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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Future of Practice’

In Praise of in-Person CPDs and (Ongoing) AI Anxiety

The recent CBA national conference for immigration lawyers passed as though COVID is a distant memory. Crowded rooms full of professionals who serve the Canadian immigration system and our diverse mosaic of communities, in some way or another. Past practices of social distancing or meeting remotely have gone the way of the Dodo bird. At this recent conference, I was struck by one of the huge benefits of in-person learning: presenters can be candid and forthcoming, without fear their comments are being recorded. Speakers were able to share their thoughts and opinions freely without potential negative repercussions to them personally… . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology: Office Technology

The Emergence of Brain-Computer Interfaces

In the article “AI’s Next Frontier“, author Bernard Marr discusses the future of Brain-Computer Interfaces. Over the years, surgical methods have evolved to the point where people can now experiment with implanting sensors into the human brain and collect data.

Marr writes “Today, one of the best-known pioneers is Neuralink, founded by Elon Musk…It aims to enable people suffering from paralysis to use machines and prosthetic limbs to recover their mobility…[Another company, named NextMind] has developed a device that translates signals from the visual cortex into digital commands. As well as creating tools that allow computers to . . . [more]

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

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

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

In-Person Conferences: Will You Show Up?

I have been told the CBA Immigration section is the most active of all the sections within the CBA. For years, the highlight for this section has been the CBA Immigration Law Conference where we regularly see 400 to 500 practitioners descent into a Canadian city to discuss recent policy & program updates from IRCC & CBSA. We review significant caselaw and hear from the lawyers who argued those cases, including lawyers from the Department of Justice who offer their perspective, and we opine (sometimes with vigor) on all the changes we would like adopted. I have been attending these . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology: Office Technology

Are the Courts Slip-Sliding Away?

Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

♫ Slip sliding away, slip sliding away
You know the nearer your destination, the more you’re slip sliding away… ♫

Lyrics, Music and Recorded by Paul Simon.

Something extraordinary is taking place in Ontario.

Family law lawyer Russell Alexander of Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Law Lawyers of Toronto and six other locations in Ontario, Canada has started an online petition on entitled: “Petition to Amend the Requirement For In Person Court Attendances.”

What are they petitioning for, you ask? Good question:

“We, the undersigned lawyers and paralegals who practise family law, hereby petition . . . [more]

Posted in: 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