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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

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

Taking Mental Health Seriously: A Review of the American National Judicial Stress and Resiliency Survey

It was recently reported in the Law Times that lawyers’ mental health is worsening during the pandemic. Similarly, the American Bar Association released a study (conducted pre-pandemic) showing that judges are experiencing severe stress.

The National Judicial Stress and Resiliency Survey showed that:

  • almost 4 out of 10 judges reported stress from fatigue and low energy.
  • 1 in 5 judges met at least 1 criteria for depressive disorder (such as not having initiative, preoccupation with negative thoughts, work is no longer meaningful, can’t wait for the day’s work to end and depressed mood).

The National Task Force Report made recommendations . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Reflections Into 2021: Practice of Law

As we get ready to say good-bye to 2020 (yay!), it is time to reflect on our goals for the ensuing years. In “A Post-Pandemic Survival Kit for the Legal Industry“, author Mark Cohen writes about adapting to new ways of providing legal services. Legal work “is under renovation. Lawyers are not its architects or builders”.

In preparing for our future work, Cohen recommends that we ask the following questions:

  • What do we sell?
  • Should we be selling it?
  • What do customers think of our services and/or products and how do we stack up with known and potential
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law

Cheifetz, Apportionment of Fault (1981) – PDF Available

Apportionment of Fault In Tort (1981) – David Cheifetz

An unrestricted PDF of Cheifetz, Apportionment of Fault in Tort is now available. The text has been out of print for about 2 decades.

The “price”, for Canadian purchasers, will be a donation of CDN $20 to either the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children or the Vancouver Children’s Hospital. Purchasers from other countries should chose a suitable children’s hospital or equivalent in their jurisdictions.

If you want the PDF: Send a request to me at with a copy of the donation confirmation and the email address to which you want . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements, Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Making the Hard Decisions: Ethical Lawyering

What do you do as a lawyer when your client wants you to call a witness or make representations to the court that you believe are non-starters and even dangerous to your client’s case? If you’re one of President Donald Trump’s lawyers, you might seek to introduce a “handwritten yellow sticky note” as evidence of election fraud (see decision with ruling the note was inadmissible as hearsay here). And then there’s Dean Embry, the lawyer representing James Sears, the editor of Your Ward News, who now finds himself as a witness in his former client’s appeal of a conviction . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Employees’ Imperfect Right to Reasonable Accommodation

By Lewis Waring, Paralegal and Student-at-Law, Editor, First Reference Inc.

Human rights claims are often the result of an employee’s claim that their employer has failed to accommodate their needs. Whether such claims arise due to an employee’s disability, family status, gender, religion or any other human rights ground, employees have a duty to accommodate the human rights needs of their employees. However, the duty to accommodate does not require employers to provide employees with their ideal option. Instead, employees are only required to provide reasonable accommodation. In a recent British Columbian human rights case, an employer fulfilled its duty . . . [more]

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

Supreme Court Clarifies Law on Adverse Effect Discrimination

The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Fraser v. Canada (Attorney General), 2020 SCC 28 provides a sweeping overview of the law of adverse effect discrimination. This decision specifically targets the alleged discriminatory effect of the RCMP’s policy not to allow those who temporarily reduce their working hours under a job-sharing agreement to “buy back” these periods of reduced working hours for the purposes of their pension. In contrast, those who experienced gaps in their record of service by reason of suspension or spending time on unpaid leave did have the opportunity to buy back pensionable service time. After . . . [more]

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

Helpful Tips for Getting Through the Work Day

With COVID fatigue setting in and winter coming, motivation to complete work may be in short supply. The Harvard Business Review released an article this week titled “Feeling Overwhelmed? Here’s How to Get through the Workday” by Alice Boyes.  Alice Boyes offers the following tips for beating the blues and carrying on with work:

  1. “Focus on a familiar activity”. Begin by working on a “old” activity that you have lots of experience performing. The sense of accomplishment after the completing the work will help motivate you to take on more tasks.
  2. “Tackle an unfamiliar task”. Working on a task
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law

Does the Proposed 25% LSO Fee Reduction Make Any Sense?

The last six months have been a challenge for everyone. The impacts of the pandemic have differed but no one has been spared. Lawyers and paralegals are no different. We have all been affected, in varying degrees and in varying ways. For many of us, the fact that we provide professional services rather produce goods or provide retail services has helped as many professional services need not be provided in person. Remote work has been possible for many. But some have been particularly affected. The incomes of those who are employed, whether in business, government, larger firms or otherwise, have . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

New Culture Shift Towards Scheduling Court Motions in Ontario

“A litigation culture has arisen in this province over the last three decades which extols creating and litigating peripheral procedural disputes, instead of moving towards the timely adjudication of disputes on their merits. That culture now lauds, as the skilled barrister, the motions specialist, not the final hearing expert.” – Justice David M. Brown  Given the hurdles presented by COVID-19, the Ontario courts are trying to shift the litigation culture away from litigating peripheral procedural disputes. It was recently acknowledged in a motion to consolidate two matters in Klassen v Klassen, 2020 ONSC 4835, that “[COVID-19] shut down Ontario’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law

What Is the Future of Lawyers’ Jobs?

Bloomberg Law recently announced that lawyer jobs are down 15% in 6 months. Recovery is predicted to take years. “Lawyer employment information is hard to come by. But when we analyze the data we have, we find that lawyers have taken the brunt of legal industry job cuts in 2020.” Interestingly, Bloomberg reports that 2020 employment favours non-lawyers over lawyers. In the United States, “lawyers lost more than 150,000 jobs in the first quarter of 2020, and the decline continued in the second quarter. The result is a lawyer employment level not seen since 2017.” Bloomberg law predicts that lawyer . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Comments on the LSO’s Education Plan for a Family Legal Services Provider Licence

In an effort to increase assistance for family law litigants who do not have legal representation (self- or unrepresented litigants) and to assuage the concerns of the family law bar, some members of whom object to the introduction of paralegals into family law, at the same time, the Law Society of Ontario has proposed a new licencing framework, one limited to the provision of legal services in family law and one most likely to be taken up by existing paralegals. The LSO has invited comment on the entire proposal (see Family Legal Services Provider Licence Consultation Paper (“FLSPL Paper”); however, . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Justice Issues, Practice of Law