhaps offended if you use masculine terms to refer to people who are not necessarily male.’ Wydick also notes that it’s equally distracting to use ‘clumsy efforts to avoid masculine terms’, or . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Of Smartphones in an Age of Privacy Breaches and Paranoia

“Several were almost tharn—that is, in that state of staring, glazed paralysis that comes over terrified or exhausted rabbits, so that they sit and watch their enemies—weasels or humans—approach to take their lives.”
– Richard Adams, Watership Down

Go to enough legal tech conference sessions and you’ll eventually catch the fear. It may start with a shocking statistic or factoid —”80% of big law firms have been targets of hackers” or “The FBI unofficially recommends paying the cryptovirus ransom”— and it will escalate quickly into a litany of sinister sounding jargon and neologisms.

Phishing scams. Botnet zombie armies. Malvertising. Heartbleed. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

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. The Court  2. Michael Geist 3. Library Boy  4. Meurrens on Immigration  5. Blogue du CRL

The Court
Parental Access for Crown Wards: The “highly adoptable child”

When a child is made a crown ward, how much access should the biological parent have? While Ontarian courts have had to . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

De-Automate Your Destruction

An Internet connection can automate damage to your law practice and reputation. A lawyer can’t practice without the Internet but there are ways to reduce the opportunities to be attacked. There are common applications that have become so problematic as attack points that lawyers may want to uninstall or at least wall off this software. I’m talking in particular about Adobe’s Flash and Oracle’s Java apps.

There are lots of bugaboos on the Internet but let’s focus on these two. You could throw in PDFs as well, if you like. Cisco’s annual threat report shows that these three make up . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The Internet Can Be as Deadly as It Is Empowering

All child deaths due to illness are a tragedy, but some tragedies are more pronounced than others.

When a child’s death could have been properly prevented through medical intervention which was deliberately refused by the children’s parents, most of us are at least shocked, if not outraged.

This week David and Collet Stephan of Lethbridge, Alberta were convicted for failing to provide the “necessaries” (sic) of life under s. 215 of the Criminal Code. This section is used more commonly to address insufficient feeding for underweight babies, babies drowning in bathtubs, and even with the risk of physical abuse by . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Summaries Sunday: Maritime Law Book

Summaries of selected recent cases are provided each week to Slaw by Maritime Law Book. Every Sunday we present a precis of the latest summaries, a fuller version of which can be found on MLB-Slaw Selected Case Summaries at cases.slaw.ca.

This week’s summaries concern: Armed Forces – Civil Rights – Criminal Law – Administrative Law – Constitutional Law – Courts – Indians, Inuit and Métis – Crown – Equity – Statutes – Arbitration – Education – Evidence – Labour Law – Practice – Family Law – Wills

R. v. Gagnon (J.G.A.) 2016 CMAC 2
Armed Forces –  . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Summaries Sunday: SOQUIJ

Every week we present the summary of a decision handed down by a Québec court provided to us by SOQUIJ and considered to be of interest to our readers throughout Canada. SOQUIJ is attached to the Québec Department of Justice and collects, analyzes, enriches, and disseminates legal information in Québec.

COMPAGNIES : La juge de première instance a erré, un tribunal ne devant pas, sauf circonstances exceptionnelles, permettre à l’actionnaire majoritaire d’acquérir sans contrepartie les actions de l’actionnaire minoritaire.

Intitulé : Li c. Wang, 2016 QCCA 641
Juridiction : Cour d’appel (C.A.), Montréal, 500-09-024834-145
Décision de : Juges Julie Dutil, . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

The Need for a Code of Conduct for Family Law Disputes

The Codes of Conduct of Canada’s various law societies set the standards of conduct expected of members of the profession. They are enforced through the law societies’ enabling legislation, which uniformly empower the societies to punish breaches with sanctions ranging from reprimand to disbarment.

The Codes of Conduct require us to find a balance between our obligations as advocates and the general duty to uphold the rule of law and practice with honour and integrity. It seems to me, however, that bar admission courses, intending to simultaneously instill a healthy respect for practice standards and a dread fear of complaints, . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

It’s a Law Firm, Not a Love Song: It Can Carry on Without You (For a Week or Two)

“(T)o build my career is to make myself indispensable, demonstrating indispensability means burying myself in the work, and the upshot of successfully demonstrating my indispensability is the need to continue working tirelessly.”

That’s journalist Ryan Avent talking about why he’s reluctant to do something that would help his personal life even though it would have a minimal effect on his professional one.

His circular argument will sound very familiar to lawyers. In a business where success is measured by the billable hour, busy-ness is the key to upward mobility. No one wants to miss a step on the career path . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law