For The Defence

10 08 2011

For The Defence, originally uploaded by psuba98.

Volume 32 Issue 5

Yes, its that time again, latest issue of “For The Defence”, magazine of the Criminal Lawyers Association has hit the mail and the over-riding theme is Lawyer Ethics. Published by the Carswell/Thomson Reuters, this issue is packed with great articles about Lawyers in Possession of Real Evidence, Guilty Pleas and Ethical Quandries, Informer Privilege, Criminal Responsibility, Use of Crown Disclosure, Ineffective Assistance of Counsel, Keeping Secrets From your Clients, National Security Litigation, and the Ethical Issues in Preparing Your Client to Testify. There is even an article about the Law Society and how they might help with Ethical Questions.

Tortious Conduct Rocks it Out!

10 05 2011

Tortious Conduct, originally uploaded by psuba98.

There is a whole set coming for this one. Friday night was Rockin’ the Courthouse in aid of Lawyers Feed the Hungry. It was sponsored by McMillan Law Professional Corporation, The Law Society Foundation, Gardiner Roberts, League of Rock, Howie Sacks & Henry, and Paliare Roland

UFC, Blackberrys, Macs, oh my!

30 04 2011

This is my own opinion and not the opinion of my employer.

OK, let me start by observing that the Law Society of Upper Canada has just finished its Bencher election. The Benchers for the governing body that runs the self-governing organization that licenses lawyers and paralegals in Ontario, and protects the public. The stats will undoubtedly show around 25-30% of the 40,000 eligible lawyers voted in this election, about an average turnout. Given the impact the LSUC has on ALL lawyers you would think more would vote, especially since it was an online vote this year for the first time! How simple is that?

Read an interesting article with a heavy Mac bias that “explained” why PlayBook and other devices failed against the iPhone/iPad juggernaut. I have written about this before but the article makes a few good points including the conservative nature of the PlayBook and the lack of security even with the lip service paid to it. Why did RIM talk to IS/IT people when they are never the users and notoriously. . .boring. I use Lotus Notes at my workplace because the tech people think its least vulnerable from a security perspective!?

I didn’t mean to digress, I meant to ask how long will the “slow to adopt Android” RIM device be around? I have a 2 year old BlackBerry device and it won’t synch with a PlayBook and won’t upgrade to the lastest OS to enable it to do so – how ridiculous is that? Now RIM is talking OS7. Didn’t we just open OS6?

Its UFC night in Toronto. Its interesting because Ontario struggled with keeping the MMA/UFC out of the province for years and then finally buckled under the money…er…pressure. This is a stadium event with a 55,000 person attendance at the Rogers Centre. Timely article in the Toronto Star about brain injury and mixed martial arts fighters.

Last thing of note – I will be photographing the League of Rock event Friday, May 6th in aid of the Lawyers Feed the Hungry program – its $25 for tickets or $35 at the door and its for a great cause!


Evidentiary Challenges for Criminal Lawyers @ LSUC Feb. 12, 2011

3 02 2011

Evidentiary Challenges for Criminal Lawyers <—– tap that link!!

There is a Continuing Professional Development program upcoming at the Law Society of Upper Canada for criminal law practitioners. The program is geared toward the mid-level practitioner and will cover a variety of substantive topics in a half-day live and webcast format. This program is Chaired by Janet Leiper, Criminal Specialist, and has a superb cast of speakers including in no particular order, Adam Boni, Tim Breen, James Lockyer, Paul Burstein, Sue Chapman, Del Doucette, Marty Herman, Shayne Kert, Anthony Moustacalis, Howard Rubel, Robin Parker, Lisa Pomerant, Prof. James Stribopoulos and Emma Rhodes. This program was planned by myself and Janet Leiper and is ably co-ordinated by Cathy Castaldo and this program will rock!

Check it out and the meat will be in the presentations so pay attention. There are some great discussions on tap so tap that link and read the agenda. The whole program is CA$210 plus HST and if I manage to escape Earth orbit I might even liveblog some of the topics or at least dust off my "Twitter digit". See you in Toronto.


All Things Solo and Small

21 05 2010

Well it has been another successful Solo and Small Conference staged by the Law Society of Upper Canada and Ontario Bar Association. This was our 5th annual conference and I think it was as good or better than other years. We had a highest turnout this years and with the addition of webcasting of one track, this year we turned a corner.

The quality of the content is consistently high and the speakers are amazing. I should mention that I was one of the planners of this program so my views are not exactly unbiased. I did however attend the ABA Techshow this year for the second year and I would put any of our content up against theirs. The Solo conference is less “high level” and the speakers are not vendors and are almost exclusively Canadian.

There have been other comments about the conference and there were a huge number of tweets during and after the conference (#soloto). You can see the whole archive of comments on Twapper Keeper here and thanks to David Whelan for the archive!

This year we had two sessions devoted to social media and they were exceedingly popular, covering the basics and some of the more in depth challenges and uses of rss feeds, pipes, etc.

The 60 Tips in 60 Minutes session was as popular as ever and we might consider adding a 60 sites session in the future. The session on “Top Tech for Law Offices” was great and some of the highlights included using dual monitors to improve efficiency, not doing your own IT support, digital dictation uses, smart phones, getting rid of expensive ink jets and moving to laser printers and more.

There is just too much to summarize but the conference is a must attend for the solo lawyer or small firm group that wants to see what’s going on in technology and as a networking event!

Join us next year on May 13th 2011 for another conference you shouldn’t be missing!


Paralegals in the Henhouse

27 04 2010

I just wanted to comment on an upcoming “storm” on the legal horizon in Ontario. The Law Society has been regulating paralegals for awhile now and they are mostly bound by the same rules as lawyers including utilization of trust accounts, rules against conflicts of interest, ethics, professional responsibility, and of course competence.

The stage is set now for a Motion to be heard at the Annual General Meeting of the LSUC on May 5th, 2010 There will be lots of lawyers and paralegals in attendance and both have their agendas. The paralegals want to expand the scope of their practice to include things like “preparing family law documents, representing before the family court for certain matters, drafting incorporations, and drafting uncontested divorces.” Licensees must attend to vote, (all the good stuff is contained in By-law 2) and you cannot vote by proxy.

A few things of note. Firstly, regardless of the vote, Convocation doesn’t have to do anything. Secondly, the future of law and the legal landscape is changing and lawyers may need to embrace some change. Paralegals are here to stay and clients are demanding more service for less money. Lawyers need to worry less about paralegals and more about how they can deliver service to clients in a more cost effective way. The days of the six minute increment are fading into the twilight and there needs to be more innovation. Clients are getting more sophisticated and they are unlikely to keep paying for creating the wheel over and over. Where are the extranets, the virtual law practices, the cloud delivery and the Web 2.0 toolboxes?

Competition is supposed to be a good thing but from the conversations I have heard lately about rallying lawyers to prevent paralegals from successfully voting for the motion and causing a review of their scope seems . . . paranoid and short-sighted.

These are just some thoughts and I am neither for nor against the motion. I will attend the AGM but I will likely abstain from voting. The views expressed in this post are solely my own and not those of my employer and there is a possibility of rain tomorrow.