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Archive for April, 2014

Identifying and Addressing Reputational Risk in a Law Firm

How well do most law firms understand and address reputational risks? Last week, I referenced the extreme example of Dewey & LeBoeuf, a bankrupt global firm that ignored reputational risk to the point where it now serves as the profession’s poster child for what-not-to-do.

This week, I’ll be more constructive.

Why pay attention to reputational risk?
It’s said that we’re now operating in a reputation economy where “who you are” matters more than “what you sell”. Research shows that across all sectors of society, transparency is now valued more than tradition, sharing more than showmanship and security more than . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Financial Support for Law via the Internet Available to CALL Members

The call for papers for Law Via the Internet (LVI) went out recently. The conference is to be held September 29-October 1, 2014 in Nairobi, Kenya. The theme – The impact of open access to legal information : bridging the gap between accessibility and usefulness – presents attendees with huge scope for discussion, and as a parliamentary librarian, I’m interested to see how many of the suggested themes go beyond the courts and into areas of citizen participation in law-making. The idea that there is a gap between accessibility and useful is also a compelling idea, and I look forward . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Ontario Judge Strongly Pushes for Greater Use of Technology in Courts and Orders E-Trial

In a case conference decision in the matter Bank of Montreal v Faibish, 2014 ONSC 2178 (CanLII), Justice David M. Brown expressed “profound frustration” at the failure of lawyers and judges to make greater use of technology while conducting litigation. He went as far as ordering an e-trial on the matter, over the expressed desire of some counsel to do an electronic and paper-based trial.
This is one of the strongest statements a judge has made with respect to the need for greater use of technology in the court system. No doubt, it will generate considerable discussion. The relevant . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Technology

Annual CALL Conference a Must

There are plenty of fabulous continuing professional development offerings available for law librarians. MOOCs and webinars, local meetings and seminars, national and international conferences. For me, the Canadian Association of Law Libraries annual conference is a must attend event. Every time I select an ‘instead’ option (as opposed to and ‘in addition’ option) for my annual major professional development, I have regrets for several reasons:

  1. I miss hearing about the enhancements that Canadian legal publishers are undertaking
  2. I miss keeping up with the adjustments to my professional network – who is where
  3. I miss the extraordinary information sharing that inspires
. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD

Could It Be Time for Apprentices Again?

It wasn’t so long ago that would-be lawyers didn’t go to law school. Instead, they were apprenticed to experienced lawyers and learned their skills on the job.

It wasn’t until the 1950s and 60s in Canada that law degrees became de rigeur and apprenticeships were compressed into an articling year to be completed before writing the bar exam.

Flash forward to an age of soaring law school tuition rates and declining job openings, when students complain of heavy debts and a lack of practical training, and suddenly the age-old apprenticeship seems like a suitable tool for modern times.

“Adding apprenticeship . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: Law Schools, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Ontario’s Court Filing System Needs Fixing

A great video recently made the rounds in which a Canadian doctor handily defended the Canadian health care system when it was criticized by a partisan U.S. senator. While some in the U.S. may look northward to the Canadian health care system for inspiration, it is exactly the opposite when it comes to comparing the U.S. court system with Ontario’s.

In the U.S., court documents are easily accessible by PACER. PACER means “Public Access to Court Electronic Records”, giving access to over 500 million U.S. federal court documents, including a listing of parties involved in the litigation, . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, 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.


Be a YouTube Power User With These Keyboard Shortcuts
Dan Pinnington

Most people wouldn’t think of using keyboard shortcuts as they watch videos on YouTube. However, there are actually several really helpful YouTube keyboard shortcuts that everyone should know and use. . . .


Watch the Law Library Blog
Shaunna Mireau

The Law Society of Saskatchewan has a new blog. “Legal Sourcery helps you navigate through the jumble . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

The Speed of Change (Spoiler Alert: It’s Slow)

The buzzword bingo I played during LegalTech NY and ReInvent Law was won by the word “change”. It was an amazing firehose-of-information week, and getting off the plane I was committed to picking up Kotter’s Leading Change book (again), plus I ordered Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations book. But the February blues of a Toronto winter got the best of me and I ended up reading Switch instead. (It was an easier and happier read as it turned out.)

I came away from New York with the (rather obvious) thought that: change will be slower if solutions don’t make things easier, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Defendant Permitted to Defend Action Six Years After Plaintiff Obtains Default Judgment

The Ontario Court of Appeal has upheld a Superior Court Judge’s decision to set aside a default judgment obtained by the plaintiff and allow the defendant the opportunity to enter a defence.

The plaintiff provided various crop services to the defendant for a number of years. The defendant would routinely pay the plaintiff’s invoices late. This was not necessarily problematic since the plaintiff trusted the defendant and its invoices were usually paid, albeit late.

As the defendant got older, his son took a more active involvement in the defendant’s operations. While the plaintiff trusted the defendant, it did not trust . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

McLachlin Opening Keynote at CCCA

The following is a guest post by Lynne Yryku, Managing Editor, CCCA Magazine:

Under the general theme of women in law, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin opened the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association’s National Conference in Calgary this morning. Her colleague and friend, former Supreme Court of Canada Justice John Major had praised her ability to maintain harmony and collegiality in the Supreme Court of Canada as way of introduction, and her open and frank style of discussing such a hot topic lived up to expectation.

The Chief Justice began by reviewing the great progress Canada had made over the past . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Victims’ Rights

The Conservative government in Ottawa introduced the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights last week.

Canada is not the only country where such legislation is topical, and interestingly conservative politicians are not the only ones promoting it.

The Victims’ Task Force, founded by the UK Labour Party, will be meeting victims groups and justice representatives in London today. The Labour Party has committed to a “radical change in approach”. If a law is passed it will be the first in Britain’s legal history.

On both sides of the Atlantic and on both ends of the political spectrum, the same conclusion . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

CanLII Connects Launched

The newest offering from CanLII, CanLII Connects launched on Friday. The site is meant as a place to gather case commentary on Canadian court decisions. From the site:

CanLII Connects was created to make it faster and easier for legal professionals and the public to access high-quality legal commentary on Canadian court decisions.

We bring together lawyers, scholars and others with professional competency in legal analysis to share their insights and form collective opinions.*

The site is being launched with 27,000 pieces of content and is expected to grow significantly. To submit content, add comments, or vote up commentary . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing