For decades, probably ever since women began practising law in Canada, there has been no shortage of discussion about how to keep women in the profession. In her groundbreaking 1993 report “Touchstones for Change”, Canada’s first female Supreme Court justice Bertha Wilson stressed the difficulties faced by women lawyers with children, urging the profession to measure a lawyer’s performance by standards other than hours billed.
Canada (Justice) v. Khadr is a highly significant judgment, for a number of different reasons. For Omar Khadr himself, the Supreme Court of Canada held that he has a constitutional right to the disclosure of the interrogations conducted by Canadian officials in Guantanamo Bay, some or all of which were shared with American authorities.
Unpredictable, uncertain, busy for some — but definitely different. This is how some lawyers candidly describe the year ahead for areas of Canadian business law in 2008 following the “credit crunch” that hit the United States last August, recent market turmoil, and the constant reports of an emerging economic slowdown, dare we even say “recession.”
Fom dictaphones and faxes to BlackBerrys and memory sticks, from overhead projectors to PowerPoint presentations, from conference calls to web teleconferencing; in the last 10 years lawyers have ridden a wave of technology that has seen them emerge from piles of files, morphing into travel-light, constantly contactable service providers with paperless or virtual offices. Generally, the changes have been dramatic, but the changes for lawyers with disabilities have been career- and even life-altering.
When some people hear about Second Life, a three-dimensional virtual world built by its residents, they joke about how those residents should get a first life. But some law firms have been exploring the potential of virtual worlds, social media, and “Web 2.0” technologies — even if they’re not sure what the possibilities are just yet.