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Why Do We Regulate Lawyers?

This is my first legal ethics column for Slaw. I am delighted and honoured to be taking the place of my former colleague, mentor, and all-around legal ethics and regulation rock star, Malcolm Mercer, who recently assumed the role of Chair of Ontario’s Law Society Tribunal. In the coming months and beyond, I look forward to using this space to consider rules of professional conduct and discipline; governance issues in lawyer regulation; legal education and training; and the future of legal servic...
Tags: Law, Society, Alberta, Legal Ethics, Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Law Society, Malcolm, Gillian Hadfield, Alice Woolley, Malcolm Mercer, Lisa Trabucco, Ontario The Society, Michael J Trebilcock, Professional Organization Committee Ministry


New Frontier of Legal Innovation – Regulatory Legal Innovation Sandboxes

2020 has seen an adoption of legal technology and legal innovation, however, one of the more surprising developments are legal regulatory sandboxes, introduced first in the state of Utah in the United States and now in Canada, by the Law Society of British Columbia. The regulatory sandbox model allows for the experimentation of new alternative business models, including non-lawyer ownership and fee sharing, in a controlled environment under the regulator’s supervision. The Utah Supreme Court two...
Tags: Utah, UK, Supreme Court, Law, Canada, United States, Arizona, North America, Legal Technology, Ontario, Morrison, Arizona Supreme Court, Law Society, Utah Supreme Court, Law Society of British Columbia, Law Society of Ontario


Making the Hard Decisions: Ethical Lawyering

What do you do as a lawyer when your client wants you to call a witness or make representations to the court that you believe are non-starters and even dangerous to your client’s case? If you’re one of President Donald Trump’s lawyers, you might seek to introduce a “handwritten yellow sticky note” as evidence of election fraud (see decision with ruling the note was inadmissible as hearsay here). And then there’s Dean Embry, the lawyer representing James Sears, the editor of Your Ward News, who n...
Tags: Law, Globe, Donald Trump, Sears, Ontario, Cbc, National Post, Law Society, LSO, Canadian Press, Embry, Perkel, Practice Of Law, Law Society of Ontario LSO, Colin Perkel, Dean Embry


Is Former SCC Chief Justice McLachlin’s Action Committee and Leadership of the A2J Agencies Avoiding the Major Issues? [Part 2 of 2 Parts]

[The content of this article is closely related to five of my previous posts on Slaw , dated: July 25, 2019 ; April 9, 2020 ; May 29, 2020 ; August 6, 2020 ; and, October 22, 2020 . See also the full text on the SSRN .] Part 1 presented the proposition that the great amount of “emergency relief-type” activity and literature that has been produced by the many access to justice agencies (A2J agencies) in relation to the “A2J problem” of unaffordable lawyers’ services,...
Tags: Justice, Law, Court, Canada, Department Of Justice, University of Toronto, Stanford University, Ontario, Toronto Star, Supreme Court of Canada, Statistics Canada, Law Society, LSO, R, SCC, Monahan


Those protesting from “diver...

Those protesting from “diversity fatigue” often complain that some people will find indicia of subtle racism in almost everything. It’s like they dispute that these influences are subtle and pernicious, and can be found throughout the social fabric of our society. Fortunately the courts in Ontario disagree, finding in a commercial tenancy dispute in Elias Restaurant v. Keele Sheppard Plaza Inc. regarding a refusal by the landlord to renew a commercial lease. The concept of “prejudice” as used in...
Tags: Landlord, Law, Toronto, Canada, Court of appeal, Black, Parks, Ontario, Morgan, TMI, Law Society, Tulloch, LCBO, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Justice Morgan, Elias Restaurant


Discrimination Exists Even in Commercial Tenancies

Those protesting from “diversity fatigue” often complain that some people will find indicia of subtle racism in almost everything. It’s like they dispute that these influences are subtle and pernicious, and can be found throughout the social fabric of our society. Fortunately the courts in Ontario disagree, finding in a commercial tenancy dispute in Elias Restaurant v. Keele Sheppard Plaza Inc. regarding a refusal by the landlord to renew a commercial lease. The concept of “prejudice” as used in...
Tags: Landlord, Law, Toronto, Canada, Court of appeal, Black, Parks, Ontario, Morgan, TMI, Law Society, Tulloch, LCBO, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Justice Morgan, Elias Restaurant


Does the Proposed 25% LSO Fee Reduction Make Any Sense?

The last six months have been a challenge for everyone. The impacts of the pandemic have differed but no one has been spared. Lawyers and paralegals are no different. We have all been affected, in varying degrees and in varying ways. For many of us, the fact that we provide professional services rather produce goods or provide retail services has helped as many professional services need not be provided in person. Remote work has been possible for many. But some have been particularly affected. ...
Tags: Law, Miscellaneous, Ontario, Law Society, LSO, Practice Of Law


UK: "The Reputation Of The Profession Is More Important Than The Fortunes Of Any Individual Member." - Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

So said Sir Thomas Bingham in the case of Bolton v Law Society in 1993, noting that "Membership of a profession brings many benefits, but that is part of the price."
Tags: UK, News, Bolton, Law Society, Charles Russell Speechlys, Thomas Bingham


Comments on the LSO’s Education Plan for a Family Legal Services Provider Licence

In an effort to increase assistance for family law litigants who do not have legal representation (self- or unrepresented litigants) and to assuage the concerns of the family law bar, some members of whom object to the introduction of paralegals into family law, at the same time, the Law Society of Ontario has proposed a new licencing framework, one limited to the provision of legal services in family law and one most likely to be taken up by existing paralegals. The LSO has invited comment on t...
Tags: Law, Education & Training, Ontario, Law Society, LSO, Justice Committee, Practice Of Law, Justice Issues, IPV, Bonkalo, Family Legal Services Review, Law Society of Ontario, Children 's Aid Society, Humber College, Justice Bonkalo, FLSP


UK: COVID-19: Law Society's Guidance On The Use Of Virtual Execution And E-signatures - Beale & Co

The Law Society has recognised the current pandemic and social distancing rules has increased the need for solicitors and clients to be able to close deals without being face to face.
Tags: UK, News, Beale, Law Society


A Good Day for Self-Regulation: The LSO’s Family Law Paralegal Proposal

Paralegals have been licensed to independently offer legal services in Ontario since 2007. Their current scope of practice includes tribunal and small claims matters, provincial offences, and some other legal needs. Last month, the Law Society of Ontario’s Family Law Working Group proposed that paralegals, with special training, be allowed to offer family law services as well. The scope of practice proposed for paralegals in family law is surprisingly broad. I had expected that it might be confi...
Tags: Law, Washington, Legal Ethics, Ontario, Floyd, Law Society, LSO, Working Group, Family Law Working Group


After fintech, the UK hopes its next $50 billion tech success will be law

London is home to 44% of Europe's law startups and the city has been flagged by The Law Society as one of 10 emerging "lawtech" ecosystems. The UK government has devoted £2 million ($2.5 million) to digitizing the sector. Inspired by the success the UK has seen in fintech, where UK startups raised almost $50 billion in 2019, a lawtech sandbox will launch at the end of 2020 to boost R&D in the sector. The UK's lawtech market is much less mature than fintech, but has "similar potential," says Te...
Tags: Europe, UK, London, Stanford, US, Trends, Hsbc, Andreessen Horowitz, Kpmg, Natwest, Madrid, Thomson Reuters, Highland Europe, Highland, Laurent, Law Society


10 things in tech you need to know today

Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Friday. Sign up here to get this email in your inbox every morning. Amazon invested in startups and gained proprietary information before launching competitors, often crushing the smaller companies in the process, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Journal spoke with startups who said Amazon made similar hardware and software products after purchasing stakes in the companies. Former Wirecard COO and fugitive Jan Marsalek appears ...
Tags: Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Europe, Elon Musk, UK, London, Youtube, Trends, Analytics, Intel, West, Hsbc, Donald Trump, Alexa, Law Society


Mired in Conflict? Me Deciding Whether You Can Compete With Me

Does it make sense that lawyers elected by lawyers should effectively decide the permitted scope of practice of paralegals with whom they do or would compete for work? Does it make sense that lawyers and paralegals elected by their peers should decide what legal services can only be provided by lawyers and paralegals and thereby maintain their monopoly?[1] On the other hand, does it make sense that elected lawyers and paralegals should decide what education and training is appropriate for licens...
Tags: England, Law, Wales, New York City, Society, Canada, Bill, Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta, Legal Ethics, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Manitoba, PSC, Law Society


UK: COVID-19 And Conveyancing Transactions - Rollits LLP

The Law Society hopes the government will produce official guidance on these issues in the coming days.
Tags: UK, News, Law Society


New Zealand: When is a lawyer not a lawyer in New Zealand? - Wynn Williams Lawyers

A lawyer is a person who holds a current practicing certificate issued by the Law Society, as a barrister or solicitor.
Tags: News, New Zealand, Law Society, Wynn Williams Lawyers


Society’s Income-Inequality Unrest and Law Society Access to Justice Failure

[See the full text of this article on the SSRN. This one is related to my two previous Slaw posts dated: July 25, 2019, and April 9, 2020] Law society bencher-based[i] management structure: (1) has caused and perpetuates the very destructive access to justice problem (the A2J problem) of unaffordable lawyers’ services for middle- and lower-income people; which has a cause-and-effect relationship with, (2) increasing the negative consequences of society’s equally destructive income-inequality pro...
Tags: Justice, Law, Toronto, Canada, Lake, Ontario, Peter, Niagara, Supreme Court of Canada, Supra, Law Society, LSO, LegalZoom, Ryerson University, Jordan Furlong, Practice Of Law


The Constitutionality of Interprovincial Boundary Closures (Part II)

INTRODUCTION In my post last week, I blogged the background to an analysis of constitutional challenges to interprovincial border closures. I briefly referred to the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Comeau, which considered the constitutionality of barriers to interprovincial trade represented by section 134 of the New Brunswick Liquor Control Act limitations on the amount of liquor and beer that someone could bring into New Brunswick from another province. I also set out some of the border...
Tags: Law, Court, US, First Nations, Canada, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Bill, Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta, Columbia, Rand, Nb, Saskatchewan


Law Society says safeguards in new law will protect immigrants

By Gill Bonnet of RNZ The Law Society says immigrants can be reassured over new legislation after safeguards were introduced to protect them.The fast-tracked immigration bill passed its final hearings in Parliament on Friday.About... [Author: [email protected]]
Tags: Business, Parliament, Law Society, RNZ, Gill Bonnet


Law Society Policy for Access to Justice Failure, Part Two

[see the full text on the SSRN (updated in March, 2020)] The comment of the Treasurer of the Law Society of Ontario (Malcolm Mercer, its CEO) responding to my first article having the above same title, published in Slaw, on July 25, 2019, contains the following objections: 1. That I am wrong to say that law societies should be defending lawyers’ markets. He states: Rather, the principal role of the Law Society under the Law Society Act (Ontario) is to (i) determine what legal services should app...
Tags: Justice, Law, Canada, Bill, Ontario, Law Society, LSO, Mercer, LegalZoom, Monahan, Patricia Hughes, Lao, Practice Of Law, Christopher Moore, Law Society of Upper Canada, University of Toronto Press


Commissioning Affidavits: The LSO Is Only Part of the Picture

To many people’s delight, the Law Society of Ontario has stated that it is interpreting section 9 of the Commissioners for Taking Affidavits Act to include virtual commissioning. Reponses to a Slaw post by Pulat Yunusov from last November, in support of the LSO’s then position against virtual commissioning were dismissive of his concerns about virtual commissioning; they also illustrate the eagerness with which people are keen to throw off the bonds of in-person commissioning. (Yunusov stressed ...
Tags: Law, Bill, Alberta, Ontario, Law Society, LSO, Canadian Judicial Council, Technology: Internet, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Law Society of Alberta, Law Society of Ontario, Pulat Yunusov, Doug Downey, COVID, Yunusov


Harvey Weinstein and the decriminalization of prostitution

The New York trial of Harvey Weinstein, which ended last month with a guilty verdict on charges of rape and sexual assault and an acquittal on more serious charges of predatory sexual assault, has already elicited extensive commentary from pundits of all stripes. Everyone wants to know what it will mean, for example, for the success of rape prosecutions going forward, for other victims of sexual assault who wish to file charges and testify, and for the future of the #MeToo movement generally.One...
Tags: Books, New York, Hollywood, Featured, Law, Washington, France, Prostitution, Israel, Western, Harvey Weinstein, Denmark, Rape Culture, Aw, Weinstein, US law


The End Is Not Yet Nigh: Remote Dispute Resolution in the Age of COVID-19

It would be nice if there was an inverse correlation between the frequency of family law disputes and the gravity of social crises, but, thanks to the peculiarities of human nature, such is not the case. As Canada’s provincial and superior courts batten down the hatches, it’s important to remember that efficient and effective dispute resolution alternatives exist, and are available even where trial dates have been set. Best of all, in this time of social distancing, many of these alternatives do...
Tags: Law, Karen, Canada, British Columbia, Alberta, Craig, Ontario, Eugene, Law Society, Herschel, Practice Of Law, Justice Issues, Aaron Franks, Wayne Barkauskas, Herschel Fogelman, Columbia Craig Neville Eugene Raponi


Harry LaForme on Failure to Appoint Indigenous Judges

In a recent Law Society continuing education program on Indigenous Law Issues 2019, former Justice Harry LaForme offered a critique on the failure to appoint indigenous persons to the bench. In so doing, he made pointed comments regarding Judy Wilson Raybould, Beverly McLauchin and Kim Campbell, three key influencers in making such appointments. He described the performance of Raybould Wilson as “sad”, and the reported statements of McLachlin and Campbell as “patronizing” or worse. (LaForme’s re...
Tags: Justice, Supreme Court, Law, Scotland, Canada, United Kingdom, Green Party, Vancouver, Nova Scotia, Liberal, Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta, Calgary, Ottawa, Calder


Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Traveling to Europe a few times for work over the last couple years made me realize just how myopic I’ve been in looking at the size our market. Until traveling overseas, I looked at the U.S. as our market. We could go down and up in law firm size for customers, we could develop new products and we could look at customers other than lawyers and law firms, such as organizations. All the while though I am swimming in the same sized pond, competing against the same crowd. The competing crowd, wh...
Tags: Europe, UK, London, Law, Wordpress, Uncategorized, Cms, Howard Schultz, Starbucks, States, Anglo, Law Society, Germany Starbucks


The LSO Technology Guideline: Considering the Ethics of It All

In the fall of 2019, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada amended their Model Code of Professional Conduct to incorporate reference to the use of technology in section 3.1-2 of the Model Code, which addresses competence. The Law Society of Ontario has provided the profession with a “guideline” in the use of technology, which in some cases refers to the Rules of Professional Conduct, but it is not itself a rule of professional conduct. It constitutes, in effect, desirable behaviour but, with...
Tags: Facebook, Florida, Usa, Technology, Law, Canada, Google Docs, Michigan, Bill, Skype, Facetime, Recognition, Aba, CBA, Northwest Territories, Ontario


Equality, Diversity and Inclusion – What Can We Agree on and What Can’t We?

I recently attended part of RODA’s 5th Annual Diversity Conference which was entitled Resilience in Challenging Times. I was particularly interested in hearing the panel Building Consensus: The Future of EDI at the LSO. There were four panelists; two from the Stop the SOP slate and two who had been members of the Law Society Challenges Task Force. The context for the panel appeared to me to be intentionally post-Statement of Principles, to address questions beyond the debate about compelled spee...
Tags: Amazon, Law, Toronto, Harvard, Canada, United States, Quebec, Legal Ethics, Ottawa, Ontario, Brown, Allen, Daniel Kahneman, Loyola High School, Supreme Court of Canada, Kahneman


Should Law Society Fees Be Progressive?

Recently lawyer Elsa Ascencio @elsaasce tweeted about the Law Society fee structure. In her initial tweet she pointed out that the fees prevent her from servicing her clients. In response, many lawyers chimed in. Jessica Prince @jesshwprince tweeted that the barristers in England and Wales have a progressive fee structure based on last year’s earnings. Lawyer Rob Kittredge @RobKittredge pointed out that the annual fees in some American states range from around $100 to $535. “Illinios: $99. Minn...
Tags: Elsa, Florida, England, Minnesota, Law, Wales, Colorado, California, Law Society, Jessica Prince, Practice Of Law, Law Society of Ontario, Rob Kittredge, Elsa Ascencio, Fee Structure, Progressive Fee Structure


Dispatches From the Front Lines of Canadian Legal Ethics

On October 25 & 26, Windsor Law proudly hosted the 2019 conference of the Canadian Association for Legal Ethics. The presentations touched on many of the most important issues confronting the legal profession today. Check out the brief summaries below to stay up to date. Thematic Index Access to justice (see presentations #3 and #11 below) Zealous advocacy and its limits (see presentations #1 and #2 below) Harassment and discrimination within the profession (presentations #16, 17, 18) Teachin...
Tags: Usa, Justice, Law, Toronto, Ukraine, Fbi, Canada, House, Department Of Justice, West Coast, Alberta, Justice Department, Legal Ethics, Hilary Clinton, Ontario, Trump


Book Review: Drug-Impaired Driving in Canada

Several times each month, we are pleased to republish a recent book review from the Canadian Law Library Review (CLLR). CLLR is the official journal of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL/ACBD), and its reviews cover both practice-oriented and academic publications related to the law. Drug-Impaired Driving in Canada. By Nathan Baker. Toronto: Irwin Law, 2018. 243 p. Includes references. ISBN: 978-1-55221-492-3 (paperback) $60.00; ISBN 978-1-55221-493-0 (eBook) $60.00. Reviewed by Bob...
Tags: Law, Book Reviews, Canada, Baker, Law Society, St Catharines, Canadian Law Library Review, Canadian Association of Law Libraries, Nathan Baker Toronto, Bobbie A Walker, Standard Field Sobriety Tests SFST, Drug Influence Evaluation