The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

National Blog

Is the LPO fad beginning to fade?

By Yves Faguy April 2 2013 2 April 2013

    There’s no question that last week was a rough one for Integreon, as news circulated that two UK-based firms, Osborne Clarke and CMS Cameron McKenna, are scaling back their arrangements with the legal process outsourcer. So, does the story signal a trend away from outsourcing arrangements? It’s hard to say. CMS managing partner Duncan Weston is quoted by The Lawyer as saying that his firm is looking for another third-party provider to cover some of the work that Integreon had been tasked with doing. Still, it’s worth reading Catrin Griffiths’ item from last October in which she lays out some of the reasons LPOs are experiencing growing pains. Interestingly, she argues that much of the resistance to LPOs is coming from in-house lawyers. And, predictably perhaps, there’s the fact that traditional firms are adapting  (more after the jump).

    Read More

    Banning Twitter in the courts

    By Yves Faguy April 1 2013 1 April 2013

      Criminal defence lawyer and blogger Véronique Robert applauds the Twitter/email ban in Quebec’s courts. Neither the legal community or journalists, she argues, have shown themselves to be ready to make responsible use of Twitter from inside the courtrooms (more after the jump).

      Read More

      Engaging the public on justice for families

      By Yves Faguy March 28 2013 28 March 2013

        In his Globe article yesterday, Kirk Makin identified many of the key points in the Report of the Family Justice Working Group of the Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters. There’s another point that deserves mention however: The limited attention paid by the public to the family justice system. Here’s what the report says:

        Despite its high rates of engagement with the family justice system on an individual basis, the general public pays relatively little attention to family law. The media focus is substantially on criminal law cases and the public tends to view and evaluate the justice system through a criminal law lens. The greater media attention to, and corresponding public engagement with issues of crime translate into heightened political interest and investment in criminal law matters. This has already had a measurably negative effect on family law in an environment that has seen family law legal aid budgets diminish significantly in the face of relentless resource pressures from criminal justice.

        At the same time, natural advocates for the family justice system have not emerged as strongly as in criminal law where institutional players, such as Crown, police and corrections appear to have a greater capacity to pursue a reform agenda. On the political question of resource allocation at least, it is apparent that more assertive and sustained advocacy combined with highly visible leadership are needed to better assert the interests of families and children.

        So we’ll be discussing more of this in the weeks to come leading up to the CBA’s Envisioning Equal Justice summit to be held in Vancouver in late April.

        Read More

        Ontario's summary judgments

        By Yves Faguy March 26 2013 26 March 2013

          The CBA intervened today before the Supreme Court of Canada in Bruno Appliance v. Hryniak and Hryniak v. Mauldin, two appeals interpreting the summary judgment rules in Ontario. David Sterns and Paul Sweeny represented CBA. National caught up with them for this interview and asked why lawyers across Canada should pay attention to the decision:

          Read More

          Are lawyers outside B.C. required to collect B.C. PST?

          By Cyndee Todgham Cherniak March 24 2013 24 March 2013

            This short blog post focusses on PST Bulletin 106 "Legal Services" that was released on March 19, 2013 (re-released with amendments).  It does not focus on the legislative provisions because auditors often conduct audits based on the administrative policies that they are to follow.

            Under the new British Columbia Provincial Sales Tax ("BC PST") rules, legal services are subject to BC PST.  PST Bulletin 106 "Legal Services" (only 3 pages in length) provides "guidance" to lawyers and law firms concerning the application of the new BC PST rules to the legal services provided by lawyers and law firms. (More after the jump)

            Read More

            With WTO Doha round stalled, talks about to start on plurilateral agreement

            By Cyndee Todgham Cherniak March 20 2013 20 March 2013

              On March 18, 2013, Canada's Minister of International Trade announced that Canada and 20 other World Trade Organization members, including the United States, the European Union, Australia, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, South Korea, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Switzerland and Turkey were going to going to start to negotiate a WTO Plurilateral Agreement on Services, referred to as an international services agreement. This is both interesting and smart (More after the jump).

              Read More

              Does digital piracy really hurt sales?

              By Yves Faguy March 20 2013 20 March 2013

                It depends on who you ask. Two interesting studies have come out recently on the impact of digital piracy. A recent study by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre has found -- for the time being at least -- that piracy doesn't hurt digital music sales (more after the jump).

                Read More

                Should NAFTA partners and the EU start TAP dancing?

                By Cyndee Todgham Cherniak March 18 2013 18 March 2013

                  Since President Obama announced that the United States would commence negotiations of a free trade agreement with the European Union and the Canada-EU CETA negotiations appear to be at the breaking point, questions arise about whether the negotiating table is about to get a whole lot longer.

                  Some are asking whether the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreeement ("CETA") negotiating table is going to add additional sections and a large number of chairs to accommodate representatives from the United States (including representatives from each State) and representaitves from Mexico.  If the hard issues in the negotiation of the Canada-EU CETA are not resolved soon, will the EU propose a Trans-Atlantic Partnership ("TAP"), modeled on the Trans-Pacific Partnership ("TPP") (also referred to buy some as a potential Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement or "TAFTA")?

                  Read More

                  Fighting Foreign Corruption Act

                  By Yves Faguy March 8 2013 8 March 2013

                    The CBA’s anti-corruption team appeared on Wednesday before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade to endorses the government’s efforts to crack down on foreign corruption and to propose improvements to Bill S-14, Fighting Foreign Corruption Act, which aims to strengthen the current Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (CFPOA). We caught up with Michael Osborne, a partner at Affleck Greene McMurtry and a member of the team to explain the proposed changes and share with us the CBA's position.  


                    Read More

                    Adapting to a disruptive new model

                    By Yves Faguy March 8 2013 8 March 2013

                      Now The Economist picks up on the theme of the sharing economy and some of the legal challenges it faces:

                      As they become more numerous and more popular, however, sharing services have started to run up against snags. There are questions around insurance and legal liability. Some services are falling foul of industry-specific regulations. Landlords are clamping down on tenants who sub-let their properties in violation of the terms of their leases. Tax collectors are asking whether all the income from sharing schemes is being declared. Meanwhile, the big boys are moving in, as large companies that face disruption from sharing schemes start to embrace the model themselves. As the sharing economy expands, it is experiencing growing pains.

                      Read More

                      Taking up the challenge

                      By Robert Brun March 7 2013 7 March 2013

                        One of the great joys of my year as president has been visiting our branches across the country. It’s a terrific opportunity to meet members face-to-face and reinforce the ties that bind us as an association.
                        Whether I’m in Nunavut or Alberta, New Bruns­wick or Manitoba, I am always impressed by the work our branches do to advance the work of the CBA. The access to justice file is just one example.
                        As you have heard, the CBA has launched a two-year national initiative aimed at preparing Canada’s lawyers for the future of the profession and ensuring it remains highly relevant to the lives of Canadians. It looks at both the business and public side of the legal profession on the assumption that access to justice and the future of legal services go hand in hand.
                        The access to justice component will examine the problems among low- and middle-income Canadians, and marginalized communities, in gaining access to legal services and advice. Our branches know those problems well.
                        For example, in New Brunswick, lawyers and judges have put the spotlight on family law, calling on the province to revisit the findings of a 2009 government task force, which made 50 recommendations aimed at improving access to family court.
                        Last September, the Alberta branch struck its own access to justice committee, focused on public legal education with a variety of not-for-profit groups. I’m also glad to see that the Alberta branch, like the branch in my home province of British Columbia, has embraced the challenge of keeping lawyers in small communities as an aspect of access to justice. It’s an important piece of the access to justice puzzle.
                        These initiatives at the branch level are a powerful reminder of how the work of our branches helps build the CBA’s  credibility to not only  lead the public debate on access to justice, but to enhance our position as the voice of the legal profession.

                        Read More

                        Can’t get through to people?

                        By Beverley Spencer March 7 2013 7 March 2013

                          Effective communication is the bread and butter of legal practice, but how many lawyers are really good at it? The answer might surprise you.
                          As Ann Macaulay reports in Your Practice this month, one-third of all legal malpractice claims filed with the Lawyers’ Professional Indemnity Company stem from lack of communication between lawyers and clients.
                          Why the disconnect? After reading Susan Cain’s excellent book, Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking, it occurred to me that personality might play a role. Yes, you can work to improve your skills at effective communication, but your personality influences your communication style. And while we can’t change our personalities, we can learn how they help or hinder our efforts to get our message across to clients, co-workers, and other people in our lives.  One of the crucial factors is whether we are introverts or extroverts.
                          As Cain explains, the key difference between introverts and extroverts lies in our response to stimulation. The introvert prefers low-key en­viron­ments, needs time to recharge after being around others, is careful, focused and a good listener. The extrovert loves to talk, is energized by being around others and actually becomes bored and listless in the absence of stimulation.
                          Like everyone, lawyers struggle to communicate with people who have the opposite personality. But addressing this communication gap is vital to effective communications.
                          Martha Newman of Top Lawyer Coach recommends for example, that extroverts remember introverts need to quietly focus on one thing at a time and that they do their best thinking alone. Understanding this means the extrovert is less likely to get frustrated that the individual is not forthcoming or is difficult to deal with. Introverts are encouraged to focus on their strengths and speak up when an issue is important.
                          Skill-building is important. But like most things, efforts rooted in self-knowledge will bear the most fruit.

                          Read More