The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

Yves Faguy

National Volunteer Week

The value of volunteering

By Yves Faguy April 16, 2018 16 April 2018

The value of volunteering

 

In the spirit of National Volunteer Week, CBA National will be profiling outstanding CBA members who have made a difference.  To set the stage we caught up with CBA Vice-President Ray Adlington of McInnes Cooper in Halifax to talk about what volunteering has taught him, the impact it can have on a lawyer’s career and community and how to best get involved. 

CBA National: What have you learned from giving your time to help the profession and interacting with other volunteers?

Ray Adlington: Mostly how much we as lawyers have in common in terms of our intrinsic motivators. The majority of lawyers get into this profession because they want to serve others. We all have achievement-related goals that we want out of our careers. And all of us want to be good family members, whatever that may mean in terms of what stage your family and you happen to be at. In terms of common challenges, we face multiple demands from different clients. If you’re working for a single corporation or you’re a government lawyer then you’re facing challenges from multiple departments. We’re juggling all that in our professional lives and all of that is subject to ethical boundaries that those with whom we are working don’t always understand. The other insight I have gained is how challenging it is, even today, for women, lawyers of colour and members of the LGBT2-IS communities, to find their place in the profession given the existing pressures on them to conform. They face a particular challenge in remaining authentic to themselves. 

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Privacy

Regulating Facebook to make it an information fiduciary

By Yves Faguy April 12, 2018 12 April 2018

Regulating Facebook to make it an information fiduciary

 

 

If anything, Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before Congress this week has succeeded in kicking off a debate about how to go about regulating companies like Facebook has begun, even though it is not entirely clear yet to lawmakers what, exactly, they think requires their intervention.

In fact, they seem more inclined to ask Facebook how it thinks it should be regulated, in large part because it’s dawning on everyone that Facebook’s business isn’t always easily described – some would call it a shape shifter. Which is a fair description when one considers it is at once a media company, a business that trades in personal data or a tech platform.

Ultimately though, what matters is that Facebook makes money off people’s personal data, and so the real issue is, how do we get companies like it to handle that data responsibly? Here’s one interesting suggestion from Jack M. Balkin who raises some interesting questions at the intersection of personal data use and artificial intelligence. He proposes that lawmakers ensure that online service providers become “information fiduciaries” vis-à-vis their customers, clients, and end users:

We provide lots of information about ourselves — some of it quite sensitive — to people and organizations who owe us fiduciary duties or duties of confidentiality. And when we provide this information, we have, and should have, a reasonable expectation that they will respect our privacy. We have a reasonable expectation that disclosing this information to them, or allowing them to collect it from us, is not the same as making the information available to the public generally. We have a reasonable expectation, in other words, that people and organizations who owe duties of trust and confidence to us will not betray us. Indeed, the law creates and recognizes relationships of trust and confidence precisely because it wants people to have reasonable expectations of privacy in certain relationships.

To some degree, the coming into force of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a step in that direction by forcing companies through corporate data governance to more take better care of people’s data. Balkin, however, recognizes the inherent limits, however to this solution:

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Pipelines

Kinder Morgan: Legal questions and a business decision

By Yves Faguy April 11, 2018 11 April 2018

Kinder Morgan: Legal questions and a business decision

Three days after Kinder Morgan announced it is suspending "non-essential activities" spending on its Trans Mountain pipeline project, stakeholders – of the political variety at least – are still in a panic. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has said her government would consider acquiring the pipeline in some form to ensure Alberta oil can be shipped overseas. BC Premier John Horgan is digging in, promising to continue in supporting legal action against the project. And the Trudeau government is drawing criticism for having not yet come up with a solution, as well as staying tight-lipped over a cabinet discussion about the issue yesterday.

Is there a legal solution?

None that is readily available.  Part of the issue here is that B.C. hasn’t actually done anything (yet), legally, to block the pipeline.  What’s more, pressuring the federal government to invoke 92.10 (c) of the Constitution Act, 1867 to declare that the pipeline is in the national interest is of limited value — given that most observers agree that it already falls under federal jurisdiction.  Complicating matters further, there is a Federal Court of Appeal ruling about to be rendered on a legal challenge launched by several First Nations and opponents of the project.  Kinder Morgan acknowledged as far back as May of last year that this could put an end to the project altogether.  A ruling upholding the Trudeau government’s approval of the pipeline project, it has been suggested, could give the B.C. government a face-saving way out of promise to legislate against it, but that won’t stop activists from applying political pressure.  Also, a reference to the Supreme Court of Canada for judicial review is one way to speed things up. But even then, it’s unlikely the top court could deliver a judgment in time before the May 31st deadline imposed by Kinder Morgan to end the uncertainty around the project.

Why it all matters

The question that should probably be discussed in a little more detail is the non-legal one. Is the Kinder Morgan pipeline at all economically viable in the long term? And is the company just looking for a convenient way to get out?

 

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The Pitch 2018

Getting to know The Pitch finalists: BidSettle

By Yves Faguy April 10, 2018 10 April 2018

 

As part of a weekly series leading up to The Pitch 2018, the legal innovation startup competition put on by the Canadian Bar Association and Law Made in partnership with LexisNexis, we’re publishing interviews with the five selected finalists to get to know them better.  This week’s Q&A is with Philippe Lacoursière (featured in the above video), co-founder of BidSettle, which offers a virtual legal platform dedicated to improving access to justice for regular people.

CBA National: What are the origins of BidSettle?

Philippe Lacoursière: So a few years ago I was talking with [co-founder] Alexander Desy over a beer. I love the law but was fed up about the way I was practising it and I saw how technology was changing other fields — in education for example. I wanted to figure out a way to bring technology into the law but in a way that would help people. Alex at the time was working for the Quebec Barreau studying the future of the profession and trends in Europe and in the United States. Together we came up with BidSettle.

N: Explain what BidSettle does

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CBA Futures

Legal futures round-up

By Yves Faguy April 10, 2018 10 April 2018

Legal futures round-up

Time for a round-up of notable trends and developments that highlight innovation in the legal industry.

Let’s start with the major news, last month, that legal services provider UnitedLex will partner exclusively with  GE to help the conglomerate optimize its legal functions.  According to The American Lawyer, “The UnitedLex partnership will save GE between $40 and $50 million and allow it to repurpose as many as 75 lawyers, with some of those transitioning to UnitedLex, according to one person familiar with the deal.”  The deal is significant, writes Steve Kovalan, because it shows how in-house legal departments will adapt to the businesses they serve – something presumably outside providers will have to get used to.

Meanwhile, a new survey produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit shows that frustration with high legal fees and demand for local regulatory knowledge has larger clients thinking of shifting their business from larger firms to cost-effective boutique law firms.

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