Monday, February 25, 2008

A Sweet Class-Action v. Chocolate

I heard about this case on CBC the other day, and was really interested to hear the interview with Tony Merchant. Did anyone else listen to that interview? He sure made class action suits sound glamorous, essential and the greatest tool towards social justice.

Taken from Law is Cool:

Eaten chocolate since February, 2004?

Chances are you have. And that might make you eligible for this class-action lawsuit against chocolate manufacturers.

Juroviesky and Ricci filed an action in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for violations of the Competition Act and provincial consumer protection acts against major chocolate producers.

CNW Group states,

The suit claims that the Defendants conspired to inflate the price of
their products by 5% or more at least three times during the Class Period, in
violation of a variety of statutes including the Competition Act, and the
various provincial Consumer Protection Acts. Chocolate sales in Canada in 2007 were approximately $1.4 Billion.

Call for Canadian Law School Blogs

Calling all Canadian Law School Blogs. Are you a current or prospective Canadian law student who blogs? Check out our current blogrole to see if you are listed. If you aren't, please send me your link and I would be happy to add it to Law, Eh? Canadian Law School. Also, if you are aware of any dead blogs on our blogrole, please let me know so that I can keep that list current.

Current blogrole:

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Staying Healthy as a Lawyer

Thank goodness for weekends! Lately, I have been pushing hard, trying to make everything work at the firm, trying to become accredited as a mediator and arbitrator, trying to keep my publishing house on track (we just signed 3 new authors), and coping with having four children. At work , we are trying to focus our practice towards 2 or 3 areas, rather than being a general practice. It's really paying off, especially as we forge strong relationships with business partners. We are also opening up a mediation/arbitration/coaching centre in our law office, and that is really exciting. The world is my oyster, so to speak.

However, all of this takes its toll. I went out for supper a couple weeks ago with some classmates. They seemed genuinely tired of the lawyer life. Long hours, high demands, boredom, difficulty with senior lawyers, etc. My demands are not quite the same. I do have stress, the requirement of a steep learning curve, high customer service expectations, and the challenge of keeping a full staff.

I thought I would comment on how I cope with the stress.

I work as little as possible. For me, that means a 40-50 hour work week, usually closer to the former. I learned early on in my practice that anything more for me, personally, brings with it too high a cost, to health, to mind and to my relationships. When I am at work, I try to work really hard, really fast, and really smart.

I manage my time like a freak! Every morning, I review my week's goals (which I set out on Monday morning). I review my daily affirmations (I have 7 goals that I repeat to myself 3 times each day). I then do up my daily task list, reviewing the previous day's list and accomplishments. I then prioritize that list. Then, I set aside some time to check and respond to emails, to return phone messages, and to get updates or update my staff. Once I am satisfied that the day is set out properly, I start to attack my list. I try to avoid interruptions, using my staff to screen calls, mail, faxes, etc. I try not to move down the list until the top priority items are completed. If I think that an item is just not going to happen, I make a note on my list, and then move on. I review the list at the end of each day (giving myself a grade out of 5), and then try to leave work at work.

I treat staff like gold, or at least the best that I can. Only my wife is more important to my success when compared to my legal assistants/paralegals. They make my world go round. I offer bonusses, flexibility, encouragement, and I share my thoughts, feelings and expectations with them as much as possible.

I do yoga. My wife is a yoga instructor, so that is a huge bonus. I attend her class once as week, and try to incorporate stretching, and some meditation throughout the week.

I sleep! Hardly ever less than 7 hours per night. More often closer to 8. I should try to get to bed earlier, but it's hard with kids.

I exercise. At least 3 times a week, I hit the gym, strap on the running shoes, or do some other form of rigorous activity.

I practice my faith. I go to church regularly. I volunteer regularly. I read uplifting articles, books, and scriptures regularly. I read scriptures and pray with my family every day. I meditate on the larger picture often, praying at least three times each day.

I eat really well. My wife is a fantastic cook. Different members of our family have different food sensitivites or allergies, so we don't eat much wheat, milk or sugar. My kids can't eat sugar, so I eat less as a result. We eat a lot of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, etc. We eat few saturated fats or "other" foods. We all take our vitamins each day.

I am a very motivated person, not unlike most in the legal profession. Please don't think that my comments above are meant to make me look like like a perfected being. I am by no means near perfection. These things have developed over time. I have failed at each of them on many occassions. However, my intention is to master these things so that I can maintain my health, my career, my sanity, and my family over the next 2-3 decades. My friends do often ask me how I accomplish so much with so many challenges and so little time. It is through this formation of habits, through an attempt towards self-mastery, that I find the energy, the drive, and the love for my life.

The above habits may be beneficial to you as you prepare for law school, as you push your way through law school, or as you establish yourself as a lawyer. I wish you the best of luck.

If there is something that you do to help you cope, please let all of us know. We can all stand to learn something new, positive and helpful.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Law firm looks for lawyers with sales experience

From Financial Post
February 21, 2008, 12:23 PM by Jim Middlemiss

Larry Bodine has an interesting piece about law firm Scholefield Associates, which is seeking a new associate with a sales background for client development. In other words a “sales attorney.”

The firm’s website describes the job opening as follows:

"This is an unprecedented opportunity for the right individual with an outgoing and dynamic personality. If you see yourself more as a rainmaker than you do a litigator, we are interested in your future with us. You will be working under the direction of the firm's business development manager, and be a key player in the firm’s client development and legal marketing activities. We are looking for professionals with experience technical sales, sales engineering, legal marketing, or executive level business development. Previous experience or knowledge of the construction industry is a major plus.

"You will be the first point of contact for prospective clients, so a good first impression is important. You will not let your law school education go to waste as you must be admitted to practice in California, and may be expected to advise clients and attend hearings.

“We are not your typical law firm,”partner, Pam Scholefield, told Bodine, “so we’re not going to follow archaic unwritten rules that say a young attorney’s primary role can’t be a rainmaker.”

Mitch Kowalski

Premier law schools to export talent abroad

Thinking of applying for an international lawyer job? You won't just be competing against law school graduates from your country of choice. International firms are looking everywhere now to land top recruits.

Read this interesting article from The Economic Times - The India Times called "Premier law schools to export talent abroad"

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Producer shows no concern over ‘misogyny’

Written by Valary Thompson, Sports Editor
Wednesday, 20 February 2008
Some Osgoode students protest lack of apology

Some female students are angered and offended by an Osgoode variety show that featured scenes they are calling misogynistic.

According to the associate dean of Osgoode Hall Law School, Robert Wai, Mock Trial is an annual event that generates funds for charity groups. This year, the event was titled Habitat for Insanity and raised funds for the Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre. The variety show took place during reading week on Feb. 15 in Moot Courtroom.

Each year’s show is different, but shares a common theme of comedy.

“It’s kind of a variety show, but also [has] a lot of skits about the law school [and] law school life, almost like a parody or follies,” Wai said.

But despite the show’s comedic tone, second-year Osgoode student Alyssa Brierley is not laughing. This is due to scenes she believed were sexually provocative and degrading to women.

Read the whole article here.

This brings back memories of "Law Show" at the University of Alberta. I never could figure out what all the fuss was about - a bunch of law students making fun of their professors and themselves. Students would put huge numbers of hours into producing this show. I never participated, but apparently it was a great bonding and networking experience. I don't feel too sad about missing out. Most law schools have a similar activity group, usually with the intention of raising funds for a charity.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Let's ditch the battle of experts in court, and just get the facts

Technical expertise should not come with a viewpoint

James Morton, Freelance

Published: Friday, February 08

TORONTO - Expert witnesses seem a lot less expert these days.

Last week in Ontario we were reminded daily of the miscarriages of justice caused by forensic pathologist Charles Smith -- the many parents and caregivers charged and some found guilty of murdering children, the scores of lives ruined, and families destroyed.

And in August, the Ontario Court of Appeal said that one of its main reasons for acquitting Steven Truscott had to do with the testimony of John Penistan, the pathologist in that long-ago case of rape and murder. Dr. Penistan's official autopsy report stated that 12-year-old Lynne Harper had died soon after Steven Truscott had been seen giving her a ride on his bike, at a time when he would have been by far the most likely killer.

An interesting little editorial on some pertinent law. What do you think about what Mr. Morton has said?

University of British Columbia set to begin construction on Faculty of Law building in 2009

Here's some exciting law school news:

Feb. 15, 2008

Construction is expected to get under way in 2009 on a new Faculty of Law building on the Vancouver campus of the University of British Columbia.

Designed by the Toronto-based firm of Diamond + Schmitt Architects, the 13,500-square-metre facility is intended to meet the needs of a new generation of law students and legal researchers.

Situated adjacent to the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts and framing one of two principal gates into the campus, the building will replace the existing school, currently housed in two aging structures...

The new building provides space for more than 50 faculty members, 600 undergraduate and 100 graduate students. It includes contemporary classroom designs, more student service spaces, a moot court, a larger Law Library and new research spaces...

Read more here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


The Law Page


Canada's law schools are rebelling against a demand by QuickLaw that law students pay $50 each next fall, or an estimated $500,000 annually across Canada, for access to its digital repository of case law, statutes and other legal research. In a letter to QuickLaw, an association of Canadian law librarians estimated the charges would be devastating to annual library budgets.

Patrick Monahan, dean of Osgoode Hall Law School, said he is steaming mad about the fee and will move to another digital service if QuickLaw doesn't back down. He said the fee "violates the spirit of partnership of QuickLaw," which was founded in 1973 by a Queens University law professor in collaboration with students and law faculties. QuickLaw was purchased by U.S.-based LexisNexis Canada in 2002.

Hasselback: the merits of JD over LLB

Posted: February 13, 2008, 3:17 PM by Drew Hasselback , ,

The law school of the University of Western Ontario has written alumni to solicit their views on whether they support changing the designation of the university's law degree to J.D. from LL.B...

Read Hasselback's reasons for switching here. His reasons are really funny. It's great to keep this debate alive. I am personally waiting for the day that U of A writes me to offer me the option of trading my LL.B. degree in for a J.D.

What do you think?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Law students bring black youth together with role models

Aim to increase minority law school enrolment
Feb 11/08
by Maria Saros Leung (email)

In the corridor of the Faculty of Law’s Flavelle House hangs a photo of Ivy Lawrence Maynier, the first woman of colour to graduate from the faculty in 1945.

With few black students and lawyers to look up to, the trail Maynier blazed would have been a lonely one. Today, Moya Teklu and Renee Smith, co-chairs of the U of T chapter of the Black Law Students’ Association (BLSA), are making black youth feel empowered to choose law as a career path by connecting them with black lawyers and judges.

See Yourself Here was born out of a lunchtime brainstorming session between Teklu and Smith. The one-day open house held Jan. 19 brought together young black high school and undergraduate students with black legal professionals as a way of encouraging black youth to pursue professional studies at the Faculty of Law.

Read more.

Law society report pushes for end to licensing course

By Thomas Claridge
February 15 2008

A “consultation report” by a Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) task force has recommended scrapping a four-week licensing course that two years ago replaced the law society’s four-month-long Bar Admission Course (BAC).

The Licensing and Accreditation Task Force was appointed last spring with a mandate to make recommendations in three areas: the most effective means by which competency requirements for call to the Bar of Ontario could be achieved; the criteria for approving law degrees, and the impact of rising numbers of law graduates on the viability of the current licensing process.

The report was submitted to the law society’s January Convocation, which approved its dissemination to the profession, law schools and legal organizations to obtain feedback on its findings concerning the licensing process and the related articling process.

Headed by former LSUC treasurer Vern Krishna, the four-member task force noted in its report that the current Skills and Professional Responsibility Program began as a five-week instructional program but was reduced by Convocation to a four-week instructional program in 2007 “after the candidate evaluations indicated a perceived repetitiveness within the learning modules.”

At present, the candidates get 3.5 hours of instruction per day, for four weeks, for a total of 12 instructional days, six assessment days and one reassessment day for those who require it. Attendance is mandatory, and the law society has set aside two full days to conduct each of three assessments during the program.

The task force found that with 1,400 candidates in the process last year, assessments were limited to 15 or 20 minutes plus five to 10 minutes of performance feedback on each activity. The total time spent in and out of class on program requirements was 60 hours.

The report warned that present trends indicate that by 2009 the number of law students wanting to enter the profession will reach 1,730 — an increase of about 30 per cent from last year...

Read the whole article at The Lawyer's Weekly.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

University of Alberta Faculty of Law Graduate Buys Edmonton Oilers

I had forgotten that Daryl Katz was a graduate of the University of Alberta Faculty of Law. This little article from gives a brief bio. It was announced today that he bought the Edmonton Oilers for $200 million.

"Katz, who grew up in Edmonton, attended law school at the University of Alberta and built his family's local business into a multi-billion dollar empire in less than a decade.

"As for his reasons for wanting to buy the Oilers, Katz says... 'I was born in Edmonton, I live in Edmonton and I grew up here with the Oilers during the glory years. I want to own the Oilers because they are Edmonton's hockey team and because I think there is an opportunity, through the Oilers, to do great things for the city.'"

That's pretty cool. I wonder if he really is a "wonderful Edmontonian," as Gretzky is quoted as saying. Gretzky goes on to say, "I know he cares about the city and I think he would be a tremendous owner for the Edmonton Oilers."

He has also committed to contributing $100 million for the building of a new stadium, which should be a good thing for that city.

Canadian lawyers at an advantage in overseas firms

Awareness of cultures leads to success on global legal stage
Margaret McCaffery, Financial Post Published: Wednesday, February 06, 2008

With London surpassing New York in the number of IPOs in 2007, it's no surprise that U.K.-based law firms are hunting for legal talent beyond their shores.

U.K. recruitment of Canadians began in earnest in 1994. Conventional wisdom had it that the chosen lawyers didn't stand a chance of making partner in the massive U.K.-based international firms, where high leverage between partners and associates makes it tough for lawyers to achieve partner status.

Nonetheless, a number of Canadian recruits are bucking the odds and not only achieving partnership status, but playing a prominent role in the success of international law firms.

Great article (continued here). I have three Canadian colleagues who have pursued work outside of Canada and are really enjoying their experience. Perhaps this is another answer to my recent post about the huge influx of law graduates. How's that for a solution? Import lawyers from other jurisdictions, and export our own law graduates. Balance is good, eh?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Bond University - from yesterday's post

Yesterday's post included information that an Australian University accepts 70 Canadian law students each year. The university is Bond University. They have an FAQ for Canadian students. I am hoping that they don't mind that I copy that FAQ here (if they do, they can feel free to write me), but I think it would be very beneficial for those applicants who either cannot get accepted, or choose not to apply to Canadian Law Schools:

Faculty of Law - International Perspective

FAQ'S for Students from Canada

What is the difference between the LLB and the JD?

The LLB and the JD are both professionally recognised degrees. The JD is restricted to graduate entrants; the LLB has no such restriction.
Law has traditionally been taken as a first degree in Australia and ‘LLB’ is the traditional label for that degree. However a number of universities have recently introduced 'JD' degrees for graduate students.

The compulsory law units for the two Bond degrees are the same and students in these units are taught together.

The LLB comprises 32 subjects in total, 19 compulsory law units and 4 compulsory non-law units.

The JD comprises 24 subjects in total, all being law units , with 19 of the units being compulsory. Electives for the JD are taken from the LLM list rather than the LLB list.

Canadians who possess a first degree generally enrol for the JD. It is easy to switch between the degrees in the early semesters.

How much does it cost?

Fees are currently about AU$3,000 per subject (24 subjects). They are adjusted each year.
Residence fees vary depending on the level of accommodation.

Shared accommodation in the vicinity of the University is readily available.
Email: if you have questions.

What are the admission requirements and are there deadlines?

Bond does not operate with fixed cut-offs. That is partly due to its international character, with students coming from many different areas of the world and with different kinds of qualifications.

We seek to maintain the total numbers in the Faculty of Law within the range 600-700. Admission decisions are made on an overall assessment of the application, with prior academic performance being the primary consideration.

In common with other Australian universities, we do not use the LSAT.

There are no fixed deadlines for admission applications. We make our decisions on a ‘rolling’ basis, issuing offers to qualified applicants until all available spaces have been filled. You can apply up to one year in advance.

After I graduate, what do I have to do in order to be eligible to practice law in Canada?

To practice law in Canada, you will need to complete a Canadian bar admission course. To be eligible for a bar admission course in any of the common law provinces (ie excluding Quebec), you will need a Certificate of Qualification from the National Committee on Accreditation (the ‘NCA’) of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada.

The certificate will state that you have education and training equivalent to that of a Canadian law graduate. Application is made to the NCA at the end of your degree at Bond.
The NCA will review your record and prescribe a number of examinations in Canadian law. View the NCA's guidelines.

The NCA makes its decisions on an individual basis, taking account of academic performance. Decisions are made following submission of a final transcript of studies : the NCA will not issue advance rulings.

The major variables affecting NCA rulings include the amount of any pre-law undergraduate studies, the length of the law degree, the amount of any studies undertaken in a Canadian law school, and the marks obtained in the law degree.

Our experience has been that graduates with respectable academic records are commonly required to complete 8 examinations if they have four-year pre-law degrees; 10 examinations if they have three-year pre-law degrees; and 12 examinations if first degree programs have not been undertaken or have been partially completed.

However, many graduates have been required to complete fewer examinations.

How can I take the examinations in Canadian law?

There are two ways of taking these examinations.

You may seek admission to a Canadian law school for this purpose. Places are limited. However, the University of Manitoba Faculty of Law has agreed to try to accommodate Bond applicants.
Alternatively you may take ‘challenge exams’ set by the NCA.

At present the most popular route is the challenge exams. Constitutional Law, which is regularly prescribed by the NCA, can present a difficulty with proceeding via a Canadian law school: openings are mainly in the upper years but Constitutional Law is a first year course in most schools.

In order to overcome this problem, Bond has periodically offered Canadian Constitutional Law, taught by visiting professors from the University of Manitoba and with the course credited by both universities.

How much difference is there between Australian and Canadian law?

The principles and methodology of Australian and Canadian law are similar. The details of statutory provisions and case-law obviously differ but an Australian law degree provides a good basis for taking examinations in Canadian law.

Can I take some of the examinations by going on exchange to a Canadian law school?

Our Canadian students are permitted to credit one semester at a Canadian law school toward their Bond degrees (usually the elective component).

Some students apply directly to Canadian schools for admission as visiting ‘letter-of-permission’ students. In addition, we have a formal exchange program with the University of British Columbia..

Our experience has been that the NCA may make some reduction in its requirements for graduates who have undertaken exchange programs. However, the amount any reduction varies.

Can I transfer from Bond to a Canadian law school?

Some of our students have transferred to Canadian law schools in order to take Canadian degrees, receiving some credit for their studies at Bond.

Several have also managed to complete the requirements for their Bond degrees, receiving some credit for their studies in Canada, so that they have both Canadian and Australian degrees.
Admission to Canadian law schools as a transfer student is competitive. The most common destinations have been University of Toronto and Queen’s University.

Will I be able to stay in Australia and practice law there?

Australian immigration operates on a ‘points’ system. Some points are awarded for having an Australian degree but additional points are required. Several of our graduates have qualified and are working in Australia.

Inquiries about immigration should be directed to Australian Consulates in Canada.

How can I apply?

Students may apply on-line or through one of our Canadian agents:

KOM Consultants
905 3188200

AustraLearn Canada
1 888 637 4412

1866 698 7355

Monday, February 04, 2008

This is HUGE! Abolishment of articling eyed

‘Freight train’ of law grads on horizon
Abolishment of articling eyed
By Robert Todd Publication Date: Monday, 04 February 2008

An amended version of a Jan. 24 motion from LSUC’s licensing and accreditation task force was approved following a lively discussion from benchers, after the release of a report expressing concern that the province’s firms will soon be unable to accommodate hundreds of lawyers seeking articling placements.

The combined pressure of increased intake at Ontario law schools, an influx of foreign-trained lawyers, and the prospect of up to three new law schools in the province could leave many students with nowhere to go following their third year of law school.

“This is a freight train coming down the track and we have to be thoughtful, creative, and mindful of the size of this train,” task force member and Bencher Laurie Pawlitza told Convocation. Pawlitza noted the task force’s findings that the current demand for approximately 1,300 articling spots is estimated to rise to 1,730 by 2009 — a 30 per cent increase.

“I urge Convocation to think about the difference between being unable now to place about 50 students, and being unable to place about 300 students, 400 students,” she said.

This article (read the whole article here) has all kinds of really cool information that I had no idea about...such as an Australian law school that accepts up to 70 Canadian law students each year...had I only known!!

Please, provide your comments on this very interesting issue. Imagine...abolishing the articling year for Canadian law school graduates.