Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Canadian Bar Association on "The Future of Legal Services"

With our Toronto Risk Roundtable taking place today, timing is right to highlight the Canadian Bar's latest update in its Legal Futures Initiative: " As part of our multi-phase project, we have conducted extensive research and analysis to understand the current legal environment in order to identify and understand what’s driving changes in the legal marketplace."

The report is now live: "The Future of Legal Services in Canada: Trends and Issues," and touches on issues facing multiple geographies --
  • "The challenges brought on by globalization and technology will also affect the regulation and oversight of the legal profession. Developments such as multi-jurisdictional practices (MJP) will require more cooperation and harmonization, nationally and internationally. Law firm ownership by non-lawyers will raise professional and regulatory questions regarding competence, conflicts of interest, confidentiality, independence, and fidelity to law and other related issues."
  • "There is increased thinking about achieving better regulatory outcomes by focusing on enhancing the 'ethical infrastructures' of law firms. This would prevent misconduct before the fact, rather than meting out punishment after the fact as a result of client complaints. While penalties to individual lawyers may be appropriate, law firms themselves also play a role either directly or indirectly."
  • "Choosing to adopt the newest forms of technology may not be an option for most lawyers and firms in the future. An entire generation has expectations that service providers will conduct business in a way to which they have become accustomed – quickly, directly, and online. One issue that must be considered are new standards for privacy, generally thought to be lower among younger people. This change may challenge established rules for older lawyers and more traditional law firms and legal organizations in areas such as client confidentiality and privilege."

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