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Archive for May, 2023

Law Firm Employees Allegedly Misbehaving Make Headlines

You don’t have to go back far in history to read about the many misbehaviors of law firm employees. Whether the media stories concern the alleged actions of partners, associates or support personnel, there is plenty of fodder to make law firms rethink its hiring practices and firm culture to keep the firm name out of the headlines. Unfortunately, they aren’t always successful in achieving that goal. While we don’t have first-hand knowledge of the details, there are several examples of alleged misbehavior that we can learn from.

Data theft

One major risk for law firms is the theft of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology



This post is the fourth of a series considering three major issues under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: the impact of how the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) has defined rights; the relationship between rights; and the relationship between guarantees of rights and freedoms and section 1 of the Charter.

I focus the discussion of these issues through the lens of section 3, which guarantees the right to vote and to be eligible to sit in the legislature. Following the exploration of the SCC jurisprudence relating to each of the three issues in relation to section . . . [more]

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

Baby, Don’t Forget My Number (My Mediation Count)

Back in the day, signs posted outside McDonald’s would list the number of customers they had served. While the fast food chain stopped this practice years ago, some mediators are still doing it. My question is why.

What Does the Number of Mediations a Mediator Has Conducted Tell Us?

When it comes to the mediator’s skill and competence, Elton Simoes, President of the ADR Institute of Canada, does not believe a mediation count tells us enough. Simoes says it is important for a mediator to be aware of which types of cases they can be effective in. Not . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

How Law Firms Create (And Should Deal With) Difficult Partners

Recently, I became addicted to watching episodes of “Super Nanny”. It’s not because I wanted to learn how to manage my own children – they’ve long since grown up and are very good contributors to society thank you very much. And it’s wasn’t for variety. The episodes are formulaic: they all contain little hellions that, in the course of the show, go from Tasmanian devils to relatively decent human beings.

After some contemplation, I realized that I was drawn to the program as one coach watching another, and an expert one at that. I was learning from her style, choice . . . [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. ReconciliAction YEG 2. Ontario Condo Law Blog 3. RT Blog 4. Employment & Human Rights Law in Canada 5. Off the Tracks Podcast

ReconciliAction YEG
Walking together

It is hard to believe that this is the last post for the 2022-23 Reconcili-Action YEG writers. After spending a

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Summaries Sunday: Supreme Advocacy

One Sunday each month we bring you a summary from Supreme Advocacy LLP of recent decisions at the Supreme Court of Canada. Supreme Advocacy LLP offers a weekly electronic newsletter, Supreme Advocacy Letter, to which you may subscribe. It’s a summary of all Appeals, Oral Judgments and Leaves to Appeal granted from April 14 – May 17, 2023 inclusive.


Constitutional law: Division of powers
Murray-Hall v. Québec (Attorney General), 2021 QCCA 1325; 2023 SCC 10 (39906)

The pith and substance of the impugned provisions is to ensure the effectiveness of the Québec monopoly in order to protect . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

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.

PÉNAL (DROIT) : Même si l’on supposait que le juge de première instance a prononcé une peine égale à celle imposée lors du premier procès parce qu’il se sentait lié, ce qui serait une erreur, l’intervention en appel ne serait pas justifiée, notamment car l’appelant n’a démontré la présence d’aucun . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Attending Law School in a Global Pandemic: Reflections on Competency in the “Pandemic Class”

In the 2020-2021 school year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced law schools to shift from deeply traditional in-person pedagogical methods to fully online learning. To say the least, students entering law school in 2020 (the “pandemic class”) had a markedly different law school experience than their pre-pandemic counterparts. From a lack of in-person learning to the challenge of blended work-life spaces, how did attending law school in a global pandemic affect the competencies of students in the pandemic class? Researchers will likely explore this complex question in the years to come. In the meantime, here are some reflections from one soon-to-be . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week, Legal Education, Practice of Law

Inquiries Into Employee Religious Beliefs Should Not Be an Inquisition

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

Many employers implemented COVID-19 policies requiring employees to become vaccinated or face negative work-related outcomes like unpaid leaves or suspensions. Apart from that point of commonality, different approaches were taken to employees’ requests for exemptions and those that were made on the basis of religion proved difficult to navigate. In one case, B.C. Rapid Transit Co. v Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 7000 (Morzhakov Grievance), [2022] B.C.C.A.A.A. No. 114, Arbitrator Randall Noonan overturned the employer’s rejection of one such request because, he said, its process went too far and was . . . [more]

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

A Letter From the Daughter of an Over-Stimulated Immigrant

“What does it say? I don’t understand”. Children of immigrants are no stranger to this expression. Especially in circumstances where their parents are scrunching their foreheads to understand legal documents laced with technical complexities. Often, these children are the primary point of contact between their parents and professionals, which ultimately makes them responsible for translating and relaying technical information on behalf of their parents who lack native fluency. It is not uncommon to hear of children as early as six years old reading and translating demand letters, financial statements and court documents for their parents who do not understand the . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Law Student Week, Practice of Law

Building the Information We Need (Starting in the Law Library)

If you’d like to skip directly to the Kickstarter campaign, please click here.

When I look at the legal publishing landscape, I see gaps that are not being filled in the existing environment. Some information needs are well addressed; for example, there are excellent platforms to access openly available and commercial case digests, and there are many books on torts. These tools are widely needed and used, so there are clear incentives for commercial and non-profit entities to provide them. In contrast, individual organizations also frequently hire consultants to provide the precise information they need to make decisions . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Publishing

Re-Imagining the Notion of “Pride” in the Legal Profession

The Path to Pride

The year is 2001. The legal profession in Ontario is in disarray after several law students at the University of Toronto’s law school were caught fraudulently altering their grades to secure prestigious Bay Street summer positions. Many of these students were disciplined. Yet, in the eyes of the legal priesthood, this also necessitated a macro-level response.

Accordingly, some of the profession’s best and brightest were corralled together under the leadership of the then-Chief Justice of Ontario, Roy McMurtry, to define the elements of professionalism for lawyers. Understandably, the Advisory Committee on Professionalism, as it was . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week, Legal Ethics, Practice of Law