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t3ctonics

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t3ctonics last won the day on November 3 2011

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  1. It's subject to certain conditions, but a lawyer licensed in one common law province can practice law in a different common law province for up to 100 days in a calendar year under the National Mobility Agreement.
  2. Saadati v Moorhead, 2017 SCC 28

    I had to "like" your second post because it made me laugh out loud. I applaud your commitment to ball-busting!
  3. Drinking water in the courtroom

    I have to admit that while I'm not big on empty formality, I always wear black shoes to court (despite having so many lovely shades of brown to choose from), as well as my most conservative suits, ties, and shirts. 70% of the time it's black shoes, navy suit, solid white shirt, and medium-thickness red tie. The other 30% of the time I might wear a charcoal suit and/or a solid blue tie instead.
  4. Immigration Law

    I know a lawyer who does almost exclusively business immigration (i.e. his clients are business that are bringing in foreign workers) and he seems to do very well for himself. He's an associate with his own self-contained, self-sustaining practice in a large firm. He says that nobody else in the firm knows how to do what he does, so for all day-to-day purposes he's his own boss. He's basically guaranteed himself a route to partnership from the sounds of it.
  5. Advice for future law student!

    This highlights one of the big problems with trying to read caselaw before law school. Your profs will lead you down the garden path, and each stage will try to build the foundation for your future learning and understanding. I agree with the various people who have suggested reading more general materials. Get a basic understanding of Canada's constitutional structure, the court systems, and how laws are made. I didn't read any textbooks before law school, but once I started I found them very helpful in tying together the caselaw I was reading, and getting the general principles down. I agree regarding Getting to Maybe. I read it before starting law school and really didn't get it. I didn't understand the tips until after my first semester exams in first year. After that, I re-read it and I think it helped for second semester exams. This is a great recommendation. Writing is probably the most important skill for a lawyer, and this book is extremely helpful. I bought it before starting law school, and while I didn't get into it until just before my first big written assignment, I did find it helpful in my Legal Research and Writing course as well as the papers I wrote in upper years. It has also been useful in practice - in fact, I keep it on my desk (not my bookshelf!) and I still refer to it every now and then for a refresher. I expect there will be quite a few people who disagree, but in my experience this is true. Many older lawyers are extremely antagonistic and will squabble over minute details. Younger lawyers almost always have a more collaborative approach, but there are some young sharks out there that will take advantage of this (e.g. taking advantage of professional courtesies such as an extension of a deadline, but not granting the same in turn). This is also a problem in law firm management and your career development. By and large, lawyers (and litigators in particular) are aggressive, argumentative people. They are also usually highly intellectual, extremely detail-oriented and either very confident or very insecure. This means that they can be terrible managers. Most larger firms seem to be making efforts to take a more professional management approach, but the fact remains that if you develop an antagonistic relationship with the wrong partner, your future at the firm can be capped even with support from elsewhere in the firm. Then, on the other hand, there are also many lawyers that are very kind, understanding people. It just so happens that the more problematic types are the ones that seem to attain positions of power (whether formal or informal).
  6. Drinking water in the courtroom

    I always bring water with me to court, mediations, case management conferences, etc. Most courts will have a pitcher of water for any specially scheduled hearings, but not necessarily for chambers or docket court, so I always bring my own just in case. I haven't had a single comment about this, and it seems to be standard practice amongst other lawyers here. For anything in the morning that isn't actual court (i.e. case management, pre-trial, mediation, etc.) I'll bring my coffee too, but always in a nondescript, sealable travel mug. I know several lawyers that bring coffee into court, but I usually just get a good hit before going.
  7. Saadati v Moorhead, 2017 SCC 28

    What are you getting at here? It's pretty common for lawyers to have experience with particular judges. I know a lot of lawyers who are familiar with various judges and will tailor their submissions to suit a particular judge's style or preferences when they know who they will be appearing before. In this case, Justice Brown was a lawyer, law professor, Queen's Bench judge, and Court of Appeal judge. There's got to be hundreds, if not thousands, of lawyers that have dealt with him before and know his approach to the law.
  8. Not that I ever had any doubt you were legitimate in-house counsel, but if I ever had such doubt, this would have ended it! This reminds me of another issue - having to justify bills. I'm pretty conscientious about my timekeeping and reporting, and while clients have on occasion questioned bills, I have (with one exception) always been able to answer their questions and get paid in full. The exception was on a file in which I was defending a sub-$30k claim against a large corporation. The in-house counsel questioned every single time entry I made over a period of three months. Rather than waste a bunch of time going through dozens of time entries and associated records on the file (emails, notes of calls and meetings, etc.) I simply offered a reduction in the bill of $500, which I thought was a fair estimate of the amount it would take to review and respond. He accepted without further comment. Afterwards, I realized that this may have just been a tactic to reduce the bill, rather than a legitimate concern with any of the actual time entries or the bill overall. Every lawyer has to have a point at which the effort to respond in substance is not worth the time, and raising a ton of issues across many time entries significantly increases the effort involved in responding. Since then, I always defend my bills in full on the rare occasions they get questioned, even if it's not worth it from an immediate cost-benefit analysis on that file. I don't want my clients expecting to be able negotiate every bill down.
  9. staying motivated

    I think this is incredibly common, and is an issue for me at times as well. For me a huge motivator is spending time with people who are motivated and enthusiastic about law themselves. CPD events are great for this. I almost always feel more motivated after going to a CPD event, especially bigger ones (like a day or more, as opposed to just a lunch seminar). Student events are often good for this as well, because students are usually super enthusiastic. Reading caselaw and commentary also helps, as it revives the academic interest that made law interesting to me in the first place. Spending time with clients in person is also a motivator, whether in the context of an ongoing file, some kind of marketing event, or socially. I find that associating a real person that you've met in person with the email address or voice on the telephone is a good motivator. Rather than working for a faceless corporation, you're helping Kim deal with an important issue. I also find I'm more motivated at work when I feel like I'm doing well in my personal life. If I'm taking care of myself (e.g. working out, eating right, taking time for personal interests/hobbies, putting effort into my personal relationships) I am happier at work and I do a better job. I don't have to do everything on the list to feel more motivated at work - it's cumulative.
  10. I'm sure most people who have worked in private practice are familiar with this issue. As a rule, clients want to know what is going on with their files, as well as what you are billing them for. Fair enough - I would too if I was paying somebody hundreds of dollars an hour. Moreover, reporting requirements can serve as a motivator for a lawyer to keep a file moving, and specific timekeeping requirements can make a lawyer consider their time more carefully. However, in some cases I think reporting and timekeeping requirements go so far as to be counterproductive. In my experience this is particularly the case with insurance companies and other large organizations that are regularly involved with litigation. For example, I've had numerous smaller insurance and collections files where the initial budgeting, reporting, etc. (using the clients' extremely detailed templates) took as much time as the initial file review, fact investigation, and completion of pleadings. Is it really worth it to spend a couple grand on reporting for a minor insurance file in Small Claims? What does that accomplish? Honestly, for selfish purposes I don't mind these reporting requirements because a few extra billable hours don't hurt when your hours billed are an important component of your evaluation and bonus. However, I really don't think the client gets any value out of this added work. They're making me work more (and paying for that work) in order to have a complicated template filled out every 30 days that says "we need more information" or "there is nothing new to report at this time" or, quite often, just a repeat of what I told them via informal reporting previously. In some cases, I've even had the mandatory reporting get in the way of the substantive work (e.g. trying to get a defence finalized on an insurance file, but the adjuster couldn't approve it to go out until they had received the initial reporting on the file). Similar is the client that continuously calls and emails to ask questions, ask for updates, and provide ideas, then turns around a month later to ask why so much money was spent on telephone conversations and correspondence. I'm always careful to explain that costs increase proportionally to the level of client involvement, but many clients (particularly small business owners with little experience with litigation) seem to want to be in constant communication. Then there are the timekeeping requirements. Normally, if a client doesn't have a specific timekeeping policy, I will have a single time entry per file per day, and I will include everything I do in that day in that one time entry (often called a "stacked entry"). It might look something like this: Some clients refuse to allow stacked time entries like this, so for such a client each of those items would be a separate entry. But due to billing in 6-minute increments, this means that each additional time entry potentially means an additional 0.1.This means that the 3.4 hour time entry above could turn into 3.8 hours when done as individual time entries: This is a wasteful policy for clients to have. Or, in some cases it's just not worth it to keep track of every single sub-task, and I will just make a more general time entry: Now, that's not very useful, is it? But this is what these policies encourage. Would anyone else like to complain about onerous or counterproductive reporting or timekeeping requirements? I'm sure there's got to be some stories out there.
  11. Entrance Scholarships

    I think it must be included in the determination. My GPA was on the lower end (I think it was a little under 80% overall, though my best 2 was considerably better) but my LSAT was pretty good at 164, and I got a decent academic scholarship.
  12. Cold Emails?

    I've received a few cold emails from students, and I've always been willing to meet with them. That said, the emails I've received have expressed specific interest in my area of practice/firm/city, rather than being generic. If I were to receive an obviously generic email, I would probably not be interested. If a student asked something along the lines of your question, I would totally meet with them. Even more likely if it was something like "A wizard has turned you into a whale. Is this awesome Y/N?" If you've met the lawyer at some point (such as a bar association event), mention that of course. I also recommend providing a wide range of availability (like, "I could meet you any time on Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday next week") to make it easier on the lawyer. I agree with both of these quotes. If I get an unexpected call from a number I don't recognize, I will usually just let it go to voicemail and check it later at my convenience. I hate checking voicemails, but not as much as I hate being interrupted by an unexpected phone call. Emails are much more convenient for me to quickly assess and respond to. As a rule, in practice I always use email versus a phone call unless I'm urgently trying to get an answer or I know the conversation will require a lot of back-and-forth. Email is both more efficient and more convenient. It is MUCH faster for me to read something than to listen to it, and I can type almost as fast as I can speak. I also like having the option to take the time to consider my response, which is obviously the case with email but much less so over the phone.
  13. Factum Exhibits as Public Record

    If the documents were referred to as exhibits of a given affidavit (as indicated in how you say the factum described them), they should be attached to the affidavit. To get ahold of the affidavit and exhibits, just call the court and ask. I've never had to pull old court records in Ontario, but I have in various other jurisdictions (AB, SK, MB, Federal) and it is usually quite easy. Some courts require you to submit a form and pay a fee for the production of any court records, so be prepared for that. Others will do it simply upon oral request, and only require payment of a fee if you need photocopies. Court staff are usually quite helpful on these matters, so feel free to call and inquire. Also, given that the proceedings finished twelve years ago, the court file is almost certainly in off-site storage and will take some time for the court to dig up. Most courts will require an additional fee to retrieve something from long-term storage. The court staff should be able to tell you how long it will take to produce the documents, and how much it will cost you.
  14. Authors or lawyers?

    Number 6 is a doozy. I've always been a fan of Orwell's approach. My problem is with the more arbitrary rules from guides like Strunk and White's The Elements of Style being treated as inviolable rules of grammar, rather than style advice.
  15. Authors or lawyers?

    I agree with this, and pretty much everything maximumbob, Hegdis, and Diplock said. To answer the OP from my own perspective, I believe my functional and professional writing has vastly improved, while my creative writing has suffered. I feel like I have learned the science and forgotten the art, but I am working on that. As noted by others above, legal submissions have rules and conventions, and straying from them can cause serious problems. As you get feedback from professors, instructors, and more senior lawyers once in practice, your mastery of mechanics will likely become considerably better. However, in the legal profession I have seen slavish adherence to rules of writing set down in style guides with counterproductive results. I have been told to "correct" things that were in fact not errors at all. Also, as you read legal writing, you will pick up stock phrases and styles that aren't necessarily good writing, but are common practice in the profession. I have always been a strong creative and academic writer, and I was an English major before going to law school. After I started law school, creative writing fell by the wayside and I only picked it up again in the past two years or so. When I returned to it and started trying to write a novel, I found my prose barren, clinical, and stilted. My dialogue was realistic but uninteresting. My scenes flowed logically and conveyed all the necessary facts, but not the intended emotion and impressions. Overall, my post-law writing is functional but lifeless. In contrast, my pre-legal career writing was powerful and intense, albeit occasionally on the purple side, with imagery and characters that stuck with readers after the fact. In my creative writing I have struggled to find a place in between - not so flowery and melodramatic as my more youthful writing, but with more personality and life than my first efforts when I returned to creative writing after my foray into law. That said, my experience may differ from the more senior lawyers or those more closely involved with clients, as most of my writing day-to-day has been very objective and factual, such as research memos to partners or reporting to clients. As a litigator there are opportunities for creative persuasive writing on occasion, but the written submissions I usually do are on relatively narrow legal issues in the context of dry commercial disputes. I suppose if I learn to turn those submissions into something human, I would have no problem writing quality fiction again. I think I'll take a tip from Diplock - I need to put more thought into what I write, and think of all my writing as practice. On this forum, reddit, and other places online, I tend to dash things off very quickly with little thought to style. In informal writing like this I know I tend to abuse parentheses, commas, and dashes to interject thoughts inside of thoughts (inside of thoughts). I also seem to favour run-on sentences and parallel structure errors.
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