Commentary

Monday, 01 August 2016 09:00

Guiding principles

Written by
Illustration: Dushan Milic
Illustration: Dushan Milic
Almost all Canadian law students intend to practise law when they get out of law school. It’s different in some other jurisdictions. In Europe, for example, a law degree often leads to government service, or a business career, or a job in journalism. Europeans think the study of the law develops analytical skills that can be put to general use. But in Canada a law faculty is considered a trade school and its denizens single-mindedly look forward to setting up legal shop as soon as possible. They are anxious to graduate with everything they need to begin practising. One of the things they require but may not have is a moral lodestar. If you are entering the practice of law you should believe — you need to believe — in some guiding principles. Without them you’re more likely to mess up your life and career.
Monday, 01 August 2016 09:00

Tech as a disruptor of concentration

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Tech as a disruptor of concentrationThe evidence is all around us: the inability to stand in a queue and embrace the boredom; the need to be entertained in some way every 15 minutes. So, we flick through the Distraction Apps on our phones: Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Medium, Instagram, Globe and Mail. Grab the headlines, be distracted, entertained, and fill those few quiet moments.
Monday, 01 August 2016 09:00

Goodbye but not farewell

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The August issue of Canadian Lawyer has long been my favourite to work on due to the inclusion of the Top 25 Most Influential. While it’s a labour-intensive process to come to the final list, I am always amazed and inspired by the nominees. And this year, we received a record number of nominations from across the country and from so many areas of practice and the justice system. It was amazing and gratifying to see how many people put forth the names of their colleagues and friends to be recognized for the great work they do both as jurists and within their communities. I salute all of the nominees and their nominators and hope you, too, are inspired when you read about the people who made it on to this year’s Top 25.
Monday, 06 June 2016 09:00

Telling it like it is

Written by
Illustration: Dushan Milic
Illustration: Dushan Milic
Ezra Levant is a conservative media commentator or, if you prefer, an over-the-top right-wing rabble-rouser. He thrives on controversy and conflict. He feeds the flames of intemperance. He’s always having a fight with somebody. He’s rude. He makes people angry and delights in doing so. He’s scoffed at by flaneurs in what American public intellectual David Brooks calls the “corridors of the cognoscenti.” He’s not to be taken seriously, the flaneurs say. Maybe they’re right. Maybe they’re not.
Monday, 06 June 2016 09:00

Learning from the Panama Papers debacle

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Never before has a single law firm done so much to crystalize global debate around offshore banking. Not only has Mossack Fonseca — the Panamanian law firm that will be forever linked to the Panama Papers — managed to focus world attention on tax havens but, at the same time, it has become the poster child for cybersecurity breaches in the legal business, not something you want to achieve.
Monday, 06 June 2016 09:00

Let’s talk about IP, baby

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A little over a year ago, I read an article in The Globe and Mail by Jim Balsillie, the co-founder of Research in Motion, called “Canadians can innovate, but we’re not equipped to win.” The gist of it was that Canadians can’t succeed on the global stage in the new knowledge economy, in part, if not in whole, because this country does not have sufficient policies and infrastructure to help entrepreneurs make money from their ideas. “Canada’s current infrastructure and our public and private leadership do not foster the needed capacity to contend effectively in the complex, predatory and state-sponsored ideas ownership game,” wrote Balsillie.
Monday, 02 May 2016 09:00

Going global Canadian-style

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Going global Canadian-stylePeter Lukasiewicz has seen the inside of many law firm mergers during his long career at what is now Gowling WLG. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Gowling joined forces with five law firms, including Lafleur Brown in Montreal, Montpellier McKeen in Vancouver, Code Hunter and Ballem MacInnes, both in Calgary, and Ontario’s Smith Lyons to form a national juggernaut with more than 700 lawyers, making it one of the biggest law firms in Canada.
Monday, 02 May 2016 09:00

A love letter to Marie Henein

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Anti-feminist. Unethical. Traitor to her gender. These are just a few of the epithets slung at criminal lawyer Marie Henein during and in the wake of the Jian Ghomeshi sex assault trial. Her choice of shoes, not to mention their cost, also came under fire. As did her hair and clothes. Let’s not even get started on what the twitterati had to say about her cross-examinations. What a tremendous amount of energy was spent by so many professional and armchair critics in trying to tear down Henein. What an absolute blood sport the trial turned into, and not just for the accused and the witnesses.
Monday, 04 April 2016 09:00

Are platforms coming to legal?

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Are platforms coming to legal?Much has been written recently about “platforms” and their impact on the legal industry. And by platforms I’m referring to the digital business model rather than the shoes (sadly). Avvo, Rocket Lawyer, and LegalZoom are touted as the next platforms for legal, and I want to delve into this proposition a little.
Monday, 04 April 2016 09:00

The great divide

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In the July 2011 issue of Canadian Lawyer, we wrote about “hot tubbing” — the term was coined in Australia to describe the procedure of organizing all experts in a case into a panel and hearing their evidence concurrently. As the story reported, judges and many experts liked the idea of it but the jury was still out with the lawyers.
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