By Brea Lowenberger, Access To Justice Coordinator
University of Saskatchewan, College of Law
On October 19, “A Spotlight on Creating Your Career in the 21st Century: A Panel on Emerging Career Opportunities and New Ways to Practice” will be held at the College of Law. From creating new legal technology and corporate-commercial law billing methods, to systemic innovation and community-based legal aid, four lawyers and justice entrepreneurs will comment on their first year to current career, how they are using their law degree to improve legal service delivery and accessible justice, and what skills and expertise they look for in law students who they want on their team. This panel is inspired by the Canadian Bar Association’s Do Law Differently: Futures for Young Lawyers Report and recommendations from the Canadian Bar Association’s Reaching Equal Justice Report. Visit cba.org for more information.
The Law Society would also like to highlight two initiatives that allow our members to ‘do law differently’:
Limited scope retainers, also known as limited representation or unbundling of legal services, involves a lawyer taking on discrete tasks or providing representation for one or more aspects of a legal matter without the expectation that the lawyer will represent the client generally, or become the solicitor of record for the client. Over the last few years, the Rules of Court in various Canadian jurisdictions, including the Queen’s Bench Rules of Court for Saskatchewan (the “QB Rules”), have been amended to allow for limited scope legal representation in varying forms. The Code of Professional Conduct also contains rules dealing with limited scope retainers – see 3.2 -1A. The Law Society and the College of Law are currently collaborating on creating a Limited Scope kit for our members.
Did you know that the Law Society of Saskatchewan permits, and in some cases encourages, joint articles? Unlike the traditional articling arrangement, a joint articling placement is served with two approved Principals who agree to share the services of an articling student for the twelve month articling term. Joint articles can be structured a number of ways. For example, it may be proposed that the articling student will work mornings at one employer and afternoons at the other employer, or part of the week at one employer and the rest of the week at the other. The benefits of joint articles are many and varied. In addition to creating new articling positions and the obvious cost sharing benefits, joint articles will allow boutique firms and sole practitioners with limited practice areas or work volume concerns to finally avail the benefits and rewards of taking an articling student. For more information on how your firm can participate in joint articles, please visit the Law Society website or give us a call at (306) 569-8242. Our Bar Admissions staff would be pleased to work with interested parties to structure a joint articling placement.
Faculty at the College of Law are also working on new tools and methodologies aimed at enabling lawyers to “do law differently” – to enhance their practise through early case assessment in litigation and settlement.
Professors Michaela Keet and Heather Heavin Heather presented at the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice (CIAJ) conference on “Civil Justice and Economics” on Wednesday, October 12 in Ottawa, ON. As 2016 Gonthier Fellows, they presented on the topic of “Risk Analysis: A Methodological Approach to Early Case Assessment in Litigation and Settlement.” A systematic risk assessment adds rigour to projections of outcome and cost of litigation and clarity to decisions about whether and how to settle – and yet many lawyers resist formalized assessments, relying instead on vague and qualitative language when discussing “what might happen if this proceeds to trial”. Keet & Heavin review sophisticated risk assessment tools available to today’s lawyer (and their advantages), and propose a “simple, practical framework” for making assessments on the average file. The results of this research project are expected to help lawyers better meet client expectations in today’s justice climate, and raise the bar for informed decision-making inside settlement processes. If you would like more information, contact Professors Keet or Heavin at <email@example.com> and <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Finally, this brings us to a second “sneak-peek” of the Awareness Campaign – “A Spotlight on Saskatchewan Access to Justice Initiatives”, set to launch tomorrow – a CPD opportunity the Court of Queen’s Bench is offering on how lawyers can use the “new” rules of court to conduct efficient litigation.
This unique and important opportunity for lawyers has been spearheaded by The Honourable Chief Justice M.D. Popescul who has the following comments: “A critical component of the ‘Access to Justice’ solution is to teach lawyers how to conduct litigation efficiently so that they can obtain an acceptable result for their client when the other side is unreasonable, unwilling to settle or where one’s legal case is so good that one ought not compromise. This seminar will focus on practical tips from experienced counsel and judges and will include guidance on how the “new” Rules of Court can be used to advantage.” This unique opportunity is being held Tuesday November 1, 2016 in Saskatoon and Thursday, November 3, 2016 in Regina. Lawyers can register here.
If you are a lawyer who engages in unbundling of legal services or doing law differently, please share on Twitter using hashtag #SKA2J2016 or contact the Access to Justice Coordinator, Brea Lowenberger at email@example.com.