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The Canadian Bar Association

Brandon Hastings

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Legal Futures round-up: October 3rd, 2016

Par Brandon Hastings octobre 3, 2016 3 octobre 2016

Inspired by the CBA Legal Futures report on Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada, here’s our biweekly round-up of noteworthy developments, opinions and news in the legal futures space as a means of furthering discussion about our changing legal marketplace.

On September 20, 2016, Thompson Reuters’ Legal Executive Institute, and Toronto’s MaRS LegalX incubator held a forum on Emerging Legal Technology. The program included speakers and panelists from within and around the legal and technology industries. A central theme to the event was the need for law firms to focus on mastering data analytics.

Mark Cohen has an item in which he explains that profit-per-partner “is the seminal metric of law firms” but that PPP is a poor measure of more important standards, namely results, client satisfaction and cost.

Pulat Punusov joins a chorus of voices which believe lawyer’s jobs will be automated and streamlined, leaving lawyers to do “value added” work while the more monotonous processes will be automated. In his well-articulated article, he analogizes automation of legal processes to self-driving cars, and blockchain.

 

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CBA Futures

Legal Futures roundup: September 19, 2016

Par Brandon Hastings septembre 19, 2016 19 septembre 2016

 

Inspired by the CBA Legal Futures report on Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada, here’s our biweekly round-up of noteworthy developments, opinions and news in the legal futures space as a means of furthering discussion about our changing legal marketplace.

The United Kingdom’s Legal Services Board has released a report for legislative reform of the legal services industry in England and Wales. The report, among other things, recommends a shift from various regulators of legal activities to a single regulatory body. Currently, there are six legal activities that are reserved for barristers and solicitors, and regulated by a patchwork of regulators. Neil Rose expatiates on the issue, speaking on frustration with the apparent arbitrariness of these reserved areas.

Meanwhile, Andy Somerville writes on the wisdom of specialization in law firms, exploring whether is it more sensible for partners to develop their management skills, or for firms to hire-in business acumen. Perhaps a mix? Managing lawyers tend to be time-poor, and working on lawyers to develop business acumen can be an expensive proposition. By the same token, however, there is clearly value in having subject-matter expertise in the management-suite.

Closer to home, Jordan Furlong offers six takeaways from Norton Rose’s acquisition of Bull Housser in Vancouver, suggesting that the move adds to Vancouver’s appeal as “a hub between North America and the Asia-Pacific region” and giving it the upper hand over Calgary and Montreal in the contest to be Canada’s Second City to Toronto.

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CBA Futures

Legal Futures round-up: September 7, 2016

Par Brandon Hastings septembre 7, 2016 7 septembre 2016

Inspired by the CBA Legal Futures report on Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada, here’s our biweekly round-up of noteworthy developments, opinions and news in the legal futures space as a means of furthering discussion about our changing legal marketplace.

In light of Alberta’s Justice Robin Camp’s hearing, and calls for reform, the federal government is considering a review of the judicial discipline process. In 2014, Justice Camp acquitted a man accused of sexual assault, evidently asking the victim why she couldn’t “just keep her knees together.” The acquittal was overturned and a new trial ordered. There have only been 11 public inquiries since the Canadian Judicial Council was created in 1971. The Department of Justice’s public consultation phase ends this Wednesday.

In a move that will increase access-to-justice for marginalized population, and increase the diversity of Canada’s bar, Nunavut Arctic College is to offer a Juris Doctor in association with the University of Saskatchewan. The program will be offered in Iqualuit, Nunavut by mainly University of Saskatchewan faculty. Classes are slated to begin in September 2017.

An article on the legalfutures.co.uk blog, written by BC-based legal technology giant Clio, provides several steps firms can take to safeguard their data. The bottom-line, obviously perhaps, is that data should be encrypted both wherever it is stored, as well as when it is transmitted.

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Futures

Legal Futures roundup: August 23

Par Brandon Hastings août 23, 2016 23 août 2016

Thompson Reuters recently published an interview on the contents of the upcoming Legal Executive Institute (LEI) this fall. The LEI gathers leaders from across the legal industry to discuss, debate and offer guidance on the latest trends, challenges and opportunities. The media and information giant has also created a new fellowship with Stanford’s Legal Design Lab.

Renée Pelletier, managing partner at Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP, has been appointed to the federal government’s environmental assessment review panel. Ms. Pelletier is a member of the Maliseet First Nation, and will provide an invaluable perspective as the panel reviews how natural resource development projects in Canada are approved.

The British Columbia (BC) Ministry of Justice has promised to review its policies around Legal Aid funding after a woman was involuntarily detained under that province’s Mental Health Act. The patient was only slated to receive a lawyer after an upcoming committal review hearing in August, and the province only committed to providing her a lawyer after she launched an action in the British Columbia Supreme Court. Kate Feeny of the BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre makes the point that when someone is detained for mental health issues, the access-to-justice crisis more acutely impacts human rights.

At the CBA’s National Conference, defense lawyer Donald Bayne speaks cogently on video about the need to educate the public about the justice system and Rule of Law. Mr. Bayne makes allusions that education on the justice system is something that should be taught as early as elementary school and draws a parallel between a decline in popular support of the ‘1%,’ and reduced belief in the Rule of Law. Mr. Bayne’s thesis appears to be that education of the public and journalists on why courts are important, and how they achieve fairness, is vital to the continued functioning of our society.

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CBA Futures

Legal Futures round-up: August 9, 2016

Par Brandon Hastings août 9, 2016 9 août 2016

 

Inspired by the CBA Legal Futures report on Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada, here’s our biweekly round-up of noteworthy developments, opinions and news in the legal futures space as a means of furthering discussion about our changing legal marketplace

Jordan Furlong has returned to the blawgosphere with a couple of posts on the endangered partner and the obsolete associate. Not only do “associates mean less and less to law firms” who are increasingly using part-time and contract lawyers, Furlong writes, but the “payload of risk that partner status represents” will continue to get worse and make partnership “more of a burden than a blessing for a lot of lawyers.”

Meanwhile, Mark Cohen  makes the case that real gender diversity in law firms is virtually impossible until the traditional law firm partnership model disappears.

Stanford Law recently held a hackathon to change the dialogue surrounding the persistent diversity gap in BigLaw. The winner came up with a new and more gender neutral compensation model for law firms).

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Brandon Hastings is a lawyer, mediator, collaborative divorce practitioner based in Vancouver. Learn more about him at www.bhastings.com

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