June, 2017 Archives – Slaw
Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for June, 2017

When Questions Are More Important Than Answers

“Asking the right questions takes as much skill as giving the right answers.” – Robert Half

Lawyers are taught to be experts; having the right answer is a fundamental part of our role. But what did we learn about asking the right questions?

I don’t recall learning very much in law school about how to ask good questions. We learned about the difference between closed, open and leading questions. Closed questions required a yes/no answer; leading questions suggested the (desired) answer.

The clear implication was to avoid the truly “open” questions. In fact, we were taught never to ask a . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Supreme Court Rules on Drug-Related Dismissal

On June 15, 2017, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed an appeal in a case involving an Alberta worker who was fired by a mining company after testing positive for drug use. In an 8–1 ruling, the court said the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal was right to conclude that the man was fired for breaching the company’s drug policy, not because of his addiction. Moreover, the Supreme Court of Canada found the employer didn’t fire the employee for the addiction to drugs, but for breaching the employer’s drug policy to self‐report his drug use. . . . [more]

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

Do Lawyers and Law Students Have the Technical Skills to Meet the Needs of Future Legal Jobs?

As technology is increasingly used within law practices to streamline legal processes and more efficiently deliver services to clients, an important question has arisen within legal professional and academic circles: Do lawyers and law students have the technical skills to meet the needs of future legal jobs?

If you have ever tried to innovate or introduce technologies to a law firm or to lawyers, then you know how challenging it can be to convince lawyers to use new technologies. Harder still is convincing them not revert to the old and outmoded way of doing things, but to persist in the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

“Grit and Growth” Retreat in Vancouver July 20th

One of our longtime Slaw contributors Allison Wolf is holding a “Grit and Growth” retreat for lawyers this summer in Vancouver.

Scheduled for July 20th, and offered for the first time as a half-day retreat, attendees will have an opportunity to learn about the “growth mindset” behind successful legal practices. Attendees will learn how to integrate the benefits of this mindset into their own professional practice “for greater confidence, resilience, and heightened performance.”

You can find out more about the Grit and Growth Summer Retreat here.

In addition to being a Slaw columnist, Allison is a well-known lawyer coach . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Reflections on Technology Changes in Real Estate Practice

This article is by Maurizio Romanin, President & CEO, LawyerDoneDeal Corp. & Nora Rock, Corporate Writer & Policy Analyst, LawPRO.

Facilitating transfers of real estate has been the bread-and-butter of thousands of Ontario lawyers for generations. Despite occasional market wobbles, real estate business has helped firms to flourish in communities of all sizes, often supporting the delivery of family, estates, commercial and even criminal law services. Healthy real estate practices support both lawyers’ own families and access to justice for their neighbours. But there is danger in taking the bread-and- butter work of one’s practice for granted, and in forgetting . . . [more]

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

Supreme Court of Canada Overrides Forum Clause in Facebook Agreement

The Supreme Court of Canada has decided that a British Columbia privacy class action may proceed against Facebook in the courts of BC, despite the contract naming California as the forum for legal actions.

My personal view is that in business to consumer contracts, if a court decides that a local law is important enough, or if the actions of the business offends local sensibilities, it will find a way to apply local laws and hear the case. This Douez v Facebook decision will be relevant for any future actions in Canada that question the applicability of portions of online . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

2017 Legal Marketing Trends: Are They Resonating With You?

The state of legal marketing is in constant flux. New strategies emerge, opportunities arise, and tech continues to disrupt even the most established business practices. You can’t make changes if you don’t see them coming, which is why every year we bring together leading marketing strategists and technologists to discuss their thoughts on the most important marketing trends. Back in January, our experts predicted that we would be in for a disruptive year. They weren’t wrong, but with half of the year already behind us, I wonder which of these predicted trends you feel has come to pass and which . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

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. R. v. Gashikanyi, 2017 ABCA 194

[71] The presence of individual discretion in a system of assignment poses a risk that some may think that panelists will be selected based on their perceived predispositions.[1] An appellate court that utilizes discretionary non-random methods to assign (or to replace an assigned judge) leaves open the potential for manipulation. It is this potential that . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Profound Thoughts From a Visionary

It was suggested to me, not unfairly, that I should be more forward-looking when writing on the topic of legal and professional information publishing. The point, though hardly seriously, was put in terms of whether I might personally consider exploring the role of “visionary” for the law publishing business sector, which was coded language for, to date, my being more negative than positive; those who see themselves as insiders are supposed to be upbeat and enthusiastic. In my defence, previous columns have included such dynamic titles as: An Exciting Time for Legal and Professional Publishing; Publish and (Perhaps) Be . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

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 research, writing, and practice.

Research & Writing

All Well and Good
Neil Guthrie

If I had a dollar for every time he’s heard Good, thanks – and you? in response to How are you?, I’d be writing this from a villa in Tuscany. (Or not writing it all, just sipping Negronis on a deck-chair by the pool.) The grammatically correct response to how are you? is well, not good. Good traditionally

. . . [more]
Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Courthouse Libraries BC’s Open Invite in UX Testing “Sprint” to Improve Website

The key to improving ease of use is to erase assumptions. 

That’s important when aiming to improve website usability, generally, but it’s not always easy when you’re dealing with an esoteric culture of users (such as lawyers) who are used to finding information according to old patterns.

Luckily, tools like Treejack, offer “tree testing” as a “usability technique for evaluating the findability of topics in a website.” This is a structure . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Technology: Internet

Be Aware, Be Very Aware

Let’s reclaim our minds from being hijacked by technology”—Time Well Spent

Sam Harris hosts the podcast Waking Up. He holds degrees in philosophy and neuroscience and has written on many topics including neuroscience, moral philosophy, politics, religion, rationality, free will, and ethics. In general he explores “how a growing understanding of ourselves and the world is changing our sense of how we should live.” In this episode called, “What is Technology Doing to Us?,” he talks with Tristan Harris, who describes himself as “an expert on how technology hijacks our psychological vulnerabilities”, is . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet