Commentary

Friday, 04 February 2011 11:02

Sound advice

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Former Quebec Justice minister Marc Bellemare did not hear what he wanted to in the report from Michel Bastarache into the appointment of judges in Quebec. In his report released Jan. 16, the former Supreme Court of Canada judge concluded that Bellemare was not pressured by third parties to appoint judges to the Court of Quebec. Most coverage of the report centred on how it essentially cleared Premier Jean Charest of influence peddling. Bellemare, the next day, was already claiming Bastarache was biased and that the report should have laid some blame on Charest’s shoulders. The political fallout from the report and its impact on Charest and the Quebec Liberal Party’s fortunes remain to be seen.
Friday, 04 February 2011 10:51

Why a DMS is better than Windows

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b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_2011_February_filemanagement.jpgWelcome to my knowledge management column! In this column, I will discuss different types of technology that lawyers can use to help meet the modern client’s demands to deliver legal services faster, cheaper, and better.
Friday, 04 February 2011 10:47

Let them eat Potash

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Illustration: Scott Page
Illustration: Scott Page
The decision by the Conservative government to nix BHP Billiton Ltd.’s $38-billion acquisition of Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. effectively neuters shareholder rights in this country and handcuffs lawyers from rendering any meaningful advice under the Investment Canada Act.
Monday, 03 January 2011 09:30

Ch-ch-changes

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It’s been a non-stop roller-coaster of change here at Canadian Lawyer over the past few months. Of course, the biggest change — that of our ownership — is essentially invisible to our readers, but a whole sea of more recent changes are much more visible.
Monday, 03 January 2011 09:00

The last word on Khadr

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Illustration: Scott Page
Illustration: Scott Page
Confessed murderer and terrorist Omar Khadr will be walking Canadian streets within a couple of years, despite a 40-year prison sentence meted out by the jury in Guantanamo Bay. Inexplicably, the same Conservative government that so vigorously fought off court challenges to compel them to bring Khadr back to Canada, suddenly gave everything away and approved a fire sale plea bargain.
Wednesday, 10 November 2010 09:24

Are you happy now?

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b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_2010_Nov_Dec_coloured.jpgThere’s a general belief that a lot of lawyers don’t enjoy what they do. Their work makes them unhappy. The empirical evidence tends to support this suspicion. In a recent American Bar Association survey, for example, only 55 per cent of lawyers who responded said they were satisfied with their job. In a 1998 study of Michigan lawyers, 60 per cent said they would not become lawyers if they could start their careers over. It is reported that half of all lawyers don’t want their children to follow in their footsteps. There are a number of surveys like this, particularly in the United States, all showing much of the same results.

 

Wednesday, 10 November 2010 09:15

You’re more biased than you think

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Last month, I attended the International Bar Association’s conference in Vancouver. About 5,000 lawyers from around the world descended on the city to discuss issues from law firm management to emerging M&A trends to dawn raids to professional ethics and the appointment of judges to the International Criminal Court. There was a little of something for everyone with points of view from across the globe.

 

Sunday, 03 October 2010 20:00

Time for action

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Legal aid is a problem child. It doesn’t matter which province you’re in or what type of law you practise, if legal aid is part of your legal business, it’s not easy. The system is straining at the seams, some might even say it’s broken beyond repair (See our cover story on page 28). And there are no shortage of reports and studies over the last decades that have suggested ways to fix it. Mostly, those recommendations are collecting dust on the shelves of attorneys general’s offices across this fine country. According to the Canadian Bar Association’s report on legal aid released in July, “Despite lobbying and litigation efforts, there have been no significant systemic improvements in access to justice in Canada during the last four decades.”

Sunday, 03 October 2010 20:00

Politics is not all fun and jokes

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b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_2010_October_vote-for-me_back-page.jpgBrazilians go to the polls to elect a new president in October. But under a 1997 law, that socialist country forbids TV and radio stations from making fun of candidates in the final three months of the campaign. No late-night TV monologues. No radio DJs doing impersonations or satirical songs.

 

Tuesday, 07 September 2010 05:37

Getting back to basics

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b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_2010_September_legal-ethics.jpgIt’s good to get back to basics occasionally. What is a lawyer’s fundamental ethical obligation? Surely the answer must be, to protect and promote the rule of law.

 

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