Lawyers Need to Change Too

Two weeks ago, I suggested that Ontario’s courts will need to implement serious change if they intend to carry out the Supreme Court’s directive to facilitate access to justice through summary judgment.

Lawyers undoubtedly need to change too. Historically, there have been many amazing advocates like J.J. Robinette and G.A. Martin that all lawyers should strive to emulate. I wonder whether the next generation of amazing lawyers will be cut from the same cloth. It goes without saying that every effective lawyer obviously needs strong advocacy skills. But when “most Canadians cannot afford to sue when they are wronged or defend themselves when they are sued,” as the Supreme Court noted in Hryniak, I wonder whether the next generation of great advocates will be those who are able to find the best way to solve problems. A creative, logical argument that disposes of a case at an early stage may not be as entertaining as a sizzling cross-examination or a stirring jury address. But if it satisfies the client’s goal in the most cost-effective way possible, we should strive for this to be the standard by which future advocacy is measured.

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