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… Read More

ABCD’s of Litigation Prevention

No one, apart from litigation lawyers and patent trolls, likes litigation.  Or derives much happiness from it.  Then why do we offer ourselves to the public as litigation lawyers?  It is escape from litigation that our clients want, and these days we offer the escape only after costly proceedings and discovery.  What, then, if we started… Read More

Why judges’ political activism also hurts lawyers

The Law Times reported that an Ontario Superior Court Justice is facing a complaint by an oil sands advocacy group to the Canadian Judicial Council for his role in a public mock trial of environmentalist David Suzuki at the Royal Ontario Museum this past November 6.  The basis for the complaint is that the judge’s participation in… Read More

Plain-Language Legal Resources in French Now Just a “Cliquement” Away

Did you know that every Ontario lawyer has an obligation to advise francophone clients of their linguistic rights in the justice system?  It will not be long, in my estimation, before a client brings a complaint or a professional liability suit against a lawyer after defeat in a civil, family or criminal matter because the… Read More

Beware of the chain-link limitation expiry

A lawyer phoned to tell me about a limitations matter.  He said that if the case was time-barred, the time expired long before the client retained him.  Then he told me there was a prior lawyer.  I told him to report himself to the Ontario Lawyers’ Professional Insurer, LawPro, just in case.  (Ouch!)

Buttonholed by a family member?

“In times when access to justice is ever precious, isn’t it great to have a lawyer in the family?” In the May Canadian Lawyer, the Accidental Mentor helps you navigate dealing with the clients you can’t completely fire. ~   ~   ~ “Maintenant que l’accès à la justice soit si précieux, n’est-il pas terrible que notr’… Read More

Unbundling the civil litigation retainer

“A significant proportion of middle-income Ontarians can afford to pay for some legal services.  Developing innovative programs to harness this market, whether through unbundling, legal expense insurance, or other forms of subsidized legal services, would represent an important step forward.” — Report of the Ontario Civil legal Needs Project, 2010, p. 56 (la version française suit)… Read More

For the love of being governed, and staying that way

At least once in your career, it is helpful to reflect seriously about the place where the Law Society sends lawyers found guilty of misconduct and worthy of disbarment.  Call it your general deterrence inoculation.  Whatever it means to be a lawyer, this is what it means no longer to be one. (la version française… Read More

Your future in Criminal Law

Twenty-five years from now, historians, criminologists and other observers of criminal law in Canada may very well look back to a 2005 lecture given by Justice Michael Moldaver (now of the Supreme Court of Canada), to the Criminal Lawyers Association.  Will they ask, why did we not see the symptoms of a dying branch of… Read More

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… Read More