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Monday, August 20, 2012


The Canadian Bar Association has launched three efforts aimed at improving access to justice, assisting the legal profession to prepare for the future, and helping law firms measure diversity.

“These projects centre on a vision for justice and how that can be achieved,” said outgoing CBA president Trinda Ernst.

“The initiatives are at the heart of what the CBA is all about and will enhance our association’s offering both to members and to the public.”

As part of the new efforts, the CBA’s access to justice committee will look at the legal needs of low- and middle-income people, how the profession can do its part to improve access to justice while keeping governments accountable, and how to assess the viability of the current legal system.

It will also take part in a national summit on access to justice and provide regular reports and updates on its web site.

Other activities include a study on the current legal environment, shifts in client demands, and how to train the next generation of lawyers.

Lawyers, academics, regulators, judges, and consumers of legal services will conduct the study.

In addition, the CBA will create an online guide for measuring diversity at law firms to help them assess their performance on that issue.


The results of the latest online Law Times poll are in.

Forty-eight per cent of respondents said it might be appropriate to reveal a client’s HIV status.

The comments follow a Law Times article that discussed R. v. Butt.

The decision in the recent criminal case included the judge’s comments on a defence lawyer who disclosed her client’s HIV status to the court.

The judge praised her for doing so. The lawyer’s actions led to HIV testing of a 12-year-old victim and the discovery that he wasn’t HIV positive.


More than one in 10 Canadian law firms earn half of their total annual income from inbound referrals, a new survey by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell shows.

According to the results, 55 per cent of Canadian law firms surveyed that earn at least 20 per cent of their total annual income from inbound referrals get new business from other firms in the same province, territory or city.

The survey found the referrals often occur for litigation, arbitration or dispute resolution, real estate law, and general corporate work.

“Even from these headline results, it is clear that revenue via referrals from other lawyers is very important for many law firms,” said Canadian Bar Association chief executive officer John Hoyles.

“In the continued challenging economic climate, they help to provide firms with welcome support to help achieve new business targets when other sources of new business are more static.”

The survey took place between February and March 2012. It was released on Aug. 12 at the CBA’s Canadian legal conference in Vancouver.


Some members of the public are receiving counterfeit Legal Aid Ontario cheques as part of a mystery shopper scam, LAO is reporting.

Some members of the public who have applied for a job as a mystery shopper or customer service evaluator are receiving counterfeit LAO cheques for their work in the amount of $3,991.17.

LAO said in a statement the cheques are fake and people shouldn’t cash them.

It’s not clear at this time how many members of the public are victims of the scam.

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Law Times Poll

Lawyers have expressed concerns that of 38 justices of the peace the province appointed this summer, only 12 have law degrees. Do you think this is an issue?