Commentary

Monday, 05 September 2016 09:00

Let the robots help the public

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Let the robots help the publicYou might be forgiven if you are tired of hearing about machines versus lawyers, but the topic, much like our future robot overlords, is not about to be put to rest. Similarly, the definition of legal work and the practice of law are subject to more scrutiny than at any prior time in the history of the “profession” (air quotes intentional). As self-governing guilds, law societies and U.S. bar associations (which aren’t really regulators) are being confronted with uncomfortable questions requiring clear answers to plainly laid out (non-virtual) reality.
Monday, 05 September 2016 09:00

Mining judgments for winners and losers

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Look out litigators, Premonition is coming to town, and with it a level of transparency not normally seen in the legal business.
Monday, 05 September 2016 09:00

Change is constant

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I have been in legal journalism for more than 10 years, but I am very excited to begin a new phase in my career at the helm of Canadian Lawyer. From my vantage point, there has never been a more exciting time to cover the legal profession. Many of the disruptive changes hitting the profession now were only just getting started when I was first covering the law.
Monday, 01 August 2016 09:00

Guiding principles

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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.
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