Legal Insights & Practice Trends

The Canadian Bar Association

The business of pot

By Doug Beazley March 3, 2015 3 March 2015

The business of pot

A commercial recreational industry is all ready to go.

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The future of law belongs to AI

By Yves Faguy March 3, 2015 3 March 2015

Five University of Toronto students (Andrew Arruda, Shuai Wang, Pargles Dall’Oglio, Jimoh Ovbiagele, and Akash Venat) recently took the 2nd prize in the 2015 Watson University Competition, which awards seed funding to student entrepreneurs building upon IBM's (in)famous cognitive computer, Watson. The students built a legal app for employment law questions, called ROSS:

ROSS is an artificially intelligent attorney to help you power through legal research. ROSS improves upon existing alternatives by actually understanding your questions in natural sentences like “What is the leading case in Ontario on an employee starting a competing business?” ROSS then provides you an answer with citations and suggests highly topical readings from a variety of content sources.  

Addison Cameron-Huff is skeptical about early predictions on how IBM’s Watson will impact the legal profession. He raises a number of points.  Among them:

Will any lawyer want to advise their client based on what Watson/Ross says? I can see it as a good starting place for research but the idea of replacing lawyers with Watson? We're just not there yet and I doubt the Law Society would be very impressed with the lawyer who thinks we are (a different problem but important for Watson/Ross).

Photo: "IBM Watson" by Clockready - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons 

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Diversity and inclusion

By Katya Hodge March 3, 2015 3 March 2015

Addressing the challenges that face racialized licensees.

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Legal marketplace

DLA Piper comes to Canada

By Yves Faguy March 2, 2015 2 March 2015

That's the big news today:

The tie-up, which Davis partners voted overwhelmingly to approve Wednesday, and DLA Piper's global and Americas boards approved the week before, will bring into the DLA Piper fold seven new offices besides the base in Vancouver, including Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Toronto, Tokyo, Whitehorse and Yellowknife—the latter two in Canada's mining-rich provinces in the Yukon and Northwest Territories, respectively. (At 60 and 62 degrees north, the two outposts may well be the most northerly of any Am Law 100 firm.)

The merger should boost DLA Piper’s head count to around 4,460 lawyers globally and is the firm’s most audacious since May 2011, when it announced that it would formally integrate with DLA Phillips Fox, an alliance partner in Australia. The New Zealand unit of DLA Phillips Fox has now also joined its Australian counterpart and agreed to be absorbed into the global verein, where it will take the DLA Piper name. (DLA Piper itself was formed through a three-way merger of U.S. and U.K. firms in 2005.)


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Reforming expert evidence

By Yoram Beck and Suzanne Loomer March 2, 2015 2 March 2015

Reforming expert evidence

Moving to a less adversarial, lower cost approach to streamlining trials.

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Legal headlines March 2, 2015

By National March 2, 2015 2 March 2015

Here's a round-up of legal headlines for Monday, March 3rd.

Canada’s Davis LLP to merge with DLA Piper

NDP wants Supreme Court opinion on fight over parliamentary resources

Air of hatred grips Russia as theories abound over Nemtsov's murder

Montreal erotic massage parlours flourishing despite anti-prostitution law

Plaintiffs who won token $423 at trial must pay defendants more than $1-million in costs

Poet sues peers for more than $300,000 for libel and defamation

Male lawyers less productive at home working than women

Anti-terror law fails to guarantee agencies will share information, ex-judge says

UK litigation specialists fear backlash against London over proposed court fee hike

'Clear' rules needed as law enforcement agencies test body-worn cameras

 Anti-terror laws threaten academic freedom

Russians are concerned about what Putin is doing, Nicholson says

Los Angeles skid row police shooting caught on video

Quebec judge’s hijab-removal demand sparks condemnation

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The redesign

A new look for National

By Yves Faguy February 27, 2015 27 February 2015

As you can no doubt tell, we’ve ever so slightly refreshed our website. Already, you ask? Well, yes, time flies, doesn’t it? Believe it or not, it’s been two-and-a-half years since we launched National online — almost an eternity in this quickly outdated environment.  Though the initial design served us well at first, it was not built with users on mobile or tablet in mind. So we made the move to a responsive platform, which means that the pages you see on your mobile device will adapt in size accordingly.

We also decided to go with a slightly different look on our landing page, principally by switching to a continuous scroll. Readers can now come to our landing page and seamlessly move on to new content, without having to click headlines and to wait for new pages to load.

We’ve also done away with some underused functionality and made improvements to our right column, where we can showcase some our top features, posts and videos of the moment.

Of course, we will continue to position ourselves at the intersection of news, debate and developments on all things legal in Canada and around the world. And we will keep you informed of the many projects undertaken by the Canadian Bar Association in its efforts to improve the nation’s laws, improve access to justice and chart a path forward for the legal profession in Canada.

A final word before we get back to business: In the coming days we will probably be ironing out a few kinks. Burt please let us know what you think of our changes, and how we can improve your experience here. And, of course, please contribute by sharing your thoughts about the issues discussed here.

Above all, thanks for reading us.

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Today's legal headlines

By National February 27, 2015 27 February 2015

Here's a round-up of legal headlines for Friday, February 27th.

Egypt: Ottawa's 'sheepish whimpers' for Fahmy fall short: Amal Clooney

Legal Aid: Michael Mansfield QC lambasts UK Gov's glorification of the Magna Carta

Immigration: Bill C-51 defies key rulings on security certificates, lawyers say

Crime: Mexico captures its most wanted drug kingpin

Quebec: Judge refused to hear single mother’s case because of hijab

Ontario: Evidence ends abruptly in VIA Rail trial with neither suspect mounting a defence

Montreal: Crown seeks restrictions on Montrealer they fear may commit terrorist act

Securities: Conrad Black banned from Ontario boardrooms by OSC

Terrorism: A guide to terror cases across Canada

Environment: Exxon Mobil Settles With New Jersey

South Korea: Adultery Is No Longer an Affair of the State

Canadian Citizenship: Oath to Queen to remain law

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A terrible oversight

By Justin Ling February 26, 2015 26 February 2015

A terrible oversight

Would judicial authorization really be required for CSIS to break up a threat?

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A lawyer's duty of commitment

By National February 25, 2015 25 February 2015

In Canada (Attorney General) v. Federation of Law Societies of Canada, the Supreme Court of Canada recently weigh in on solicitor-client privilege and held that search power provisions in the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act were unconstitutional when applied to lawyers. Alice Woolley welcomes the decision but raises some concerns:

My main issues with the judgment are largely set out above. In essence, the unwillingness of either the majority or concurring reasons to explain whether the retention and recording provisions violate solicitor-client privilege and, if so, how and why, renders the judgment unclear. It is not clear whether there is an independent s. 7 violation from the reporting and retention provisions and on what basis that violation is made out. It is also not clear whether the issue in s. 8 is a risk of over-zealous searching or inevitable violations of privilege because of the information relevant to whether a lawyer has complied with the recording and retention provisions. We do know that the legislation does not adequately respond if solicitor-client privilege is at risk, but we do not know whether that privilege is at risk because an authority is searching in a lawyer’s office, or because of the nature of the documents that the authority would inevitably be looking for to determine compliance with the recording and retention aspects of the legislative scheme. That is not to say that no s. 8 violation occurs here – indeed, on either of these grounds it seems safe to say that it does – but the judgment’s scope and meaning is unclear absent some more thorough explanation.

The ever-prolific LĂ©onid Sirota also expresses mixed feelings in his analysis:

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After Carter v. Canada

By Jocelyn Downie February 24, 2015 24 February 2015

After Carter v. Canada What should federal lawmakers do next?

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Is it time to legalize marijuana?

By Rose Wilson February 20, 2015 20 February 2015

Is it time to legalize marijuana? A panel of experts weigh the pros and cons.

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