Paralegals’ Only News Source – Oct. 21

  • Supreme Court Canada Agenda for October 2014
  • Video of oral arguments in Supreme Court on R v Conception – from Addario Law Group – Mental Health Court orders and the Charter
  • Vancouver Sun legal columnist on LSBC Benchers’ Trinity Western referendum decision
  • Human Rights: Settlement includes improving prescription information for people with vision loss
  • No legal businesses — yet: Blitz finds nearly half of companies with interns break law
  • Trinity Western University grad cries discrimination from non-Christian Norsemen
  • When does off-duty conduct become an employer’s problem?
  • Transgender rights bill opposed by Harper may be sidelined in Senate
  • Can domestic abuse victims qualify as refugees? Comment on A-R-C-G et al
  • Great list of resources offered at Law Society & Law Association Libraries in Ontario: CDLPA
  • LSUC probes stymied by heavy caseloads and gag rule, ex-auditor tells The Star
  • Human Rights Commission on settlement, challenges municipalities to respect human rights in zoning
  • I now pronounce thee charged: Southwestern Ontario woman charged with pretending to solemnize marriage without lawful authority

Weekly Poll – Paralegals, Be Heard!

Tell Us What You REALLY Think – in the weekly SCOPE Poll

This week’s poll is about the duty to report — Has fear of reprisal prevented you from reporting licensees for conduct or competency issues?

Vote in the poll and let your voice be heard.

Poll for week of Oct. 20 – and results from past polls


Connecting: CanLII Summaries & Commentaries

CanLII Connects is a free collection of summaries and commentaries on Canadian case law. This free resource includes decisive and persuasive cases that are relevant to the paralegal scope of practice. Contributions are accepted from those with a demonstrated capacity for legal analysis. Recent CanLII reported cases and contributions to CanLII Connects include:

  • Criminal law: “Disposing dead body of a child” — R v Levkovic 2014 ONSC 5544
  • How not to fire a dependent contractor: Wyman v. Kadlec, 2014 ONSC 4710 (CanLII)
  • NS Courts on production of electronic information: 2014 NSCA 7
  • Burning issue? Dispute over the zoning of a crematorium – 2014 BCCA 335

Photo: LSUC

Photo: LSUC

Stay informed about paralegal governance. An educated community is a strong community, armed with facts to combat mischief and misinformation.

Convocation is the “board of governors” of the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC). Created by an act of the Legislative Assembly in 1797, the Law Society governs Ontario’s lawyers and paralegals in the public interest. It ensures that the people of Ontario are served by lawyers and paralegals who meet high standards of learning, competence and professional conduct. Five paralegals are members, known as “benchers.”

Reports, information and recommendations from several committees and working groups were presented to Convocation, Sept. 24. Information of interest to paralegals includes:

Paralegal Rules Changes Oct. 1
Tribunal Committee
Paralegal Standing Committee
Professional Regulation Committee
Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee
Feature Articles
Osgoode Professional Development, a leader in professional legal education, is offering a unique new opportunity for paralegals: an intensive four-day certificate program that includes three of the main paralegal forums.

The first Osgoode Certificate in Handling Provincial Offences Court, Small Claims Court & Landlord and Tenant Board Matters program starts Sat. Nov. 29.

Insights, strategies & tips for Small Claims, Provincial Offences, Landlord & Tenant representation for legal professionals
This certificate program was developed especially for paralegals and lawyers, as well as other professionals and legal educators who would benefit from having a working knowledge of these areas. Over four Saturdays in November, December, January and February, the program provides legal professionals with practical insights and strategies for appearing in three key forums within the Paralegal Scope of Practice.

The learning modules blend lectures, case studies and class discussion, emphasizing the practical, hands-on application. An evaluation component offers registrants an opportunity to apply knowledge gained in the first three modules by participating in various in-class exercises led by a group of expert facilitators.


Not Your Grandfather’s Law Office – Altering the Future of Law

If the game changes, should the rules stay the same?

Technology and other pressures have changed the way consumers look for, use, and pay for, legal services. Yet, regulations for licensed providers have not changed much over the past 20 years. Changing business structures could spur innovation, give clients what they want, and protect the public – or erode public confidence, kill off traditional law firms, and open wide the legal profession doors to rogues.

Online self-help explosion demonstrates unmet need, creates client service opportunity that regulated licensees cannot readily meet, and poses a risk to an unwary public
These issues are central to discussions and debates before the Law Society of Upper Canada, as it gathers input for a possible update to the way legal businesses operate in Ontario.

The Professional Regulation Committee presented an Alternative Business Structures (ABS) Working Group paper, for information, at the Sept. 24 Convocation. Titled, “Alternative Business Structures and the Legal Profession in Ontario: A Discussion Paper,” the report will be published on the Law Society website, along with ways to comment on the four ABS models being considered.


Scope-of-Practice Tips & Information

Writing in October? Practise Exam Could Help

A new online resource from a familiar name could help paralegal Candidates to feel more confident and prepared as they head into the examination room. Emond Montgomery Publications, widely regarded as one of Canada’s leading academic law publishers, has developed a timed practise exam for paralegal Candidates. It includes 60 questions that mimic the Ontario Paralegal Licensing Exam.

“Not only did it help me, it also made a big difference to know that I can take a prep test from a source I trust. Thank you very much for making this available.”

~ Paralegal Licensing Exam Candidate

Reflecting the format and content of the Ontario Paralegal Licensing Exam, the online practise exam assesses a student’s knowledge of the Paralegal Rules of Professional Conduct, Paralegal Professional Conduct Guidelines, the Law Society Act and By-Laws, and the Bookkeeping Guide for Paralegals.

More than 90% of Candidates who offered feedback after the August examination said the EMP practise exam was helpful. “Taking the test helped me focus my studying on areas I wasn’t too sharp on, and calmed my nerves,” said one who used the tool to prepare.

Paralegal Resources & Information Sources

Go Virtual, With Lawfactory

Working from home by choice, or saving on overhead costs when just starting out… a new service provides virtual legal practice management solutions.

Paralegal Al Ricci, a former technology executive, started Lawfactory with one goal in mind: make it easier for solo and small practitioners to leverage technology so they can spend more time with clients, while keeping expenses down. The new business launches Sept. 2.

“Technology, when implemented effectively and efficiently, can have a real impact on a person’s access to justice,” Ricci noted.

After a 17-year career in software and productivity solutions, Ricci returned to school in 2012 to pursue his interest in the law. Even before he graduated, Ricci saw the need for a service that combines the cost-saving features of virtual office space with leading technology solutions.

Leverage technology & turnkey practice management productivity solutions, to serve clients from anywhere, any time, on any budget
“The idea for Lawfactory arose from the need to simplify the often-daunting task solo or small legal practitioners face when starting a practice, and to help a solo or small practitioner already in practice, to maximize their operational efficiencies,” Ricci says. “By delivering secured cloud-base communication and productivity solutions paralegals and lawyers can leverage our platform to manage their practice.”

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