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Archive for January, 2015

Non-Disparagement Clauses

California has just enacted a law that prohibits ‘non-disparagement clauses’. These are clauses in consumer contracts that prohibit the consumer from criticising the product or services provided under the contract.

Specifically, the statute says this: “a contract or proposed contract for the sale or lease of consumer goods or services may not include a provision waiving the consumer’s right to make any statement regarding the seller or lessor or its employees or agents, or concerning the goods or services.”

Is there any need for such a provision in Canadian law (federal or provincial)? Are non-disparagement clauses ever seen here? Would . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, ulc_ecomm_list

We Versus Me: Normative Legislation, Individual Exceptionalism and Access to Family Justice

In many of Canada’s family law courts, especially our provincial courts, the majority of litigants now appear without counsel. This state of affairs should have been a foreseeable consequence of the diminution of legal aid representation in family law cases coupled with the relative absence of market forces impelling private family law lawyers to reduce their rates or embrace new service models, but it is nonetheless where we find ourselves today.

It is easy enough to point to the observable consequences of this superabundance of litigants without counsel – chief among them the increased number of ill-conceived chambers applications, the . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

The Friday Fillip: Changing and Staying the Same

Some things change. Some things stay the same. And some things do both.

We all know people who maintain aspects of their character even as they age. Heck, our own selves are perfect examples of this business of changing and remaining: despite life’s continual renewal we maintain a sense of constant identity — “Identity” from Latin idem, the same — but the same as what? as yesterday? and the day before? and so into regression back to the beginning of no character at all? (If this sort of thing interests you, have a look at the Stanford Encyclopedia of . . . [more]

Posted in: The Friday Fillip

Trends in Legal Marketing for 2015 – the Experts Weigh In!

Each year, we at fSquared Marketing reach out to our friends and colleagues around the world who are experts in various areas of legal marketing. We ask them to describe what they are seeing in the market, ask them where our clients should be focusing, and what predictions they have for the coming year.

This year, as always, we received great insights and tips to share. I’ve included some excerpts below so you know what to consider in your marketing and business development plan (and budget!) for the coming year.


Several trends that we have seen emerge and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Some Ground Rules for a Constructive ABS Discussion

As is apparent from the OTLA, and the many comments on my previous post, the upcoming Bencher elections in Ontario finally have an issue that has grabbed the attention of lawyers across the province: Alternative Business Structures.

While this issue may drive better voter participation in the April election, it has also greatly divided the profession in this province.

One can already see the huge generational rift among lawyers; those at the twilight of their careers fighting to retain a 19th Century business model, while younger lawyers want to move the profession into the 21st Century so as . . . [more]

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

Thursday Thinkpiece: Salyzyn on the Judicial Regulation of Lawyers in Canada

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.

The Judicial Regulation of Lawyers in Canada

Amy Salyzyn
Dalhousie Law Journal, 2014, Forthcoming

Excerpt: Introduction and Part IV

[Footnotes omitted. They can be found in the original via the link above]


This article traces developments in lawyer regulation in Canada over the last forty years, with a focus on the . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Ontario’s Proposed Provincial Retirement Plan and PRPP Legislation

Fewer than 35 percent of workers in Ontario currently have a workplace pension plan. Coverage for workers in the private sector is even lower—only 28 percent are members of a plan. Several studies have shown that, due to the limited benefits provided by the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS), significant numbers of Ontarians will not have sufficient savings to maintain similar living standards throughout their retirement years. As a result, the Ontario government has decided to establish a made-in-Ontario pension plan and to implement the federal government's Pooled Registered Pension Plan.
Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Is It Time to Legalize Pot? (And if So, How Do We Do It Right?)

National magazine will host a debate on the first question at the Mid-Winter meeting of CBA Council in February. A panel of experts will outline the pros and cons to set the stage for a lively discussion about an issue that is far more complex than it seems. Is criminalizing marijuana only serving to clog the court system? What about the health risks of “normalizing” marijuana use? And would legalization really push the drug trade to the fringes by handing regulation of sales, quality and advertising to the government?

But beyond these core questions – and aside from the fact . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Too Much Information!

Discussions of legal ethics and protection of information often don’t distinguish between confidential information and privileged information. The seminal case of Macdonald Estate v. Martin[i] provides a good example. As Justice Sopinka put it:

Typically, these cases require two questions to be answered: (1) Did the lawyer receive confidential information attributable to a solicitor and client relationship relevant to the matter at hand? (2) Is there a risk that it will be used to the prejudice of the client?

Of course, not all confidential information received by a lawyer in the context of a solicitor and client relationship is . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

What If…

In 1998, after five years in private practice, I took a job in public legal education and was soon thereafter introduced to the problems many people have in accessing justice, whether in terms of working effectively with their lawyers, finding a lawyer, paying for a lawyer, or trying to address legal issues without the assistance of a lawyer.

Since that time, I’ve continued to work and volunteer in the non-profit legal sector, frequently with a focus on providing increased access to justice, at least for the lucky few. Next month I’m moving into an interim position directing a pro bono . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

CES 2015

The Annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is under way in Las Vegas. Its a mecca for those into the latest and greatest and biggest and fastest and most innovative consumer tech.

For example, the latest in TV’s are 4K (4 times the resolution of HD) that are impossibly thin with tiny bezels. While the high end models are unaffordable, the improvements eventually become mainstream.

Trends include wearables (fitness still dominates) and the smart home (aka internet of things). Everything seems to be connected somehow – even teakettles. (Some might say that an internet connected teakettle belongs to the internet . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, Technology: Office Technology

The Second Tool: The Conditions of Satisfaction

In three preceding articles I have described the idea behind becoming a very highly valued five-tools project manager, ready to manage each of the five progress factors:

  • Manage the project, starting with the project charter (discussed in the previous article).
  • Manage the client, starting with the Conditions of Satisfaction.
  • Manage time, starting with the Off Switch.
  • Manage money, starting with budgets.
  • Manage the team, starting with assigning tasks accurately.

Let’s look this month at a core tool for managing the client: the Conditions of Satisfaction.


Client or customer satisfaction, often called repurchase intent, is generally the most important long-term . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law