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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

A Specialized Lawyer Does Not Need to Be Certified

Lawyers are distinct from other professionals like medicine in that the license provided is inherently broad, and limited only by the restrictions the lawyer places upon themselves.

For example, the Model Code states at 3.1-1 that a competent lawyer “means a lawyer who has and applies relevant knowledge, skills and attributes in a manner appropriate to each matter undertaken on behalf of a client and the nature and terms of the lawyer’s engagement…” Those knowledge, skills, and attributes can be defined or applied in many different ways, especially where a lawyer is working with other lawyers who have different or . . . [more]

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

Expedited Decision-Making in Parenting Coordination

Parenting coordination has two primary functions, one legal and the other psychosocial. The legal side of parenting coordination revolves around the implementation of parenting plans, resolving disagreements about their interpretation, dealing with unforeseen circumstances and facilitating a reasonable degree of compliance. The psychosocial side involves a cluster of less tangible objectives, including working with parents to improve their communication and dispute resolution skills, helping them recognize and prioritize the children’s interests, and reducing the children’s exposure to their conflict. The legal side has the narrow, mechanical purpose of resolving parenting disputes as they arise; the psychosocial side has the broader, . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Rainbow Cupcakes at the Office for Pride: That’s So Sweet – and Sort of Strange?

This submission comes from WeirFoulds LLP Law Library Manager Nairne Holtz, who is a member of the firm’s EDI (equality, diversity, inclusion) committee. When Nairne was asked to write a piece in support of legal history and Pride month in Ontario, the end product turned out to be more of a personal account. In the spirit of Canadian legal storytelling, and in support of Pride, Slaw is happy to be able to share Nairne’s story.

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I met my wife at work, a Bay Street law firm, in 1996. You could say we met cute. I was working in the . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

Facing Problems, Employer Buries Head in Sand

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

Many readers will remember the Bugs Bunny cartoons that featured an ostrich who would bury its head in the sand to avoid a predator or some other form of imminent danger. It turns out that ostriches do not really bury their heads in the sand to avoid problems, but the cartoon offers a nice analogy to the way the employer in Cybulsky v Hamilton Health Sciences, 2021 HRTO 213 (CanLII) handled one of its employees’ allegations of discrimination. In this case, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario considered the plight . . . [more]

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

The Impact of COVID-19 on Legal Services in Ontario

Can you spare 10 minutes to help researchers understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on access to legal services and its effects on the legal profession in Ontario?

A team at the Lincoln Alexander School of Law at Ryerson University is studying how the pandemic has affected legal clinics, law associations, law firms (lawyers, practitioners, paralegals, etc.), and other legal entities.

The purpose of the study is to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on access to legal services and in particular, how the changing circumstances have affected civil law firms, including their key performance indicators, revenue, costs, . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements, Practice of Law

Pattern Seekers: Identifying Neurodiversity in the Law

Are you a systemizer? In Patter Seekers: How Autism Drives Human Invention, Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen (Professor and Director of the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University) discusses the significance of systemizing to inventions. He posits that humans have a special kind of engine in the brain. They seek out if-and-then patterns. This way of thinking developed about 70,000 to 100,000 years ago, when the first humans began to make complex tools.

Dr. Baron-Cohen categorizes the brain into 5 different types based on their balance between empathy and systemizing. Empathizers are very comfortable with people, chat easily, easily tune into . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

5 Kind of Litigators That Might Exist

*These characters are fictional. Any resemblance is purely accidental. This is humour.

1. The pick’m-up-truck-driving small town litigator

Small’s number is written on the local jail cell wall. Besides the odd vacation and discovery, Small’s only ever known this little town with one traffic light. Small pulled some strings to get the county judge’s kid a try-out on the hockey team. The court registrar, bailiff, trial coordinator, and, heck, all the staff, know Small on a first name basis. Small doesn’t go through security because Small has a key to the side door into the library. At the hearing Small . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

Lawyers and Computers 25 Years Ago

I recently looked at a book on my shelf called “The Internet Handbook for Canadian Lawyers” published in 1996. It’s rather amusing to look at it from today’s lens and see how much has changed in the last 25 years. It explains in detail topics that at the time were cutting edge, but today are second nature to children, or are long obsolete.

Section headings include: “What Exactly is the Internet?”, “Can the Internet do Something for my Practice?”, “Finding Good Stuff with Archie”, “The Mother Protocol – TCP/IP”, “Using Encryption Programs to Stop Snoopers”, and “Navigating Gopherspace”.

It says . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

The Alarming Privatization of Our Judicial System

Some law firms last year experienced record profits, despite the pandemic. Part of the growth in revenue was due to the increase in private arbitration. As courts struggled to adapt, more litigants turned to private solutions, like mediation and arbitration.

In the article “As Trials Stalled, Shook Hardy Found Other Ways to Drive Revenue, Profits“, author Dylan Jackson explains that the law firm Shook, Hardy & Bacon saw their profits increase by 3.2% last year. The firm’s gross revenue increased to $364,776,000. Profits per partner increased to $995,000. The increase was attributed to a 50% increase in arbitrations . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

After the Report: What Comes Next?

The Canadian Bar Association’s Task Force on Justice Issues Arising from COVID-19 studied the issues, wrote a report, and presented it at the February 17, 2021, annual general meeting.

The risk with reports, however, is that they can become static documents, a snapshot of an issue. Reports gather dust as a collection of information if no one pulls up their sleeves to do the actual work to carry out their recommendations – and by the time the report comes out the political will to act may have subsided.

In our case, the ongoing pandemic is keeping these issues current . . . [more]

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

Undercutting “Imposter Syndrome”: Bragging Better

In the recent Harvard Business Review article “Stop Telling Women They Have Imposter Syndrome“, authors Ruchika Tulshyan and Jodi-Ann Burey discuss how imposter syndrome is rooted in systemic racism, classism, xenophobia, and other biases. They encourage us to overcome it by creating an environment that fosters different leadership styles and views diversity of racial, ethnic, and gender identities as just as professional.

While we continue to work on changing our environments to dismantle barriers, Meredith Fineman discusses in the book Brag Better how to use bragging to overcome the feeling of being a fraud. Meredith Fineman writes that . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Justice System Needs a Champion to Move Modernization Project

Don’t turn back, but don’t stand still. Work with justice system partners to share best practices, figure out how to make the system work better for the people who need it to work for them, and how to mitigate the unintended side-effects of change.

That sums up – very briefly – the recommendations in the final report from the Canadian Bar Association’s Task Force on Justice Issues Arising from COVID-19, presented to the Association’s annual general meeting on Feb. 17

The task force, established in April 2020, drew together representatives from CBA Sections and committees, its partners in the justice . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology