Distilling the LSUC’s decision in Groia: An old debate between passion and reason

 

Want a break from reading the Law Society of Upper Canada’s 88-page Appeal Decision in Groia?  

Consider it a replay of that old Hume v. Kant debate: To what extent can the passions inform ethical behaviour?  Or, to extrapolate Sontag’s famous 1963 NYRB book review contrasting Camus with Sartre, the Groia appeal panel confirms that trial lawyers ought to be good ‘spouses’ and not try to be good ‘lovers.’  The Ideal Husband stands as one of the great essays of the 20th Century, and proves that great thought can be a light read.

Malheureusement, l’arrêt Groia n’est pas encore disponible en français.  Même le grand débat entre Camus et Sartre, réduit à un contraste entre un époux et un amant par Susan Sontag, doit être capturé en anglais – mais The Ideal Husband est une bonne lecture même après 50 ans.

 

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Unbundling as a law practice business model for litigation

Despite the splash that ‘unbundling’ made as a model for legal service delivery, it has largely been the domain of family law and small claims litigation.  As a business model, unbundling presents considerable challenges for the law practice.  My recent paper, Drawing Clear Boundaries: Unbundling Litigation Without Letting It All Hang Out, provides some do’s and don’ts of making limited-scope retainers work in a litigation practice.

 

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Unpacking the legalities of the “Three Little Pigs”

Hidden behind The Guardian‘s provocative “Three Little Pigs” ad is a subtext on the role of public opinion on the judicial process.

(la version française suit)

It starts, of course, where the children’s story ended.  The Big Bad Wolf was boiled alive, but then the layers of the story unwrap into a fractured tale of a “just” crime, and perhaps more than one. Continue reading

Are lawyers sitting ducks for breach of privacy claims?

As a lawyer, you are also a spy.  The extent to which you may wish to look the part is up to you.

(version française)

As a law student in an intellectual property firm, I was often instructed to collect evidence out in the real world, not only to prosecute counterfeiters but also to help prove clients’ rights in administrative hearings.  Every day, commercial lawyers snoop on companies in merger deals, litigation lawyers perform credit and asset checks to advise clients before launching suits, and matrimonial lawyers chase after sources of alimony and child support.  Anyone with a PC can look at a website’s HTML code to see if a client’s adversary or trade competitor has used meta-data which may infringe various contractual or statutory rights.  Even mild-mannered research lawyers troll through records check up on parties’ litigation history, from the anonymity of their bank tower offices.

Are we all now also tortfeasors?  The buzz over the Ontario Court of Appeal’s recognition of a tort in invasion of privacy has made lawyers raise their eyebrows during these early days of 2012. Continue reading

Cross-Examining on a discovery transcript

The Format

You likely won’t have read it in your evidence textbook in law school.  It is almost an unwritten law, in that the format is available by asking seasoned trial lawyers or at educational seminars.  You’ll be surprised how often, during your career, trial lawyers will not know the proper way to cross-examine on a transcript.  The result is usually embarrassment and being instructed by the trial judge on how to do it.  Don’t be that counsel.

You have the transcript.  Hand a copy to the judge to follow along.  File a copy with the registrar, who will then give it to the witness.  Make sure it is a signed official copy, and not an electronic draft.

The format has different stylistic permutations, but usually follow the following outline: Continue reading