The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

Yves Faguy

CBA Futures

Legal Futures round-up

By Yves Faguy September 26, 2018 26 September 2018

Legal Futures round-up

 

Raising capital is the main storyline in this latest round-up.

Earlier this month, Toronto-based Kira Systems raised CAD 65 millionD ($50 million US) granting a minority stake to New York City-based Insight Venture Partners. Kira Systems uses AI-powered technology to review and analyze large volumes of contracts. Noting that the company mushroomed from 35 to 115 employees since January 2017, CEO and co-founder Noah Waisberg told Betakit that the company’s “hope is to continue to grow quickly and we’d like to do so more gracefully.”

Not to be outdone, Francisco-based Atrium, a tech company that delivers legal services, has raised $65 million US. Atrium is a full-service corporate law firm that relies on technology to build automated legal tools, while lawyers focus on higher-end work. Atrium’s founder Justin Kan also announced that his company was acquiring Tetra, which uses artificial intelligence to take automatic notes on phone calls.

Rocket Lawyer is partnering with ConsenSys, the world’s leading Ethereum blockchain technology company, and its startup, OpenLaw, to launch Rocket Wallet, a secure legal contract payments tool.

Meanwhile, consumer legal platform LegalZoom is partnering with Clause, a New York-based provider of smart legal contracting technology, to offer smart contract services to the general public and small businesses. In case you missed it, LegalZoom announced in July $500 million US Investment, which put the company at a $2-billion valuation.

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The practice

Plain language in law, designed for modern times

By Yves Faguy September 14, 2018 14 September 2018

Plain language in law, designed for modern times

 

From October 25 to 27, Clarity will hold its international conference in Montréal. Clarity is an international professional network whose mission is to promote the use of plain legal language. To give us some background, Guillaume Rondeau, chief plain language specialist at Éducaloi, one of Clarity’s partners, spoke with CBA National to discuss the evolution of plain and effective legal language.

CBA National: The theme of the Montreal conference is “Plain Language in Modern Times.” Why was this theme chosen?

Guillaume Rondeau: What we know in English as “plain language” is mostly referred to as “langage clair” (clear language) in French, although that expression is slowly giving way to “communication claire” (clear communication), and this is an important distinction. When you say clear language, you’re putting a lot of emphasis on language itself—on the words. Popular understanding has it that the problem with law and legal communications is the legal jargon and how inaccessible it is to laypeople. But that obscures the other issues. And so, expertise has evolved over time. Rather than talking about just clear language, we examine the clear communication of law and legal matters. This takes into account communication as a whole. We also look more closely at other issues. So yes, terminology is one thing, but we also need to think about structuring and arranging information in logical ways, and about the way we design information: that is, the graphical presentation of information. Some fonts are easier to read than others. Font size and heading hierarchy are worth looking into. Design refers to images, tables, graphics. Thinking of plain language as clear communication really pushes the boundaries of our expertise.

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Message from the editor

CBA National is turning a new page

By Yves Faguy September 7, 2018 7 September 2018

CBA National is turning a new page


After 42 years as a print publication, CBA National magazine is moving to a new all-digital platform. Our last print edition was our Summer 2018 issue. In the coming months, we will be focused on redesigning the existing digital publication, growing our online presence and stepping up our recruitment of op-ed contributors, particularly among members.

It was a decision that wasn’t taken lightly, as we know that some CBA members will miss the familiarity and tactile experience of the print issue.

However, amid ongoing concerns about a challenging print market, the time has come to embrace and fully commit to an exclusively digital future, in which we will cultivate an inclusive and engaged legal professional community online.

Six years ago we launched the digital version of CBA National (nationalmagazine.ca) at a time when it had become clear that we could no longer stay on the sidelines and ignore the power of new media.  Our online audience has grown steadily since then, and this transition is the logical next step toward an innovative and sustainable future.

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Droit des biens

La propriété virtuelle en droit civil

By Yves Faguy September 7, 2018 7 September 2018

La propriété virtuelle en droit civil


La commercialisation des objets virtuels — notamment dans le monde des jeux en ligne — est en pleine expansion depuis une décennie. Une réelle économie, alimentée par les réseaux sociaux et les plateformes de jeux en réalité virtuelle. Mais d’un point de vue juridique, la notion de propriété virtuelle est problématique en droit des biens québécois et français, écrit Dobah Carré dans un article récemment publié dans la Revue du Barreau canadien :

Le développement de réalités immatérielles met à l’épreuve le droit des biens. Un problème central à l’existence d’un véritable droit de propriété virtuel est que ce concept est inconnu des lois québécoises. Contrairement à la common law, le droit civil québécois ne permet pas de créer des conceptions flexibles de la propriété. Les choses doivent exister pour pouvoir être des biens, c’est-à-dire être appropriables.

En common law, selon Carré, la doctrine et les précédents jurisprudentiels permettraient éventuellement de reconnaître la propriété virtuelle comme une forme de propriété :

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Legal affairs

Friday weekly wrap-up

By Yves Faguy August 31, 2018 31 August 2018

Friday weekly wrap-up

Here’s a quick look at the major legal stories from the past week.

It’s been a stressful week ahead of the Labour Day weekend for the Trudeau government. Yesterday, the Federal Court of Appeal overturned approval of the Trans Mountain expansion project on two grounds. The NEB was wrong not to assess the related effects of maritime shipping. And the government fell short in meeting its duty to consult First Nations. This is not to say that the project is dead, yet.  Ottawa could appeal the decision, and the Prime Minister has assured Alberta’s premier, Rachel Notley, that he “stands by the TMX expansion project and will ensure it moves forward in the right way.” But as Robert James writes “that decision is an indictment of DOJ/NRCAN approach to consultation and their efforts to turn it into a narrow, administrative law process.” Environmental assessments, done right, will save time, money and political heartburn. Notley has announced that Alberta is pulling out of the Trudeau government’s climate change plan.

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