From Lawyer Defence

Les avocats sont-ils des cibles pour des réclamations pour atteintes à la vie privée?

En tant qu’avocat, vous êtes aussi un espion. La mesure dans laquelle vous en faites la comédie est à vous. (English version) Comme un étudiant en droit dans un cabinet de propriété intellectuelle, j’ai souvent été chargé de recueillir des preuves, non seulement pour poursuivre les contrefacteurs, mais aussi pour soutenir des clients dans leur causes aux audiences administratives. Chaque jour, les avocats commerciaux épient sur les entreprises en opérations de fusion, les avocats contentieux commandent des contrôles de crédit  pour conseiller les clients avant le lancement des poursuites en justice, et des avocats matrimoniaux courent après des sources de…

Avoiding the public eye: How not to become the story, even if you are.

Celebrity lawyer rows with bad-boy aristo-client.” “Star securities litigation lawyer  besieged.” “Counsel sues judges.” “Firebrand pro bono lawyer of yesteryear still tangling with Law Society.” (la version française suit) Whatever your take on these professional controversies, one thing is certain: it is not the kind of notoriety you seek for any stage of your legal career.  Nevertheless, the fine line we tread between representation for and of the members of the public we serve remains one of our greatest challenges.  Where is the line between fearless advocacy end and the loss of objectivity?  When did the lawyer stop advising the failing…

Procrastinators, don’t let work-life balance kill you

Canadian Lawyer‘s launch of its monthly column, The Accidental Mentor.  The inaugural piece, “Procrastinators, don’t let work-life balance kill you“, illustrates how convenient devices to make your life better can, in fact, make you fearful of work. While you’re there, check out the other columns before you get back to work.  Indeed, if you’re a follower of the Mayan Calendar, you’ve until next December 21st to get everything done! ~   ~   ~ Janvier 2012 témoigne Canadian Lawyer lancer sa chronique mensuelle, le Mentor accidentelle. La pièce inaugurale, « Procrastinators, don’t let work-life balance kill you », illustre la façon dont les outils pour rendre votre vie meilleure peut, en fait, de vous faire peur…

‘Tis the Season to be Injunctive

(la version française suit) When 10 minutes to go, is late It was 6:50 p.m., and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a —— Drrrring!  “He’s not here yet.  He’s supposed to have my kids here by 7,” said the voice, to the lawyer.  “Can’t you phone the judge or something?”  The phone call in this true story was the lawyer’s reward for having a listed home phone number, a bad practice of many lawyers in smaller communities. If you are a family lawyer and this story “rings a bell,” just think what lies in…

Solving the conundrum of the Canadian tripartite retainer

(le sommaire français suit) Discussion of the 2000 Court of Appeal for Ontario decision, Fellowes McNeil v. Kansa, in my recent article, “No Unbundling of Negligence,” has tapped into a continuing discussion of the precise ethical obligations of lawyers and law firms retained by liability insurers to defend parties in lawsuits, and who “stumble upon” information that may jeopardize the coverage and the insurer’s provision of a defence.  The Supreme Court did grant leave to appeal, but the case was settled before Canada’s top court could hear it.  Eleven years later, you’ll hear it here first, folks: Fellowes was wrongly decided.

‘Appropriate Means’ ~ Enhancement of Discoverability in Ontario Limitations Law

Limitations Act, 2002, came into force, do parties and their lawyers avail themselves of the phrase “appropriate means” in s. 5, to toll the operation limitation periods?  The time has come for all lawyers, junior and senior, to be aware of these words as an enhancement of the discoverability principle. Lawyers called to the Bar of Ontario prior to 2004 were happy, in some respects, to be rid of the arcane language of the old Limitations Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. L.15.  For over a decade, the battlegrounds were staged in the judicial interpretations of “accrued” causes of action, “discoverability” principles, and…

Rule 30.1 ~ The Quicksand between Rules 30 and 31

Recently, my opposing counsel in a product liability matter cited the “Deemed Undertaking Rule” as grounds for the manufacturer not to comply with a discovery undertaking to produce information from prior incidents linked to the same device. (la version française suit) If my opponent were right, she would have landed in a patch of professional responsibility quicksand.  Under subrule 4.01(7) of the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Rules of Professional Conduct, she was obliged to fulfil the undertaking, clearly recorded in the discovery transcript.  If my friend gave an undertaking which she could not fulfil, she had already breached rule…

No ‘unbundling’ of negligence

The hitherto unrepresented litigant has made an appointment to see you. (la version française suit) Under his arm, he clutches a big stack of papers, out of which he hands you a motion record for summary judgment delivered at his post office box.  The hearing is scheduled for the day after tomorrow, and he presents you with a cheque for $5,000.  You will obtain an adjournment of the motion and eventually you will employ your skills as a lawyer and persuade the court there are reasons why the matter needs to proceed to trial.  When you have achieved this victory…

Should I get Excess Liability Insurance?

Excess insurance is relatively inexpensive, and well worth the peace of mind.  Lawyers tend to be born insomniacs – you don’t need anything else keeping you up at night! LawPro’s standard (mandatory) policy provides coverage with insurance limits of $1 million per claim and $2 million in the aggregate.  This means there is $1 million in coverage for each claim, but no matter how many claims there are against you, the maximum payable for claims made during any policy year is $2 million.

Litigation guardians: the limitations minefield

Any time you act for a minor or a mentally incapable person in litigation, or in other legal matters, you will be appointing a litigation guardian.  Next comes the tricky part, from a limitations perspective. Acting for litigation guardians is fraught with peril.  Suddenly, the incapacitated personal injury victim or minor, usually incapable of appreciating their legal rights, may have limitation period commencing against them.  To start your appreciation of this issue, read my 2007 series of articles : civmar07web, civjun07web Terms of use / Mentions légales