Commentary

Friday, 03 June 2011 11:29

EWYK and other comp issues

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For both partners and associates at law firms, it’s all about the money. And I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. The way lawyers get paid and earn revenue is at the heart of most law firms. Every law firm — no matter what type of law you practise, where you are located, or how many people there are in your firm — needs to make money in order to stay afloat. But you may be surprised at how “shy” Canadian lawyers are to talk about money.
Monday, 02 May 2011 11:02

Justice is in the details

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Illustration: Dushan Milic
Illustration: Dushan Milic
You can only appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada if it lets you (there are limited exceptions to this rule in criminal cases). The judges, standing at the courtroom door so to speak, may deny you admission, and generally do. It’s a critical juncture in the life of a case and in the pursuit of justice. A retired Supreme Court judge told me, “If we don’t grant leave when we should, justice has been denied.” Another retired judge echoed these words when I spoke to him.
Monday, 02 May 2011 10:57

A world of possibilities

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I’m not going to opine about who was wrong or right in the conflagration between the Canadian Bar Association and the former board and executive director of the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association, the topic of this month’s cover story, “Fighting for independence.” All I can say is that it has not been pretty, but at the end of the day, here’s hoping that corporate counsel end up benefiting from it.
Friday, 01 April 2011 11:23

An aggressive federal power play

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Illustration: Scott Page
Illustration: Scott Page
This month, the Supreme Court of Canada will decide whether the federal government’s attempt to create a national securities regulator is a valid exercise of its trade and commerce law or simply the biggest federal power grab since Confederation.
Friday, 01 April 2011 11:21

Moving pictures ain’t so bad

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In mid-March, Ontario Attorney General Chris Bentley said in an interview with the Canadian Press that he was open to the idea of putting cameras in the courtroom and wanted to canvass judges, prosecutors, and defence counsel on their thoughts about it. “I’m interested in the views of people as to whether we should move forward,” he said. “I’m open.”
Tuesday, 01 March 2011 13:53

The court has let us down

Written by
Illustration: Todd Julie
Illustration: Todd Julie
In my last Top Court Tales, published in January, I picked R. v. Sinclair as the worst Supreme Court of Canada decision of 2010. Sinclair was pretty bad, on the wrong side of good sense and civil liberty, but as it turns out I jumped the gun. Sinclair looks good next to the egregious Reference re Assisted Human Reproduction Act, released three days before Christmas and after I wrote the previous column. Perhaps the Supreme Court hoped that, overwhelmed by festive cheer, we’d miss this decision.
Tuesday, 01 March 2011 13:46

The only way for real answers

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I am not a fan of the public inquiry. Misplaced, in my opinion, is the ever-growing enthusiasm for aggrieved or unsatisfied parties to sound the clarion call for the expenditure of public funds to eventually provide a report that often doesn’t result in either action or improvements, because it ends up ignored by politicians or the organization it is aimed at. Names are rarely named and fault even more infrequently apportioned. Reports and recommendations sit on the shelf collecting dust, generally wasting the taxpayers’ outlay and not giving much satisfaction to anyone. Although, they do provide interesting work for lawyers.
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

Written by
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.
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