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Archive for April, 2014

The Double Glass Ceiling

Law schools are starting to look more like a mosaic of people from different backgrounds. Private law firms? Not so much. This is especially true when we look at the senior positions at these firms.[1] Whatever diversity we see in the entry points of these companies decreases dramatically when we look at the older cohorts.[2] The residual effects of a time when the legal profession was only governed by white males explains merely part of these concerning statistics. There exists a double glass ceiling – one for women and one for racialized minorities. The intersectionality of race and . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week

The Friday Fillip: Eggsactly

My answer to the perennial question of which comes first, the chicken or the egg, is a resounding: egg. Yes, I enjoy a roast chicken, that celebratory meal, as much as the next carnivore. But I am enamoured of eggs.

So are the rest of us, if Agriculture Canada is to be believed. They tell me that the average Canadian eats a whopping fourteen dozen eggs a year in one form or another. Good for us, bad for us: the terrible science journalism in the newspapers keeps whipping back and forth on the subject; and all the while the . . . [more]

Posted in: The Friday Fillip

Professionalism and the “Fear of Walmart”: Would You Like Some Bananas With That Tort?

In 1983, the American Bar Association adopted the ABA Model Rules that are the basis for most of the current codes of conduct in the United States. The drafting body was known as the Kutak Commission. The Kutak Commission proposed a rule permitting, but regulating, non-lawyer ownership of law practice entities. Proposed Model Rule 5.4 would have permitted a lawyer to be “employed by an organization in which a financial interest is held or managerial authority is exercised by a non-lawyer . . . but only if the terms of the relationship provide in writing that”:

(a) There is no . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

CBA Releases 6 Legal Health Checks for Members of the Public

As part of the CBA’s Reaching Equal Justice initiative, CBA just released 6 Legal Health Checks for members of the public. Similar to LAWPRO’s Annual Legal Health Check-up, these are intended to ensure people have the information and tools they need to recognize and avoid legal problems in the first place, and/or to prevent small problems from becoming bigger than they might have been.

There are 6 different health checks:

  • 5 steps to legal wellness – speaks to the reasons why smaller legal problems can snowball into much larger and more complex problems, particularly for already vulnerable people
. . . [more]
Posted in: Reading: Recommended

The Duty of Confidentiality: Are Rules Made to Be Broken?

“If you would keep your secret from an enemy, tell it not to a friend” is an often cited quote from Benjamin Franklin. But what does it mean? It could mean that our friends will eventually become our enemies and, thus, should not be trusted with our secrets. In contrast, it could mean that humankind has an inherent inability to keep secrets, or it could be interpreted simply as a commentary on our hardwired propensity for gossip. In any case, these interpretations have strong implications for the legal profession and, in particular, the duty of confidentiality legal professionals owe to . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week

Dave Winer’s Outliner, Fargo

With his latest project Fargo, Dave Winer puts outliners where they belong: everywhere. Fargo runs in your web browser and stores your data in your Dropbox folder. This combination of browser and cloud puts the outliner everywhere making it a good choice for anyone looking for ubiquitous note taking and writing capabilities.

Why an outliner?

The short answer is that you can reduce most writing to an outline, a series of expandable points or topics. If you think about it for a minute it is easy to see most legal writing as an outline. Many of those course outlines . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Stress Management for Law Students (From a Recent Grad)

Alexandra Kozlov graduated from the Queen’s Faculty of Law in 2012 and articled with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeal Tribunal

We all know what law school stress looks like. Come exam time, we see its physical manifestations: the law student, hibernating in the law library, subsisting on a diet of coffee and candy, sits surrounded by mountains of books, empty cans of energy drinks and an arsenal of highlighters. We recognize the bloodshot eyes and the anxiety-ridden knuckle cracking. Stress is synonymous with law school, but it’s important to remember that stress is merely the interaction between a situation . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week

Business Trademarks May Be Displayed in Quebec in a Language Other Than French

On April 9, 2014, the Quebec Superior Court ruled that businesses in the province of Quebec may continue to display their trademarks on public signs outside their premises in a language other than French if no French version of the trademark has been registered.

Facts of the case

On November 13, 2011, during an enforcement campaign called “Une marque de respect de la loi” (A sign of respect for the law), the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) took the position that the trademark exception found in the Charter of the French Language (loi 101) does not . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Online Dispute Resolution, Courts and Tribunals: What Are the Threshhold Issues?

Many people are only starting to get used to the idea of ODR – Online Dispute Resolution. ODR uses increasingly familiar things, like online communication and information sharing, and uses the internet to combine them with dispute resolution. But what is stopping us from combining ODR with our justice systems?

In his CBA Legal Futures Initiative report, Key Trends in the Marketplace, Professor Richard Susskind invited us to contemplate whether court is a service or a place. If we commit to the view that it should be a service, then ODR would seem poised to become a key delivery . . . [more]

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

Defence Lawyers, Our Unrecognized Superheroes?

The most admired superheroes are usually courageous and persevere despite the odds. Interestingly, these characteristics are also readily apparent in defence lawyers. For example, when balancing their ethical duty to the client against not misleading the court, defence lawyers need to be courageous and have strength of character.[1] Thus, defence lawyers are arguably our modern day superheroes. However, defence lawyers are not recognized as superheroes because of misunderstandings that surround their ethical duties such as, “how can you defend a guilty client”?![2] Society has failed to realize that defence lawyers are like superheroes as they engage in ethical . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week

What Will a Trinity Western University Law Degree Be Worth?

The Law Society of BC recently voted in favour of approving Trinity Western University’s law school. The private Christian school, located in Langley and about an hour’s drive from Vancouver, has an anti-gay covenant that, essentially, discriminates against anyone who isn’t heterosexual. There is plenty of ink spilled and many keyboards pounded on the subject of the LSBC’s decision and the distaste for TWU’s exclusivity that’s worthy of reading. What strikes me though, is the question about the value of a TWU law degree.

When the first crop of law students begin looking for summer articles will they be met . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Thursday Thinkpiece: Findlay and Chalifour on Probability

Each Thursday we present a significant excerpt, usually from a recently published book or journal article. In every case the proper permissions have been obtained. If you are a publisher who would like to participate in this feature, please let us know via the site’s contact form.

Science Manual for Canadian Judges
National Judicial Institute / Institut national de la magistrature / Chapter 2: Scott Findlay and Nathalie Chalifour. “Science and the Scientific Method”
Ottawa: National Judicial Institute, 2013

© National Judicial Institute 2013. All rights reserved. Permission to reproduce is granted for the purposes of research or private study. . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece