Commentary

Illustration: Scott Page
Illustration: Scott Page
The important question of how much latitude judges have in Ontario to avoid trials by granting summary judgment under Rule 20 is scheduled to come before the Supreme Court of Canada in March in two appeals involving an alleged investor scam.
Monday, 04 February 2013 08:00

A bedrock ethical obligation

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Illustration: Dushan Milic
Illustration: Dushan Milic
Even the brightest law school graduate will likely find himself adrift when he starts to practise his new profession. He may have got a bunch of As in law school — he may have been a whiz at torts and know the Charter of Rights upside down and backwards — but he won’t be the slightest bit prepared for the demands and drudgery of daily law practice. The first day on the job can be quite a shock to someone used to thinking of himself as highly competent and super-smart.
Monday, 04 February 2013 08:00

Time for an attitude readjustment

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I’ve written a lot in these pages about the issues of diversity and equality — much of it directly related to maintaining the number of women in the legal profession. But inequality in the law goes much further.
Monday, 07 January 2013 08:00

An undiplomatic guide to the emerging markets guide

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b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_Standard_photos_neillmay.jpgTo outsiders (like me), the world of diplomacy is impossibly complicated. It’s difficult enough to get agreement on a point. The complexities expand logarithmically when you factor in the need to resolve the structure, optics, communication, and other facets of the agreement.
Monday, 07 January 2013 08:00

Judging civility

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This month’s cover story looks at the thorny issue of how discipline is doled out in the profession. There will continue to be disagreement over whether certain members of the bar are treated differently than others, but it is fairly undisputable that small firm and sole practitioners end up in the crosshairs of regulators more often than big firm, government, or in-house lawyers. One of the most controversial discipline proceedings in recent memory is that of the Law Society of Upper Canada’s prosecution of Joseph Groia for incivility, the details of which are covered in the article “Discipline dichotomy.”
Monday, 12 November 2012 08:00

Making a quick exit

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Image: Jacqui Oakley
Image: Jacqui Oakley
There’s something odd going on at the Supreme Court of Canada. Three of the last four justices who retired could have stayed on for another 15 years. Instead, they chose to leave early — very early. Michel Bastarache was 61 when he went in 2008. Louise Charron was 60 when she retired in August 2011. Marie Deschamps resigned this past summer at 59. The mandatory retirement age for a Supreme Court judge is 75. Being a Supreme Court judge is the job every Canadian lawyer wants — until, apparently, she gets it.
Monday, 12 November 2012 08:00

To article or not to article

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As we go to press, the Law Society of Upper Canada has decided to put off a debate and vote on the future of articling in Ontario. In mid-October, the LSUC finally released its long-awaited task force report on the future of articling. The issue is so divisive and challenging even the task force could not agree on a single course of action to recommend to Convocation to vote on.
Monday, 01 October 2012 09:00

Where to go now?

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Last month, the Access Pro Bono Society of B.C. organized Pro Bono Going Public, a free legal advice-a-thon with volunteer lawyers doling out legal advice in several local parks to those unable to afford legal services. The now-annual B.C. event is one of many pro bono activities running across the country. Pro bono legal work has become widespread, from Big Law to law school, and it’s a great way for lawyers to give back as well as get the chance to practise types of law they may not otherwise be involved in. All of this is good.
Monday, 03 September 2012 09:00

The inner workings exposed

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For this month’s cover story, we convened a panel of experts on law firm management with representatives from firms of different shapes and sizes as well as lawyers and non-lawyers. We gathered in Toronto in late June to discuss the hottest topics — vexing issues, even — on the minds of law firm leaders. Some of them resonated across all the firms, including that of transparency within the firm. Law firms are partnerships and one thing everyone at the table agreed on was the need for openness, particularly the sharing of financial information and strategies. That doesn’t mean everyone has to know how much everyone else makes, but being open about how it works so everyone from articling students to senior partners feel they understand the system, where they fit into it, and what to expect.
Monday, 03 September 2012 09:00

Times have changed

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b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_2012_September_times_changed_red.jpgAssisted suicide — the issue that rips everyone’s heart out — is headed back to the Supreme Court of Canada. What will the court do this time?
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