Features

Monday, 12 November 2012 08:01

The battle for the personal injury dollar

Written by
Photo: John Hryniuk
Photo: John Hryniuk
Prominently displayed on the web site of a legal marketing initiative called the Personal Injury Alliance are links to three one-minute long commercials featuring people who have suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of accidents. Accompanied by soft music playing in the background and showing the individuals now leading active lives despite their injuries, the video clips also include praise for their unnamed lawyers. They end simply with the person stating his or her name. Glossy, with good production values, and attempting to be inspirational, the videos are stylistically more like the athlete profiles that run continuously during Olympic Games than what they actually are: Commercials for a group of the best-known personal injury law firms in Ontario.
Monday, 12 November 2012 08:00

In-house are taking charge

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b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_2012_November_in_charge.jpgThe 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.
Illustration: Matt Daley
Illustration: Matt Daley
Since British Columbia MP Russell Hiebert tabled the union dues disclosure bill, every politician and commentator with an opinion on Canada’s unique labour structure has taken it as an excuse to air their views. Every topic from mandatory dues to privacy rights has been aired — raising controversy in an area that has been relatively stable and peaceful for the last 40 years. Now lawyers are weighing in on whether this political dispute has any credence in law.
Monday, 12 November 2012 07:58

Getting beyond bias

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Illustration: Mick Coulas
Illustration: Mick Coulas
Every culture has its taboos, and for expert witnesses the biggest of them all is the issue of bias. “It’s something people don’t seem to like speaking about out loud,” says Paul Okrutny, an associate at forensic service firm Giffen Koerth Inc. “If you do hear people talking about it, it’s to say of course they’re not biased. But it’s a big issue in the legal field, and I think maybe we don’t talk about it enough.”
Monday, 01 October 2012 09:02

Ain't no mountain high enough

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b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_2012_October_cl_oct_12_pg_01.jpgImagine, 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.
Monday, 01 October 2012 09:00

Moving away from the judicious-parent test

Written by
Illustration:Peter Mitchell
Illustration:Peter Mitchell
The fifth and final will prepared by Patricia Luz Holvenstot divided nearly all of her assets among her three adult daughters. To her son, she left one cent. It was a decision with a detailed explanation. In the will, drafted in British Columbia three years before her death in 2000, she referred to another document in which she outlined a long list of complaints about the behaviour of her only son, dating back to when he was a teenager more than three decades earlier.
Monday, 03 September 2012 09:01

Changes and challenges

Written by
b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_2012_September_sept2012cover.jpgEconomic 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.
Monday, 03 September 2012 09:00

Plotting a course for prosperity

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Haligonians cheer after finding out Irving Shipyards had won the bid for a $25-billion federal shipbuilding contract. Photo: Sandor Fizli / Reuters
Haligonians cheer after finding out Irving Shipyards had won the bid for a $25-billion federal shipbuilding contract. Photo: Sandor Fizli / Reuters
Business ahoy! That is the call resonating throughout Nova Scotia in the wake of the federal government’s announcement that Halifax-based Irving Shipbuilding Inc., has won the $25-billion contract to build this country’s next fleet of war vessels. Law firms are listening — and they are getting ready for a new wave of business. “It is a very significant agreement. It’s a lot of money, and it’s going to have a great impact on the region,” says Danny Gallivan, CEO and managing partner of Cox & Palmer in Halifax. Indeed, notes John Young, chairman of Boyne Clarke in Dartmouth, “I think we will be richer over time.”
Monday, 06 August 2012 09:00

Helping or hindering?

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Shutterstock image
Shutterstock image
Judicial independence is one of the cornerstones of Canada’s justice system, but some observers warn it could also be among the biggest obstacles to reforming the way it works.
Monday, 06 August 2012 09:00

The Top 25 Most Influential

Written by
b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_2012_August_cl_aug-cover.gifThe popular Canadian Lawyer Top 25 Most Influential in the justice system and legal profession in Canada is back for the third year. The Top 25 was one of our most-read, and most commented-on, features in both 2010 and 2011. As expected, not everyone agrees with our choices, but it is always worthwhile to get our readers into a debate on such matters. This year, we used the same format as in 2011 asking for nominations from legal groups and associations representing a variety of memberships and locations; winners on last year’s Top 25 list; our general readership; and our internal panel of writers and editors. We received about 75 nominations, which the internal panel then whittled down to just over 50 candidates. We then posted the list online and once again asked our readers to participate, with just under 700 people voting in the poll. The final list is based on that poll with input and the last word from the internal panel.
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