The most dangerous times in any flight are takeoff and landing. The same could be said about the trajectory of a young lawyer’s career. Getting into law school, the takeoff, is risky and hard and many excellent candidates fail to take wing. Landing an articling position and subsequent job after law school may be even harder and some fine would-be lawyers crash and burn.
Few recent legal scandals have generated as much Sturm und Drang as the one caused by Winnipeg lawyer Jack King. Years ago, he tried to coerce a client into having sex with his wife, Lori Douglas, today an associate chief justice in Manitoba. This past summer, the salacious details of King’s actions were exposed during a Canadian Judicial Council hearing set up to determine whether Douglas should remain on the bench.
|Illustration: Peter Mitchell|
|Photo: John Hryniuk|
The common refrain you will hear from in-house counsel these days is whenever possible they are bringing work in-house as opposed to sending it out. If they are sending work out, it’s for complex files or specialized one-off projects involving litigation, tax, or intellectual property matters. Even then, they may well be breaking down a litigation file and managing some aspects of it themselves to cut costs, sending only the most complicated aspects to external law firms.
Monday, 12 November 2012 07:59 Written by Judy Van Rhijn
|Illustration: Matt Daley|
|Illustration: Mick Coulas|
Imagine, if you will, Leo Leduc passing time in an airport bookstore in 1990 when he sees Dr. Seuss’ last book Oh, The Places You Will Go, just after it is published. The Canadian diplomat spies it on the shelf with the other new releases and smiles to himself as he thinks of his children, Kevin and Sandra. The Leducs, you see, lived the book in the 1970s and 80s. Long before it came to be in print, Leo made it a real-life movie and the kids got to star as themselves.
Economic changes over the last few years have had a dramatic impact on the practice of law in Canada and abroad. Old ways of doing business do not work anymore and the industry is being forced to make substantial structural changes. Canada still lags behind many countries in reassessing the way the legal profession is regulated, continuing, some may argue, to be a self-regulated monopoly that enriches practitioners while acting as a barrier to access to justice. That is perhaps a bit harsh but there’s no doubt that Canada — specifically the provincial regulators — is well behind the United Kingdom and even Australia in adapting to new realities. Alternative business structures are barely on the radar in this country, despite rules that allow multidisciplinary practices in many jurisdictions, but the world is changing and Canada will have to catch up.