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.
|Haligonians cheer after finding out Irving Shipyards had won the bid for a $25-billion federal shipbuilding contract. Photo: Sandor Fizli / Reuters|
The 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.
|Cover: Carl Wiens|