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Archive for February, 2013

Resolutions for Better Matter and File Management

Effective file management provides the foundation for timely, valuable client service and appropriate management of client matters. Here are some resolutions to help you complete the critical steps in file management:

  • I will complete a conflicts check before opening a file: Conflicts of interest can lead to ugly and expensive malpractice claims. The best time to catch and avoid a conflicts claim is during a thorough conflicts search before a file is opened. A thorough search looks for conflicts involving both the client(s) and others connected with a matter.
  • I will open a file for every matter I handle
. . . [more]
Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Is a Court a Place or a Service?

This interesting question is raised by Richard Susskind in his newest book “Tomorrow’s Lawyers” (Oxford University Press). In this book, as in his 2008 work “The End of Lawyers? Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services”, Susskind explores the implications of Information Technology on the practice of law. You can read an excerpt here.

The prediction that there will be more electronic filing of documents, more screens in the courtroom so all participants are looking at the same page and real time transcripts, come as no surprise, but if Susskind is right we can also expect to see virtual courtrooms  . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

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 thirty-five 2010 & 2011 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. Canadian Legal History Blog 2. Entertainment & Media Law Signal 3. Clicklaw Blog 4. Slater Vecchio Connected 5. Social Media for Law Firms.
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Mediator Saves NHL & Players From Themselves

The pivotal role of Scot Beckenbaugh, Deputy Director of the United States Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, in resolving the 113-day National Hockey League lockout provides an excellent case study in the art of high-stakes mediation.

Published accounts of Beckenbaugh’s role in the final week of make-or-break negotiations illustrate the key attributes that disputing parties should seek in any mediator.

Subject matter expertise:

Beckenbaugh was brought into the negotiations for his mediation skills, not his knowledge of the specific financial issues in dispute. He is not a “hockey guy”. His bio on the FMCS website mentions “extensive experience in public . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

The Alternative Lawyer – When Traditional Practice Doesn’t Work

Far too often we hear the stories of tragedy and demise when discussing the future of the legal profession. Some room for optimism is always warranted as well though. According to CareerBuilder and the Economic Modeling Specialists in an article in The Globe, lawyers are one of the professions in Canada with the most positions added since 2012.

But not everyone with a law degree wants the traditional legal practice. Kim Covert of CBA’s PracticeLink has a new article on opportunities outside of practice. She touches on articling shortages, as well as the significant numbers of women who leave . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Summaries Sunday

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

This week's summaries are in Criminal law and duress / Adoptions and artificial insemination / Custody and language of education / Medical malpractice / Fatal accidents legislation and equality / Duties of insurance broker / Discovery and privileged documents:
Posted in: Summaries Sunday

More on Surviving Legal Publishing

In a recent post on Slaw, Robert McKay has offered an interesting critique of the legal and professional publishing profession as it exists today (Fun but Dangerous Work: Surviving Professional Publishing), with insights as to new hires and advice to the legal publishing companies on the risks of de-hiring talent for short-term gain on the bottom-line.

Robert’s perspective is very different from my own in that he chose professional publishing for his career, and did not simply fall into it as was the case when I first joined a legal publishing company. Nonetheless, his assessment of the current . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Supreme Court Reverses the Indalex Decision

In the most keenly awaited commercial decision of recent years, the Supreme Court of Canada this morning held that the Ontario Court of Appeal in Indalex Limited (Re), 2011 ONCA 265 (CanLII) was mistaken in stating that deemed trust provisions to contributions to an underfunded pension scheme trumped the interests of a Debtor in Possession lender.

The central issue involved what priority would be given to pension plan wind-up deficits, particularly in insolvency proceedings involving the plan sponsor. Indalex Limited, and its related companies went into the tank. They obtained protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Anti-Spam Act, Part 5 of 5: Challenges Going Forward

This last of 5 articles on the Anti-Spam Act will set out some of the questions and challenges going forward.

This is the last of a series of 5 articles that will introduce the Act, describe what spam is and is not, talk about collateral provisions, what we can do now, and some of the challenges going forward.

As I said in the first article, if you think the Act won’t affect you because you don’t send mass emails trying to sell random products, and don’t infest other people’s computers with spyware, you would be wrong. It creates tools to . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

The Friday Fillip: Vinepeek

This week I debated with myself as to whether the fillip should be about piece of meaningless fluff (actually a whole dust bunny of pieces of meaningless fluff) that might be NSFW, or about a weighty question raised by a philosopher in the NYTimes (that probably was in its way NSFW i.e. not satisfactory for weekends). Fluff won. It is, after all, now February, that Thursday of months, when, speaking for myself, the winter thing becomes just a tad teejus and light, whatever its form, might be welcome.

The sub-trivial treat for today comes to us thanks, in part, to . . . [more]

Posted in: The Friday Fillip

Make Sure You Have a Worry-Free Holiday This Winter

The Canada Health Act requires your provincial Health Insurance Plan to cover your medical costs in your province of residence only. While some of your provincial coverage may extend to medical emergencies incurred outside Canada, you may only be reimbursed for a fraction of the total cost.

For example, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) will only cover you up to a maximum of $400 per day for cardiac ICU care for an out of country claim. This pales in comparison to the more than $10,000 per day that a typical USA hospital would charge. Even something as simple as . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law