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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’

Changing the Way Legal Services Are Delivered to Meet Legal Needs

“We are not all in the same boat. We are all in the same storm. Some of us are on super-yachts. Some have just the one oar.” -Damian Barr

Without question, the pandemic has altered the way lawyers practice law. There is increased efficiency in the operation of the courts and both judges and lawyers have skillfully adapted to incredible changes that would have seemed impossible to imagine let alone implement eighteen months ago. The expanded use of technology increased access to justice for many. Emergency orders offered the ability to execute various types of documents safely and remotely. Some . . . [more]

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

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

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

Square Pegs: Changing the Courts to Fit the Technology

When discussing the modernization of the justice system the conversation can often be about how we adapt the technology to replicate the bricks-and-mortar experience.

But how might the institutions and decision-makers themselves adapt to work with the emerging technology?

Legal scholar Tania Sourdin talks about three primary kinds of technology in the context of the justice system:

  • Supportive – things like online legal applications that support and advise people using the justice system
  • Replacement – things that replace the role of people, such as e-filing technologies and online dispute resolution
  • Disruptive – things that fundamentally alter the way legal professionals
. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology

What Does a Human-Centric Justice System Look Like?

Observers of the justice system and the legal profession, as well as writers of myriad reports by the Canadian Bar Association and others seeking to improve access to justice, all come to the same conclusion: to be successful, the system must be human-centred – arranged around and for the people it serves.

This should be a given – to be successful any enterprise has to think about what the people using its services need. Successful enterprises remove as many obstacles for users as possible, in order to provide a friction-free experience.

One of the frequent complaints from those who need . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Effective Triage a Cornerstone of a Modernized Justice System

The Statement of Principles guiding the Canadian Bar Association’s COVID-19 task force puts the focus on innovation, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability as the justice systems and legal profession move from prioritizing safety at the height of a pandemic to institutionalizing change.

One word at the heart of it all is triage.

Innovation is needed to establish the kind of triage necessary to make the justice systems effective and efficient. If it’s done properly, it will also be sustainable well into the future, in bad times and good.

In a hospital emergency room triage means to sort by priority – urgent . . . [more]

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

Scales of Justice: Balancing Privacy Rights With Surveillance Economy

“Minds have been opened and changed over the past few months,” legal author and commentator Richard Susskind wrote in a 2020 article titled The Future of Courts. “Many assumptions have been swept aside.”

The global pandemic has forced lawyers and justice system stakeholders out of their normal physical environments and into what on the surface appears to be the safe harbour of the virtual world. Remote hearings may protect us all from a virus; the platforms that make them possible may, however, have their own issues.

An internet truism is that if you’re not paying for the product, you are . . . [more]

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

Modernizing the Justice System Requires a Tailored Approach

One size does not fit all.

A simple survey of the measures put in place so that the justice system may continue operating in spite of restrictive measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 will bear that out.

Virtual hearings have been a lifesaver for some proceedings. But while they may have increased opportunities for some individuals – making it easier to attend court, for example, by reducing travel time, costs and need for childcare – for others they presented more challenges.

When the pandemic was declared and physical-distancing measures instituted, Canadian courts, administrative tribunals and other dispute resolution bodies . . . [more]

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

CBA Task Force Examines Pandemic’s Effect on Justice System

January 4, 2021, marked exactly one year since the first published reports of a disturbing new virus in Wuhan, China.

That virus, COVID-19, has touched us all in the past year on personal and professional levels. We’ve all had to accept individual restrictions for the public good, and to adjust to new ways of doing things.

It’s also true that in the legal profession at least we’ve been able to find some silver linings in these trying circumstances. For example, the pandemic pressed the accelerator on justice system modernization that groups such as the CBA have been advocating for years. . . . [more]

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

Who Is a Legal Information Specialist in 2021?

About a million years ago…wait, that was just 2020.

Back in 2011-2012 I was invited to collaborate with colleagues on Legal Information Specialists: A Guide to Launching and Building Your Career with colleagues from the Canadian Association of Law Libraries. At the time, Annette Demers asked contributors to gather some quotes from our colleagues about the value they considered in having a Legal Information Specialist team member. As uncomfortable as it was, I asked colleagues to write something. My colleague James T. Casey, QC who was then Managing Partner of Field Law wrote this which appears on page . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology

Ontario Introduces CaseLines to Courts

Following the Civil Submissions Online and Family Submissions Online portals, first introduced starting in 2017, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice announced on July 29, 2020 that a two-week test phase of CaseLines will be launched on Aug. 10, 2020 for select civil motions and pre-trial conferences. The Online Portal will not be integrated with CaseLines at this time.

Starting Aug. 24, 2020, CaseLines use will be expanded to all civil, Divisional Court, Commercial and Estate List, and bankruptcy matters in Toronto. After that, it will be expanded to the rest of the province.

The new CaseLines service will replace . . . [more]

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

Should We Defund the Civil Rules Committee in Ontario?

Past Ontario Bar Association president David Sterns argues that we should defund the Ontario Civil Rules Committee. In its place we should involve new voices and take an inter-disciplinary approach to building the committee. I agree.

We need to either supplement or change the Civil Rules Committee. We must look towards engaging new people. Let’s not just tinker around the edges. Let’s engage new voices. We need new perspectives. We need to hear what lay people think. We need to hear the insight of experienced practitioners and judges. We need to hear what articling students and law students think. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice