From Bar Leadership Skills

Jaggers and the Law Society rule governing trust accounts

Fans of Charles Dickens’ novels will know that his lawyers are practitioners of an obscure art.  In that regard, they are plot devices, agents of change in the course of principal characters’ lives.  None is more iconic than Jaggers, or Mr. Jaggers, in Great Expectations.  The trustee of a sum of money left by an anonymous benefactor to the orphaned working-class boy Pip, Jaggers is instructed to disburse funds necessary to make Pip a gentleman.  The secret identity of the benefactor, not revealed until nearly the story’s end, is the source of a significant malentendu that drives Pip’s actions and character development. No one…

If you believe in a self-regulated Bar, vote in the LSUC Bencher elections.

At a Bencher election event at the Toronto Lawyers Association last night, I ran into a fellow candidate who, in response to a question by the TLA Executive Director about the candidate’s position on courthouse library funding, said he was not very aware of this or other issues but intended to study them if elected.  My initial thought: What the heck is this person doing running for a board that governs the profession, without having considered the issues? As I walked around the room, there were actually a number of that candidate’s fellow travelers on this path, or on a…

Early Lesson from the Duffy Trial: The Bar needs to focus, not wince at a “bright line” rule

Amid the media frenzy over the morality play unfolding in an Ottawa courtroom, the bar has a lesson to glean from the argument over the interaction between the Canadian Senate’s expense rules and the Criminal Code.  (“Blame the rules, not Mike Duffy, defence says“; “Mike Duffy trial: Defence to continue attack on vagueness of Senate rules.”) Mr. Duffy’s defence lawyer contends the Senate’s self-imposed rules permitted practices such as claiming housing expenses for property in the province of a senator’s appointment, even though the senator resided in another province most of the time.  The Crown argues strict observance of this expense rule, to satisfy a questionable…

What is the Dollar Footprint of that 2015 Bencher Campaign Email or Flyer?

After the last Law Society Bencher election, four years ago, rumours abounded that one candidate had spent over $100,000 in campaign expenses.  This time around, there is a lot of talk about opening up the Law Society’s leadership to more diverse candidates.  The fact remains that, like any other form of politics, money plays a part in the democratic process. If you get an email from a bencher candidate, or a post card in the office mail, don’t immediately delete it or throw it in the blue bin.  First, think how much it cost to get that email or admail…

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Post-Mortem, CBA Futures Debate on ABS

On February 21, I participated in the panel debate on Alternative Business Structures (ABS) at the plenary CBA meetings in Ottawa, for which I had provided my preliminary speaking notes on this blog.  I left the debate feeling there is no business plan for allowing non-lawyers and corporations to share in the delivery of legal services: in…

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How origins of ABS in U.K. and Australian Law differ from Canada

“Everything you want to know about ABS but are afraid to ask.”  That is the name of the panel discussion at the Mid-Winter Meeting of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) on February 21, in which CBA has asked me to represent a skeptic’s perspective on the Alternative Business Structures (ABS) recommendations of the CBA Futures Committee.…

Credit: https://penserfluxus.wordpress.com

‘Law’ and the #CharlieHebdo Mass Murder

According to the Wikipedia entry on depictions of Muhammad  “In Islam, although nothing in the Qur’an explicitly bans images, some supplemental hadith explicitly ban the drawing of images of any living creature; other hadith tolerate images, but never encourage them. Hence, most Muslims avoid visual depictions of Muhammad or any other prophet such as Moses…

B.C. Minister’s reason for revoking TWU’s J.D. hurts the legal academy

Virk revokes ministerial approval of twu’s j.d. program Opponents of Trinity Western University (TWU) in its bid to open a law school celebrated earlier this month when, on December 11, 2014, the British Columbia Minister of Advanced Education, Amrik Virk, revoked Trinity Western University’s authorization to grant undergraduate law degrees (J.D.).  He explained his decision as follows: Based on the current situation, I have decided to revoke my approval of the proposed law school at Trinity Western University. This means the university cannot enroll any students in its proposed program. The current uncertainty over the status of the regulatory body approval means…

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Judges judging judges: The Douglas Inquiry exposed its flawed process

My recent post on the conclusion of the Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) Inquiry into the Douglas Inquiry urged for a better and clearer articulation of the reasons for removal of federally-appointed judges from office.   After realizing late that a procedure in the hands of her judicial colleagues was in fact a runaway train, the former Associate Chief Justice of…