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Archive for April, 2014

Goodbye QPLegalEze; Welcome Open Law

April launched an exciting development for BC legal researchers and for the open law and open data movements. QP LegalEze, the BC Queen’s Printer’s deep and highly functional subscription service for current and some historical legislative information, is no more. Or, more accurately, it is by subscription no more.

All of its content and functionality now is available through BC Laws, the free site also offered by the Queen’s Printer:

BC Laws has been upgraded to provide enhanced searching and more content including historical legislation and related publications such as BC Gazette, full text Orders-in-Council, and Tables of Legislative

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology

Is Wearable Tech Dead?

Nike just announced that it is exiting its FuelBand fitness tracker business.

Another article claims that “it’s only a matter of time until [Google Glass] joins devices such as the Zune, the Kin, the PlayBook, and the Xoom in tech hell.”

Despite musings that wearable tech is dead and dying, these are just growing pains.

Wearable devices are still in an early bleeding edge phase where manufacturers and users are trying to figure out what works, what users want, what users find creepy, and what users are willing to pay for.

Take Google Glass, for instance. I have no doubt . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

The Dangers of Social Networking and How to Avoid Them

Although social networking tools offer lawyers many interesting new ways to interact with people in both personal and work spheres, there are some risks associated with using them. Before you venture into social networking, consider Section 5.5 of the Law Society’s Practice Management Guideline on Technology (“Technology Guideline”). It states, “Lawyers should have a reasonable understanding of the technologies used in their practice or should have access to someone who has such understanding.”

Don’t talk to or about clients or their matters

Social networking tools have complex and confusing privacy settings and most people are not entirely sure who can . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week

Common Practice Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Lawyers Professional Indemnity Company (LAWPRO) was created to insure lawyers against legal malpractice claims. Most (though not all) claims are brought by a lawyer’s own client and include an allegation that the lawyer made a mistake or did not meet the standard of care expected of him or her when delivering legal services.

No lawyer is immune to a claim; in fact, our records suggest that four out of every five lawyers will be the subject of a claim at one point in their career. Malpractice claims can be stressful, can hurt your reputation, and can be costly (even if . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week

There’s No Place for the Law Society in the Bedrooms of Its Members

The Law Society of Upper Canada’s Rules of Professional Conduct are necessarily ambiguous on the subject of sex with clients to allow for some flexibility, given the highly subjective nature of these conflicts. Such acts are not specifically prohibited, but are referenced in the commentary at rule 2.04 governing conflict of interest. The rule states that a lawyer shall not continue to represent a client where there is a conflict of interest, unless there is full disclosure and informed consent.

However, the wording of the commentary merely suggests that when a relationship with a client becomes intimate, a member should . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week

Rocking the (Bencher) Vote

Voting is now underway for the Law Society of Manitoba’s 2014 Bencher election and will continue until May 6 at 5:00 p.m. As has been the case for the past several elections, voting takes place electronically. It’s a good system in that it works effectively and efficiently, at least from this voter’s perspective.

The Benchers function as the board of directors of the Law Society of Manitoba. The composition of this board is set out in s. 5 of The Legal Profession Act as follows:

  • 10 practising lawyers elected for the City of Winnipeg Electoral District;
  • 2 practising lawyers elected
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law

The Perpetuation of Problems in the Public Perception of Legal Professionals: an Analysis of the Erroneous ‘Mitigating Factors’ in Law Society of Upper Canada v. Hunter

For Ontario’s self-governing legal profession, strong rules are a positive step towards public legitimacy, but that legitimacy evaporates if those rules go unenforced. Amidst the debate over whether the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) should continue to govern itself, the LSUC’s duty to protect the public interest requires attention. Law Society of Upper Canada v Hunter, 2007 ONLSHP 27 [Hunter] is pivotal in this conversation because it shows the governing body neglecting its duty to protect the public interest. In Hunter, the panel fails to sufficiently respond to the conflict of interest stemming from Hunter’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week

Administrative Justice and Earth Day: The Path to “Green” Fairness

Yesterday was Earth Day — an opportunity to reflect on the impact of administrative justice on our environment and how tribunals can balance fairness, efficiency and environmentally-friendly practices. It’s obvious that the environment is an inter-related system that needs to be looked at holistically. However, the administrative justice system is rarely looked at holistically. The actions of a tribunal have an impact on all the users of a tribunal services (parties and representatives). A tribunal’s rules and procedures create its own “ecosystem” that has the potential to impose both environmental costs and benefits.

Two small examples will serve to illustrate: . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

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 this last week:

  1. Doerr v. Sterling Paralegal 2014 ONSC 2335

    [37] But how was Ms Doerr’s action against her paralegal advisor, (effectively for breach of contract and/or negligence in relation to execution of the paralegal’s duties under the retainer relationship), an abuse of process?

    [38] Counsel for the respondent/defendant suggested that Ms Doerr’s action was found to be an abuse of process because, on reviewing the

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

Student to Lawyer: 20 Tips for a Smooth Transition

This is an abridged version of the LAWPRO article: “20 tips for a successful transition” – a guide for law students through the transition from student life to legal practice. See for the full article.

  1. Honestly assess your strengths and preferences to identify what makes sense for you in terms of the type of firm and area of law you want to practice.
  2. Consider all the options: big firm, small firm, solo practice, government, in-house. Don’t just pursue the opportunities everyone else is pursuing – reflect on what is the best fit for you.
  3. Create and prioritize a list
. . . [more]
Posted in: Law Student Week

Specialized Licensing for Specialized Practices

The current Law Society model for licensing legal professionals in Canada provides all lawyers with a blanket license to practice in any area of law. Virtually every other major profession that exists today employs specialized licensing and certification in order to ensure the competency of its practitioners in an increasingly complex world. The current system used by the legal profession in Canada is outdated and in need of significant reform in order to protect clients and set minimum competency requirements.

The Law Society needs to reform the current licensing model in favor of one where lawyers are required to earn . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week

Resolve to Get Your Law Practice Off to the Best Possible Start

Professional liability claims can take the wind out of the sails of anyone’s legal career, but can be especially demoralizing for a new lawyer. Your best chance at avoiding claims is to develop great working habits right from the start. The December 2012 issue of LAWPRO Magazine proposed dozens of New Years’ resolutions for lawyers in every area of practice. We’ve reproduced a few excerpts relevant to newly-called lawyers here.

There are resolutions to avoid claims in particular areas of law (litigation, corporate/commercial, real estate, family law, wills/estates and crimina) as well as resolutions to run an efficient and . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week