From Bar Leadership Skills

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.…

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‘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…

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Lawyers are for hire, not for sale: My platform in the 2015 LSUC Bencher Election

On April 30, 2015, lawyers in Ontario will exercise their duty to elect Benchers of the Law Society.  Bencher elections have historically seen glacial changes in the complement of Convocation, the governing council of Ontario’s legal profession.  As in many elections with expected low voter turn-out, incumbent candidates tend to say little of substance and give you…

Diversity Awareness and Cultural Competency as Core Skills for Canadian Lawyers

Later today, I will have the privilege of participating in a working group of the Chief Justice of Ontario’s Advisory Committee on Professionalism tasked with modernizing the basic principles of professionalism for lawyers.  High in priority is the importance of integrating equity, diversity and cultural competency into the package that lawyers must offer the public. Historically an afterthought The equity and diversity file has historically been an afterthought, tucked into the discussion after other ‘Wonder Bread’ aspects of professional merit are given full airing.  This has been a fault of those leading the discussion.  It is time to turn the agenda…

Stop letting the TWU controversy make fools of the Canadian bar

It came to my notice that my last post on the British Columbia Law Society’s handling of the accreditation of Trinity Western Law School may have appeared at odds with a prior entry encouraging a negotiated solution.  In the September 26 post, “B.C. Law Society abdicates self-governance in favour of non-governance,” I stated that the decision to refer the decision to a referendum before the expiry of a statutory 12-month period was an abdication of the Law Society’s duty to govern the affairs of the legal profession.  Further, the referendum option can only be invoked by a petition from the membership, not the governing…