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Archive for May, 2013

Non-Lawyers Are People Too

I did a quick and unscientific bit of research a couple of days ago, comparing use of the terms non-lawyer and non-doctor in the Twitter-verse.

It seems that for the most part (on that day, at least), recent tweets referencing “non-doctor” were focused on the television serial, Doctor Who. I noted a few exceptions, pointing to other related professions, especially physiotherapists, but those tweets were from tweeters who did not appear to represent the medical profession, and in fact, appeared to be part of the client-group.

On the other hand, I found references to “non-lawyer” only in tweets from lawyers, . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Closing Canada’s International Human Rights Implementation Gap

Canada is far from perfect when it comes to its domestic human rights record. Obviously the scale and gravity of concerns do not compare with tragedies unfolding in countries like Syria or the Democratic Republic of Congo, the threat to survival faced by so many of Colombia’s Indigenous nations or the relentless discrimination women endure in Afghanistan. But the concerns are nevertheless very real and longstanding, ranging from the alarmingly high and entrenched levels of violence experienced by Indigenous women to punitive new immigration detention laws; from the failure to tackle homelessness in the country to national security practices that . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

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 the week of May 1 – 8:

  1. R. v. Duncan 2013 ONCJ 160

    5. At heart, Mr. Duncan’s case was unremarkable. A minor alleged Highway Traffic Act offence led to a police-citizen interaction in the parking lot of Mr. Duncan’s apartment building in the wee hours of the morning. A request that Mr. Duncan produce his licence led to an alleged refusal, which led to an

. . . [more]
Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

CALL Live – Stress at Work

Dr. Sonia Lupien, a neuroscientist, shared 60 minutes on understanding the beast of stress. Her premise is that if you understand someone, you can deal with it.

I understand stress from the user perspective. Like using a computer, I didn’t know what the silicon in the chips was for. Dr. Lupien gave CALL Conference attendees useful information in a humorous way.

First: Stress is not time pressure.

If stress was time pressure, it would not exist when you have to go to the dentist or if we have someone close to us dealing with an illness.

Second: Stress has nothing . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD

I Gotta Tell Ya, It’s Complicated! Candour Owed to Clients1

In R. v. Neil, Justice Binnie stated that the duty of candour was an aspect of the duty of loyalty. As Justice Binnie put it, an aspect of the duty of loyalty is

a duty of candour with the client on matters relevant to the retainer

The fiduciary duty of candour was the basis for the earlier decision of the Supreme Court of Canada with respect to physicians in McInerney v. MacDonald,

While not previously said quite so plainly, it has long been clear that fiduciaries owe a duty of candour to their beneficiaries. As the B.C. Court . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Buying Time in the Civil Justice System Part 2

My last post discussed how parties are able to essentially “buy time” in our civil justice system. By simply refusing to carry out the next procedural step, defendants can relatively easily grind a proceeding to a halt for a year. The cost sanctions against first offenders on relatively straight forward procedural motions are often light.

I identified what I believe to be two contributing factors which enables this to occur. The first is that lawyers practicing in Toronto know that it takes a long time to get a court date. The second is that the court seems hesitant to sanction . . . [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.


Have you ever forgotten the password on your router? Hate when that happens! But don’t fret it, with you have no worries. If you forget your router’s password and want to reconfigure it, you must reset it. Doing this will reset all settings to factory defaults, including the administrator password. Next, visit and enter your router’s make and model . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Law Is Code

♫ There’s a Law, there’s an Arm, there’s a Hand
There’s a Law, there’s an Arm, there’s a Hand… ♫

Words, music and lyrics by Leonard Cohen.

Lawrence Lessig wrote a very famous book called Code is Law (now in version 2 simply called Code v2). In these books, Lawrence (and here I am guilty of oversimplification but at least I can claim that this is Lawrence’s own oversimplification from his web site describing the books):

More than any other social space, cyberspace would be controlled or not depending upon the architecture, or “code,” of that space.

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

UBC Press Wins Hugh Lawford Award at CALL/ACBD 2013

Montreal is currently playing host to the Canadian Association of Law Libraries’ 2013 conference, completing our celebrations of the 50th anniversary year of CALL/ACBD. Information and research professionals from across the country are connecting, sharing and learning in an intense 3 1/2 days.

Awards were handed out during today’s luncheon and–among other deserving winners–we applauded the University of British Columbia Press. They have won the prestigious Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing for their Canadian Yearbook of International Law–itself marking a milestone with the 50th annual volume about to be published.

Michel-Adrien Sheppard has . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements, Legal Information: Publishing

Don’t Miss Family Law Issues When Drafting Wills!

We at LAWPRO have occasionally cautioned lawyers who specialize in one area of law about the dangers of dabbling in another, unfamiliar area. As a refreshing twist on that general advice, we’re reminding lawyers that while dabbling can be dangerous, KNOWING the law in another area is never a bad idea. When it comes to the intersection between wills and family law, it is essential that wills and estates practitioners maintain a basic working familiarity with family law issues so that certain drafting pitfalls can be avoided.

From a family law perspective, the greatest potential risk for a will-drafting lawyer . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Six Buzzwords in Search of a Context

Globalization. Technology. Economy. Unbundling. Alternative billing. Offshoring.

A CBA-commissioned survey of the state of the research into the future of the legal profession suggests that while these words come up again and again in the thousands of pages of text devoted to the subject, that is where it ends. While there is a near-consensus on the forces driving change, and how law firms might adapt to the new normal this change will bring, there are few recipes showing how best to implement the ideas, and fewer cases still of them actually being implemented.

The American Bar Association held its first . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management

“Be the Change You Want to See in the World.”

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Gandhi’s words could be women lawyers’ “call to arms.”

Over the past few months, the conversations regarding the challenges that working women face have been loud… but maybe not so clear. Articles like… Atlantic Magazine’s, “Can Women Have It All? and The Wall Street Journal’s, “The Tyranny of the Queen Bee”, seemed like the opening act for the launch of Sheryl Sandberg’s well-publicized book, “Lean In.

Unfortunately, the message is often lost on those complaining and whining—and even Sandberg’s encouragement is . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing