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Archive for April, 2014

Summer Student Countdown

The annual countdown is on at law firm and other legal libraries where staff are preparing for summer law students to arrive. In many organizations the first week of May brings a bevy of enthusiastic faces who will need legal research training and an orientation to ‘research in the real world’. This year there is something new happening in Alberta to help with that real world transition.

The University of Calgary Law Library is the host of the Cenovus Continuing Legal Education: Research in the Real World. This summer law student specific, one-day legal research program is intended . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools

Ontario Court Dates Now Available Online, Much More Needed

In an earlier post, I described how Ontario’s courts drastically need to be modernized.

A new initiative went online last week at Members of the public can now access the site to obtain daily court lists of the Superior Court of Justice or the Ontario Court of Justice throughout the province. The information is presented in aggregate form.

Although this is a great first step, it is not a significant one. The Toronto Lawyers Association has been providing very similar information for Toronto court lists on its website for many years. All that this new information does . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Quebec’s New Code of Civil Procedure Has Been Adopted

A few months ago, I wrote about the general direction in which Bill No. 28, Quebec’s proposed new Code of Civil Procedure, was heading. The Code’s reform aimed at simplifying Quebec procedure and expediting matters before the courts, as well as encouraging out of court settlements and alternative dispute resolution.

The New Code has since been adopted and will govern proceedings in Quebec beginning in the Fall of 2015. It will bring about major changes to Quebec civil practice, such as the ones I highlight below.

Experts :

One of the most significant changes is to narrow the scope of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Lawyers Seeking Spousal Advice: A Breach of Solicitor-Client Privilege?


I was once told that the two most important decisions individuals will make in their lifetime are their choices of career and spouse. It has also been said that choice of career is the single most important ethical decision an individual will ever make. After all, becoming a part of a profession entails adhering to certain professional standards and subjecting yourself to certain situations. But regardless of what profession a person chooses to pursue, I argue that one should be able to seek advice from a spouse when facing an ethical dilemma, without being reprimanded.

The Law Society of . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week

Behind the Blue Box: Culture Clash and the Cost of Recycling

Across Canada, municipalities run Blue Box programs to collect recyclable materials and to divert them from landfill. The Blue Box is a popular and important environmental initiative, but Blue Box systems have become surprisingly expensive. Early hopes were that Blue Box programs could be funded by selling the recaptured material, but that turns out to cover perhaps a third of the cost. Waste Diversion Ontario (WDO) reported verified net Blue Box costs of about $237 million for 2012 in Ontario alone, after all revenue but before prior year adjustments.

So, who should pay that $237 million? Municipalities and their taxpayers? . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

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.


Filter Your Gmail Messages With Personalized Custom Email Addresses
Dan Pinnington

Most people don’t realize GmailIconthat you can use multiple address variations of your basic “” Gmail address. Gmail lets you put a plus (“+”) sign and any combination of words or numbers after your name. For example, can become . . .


Consider a US Address
Shaunna Mireau

I really want to try Google Glass. . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Case Dismissed Against Vendor of “Haunted” Building

In a rather strange case, the plaintiff alleged that the defendants sold the plaintiff a commercial property that was haunted. The plaintiff alleged that this constituted a latent defect in the property which the defendants knew about and concealed from the plaintiff.

The plaintiff’s lawsuit was based solely on a newspaper article in which a director of one of the defendants was quoted as saying that the property in question was haunted.

Oddly, the plaintiff’s representative testified that he had never seen a ghost, did not believe there was a ghost and that all conversations about the property being haunted . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Canadian Law Firm Brand Index 2014 From Acritas

On April 10 UK-based Acritas legal market research company released its Canadian Law Firm Brand Index 2014. The index was derived from impressions of large corporate clients:

The Canadian Law Firm Brand Index 2014 was compiled from the unprompted responses of 191 senior general counsel in Canadian organizations with revenues over $50M who, as part of Sharplegal 2013 research, were asked about their awareness of and favorability towards law firms; their consideration of firms for top-level litigation and major M&A; as well as their use of firms for high value and inbound work. A further 77 senior in-house counsel

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Marketing

Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Sole Practitioner?

One-third of the more than 24,000 lawyers in private practice in Ontario are sole practitioners. as a solo, it’s great to have the freedom that comes with being your own boss, but you also have full responsibility for all aspects of the operation of your law practice. Do you have what it takes to be a sole practitioner? This self-assessment quiz will help answer that question.

The chart helps identify your strengths and weaknesses and gives you a better idea of whether you’re cut out for solo or small firm practice. . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week

Is the Best Defence a Good Offence?

The greatest criminal defence attorneys may best protect and serve their clients by taking an offensive approach to mounting a client’s defence. The point at which that intersects with the ethics of the profession is difficult to determine. Comparing the work of defence attorneys to football coaches provides interesting insights into the mechanics of the profession. In defending a client, should a lawyer run a play that strengthens their defensive line or mount an aggressive offence?

Does A Good Defence Start with a Great Coach?

A good lawyer gives advice, but at what point does that advice become training? Ethically, . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week

Record Store Day: Searching for Artefacts

It was Record Store Day on Saturday and I did my part to support record stores. This year, thanks to my friend Dave C., I was flipping through bins of records at BJ’s Records and Nostalgia up in Barrie. This activity brings back many happy memories of my once annual pilgrimage to Sam the Record Man every Boxing Day. I absolutely love the physical process of search and discovery, finding a new or unknown album that sparks an inspiration to try looking down a new path.

I like vinyl records too and not just because of the perceived quality . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Student Week on Slaw: What Do Law Firms Look For?

LAWPRO is pleased to take part in Slaw’s Student Week. We’ve made an effort to reach out to students and new lawyers by creating a student issue of LAWPRO Magazine for the law schools, and this week we’ll post some of the articles from those issues. They contain practice management and risk management content aimed at helping students make the transition to becoming a practicing lawyer and getting their careers off on the right foot.

Law students – like all students – are prone to anxiety about their career prospects. High-profile news about the employment challenges faced by new grads . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week, Reading: Recommended