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Archive for March, 2021

What Law Firms Should Focus on Next

Despite hiccups on vaccine receipt and distribution, we now know that by the end of the year, there’s a very good chance we’ll all be back to normal. That means there’s still another considerable block of time to get through first. We don’t want to be in either survival or neutral mode forever. So as we finish weathering this storm, what should law firm strategy look like for the remainder of 2021?

First and foremost, stick to your longer-term strategic plan. The point of a strategic plan is that it helps to guide a firm through the goods times, and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Washington Update: Déjà Vu All Over Again

The United States just endured a second impeachment trial. The outcome was foreseen, but the procedure was necessary. On January 6th both branches of Congress convened for a ceremonial act to tally the states’ certified results. This began at 2pm, but when they got to the votes from Arizona, objections were raised by Republican Representatives and Senators. At the same time, a mob spurred on by President Trump to march to the Capitol, began to break into the building. I was watching online and could hardly believe what I was seeing.

The Capitol Police were overwhelmed and violent people . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

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. Zak v Zak, 2021 ABQB 80 (CanLII)

[20] It is trite law that the fact that a judge has found against a party does not constitute evidence of bias. Equally, the fact that a judge has made findings of fact that one party has behaved poorly does not constitute evidence of bias. Indeed, in cases of high-conflict family litigation such as . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

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 practice, research, writing and technology.

Research & Writing

Miscellaneous Mistakes
Neil Guthrie

Some random things I’ve seen and heard lately. Don’t take it personal: Nope. Personally is how one should (or should not) take it. You would make it personal, however, because you want an adjective to modify it (not the adverb that needs to modify take). … . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Bias and Project Management

Cognitive bias is:

  1. Making decisions or judgments not supported by objective reality;
  2. The subject of Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman’s book Thinking, Fast and Slow;
  3. A barrier to effective Legal Project Management;
  4. All of the above.

As a lawyer, you probably have some familiarity with cognitive biases. (If you do defense work, your clients are likely very familiar… from experience.) However, I want to focus on some ways cognitive biases can screw up projects.

(I’m deferring my promised column on project charter disasters to next time.)

Anchoring, or “First Liar”

We can’t help it. Someone tells us about a . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Monday’s Mix

Each Monday we present brief excerpts of recent posts from five of Canada’s award­-winning legal blogs chosen at random* from more than 80 recent Clawbie winners. In this way we hope to promote their work, with their permission, to as wide an audience as possible.

This week the randomly selected blogs are 1. Hull & Hull Blog 2. Library Boy 3. RT Blog 4. Doorey’s Workplace Law Blog 5. Employment & Human Rights Law in Canada

Hull & Hull Blog
Zoom Court: Best Practices

The Federal Court of Canada has heard over 2,000 hearings over Zoom since the beginning of

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

A Peanut Butter Sandwich Is Not Grounds for an Appeal

With all the advertising around personal injury services proliferating, it’s tempting to some plaintiffs to think they can go it alone. The contingency fee alone in such arrangements might provide some financial or monetary incentive to explore such options.

As with most legal proceedings though, this is rarely advisable. This was clearly highlighted in a recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision in Jex v. Jiang.

The parties conducted a 10 day jury trial, based on a motor vehicle collision on August 29, 2007. The self-represented plaintiff was successful in providing causation, but was unsuccessful in proving damages. Consequently, the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Summaries Sunday: SOQUIJ

Every week we present the summary of a decision handed down by a Québec court provided to us by SOQUIJ and considered to be of interest to our readers throughout Canada. SOQUIJ is attached to the Québec Department of Justice and collects, analyzes, enriches, and disseminates legal information in Québec.

PROCÉDURE CIVILE : Les administratrices de la page «Dis son nom» doivent transmettre au demandeur l’identité de ses victimes alléguées ainsi que les communications échangées avec celles-ci; de plus, la défenderesse A.A. devra utiliser sa véritable identité dans le cadre des procédures entreprises par le demandeur à la suite de . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Friday Jobs Roundup

Each Friday, we share the latest job listings from Slaw Jobs, which features employment opportunities from across the country. Find out more about these positions by following the links below, or learn how you can use Slaw Jobs to gain valuable exposure for your job ads, while supporting the great Canadian legal commentary at

Current postings on Slaw Jobs:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Friday Jobs Roundup

Court Determines Worker Was Employee, Awards Punitive Damages

Written by Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, First Reference Inc.

Cases in which courts must determine reasonable notice for a dismissed employee are generally straightforward, involving an analysis of certain time-honoured factors in relation to the employee and his or her work. The case before the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Cho v Stonebridge Solutions Inc., 2020 BCSC 1560 involved a unique twist: the court first had to determine whether the plaintiff worker was an employee (as he claimed), or an independent contractor (as the defendant company claimed). The court concluded that, as an employee, the worker was entitled . . . [more]

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

Ensuring Professional Competence?

In February, it was reported that the UK’s Legal Services Board was moving forward with plans to introduce “continuing competence checks” for lawyers. This could involve the regulator obtaining feedback from consumers, judges and peers; making quality assurance visits; and possibly even requiring formal revalidation of lawyers’ credentials.

In my last column, I discussed how the raison d’être of lawyer regulation is to ensure that anyone providing legal services will meet standards of professional competence and professional conduct. In Ontario, this is codified in s. 4.1(a) of the Law Society Act.

But I have long wondered: Is the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Developments in Patent Law in 2020

The Courts were busy in 2020 with some significant decisions in patent law addressing several substantive issues affecting the enforceability of patent rights in Canada. The following summary focuses on some of these decisions that may be of interest beyond those practicing patent law.

Computer-implemented Inventions – An area of significant an ongoing uncertainty has been the degree to which patents can be granted for software and ‘business method’ inventions. In Choueifaty v. Canada (Attorney General), 2020 FC 837, the Federal Court rejected the approach used by the Canadian Patent Office in reviewing these types of inventions to . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property