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Archive for ‘Reading’

Nothing Less Than Great: Reforming Canada’s Universities (How Do Law Schools Fare?)


Law schools have a mixed relationship with the universities of which they are a part. Subject to the universities’ rules, law schools nevertheless also give the impression of having an “independent” status. In Nothing Less than Great: Reforming Canada’s Universities (“Nothing Less than Great“) (University of Toronto Press, 2021), Harvey P. Weingarten assesses the state of universities across (mostly) English-speaking Canada and makes general recommendations for reform. While he refers to law schools only in passing, much of what he has to say is relevant to the landscape of Ontario law schools and legal education. Here I . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Reading

Jonathon Rudin’s “Indigenous People and the Criminal Justice System” – an Easy Read as Well as an Essential Reference

Given recent events, examining the impact of criminal law on Indigenous people should be on the agenda of every criminal lawyer in Canada. Lawyers and judges need to understand that cases involving Indigenous accused persons and victims require specific knowledge and skills. Jonathon Rudin’s “Practitioner’s Handbook on Indigenous People and the Criminal Justice System” provides both the means to understand the case law and valuable insights into representing indigenous clients.

This book should be considered to be an “essential” reference work. Mention of this book has previously been made on Slaw. The first time was when it was announced that . . . [more]

Posted in: Book Reviews, Reading: Recommended

States of Emergency: The Inequity of Municipal Governance During the Pandemic

Since the onset of the pandemic in March of this year, municipalities across the country have instituted policies and by-laws that have had a serious impact on residents, often not following regular processes. The University of Windsor Faculty of Law Centre for Cities has recently released its report about municipal states of emergency, States of Emergency (“the Report”), co-authored by Dr. Anneke Smit (Director, Centre for Cities) and students Hana Syed, Aucha Stewart, Terra Duchene, and Michael Fazzari, which analyses the response of municipalities across Canada in the early days of the pandemic and proposes a way forward, not only . . . [more]

Posted in: Book Reviews, Reading: Recommended, Substantive Law

Law, Policy and Ethics of COVID-19

The COVID-19 has been a boon for novel and unique issues in law.

While there have been widely reported concerns about women academics being less productive during the pandemic than men, likely due to unequal divisions of labour at home such as childcare, the intersecting impacts of gender, race and parenthood on academic productivity illustrate a broader and more complex factors, but ones that could have long-term career implications.

The necessity to rapidly share scientific information during a pandemic has also accelerated a shift towards more open-access publications. Removing paywalls facilitates a better flow of information and knowledge transfer, and . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

CFCJ Releases Report on “Investing in Justice”

Investing in Justice – A Literature Review in Support of the Case for Improved Access, recently released by the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice, summarizes the “existing research and data on return on investment for justice services provided by civil society organizations, governments and private sector groups to communities and diverse populations worldwide”. (Disclosure: I sit on the Board of Directors of the CFCJ.) . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Reading: Recommended

Why Is Legal Writing So Complex?

“If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.”

In The Atlantic article “The Needless Complexity of Academic Writing“, the author Victoria Clayton critiques opaque writing that infects academic journals. She writes that the prose is “riddled with professional jargon and needlessly complex syntax… even someone with a Ph.D. can’t understand a fellow Ph.D.’s work unless he or she comes from the very same discipline.” This critique could easily be applied to legal writing, including some factums and judicial decisions.

Clayton explains that the main reason for opaque writing may not be so sinister. She . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading

The T-Shaped Lawyer: Successful Skills and Abilities of Current and Future Lawyers

This post originally appeared on the OsgoodePD Blog.

Technology has had a fundamental effect on most professions. It has standardized and simplified processes, removed labour intensive elements, and increased efficiency of how products and services are developed and sold. Most importantly, it has made it necessary for those in the profession to adapt and change who does the work, what the work is, and how the work is done.

Law and the practice of law has, in many ways, remained relatively untouched. That is until now!

Yes, computers and email have transformed how lawyers communicate and do their work, . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Reading: Recommended

Where Does Memory Come From?

The human memory is crucial to a trial. It is the essence of a lay person’s testimony. So where does memory come from?

In the Organized Mind neuroscientist Daniel Levitin explains.

When we experience an event, a unique set of neurons is activated. The act of remembering something is a process of bringing back on line those neurons that were involved in the original experience… Once we get those neurons to become active in a fashion similar to how they were during the original event, we experience the memory as a lower-resolution replay of the original event. If only we

. . . [more]
Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Avoiding Limitation Period Pitfalls

This article is by Jordan Nichols, claims counsel at LAWPRO.

It is one of a lawyer’s worst nightmares: missing a limitation period. It can be a very easy mistake to make and yet the consequences can be enormous.

There are numerous “pitfalls” that can lead to missed limitation periods and other limitation period problems. Some of these pitfalls are relatively easy to avoid whereas others can trip up even the most skilled and careful of lawyers.

The following is an overview of some of the more common limitation period pitfalls that lawyers encounter and some tips on how to avoid . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Reading: Recommended

Keeping Up With the Joneses (Or Not)

This article is by Ian Hu, claims prevention & practicePRO counsel at LAWPRO.

Young lawyers often talk about the stress and burden of debt. If there is one piece of advice worth giving, it is a simple one: spend less than you earn.

As a new lawyer, I was excited when I received my first paycheque. I forget what I spent it on, but I remember it disappeared as soon as I received it. Soon I was living paycheque to paycheque. How could it be possible to live hand to mouth on Bay Street?

Turns out, it was easy. Perry . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

How Neuroscience Awareness and Evolutionary Psychology Can Help Lawyers Avoid Claims and Offer Better Client Service

This article is by Nora Rock, corporate writer and policy analyst at LAWPRO.

The success of books like Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink and Norman Doidge’s The Brain that Changes Itself, has brought discussion of neuroscience out of the medical lab and into everyday conversation. The potential for what we know about the brain to be used to our advantage in the business and professional realms has spurred a growing body of research, and lawyers are beginning to pay attention.

From LawPRO’s perspective, the most interesting implication of this research is that a basic understanding of neuroscience may provide lawyers . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Life Sentence: Stories From Four Decades of Court Reporting

In Christie Blatchford’s book Life Sentence: Stories from four decades of court reporting – or, how I fell out of love with the Canadian justice system, Blatchford critiques the judicial system. Her critique is centred on her personal experiences and on several court cases.

In particular, she recalls an exchange she had with a lawyer, while observing a trial. During their conversation, she accidentally cited the wrong case when he immediately corrected her. Stating that “in those few minutes was illustrated so much that is enraging about the broader justice system: Its collective overweening self-satisfaction; its increasing deference to the . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading