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Archive for October, 2013

A Tale of Two Regulators: When Courts and Law Societies Collide

The issue of lawyer civility—or lack thereof—continues be a hot topic this fall, with the Groia matter reaching its way to a Law Society Appeal Panel hearing on September 9 and 10.

Many arguments have been advanced both in favour of and against creating formal regimes to monitor and sanction lawyer incivility. For example, the disciplinary panel that originally heard Mr. Groia’s case suggested in its reasons that regulating lawyer civility is necessary to protect the proper administration of justice, trial fairness, and public confidence in the justice system. Others, including myself and fellow Slaw columnist Alice Woolley, have questioned . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

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.


15 Tips for Preventing Identity Theft and Online Fraud
Dan Pinnington

Cyber criminals and identity thieves want to steal your personal information to commit fraud. They may try to get a credit card in your name or to access funds in your bank account. On top of directly losing money, your credit status can be damaged and it can take a great deal of time and expense to restore . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Lawyer Accepts Settlement Offer on Client’s Behalf Knowingly Without Instructions to Do So; Result? Not Good

Justice Price held that a lawyer falsely informed the opposing party that he had received instructions to accept their offer to settle and asked for a draft release “believing that when he received it, he could prevail upon his client to accept the settlement and sign the release.”

However, not only could the lawyer not convince his client to accept the offer, he ended up having to pay substantial indemnity costs to both parties when the offeror brought a motion to enforce the settlement.

The full decision of the case can be found here.

The plaintiff retained a lawyer . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Bryan Cave’s Program for Grooming Rainmakers

Bloomberg Law released an interesting video with Lee Pacchia interviewing Steve Sunshine, partner at Bryan Cave on the program he initiated for junior lawyers in his firm on business development. The program focusses on lawyers developing their own plans for bringing in business.

The program, in its sixth year, has been delivered to about 800 members of the firm. Its original audience was junior partners, but has since been delivered to junior and senior associates, some senior partners, directors of administration and offices, and paralegals. While not all of these will be involved in rainmaking, he says there is . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Practice of Law

Statistics: The Point Is?

Mark Twain wrote in his autobiograhy:

Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.”

A recent article in the Vancouver Sun, about an Angus Reid survey regarding “Canadians’ openness to the religions of others” based on “the results of a major survey of more than 2,000 residents by Vancouver-based pollsters Angus Reid” highlights the importance of context and clarity in stating conclusions based on statistics.

The article . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Competition Isn’t Coming, It’s Already Here

In June of 2013, the CBA Legal Futures Initiative issued a report entitled “The Future of Legal Services in Canada: Trends and Issues” (the “Report”). For those who have not read the Report I highly recommend a reading. The report breaks down a wide variety of trends and issues that are important for all those within the profession to be aware of. While there are many important discussion points raised in the Report, the one issue that stands out to me however, is that of competition within the legal marketplace.

The issue stands out for me as one requiring further . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

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 forty-one 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. Rule of Law   2. First Reference   3. Avoid a Claim   4. BC Injury Law Blog    5. University of Alberta Faculty of Law Blog
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

practicePRO 15th Anniversary Pullout in the New LAWPRO Magazine

Over the last 15 years, praticePRO, LAWPRO’s risk and practice management program, has produced a large collection of tools and resources aimed at helping lawyers avoid malpractice claims. The September 2013 issue of LAWPRO Magazine celebrates practicePRO’s 15th birthday and contains a pull-out ( that has our best claims prevention content in in a convenient 4-page format.

Here’s what you’ll find in the pull-out (which uses ’15’ as a theme):

  • The top 15 things you can do to avoid a malpractice claim
  • 15 of our most practical and helpful checklists, precedents and resources
  • Top 15 Technology articles and
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

A Digital Bill of Rights?

British novelist and journalist John Lanchester wrote an interesting piece in last week’s Guardian, on his review of material leaked by whistleblower Ed Snowden.

He starts by admitting he does not share the instinctive opposition to state secrecy. As he puts it: “Democratic states need spies”. Because democracy has enemies, he argues, the right to privacy must be qualified, just as other rights are qualified. But the danger in the digital age is that “with a couple of clicks of a mouse an agent of the state can target your home phone, or your mobile, or your email, or your . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

BC’s New Civil Resolution Tribunal

BC’s Civil Resolution Tribunal Act, passed in May 2012 (not yet in force) sets the stage for an ambitious new tribunal that embraces modern notions of technology and access to justice.

The Civil Resolution Tribunal, expected to launch in the Autumn of 2014, will be North America’s first online tribunal. It will provide an alternative to court for people seeking to resolve small claims and strata property (condominium) disputes in BC. Users will have access to a full array of online tools to help manage and resolve their disputes fairly, quickly and cost effectively.

Online dispute resolution (ODR) processes . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Video of Keynote by Stephen Mayson at the College of Law Practice Management’s Futures Conference

The College of Law Practice Management’s held its 5th Futures Conference last Friday and Saturday at Chicago-Kent College of Law. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend due to work and personal commitments. However, those of us who missed it are in luck as the presentations were recorded and are available online.

If you listen to any of the sessions from the conference, I strongly recommend you listen to Stephen Mayson’s keynote: The Future of Law – Who Will Perform It? Who Will Regulate It? Stephen has said much over the years about the changing nature of law practice . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

BlackBerry Faces Shareholder Class Action

A class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York on Friday against BlackBerry and some of its executives, including chief executive Thorsten Heins and chief financial officer Brian Bidulka.

The lawsuit claims that the company misled investors about their financial situation and inflating the stock value by misrepresenting how BlackBerry 10 would fare on the market against competitors. The proposed class would include shareholders who purchased stack between Sept. 27, 2012-Sept. 20, 2013.

The suit claims that BlackBerry was aware of these challenges and lay off about 40% of its workforce . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law