Monday, 05 September 2016 09:00 Written by Aron Solomon and Jason Moyse
You might be forgiven if you are tired of hearing about machines versus lawyers, but the topic, much like our future robot overlords, is not about to be put to rest. Similarly, the definition of legal work and the practice of law are subject to more scrutiny than at any prior time in the history of the “profession” (air quotes intentional). As self-governing guilds, law societies and U.S. bar associations (which aren’t really regulators) are being confronted with uncomfortable questions requiring clear answers to plainly laid out (non-virtual) reality.
I have been in legal journalism for more than 10 years, but I am very excited to begin a new phase in my career at the helm of Canadian Lawyer. From my vantage point, there has never been a more exciting time to cover the legal profession. Many of the disruptive changes hitting the profession now were only just getting started when I was first covering the law.
|Illustration: Dushan Milic|
The evidence is all around us: the inability to stand in a queue and embrace the boredom; the need to be entertained in some way every 15 minutes. So, we flick through the Distraction Apps on our phones: Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Medium, Instagram, Globe and Mail. Grab the headlines, be distracted, entertained, and fill those few quiet moments.
The August issue of Canadian Lawyer has long been my favourite to work on due to the inclusion of the Top 25 Most Influential. While it’s a labour-intensive process to come to the final list, I am always amazed and inspired by the nominees. And this year, we received a record number of nominations from across the country and from so many areas of practice and the justice system. It was amazing and gratifying to see how many people put forth the names of their colleagues and friends to be recognized for the great work they do both as jurists and within their communities. I salute all of the nominees and their nominators and hope you, too, are inspired when you read about the people who made it on to this year’s Top 25.
|Illustration: Dushan Milic|
Never before has a single law firm done so much to crystalize global debate around offshore banking. Not only has Mossack Fonseca — the Panamanian law firm that will be forever linked to the Panama Papers — managed to focus world attention on tax havens but, at the same time, it has become the poster child for cybersecurity breaches in the legal business, not something you want to achieve.
A little over a year ago, I read an article in The Globe and Mail by Jim Balsillie, the co-founder of Research in Motion, called “Canadians can innovate, but we’re not equipped to win.” The gist of it was that Canadians can’t succeed on the global stage in the new knowledge economy, in part, if not in whole, because this country does not have sufficient policies and infrastructure to help entrepreneurs make money from their ideas. “Canada’s current infrastructure and our public and private leadership do not foster the needed capacity to contend effectively in the complex, predatory and state-sponsored ideas ownership game,” wrote Balsillie.
Peter Lukasiewicz has seen the inside of many law firm mergers during his long career at what is now Gowling WLG. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Gowling joined forces with five law firms, including Lafleur Brown in Montreal, Montpellier McKeen in Vancouver, Code Hunter and Ballem MacInnes, both in Calgary, and Ontario’s Smith Lyons to form a national juggernaut with more than 700 lawyers, making it one of the biggest law firms in Canada.