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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

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

Toughen-Up Buttercup: Flight of Women Lawyers From Private Practice

In the article, “Toughen Up, Buttercup” versus #TimesUp: Initial Findings of the ABA Women in Criminal Justice Task Force, Professor Maryam Ahranjani writes about the flight of women lawyers. In her article, Professor Ahranjani cites a Canadian study by Dr. Madon. In the study, titled “The Retention of Women in the Private Practice of Criminal Law (2016)”, it is revealed that women are 141% more likely to leave private practice than women in other private practice areas.

The reasons given for the flight of women include:

  • caretaking commitments,
  • level of stress at work,
  • emphasis on marketing and originating business,
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management

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

The Stakeholder Law Firm

I’ll be writing about law firms less frequently in future, for reasons outlined here. But given how critical I’ve been about the way in which lawyers run their firms, I thought I’d share with you news of a growing movement in the business world that could bring about monumental change for law firms.

My fundamental critique of law firms isn’t the billable hour or rampant inefficiency or the resistance to innovation — it’s the apparent absence of any real purpose to the firm beyond the enrichment of its partners.

I’ve been telling audiences for a while now that a . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Showing Vulnerability as a Lawyer: One Mistake at a Time

Recently “Zoom Cat-lawyer” revealed a lot about the legal profession. Its seriousness. Its humour (or lack thereof). Its low tolerance for mistakes.

In the Zoom call, the lawyer was unable to quickly remove the filter by himself. The judge and opposing counsel seemed to have little patience for his technological incompetence.

In “Think Again”, Professor Adam Grant writes “Sharing our imperfections can be risky if we haven’t yet established our competence. In studies, lawyers and teachers searching for jobs, expressing themselves authentically increased the odds of getting job offers if they were rated in the 90th percentile or above for . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

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

Is It Time to Rethink Lawyer Licensing, Including the Bar Exam in Ontario?

In an article by, Pilar Escontrias proclaims “It’s time to see the bar exam for what it truly is: the relic of a racist club.” The bar exam in the United States has a “sordid history as one of the many racialized gatekeeping mechanisms into the practice of law. The legal profession was a virtually unregulated, open field of practice for generations until immigrants, Black, and Jewish people started applying for bar admission in the late 19th century”. Suddenly the bar exam emerged. One reason for the bar exam was to act as a gatekeeper against minorities.

In . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

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