Archive for the ‘professional’ Category

UPDATED: Put Me In Coach, I’m Ready to Play (Lawyer)

December 16, 2013

Did I make the team?

Over at, Professor Julie MacFarlane proposes a solution to the vexing problem of “self-represented litigants (SRL’s”) in a post entitled: “Lawyers Coaching SRLs in “Self-Advocacy”? Why This Paradoxical Proposition Deserves Your Serious Consideration“.  Essentially, Professor MacFarlane, drawing upon her recent 2011-12 study and responses to the National Self-Represented Litigants Project , proposes a “Lawyer-Coach” model to stem the rising tide of “self-advocacy” within the Canadian legal system. MacFarlane writes,

How SRLs want help

SRLs want help – that is loud and clear. On-line resources get them part of the way – sometimes. But they want face-to-face help too.

Almost all of them say that they want lawyers. But they cannot afford to use a lawyer for every step of their case.

They want help to be effective self-advocates.

Crazy – or Adapting to Reality?

OK, so there is something paradoxical about lawyers assisting people to do the work that they would ordinarily charge them to do for them. The irony is that the profession now needs to consider this possibility in order to retain public legitimacy, as well as to enable the justice system to be more functional (more of this below).

Some lawyers will take the view that encouraging individuals to self-advocate is irresponsible and that our energy should be directed at bringing these SRLs “back into the fold” of full-on legal representation. While this sentiment may be coming from a good place, here is the reality – unless those same lawyers are willing to cut the cost of their services at least in half, or support a tax system that hugely expands legal aid, that it not going to happen.

And even then – if we can imagine either eventuality – there will be an appetite for saving costs. Whether this is self-advocacy, outsourcing, or access to para-legals, it’s all going in the same direction. The age of passive deference to professional advice is over. And a lawyer-coach model opens up the possibility of a lawyer/client partnership of the sort that so many personal and commercial clients now expect.

I am not entirely clear on what the “age of passive deference to professional advice” means. If I retain an accountant to give me professional tax advice, I do not offer up my opinions on how best to avoid or, heaven forfend, evade paying my taxes. The same holds true if I consult with my doctor about performing surgery under general anesthetic. It’s a given that I will defer to the person with the medical degrees hanging on their office wall. (more…)

Yaniv Roznai, “Revolutionary Lawyering? On Lawyers’ Social Responsibilities and Roles during a Democratic Revolution”

August 14, 2013

Yaniv Roznai (Ph.D. Candidate, London School of Economics – Law Department) has posted “Revolutionary Lawyering? On Lawyers’ Social Responsibilities and Roles during a Democratic Revolution”, Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal, Vol. 22, No. 2, 2013. Here’s the abstract:

Do lawyers have any social responsibilities during a revolution? If so, what are they? Does the lawyer hold any special roles in revolutionary times? This article discusses these questions, which raise thorny theoretical and practical dilemmas. According to the article, revolutions in the Western world and the legal profession are linked. Therefore, the article describes the historical role lawyers have played in the great revolutions which have created stable liberal traditions based on the idea of “rights”: The Glorious English Revolution of 1688-1689 and the American and French Revolutions of the end of the 18th century. Moreover, the article deliberates on the characteristics of lawyers which support conservatism and oppose revolutions and vice versa. It then presents the conflicting duties which are imposed upon lawyers during revolutions. On the one hand, the lawyer has an obligation to preserve the legal order and the rule of law. This obligation may entail a duty to act in a counter-revolutionary manner. On the other hand, the lawyer has obligations to improve the legal system and to promote the rule of law. These may entail actions which support the revolutionary values or goals, especially in a democratic revolution. Lastly, the article considers the practical role of lawyers during a revolution, inter alia, in public speaking and assisting in drafting the basic documents of the new legal order. Even in times of revolutions that seek to collapse the existing legal order, the legal milieu is of great importance. The revolutionary lawyer plays a significant role in preserving and creating the temporary, transitional and new legal orders. According to the article, the participation of lawyers in a revolution strongly influences the legitimacy of the existing legal order and necessarily the legitimacy of the revolution itself.

A copy of the paper is available for download via SSRN here.

Twitter’s No Place For A Lawyer With An “Aggressive and Zealous Attitude”

April 23, 2013

Image via

Via the Toronto Star:

A Toronto criminal lawyer’s Twitter account has sparked outrage online after several offensive tweets were posted in the wake of the Boston bombing.

The tweets were sent last week from Twitter account @Dasilvalaw, which has since been deleted, though several retweets can still be found online.

“I pray for the suspects. May they slay the police army of satan. Death to all police!” reads one posting sent from @Dasilvalaw. Other tweets from that account contained vitriolic responses to offended Twitter users, including “am praying that u get violently raped. May cancer be upon u.!!!”

The lawyer, David Da Silva, 34, said in an emailed response sent Monday to the Star that he is “not the author of any such tweets.”

Asked in a follow-up email if his account had been hacked, the defence lawyer said he is “having this matter investigated at this time.”

Lawyer Nadia Liva, who sent an email to the Star saying she is acting as his counsel, said he is “very concerned” and “we are currently investigating the tweets, which were not authored by Mr. Da Silva.”

I don’t know Da Silva, either personally or professionally, but his website bio is generic: (more…)

Stercus accidit redux

April 10, 2013

Image via The Richmond Court Reporter

Uh-oh. Looks like someone forgot to check their calendar or set the alarm.

In CIARCIA, et al. v. JORGE ANEZ  DAGER, et al. (Fla. 3rd DCA) (12-2565), (per  Suarez and Logue, JJ., and Schwartz, Senior Judge), the Florida Third District Court of Appeal affirmed and offered a wry reminder of the consequences:

Affirmed. See Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Aristo Mortg., LLC, 38 Fla. L. Weekly D663, D663-64 (Fla. 3d DCA Mar. 20, 2013) (“At the risk of viewing professional courtesy through rose-colored glasses, we can also recall a day when counsel appearing without opposition for a hearing on an obviously-contested matter . . . would first place a telephone call to opposing counsel to confirm that some personal emergency or postal glitch had not occurred.”).

In a comment to Mark Bennett’s recent post “Mea Maxima Culpa” about  Mark forgetting to show up for a law school guest lecture”, Scott Greenfield offers some sound advice to us all:

While it’s true that ster­cus accidit, this isn’t the sort of thing one for­gets. Like your wife’s birth­day or your clients’ names, there are things that can’t be for­got­ten. Show­ing up to speak to a law school class is one of those things.

It’s good that you make no excuses and take respon­si­bil­ity for your mis­take, because you are a respon­si­ble guy and this just doesn’t happen.

No Harm, No Foul?

March 14, 2013

Here’s something that made me do a double-take:

[6]          First, the appellant contends that the trial judge erred in relying on evidence given by counsel (Mr. Callahan) during his submissions.

[7]          We do not accept this submission.  Although Mr. Callahan was a named respondent in the application, the appellant consented to his appearance as counsel.  Moreover, on our review of the record, to the extent that Mr. Callahan’s submissions went beyond the record on factual issues, they were not relied on by the application judge.

[12] This is not a case for costs. Although we appreciate that the respondent did not object to Mr. Callahan appearing as counsel either here or below, the reality is that he was a named respondent and that his conduct was central to the factual circumstances giving rise to both the application and this appeal. He should not have appeared as counsel in either forum.

Huh? Did I read that excerpt correctly?

The respondent, a lawyer, appearing as counsel below and before the appeal panel does not constitute a palpable and overriding error?

The reason?

The appellant’s consent?

What about procedural fairness and the court’s inherent jurisdiction in controlling its own process and avoiding bringing the administration of justice into disrepute?

How about the fact that the lawyer is an officer of the court and under the Rules of Professional Conduct owes a duty to uphold the integrity of the legal profession and the public administration of justice by avoiding real or apprehended conflicts of interest?

What about the prohibition against appearing as counsel in one’s own cause?

Ricciuto v. Somers2013 ONCA 153 (Ont. C.A.) per curiam: Doherty, MacPherson and Watt JJ.A.

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