The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association
Blog

The Pitch finalists named

By National June 28, 2016 28 June 2016

CBA and LegalX, who together will host their first-ever legal innovation competition in August, today announced the names of the finalists for The Pitch.

A committee of experts chose the final  five contenders from a field of 31 online submissions. The shortlisted companies are: Beagle, blue J Legal, Knomos, Loom Analytics and Rangefindr.

These five will now go before a panel of judges and a live audience at the CBA Legal Conference in Ottawa to state the case for their innovations. They will get seven minutes to make their pitches to the judges, and spend another five minutes in a Q&A with the panel, which is still being finalized.

They are competing for a two-week residency with LegalX at MaRS District in Toronto,  which includes desk space for two team members, LegalX mentorship and most importantly, access to LegalX’s network of investors. As well, all five of the finalists will get a chance to network with potential investors at The Pitch and elsewhere during the conference, and are guaranteed an interview with the Chinese Angels Mentor Program.  If selected by CAMP (and pending due diligence), they will receive an equity investment of no less than $200,000.

Read More
Cover story

A basic right

By Agnese Smith June 27, 2016 27 June 2016

A basic right

Dismissed for years as a utopian thought experiment, the concept of a basic guaranteed income is now enjoying a renaissance as fears about automation and technological unemployment are on the rise.

The speed at which basic income has snowballed onto the public agenda has been astonishing. How to translate the idea into law is another matter altogether. If the past is any indication, decisions on welfare will likely remain a task for elected lawmakers. But could we see the day when the courts step in and rule that the Canadian Charter protects economic rights, even a basic income guarantee, as fundamental to human survival?

 “The very common response is that it’s beyond their jurisdiction. I don’t see that changing in the short-term,” said Margot Young, a professor in the Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia, and expert in constitutional and social justice law. “Courts don’t take into account broad social changes overnight.”

For now, courts generally see the Charter’s main task as protecting individuals from state encroachment – described as negative rights – and not from destitution.

But popular opinion has been known to have an impact on judicial decision-making, as recent cases on assisted dying and the striking down of prostitution laws have shown.

Read More
Article

Shaping the next generation of lawyers

By Katya Hodge June 27, 2016 27 June 2016

Shaping the next generation of lawyers

National: Lakeahead's first crop of law students graduates this year.  Are they prepared to meet the challenges of the marketplace?

Angelique EagleWoman: By the time our students graduate, they’ve done sentencing submissions in criminal law, they’ve worked through a trial litigation timeline and they’ve drafted a contract. All of these things build their confidence so when they enter the profession they can truly take on legal issues.

Also, they’ve benefited from the required academic placement within their third year. We’re getting really positive feedback from the placements that our law students are able to really hit the ground running.

N: What can other law schools learn from Lakehead’s experience so far?

AE: As the newest law school in Canada, Lakehead responds to a call to make legal education more accessible and a better platform for graduates to actually know how to practise law. We are bringing skills (and) exercises into the classroom and making it core to what the students do and learn.

Read More
Legal innovation

In commoditization they trust

By Alexandre Désy June 27, 2016 27 June 2016

In commoditization they trust

 

Many drivers can force an industry to redefine itself: new competition, fluctuating demand, and market restructuring. With information technology redefining the pace of innovation, the legal industry is undergoing its own period of transformation, powered by changes in both supply and demand, as well as by changes in the market itself.

Should lawyers worry? Perhaps yes, at first blush; however, taking the long view, there is plenty of cause for optimism.

Traditionally, legal services have been based on trust. The consumer generally knows very little about the quality, value, the scope or even the actual necessity of the service ultimately being rendered.

Read More
Brexit

The legal implications of Brexit

By National June 24, 2016 24 June 2016

 

After yesterday’s Brexit vote, everybody has Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union on his or her mind.  The provision allows member states to withdraw from the European Union “in accordance with its own constitutional requirements. Joshua Rozenberg discusses the (immediate) legal (and political) ramifications of the vote, following David Cameron’s resignation:

The referendum vote has immense political implications but no direct legal effect. We remain in the EU.

Of course, the new prime minister will be expected to respect the result of the referendum and, in due course, to notify the European council – which includes all EU heads of state or government – of the UK’s intention to withdraw from the EU under article 50. But we now have three months in which EU leaders can devise some sort of associate membership for the UK that just might be enough to stop that happening.

And even if the government is led by Boris Johnson and/or Michael Gove, the new prime minister would probably want to take some time before giving notice to quit the EU. That is because article 50 is a wasting asset with no emergency brake. There is nothing in the Lisbon treaty that allows a leaving state to change its mind and stop the process – although that result could no doubt be achieved by treaty amendment if the other 27 EU states agreed to support it.

So I would expect the UK’s negotiations with Brussels – ahead of an article 50 notification – to continue into next year. If there is a significantly better deal on offer, the new prime minister might choose to put it to the people – not, I suspect, by holding another referendum but by calling an early general election.

But for all the talk from Brexiteers of “taking back control,” Richard Gordon explains the irony of yesterday’s outcome:

Read More
Summer issue

Accessing law on demand

By Yves Faguy June 23, 2016 23 June 2016

Accessing law on demand

The marketplace, like nature, abhors a vacuum.

Just ask Uber’s founders, who in a few short years built the world’s most highly valued private company by understanding how hard it is for people to get around town. Airbnb, another champion of the on-demand economy, jumped at the opportunity to help homeowners make money from spare rooms by connecting them to tourists looking for a more authentic travelling experience. There’s also the emerging FinTech sector, credited with helping consumers gain access to credit where banks refuse to offer loans.

How strange then, that the legal industry persistently ignores a massive market of consumers with legal needs that, for whatever reason, continue to go unmet.

For the past couple of years, industry watchers have predicted that law firms will soon meet their Uber moment, as technology loosens the grip they have had on clients for decades.

Canada’s legal market is currently estimated at C$26-billion – a fraction of the U.S. market, now pegged at roughly C$555-billion, but significant nonetheless. Even more astonishing is that up to 85 per cent of Canadians choose not to involve a lawyer to resolve their legal problems.

Read More
Practice hub

Anxiety management for lawyers

By Jeena Cho June 23, 2016 23 June 2016

Anxiety management for lawyers

If anxiety is, or is becoming your constant companion, it’s time to make it your friend as well.

You’re probably thinking “why on earth would I befriend my anxiety? I want it to go away.” I get this feeling. But hear me out. Anxiety is something that lives inside of you. It’s an internal reaction to some actual or imagined external threat or situation.

The word anxiety comes from the Latin word “angere.” It means choke, distress or trouble. This physiological reaction is part of the body’s natural fight-or-flight response and it’s there to protect you!

Frequently, when we experience anxiety, our first reaction is to ignore, dismiss, or deny it. This, it turns out, only makes the anxiety worse. If, on the other hand, we try to learn more about it, to find out what makes it tick, we come a step closer to robbing it of its power over us.

Read More
Practice hub

Moving in-house

By Ann Macaulay June 23, 2016 23 June 2016

Moving in-house

When lawyers think about moving from a law firm or government agency to an in-house position, they’re often looking for a better work/life balance, a steady salary, a pension plan and — hopefully — less stress.

But there are important things to consider before making such a move. “Your hours are not necessarily as predictable as you might think,” says Jim Spurr, corporate legal counsel and secretary to the board of the Halifax Regional Water Commission. “You’re a salaried employee, your benefits can be very lucrative, with annual bonuses, stock options, performance shares. But you don’t get all of that by simply working from nine to five.”

The CEO can call at any time, says Spurr, who has taken calls at night, on the weekend and while on vacation.

As part of the executive or senior management team, an in-house lawyer must have or develop a good understanding of business principles. Since not all lawyers have a background in business — or much interest in it — not everyone is cut out for the job.

Read More
Opening remarks

Lunch with Simon Potter & Kim Nguyen: Client relations

By June 23, 2016 23 June 2016

Lunch with Simon Potter & Kim Nguyen: Client relations

Barely five minutes after Simon Potter takes his seat at a table near the back of La Medusa, the restaurant’s co-owner comes over to greet him. “The chef wants to make you a special dish,” Joe D’Adderio tells Potter. “Medaglione, stuffed with truffle mushroom. And some fish – a nice mediterranean bass. You’re gonna love it.”  Potter has been a regular at the Italian eatery in Montreal’s busy downtown core since it opened in 1996. “Very good,” he says. “Don’t even have to think about it.”

“Longevity counts for a lot,” the senior litigator says by way of explanation for how he came to be known as a rainmaker, though he could easily be describing his relationship with the three brothers who run La Medusa. “When you’ve been there for a long time, you end up having a phone that rings from time to time.”

Read More
Conduct becoming

The Panama Papers

By Gavin & Brooke MacKenzie June 23, 2016 23 June 2016

The Panama Papers

At the time of this writing, only a week has passed since the revelation of the largest data cache release in history, 11.5 million documents spanning a 40-year period from the files of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. It is early days in this saga, and a lot will have happened by the time you read this. But it is already abundantly clear that the story is a treasure trove of ethical issues for lawyers. Let’s consider three of them briefly.

Read More
Closing argument

Controversy on campus

By Omar Ha Redeye June 23, 2016 23 June 2016

Controversy on campus

The Supreme Court’s 1986 ruling in RWDSU v Dolphin Delivery suggests that the Charter may extend beyond the administrative decisions made by universities, reaching into lecture halls and affecting the intellectual activities of students and professors.

This is especially true where educational policies intertwine with government mandates.

Given the increasingly close relationship between government and post-secondary institutions, this constitutional connection is even tighter. In the absence of clear statutes or definitive court decisions, however, the only clear guidelines for academic communities are the policies of the institutions themselves.

Alberta courts, for instance, have decided against universities in the regulation of anti-abortion student groups. In Ontario and B.C., though, courts held that restrictions on anti-abortion imagery fell outside the ambit of governmental policies or programs, and could be properly constrained. The lack of consensus on what is appropriate and what is not gives rise to its own problems.

Read More
Summer issue

Creative Licence: Ashley Dumouchel

By Katya Hodge June 23, 2016 23 June 2016

Creative Licence: Ashley Dumouchel

The Artisan

"Working with wood and creating art provides me with an outlet for my creative energy and helps me relate to copyright and trademark clients on a unique level"

Ashley Dumouchel is a lawyer and trademark agent at Shapiro Cohen in Ottawa.  Her wood designs can be found at thegraintrust.etsy.com.

Read More

Current Issue

Editor's Picks

Editor's Picks

Anxiety management for lawyers

Editor's Picks

Controversy on campus

National TV

  • Thumb

    CBA's intervention in Lloyd v. R

  • Thumb

    Margaret Hagan on the role law schools can play in fostering innovation

  • Thumb

    Melina Buckley on the importance of legal aid benchmarks in Canada

View All Videos

Partners In Your Success