Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

Tips Tuesday: Lead With the Point

Communicating with clients can be difficult, especially when you are trying to convey your legal opinion to them. When I first started writing opinions, I had a tendency to write a lot and try to explain every detail to the client. This often resulted in lengthy opinions that weren’t accessible for the client. A tip that was given to me by a mentor was to think about what the most important part of the opinion or letter was, then focus on getting that piece of information to the client as soon as possible, ideally on the first page.

If the . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Tips Tuesday: Demystifying Marketing

Marketing yourself as a legal professional can be difficult. Some take an active approach, while others do little to no marketing at all. In the legal profession, marketing and advertising is always constrained by the parameters set by our law societies as to what we can and cannot say, which further exacerbates the problem.

One way that I market myself is through indirect marketing in my community. Creating connections through networking is great, but finding ways to get into a setting where others can see qualities, beyond being a good networker, that may translate into the type of lawyer you . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Marketing

Books to Read Before Law School – an Essential Summer Reading List

This book list was curated to offer those on the cusp of law school a summer reading list packed with important insights, presented in a manner that would not put them to sleep. It turned out to have something for everyone. Whether you prefer e-books or the old fashion flipping of pages, here are five must-reads for the summer months…

Bob Joseph, 21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act: Helping Canadians Make Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples a Reality (Canada: Raincoast Books, 2018) ISBN: 9780995266520

Why read it this summer?

Because, as Misha Munim puts it, “this book . . . [more]

Posted in: Book Reviews, Legal Education, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Tips Tuesday: Quick Parts for Quick Drafting

Do you have a particular portion of an e-mail or an entire e-mail that you end up sending repeatedly? It could be something as simple as a reporting e-mail or an e-mail where you discuss your fees. It could also be a just a single paragraph that you use often or even just a sentence.

Let me introduce you to “Quick Parts”. Let’s say that I always use the same text for my annual return reports to my client and I didn’t want to keep typing that out over and over again.

You can go into the last e-mail that . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology, Technology: Office Technology

Tips Tuesday: Previous Versions Saves the Day

Ever accidentally wrote over a template or deleted a document out of a folder that you didn’t want to delete? Ever wanted to check what documents were in a folder on a previous date? Allow me to introduce you to the “Previous Versions” function in Windows Explorer.

The Scenario

You’re working in a folder with a bunch of disclosure documents in it. You’re working on reviewing them and deleting documents that you don’t need at the same time. In doing so, you delete a very important document that you didn’t intend to delete. This document was a PDF that was . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

Tips Tuesday: Creating an “Unread” E-Mail Folder

Are you someone who uses e-mail filters to try and keep some semblance of organization in your inbox? Ever filtered too well and ended up missing an important e-mail because it skipped the inbox and got stuck in a sub-folder?

This tip will help you to filter your e-mails with confidence knowing that you will never miss an unread e-mail again. Let me introduce you to the “Unread” folder. This is a folder that you can create that can crawl all of your e-mail folders for unread e-mail messages and pull them into one common folder for you to view . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology: Office Technology

Tips Tuesday: The Cross-Referencing Feature

Ever been drafting an agreement which makes references to other sections or paragraphs in the agreement, added or removed a section, then realized that all of your paragraph references are now incorrect and you’ve got a big mess on your hands?

Cross-referencing is the solution to this problem. Cross-referencing is a Microsoft Word feature that saves you from this very problem. The catch? Your document must have some sort of headings from the style guide or automatic numbering from which the cross-referencing menu can reference.

Cross-referencing works by inserting a link to the paragraph which you are referencing, allowing it . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology: Office Technology

Tips Tuesday: Quick Reference Legislation in Your Browser

Today’s Tips Tuesday is a little trick that I use to save myself time when I need to reference a statute quickly. I use CanLII for the majority of my legal research and for all of my statute referencing. Instead of navigating to CanLII’s home page each time and searching the statute, I use bookmarks instead.

In my browser’s toolbar, I created a Legislation folder and have bookmarked all of the statutes that I might need to reference in my practice. For me this list includes:

  • Alberta King’s Printer
  • Alberta Rules of Court
  • Civil Enforcement Act
  • Condominium Property Act
  • Employment
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology, Technology: Internet

Tips Tuesday: Using “Read Aloud” to Catch the Typos Your Brain Has Autocorrected for You

Today’s Tips Tuesday features a tip regarding one of the most under-rated features in Microsoft Word: Read Aloud.

Located under the “Review” tab in the ribbon, Read Aloud does exactly what it sounds like: it will read your document back to you, aloud so that you can hear the grammatical or wording errors you may have made when drafting. 

If you’re like me you like to torture yourself by going back and re-reading through a draft of a document or an e-mail that you just sent, and without fail this is when you catch a typos. It’s embarrassing and . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

Using AI for Legal Research

Prof Sean Rehaag recently published, “Luck of the Draw III: Using AI to Examine Decision-Making in Federal Court Stays of Removal”. This research entered my feed as it pertains to immigration and refugee law. Indeed, the research demonstrates interesting trends related to Federal Court decisions and Stay Motions. For example, Winnipeg has the lowest grant rates across Canada at only 16.2%. For immigration practitioners, I will briefly discuss the conclusions of this paper and my own analysis. Prof Rehaag focused this paper on statistics and his methodology. The paper offers scant analysis of the underlying numbers. The paper is invaluable . . . [more]

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

Lawyer-Client Bond Broken: The Unwritten Rule

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

Faced with a unique set of facts, an Ontario court in 2022 ONSC 5890 (CanLII) let two in-house lawyers off the hook when their former client sued them following the breakdown of their employment relationship. Would-be litigants in situations like the plaintiff’s would do well to remember that things aren’t always as they at first seem. It should almost go without saying: litigants had better have the evidence to prove it if they allege a breach of contractual or fiduciary duties. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Immigration Litigation: Current Issues, Part 1

There is a small army of immigration lawyers who battle in the Federal Court of Canada. Most practitioners have the sense to dedicate themselves to the solicitor side of this practice. In Part 1, I will focus on issues with the current system based on my experiences with the Court over the past 10+ years. I will be posting subsequent parts based on recent (creative) approaches that address, or get around, some of the issues below. This is not a review of substantive law or decisions from the Court. This critique is focused on the system as a whole. . . . [more]

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