courts, law, Law Society of BC, lawyers

Justice Delayed

Since the Attorney General seems determined to create a species of half-trained lawyers and to have them regulated by the Law Society perhaps we ought to examine some of the mechanics of how that might work. Continue reading “Justice Delayed”

courts, divorce, family law, law, lawyers, politics

Herding Cats

There is an old saying that  managing lawyers is just like herding cats: neither likes being managed, herded or told what to do, as the Law Society of BC and the Attorney General discovered last week at the Society’s Annual General meeting, where the lawyers, hissing and scratching all the way, torpedoed the AG’s latest pet project. Continue reading “Herding Cats”

dispruptive technology, law, politics

The Red Flag Act of 2018

Mankind has always had an ambivalent relationship with disruptive technology. Inventive by nature we are constantly coming up with breakthrough ideas then slamming on the brakes out of fear that new technologies may need casualties in their wake.

The first red flag act was passed in the UK in  1865- to deal with the peril of self propelled vehicles or “horseless carriages” as they were sometimes known. Similar legislation was passed in several US states in the 1890s- they were called “red flag” acts, because they required horseless carriages to be accompanied by a flag person waving a red flag to warn others of their approach.

The newest red flag act was introduced by the BC government this month in the form of the Passenger Transportation Amendment Act–  also known as the “Nobble Uber  At All Costs Act”. It is a classic Luddite reaction to the emergence of disruptive technology. The legislation seeks to eliminate all of the unique attributes of ride sharing, such as the ability to tap into casual part-time drivers, and the use of dynamic pricing, and tries to force ride sharing into the old-fashioned taxi business model.

Just as the governments of the day had no success forcing horseless carriages to throttle back to the speed of the horse-drawn carriages they were replacing, I predict that the BC government will not be able to continue to bind the hands of the ride sharing movement for much longer. Frankly, it is an embarrassment that they are attempting to do so.

Big Law, courts, family law, law, lawyers, Legal Aid, pro bono law

Cage Fight!

Next weeks Law Society Annual General meeting is shaping up to be the sort of brawl usually reserved for MMA competitions.

In the first bout, the Benchers of the Society will square off against the family law bar, Continue reading “Cage Fight!”

courts, divorce, family law, law, lawyers, negotiation

Know when to hold em, know when to fold em- why lawyers hair turns grey

I once employed a junior lawyer who had come the law late in life  after a first career in academia. She viewed the practice of  law through a somewhat different lens, as a result of her previous rich and varied life experience. Some of her observations were very shrewd. Continue reading “Know when to hold em, know when to fold em- why lawyers hair turns grey”

courts, divorce, family law, law, lawyers

Why lawyers hair turns grey- Part six of a series

Everybody loves to read a good rant on Facebook- its sorta like reality TV without the cable fees- everybody that is, except your lawyer, who would really, really prefer that you not slag your ex on Facebook, or post mean spirited tweets, or worse yet, drunk dial to leave a vicious voice message – all of which will inevitably end up appended to a court affidavit, and vastly complicate the task of convincing a court that you are a righteous, upstanding  person, in who’s favour a ruling should be made.

In any court case there are actually two parallel disputes afoot. There is the formal, plodding court case itself, which meanders towards a court date and final resolution in accordance with a lengthy set of rules known only to the lawyers involved. That process is intentionally devoid of emotion. It is rules based, and evidence driven.

Then there is the visceral dispute that rages in the minds of the litigants. That’s the dispute where the rage, the betrayal, and the hurt bubble to the surface and keep you awake in the small hours of the morning. That is the dispute that craves retaliation and revenge and drives litigants, unwisely, to their keyboard to lash out at the source of their pain.

Lawyers (allegedly) are humans too, so we understand that there is another battle raging beyond the confines of the court case we are pursuing, that requires the emotional release of a client ‘getting their licks in’ and responding to the taunts of the

Apparently Buddha never actually said “to conquer oneself is a greater victory than to conquer thousands in a battle.”, but he damned well should have- and whispered it into many a clients’ ear before their drunken hands reached for that keyboard! Self discipline does indeed win lawsuits, and the lack of it in a client turns consistently turns lawyers hair grey!

courts, law, lawyers, real estate

Why Lawyers hair turns grey-Part five of a series

Some bits of folk wisdom are so ingrained that it’s impossible to remember where you first heard them- stuff like “always look both ways before stepping off the curb” or “never run with scissors”. So how about you? can you remember when you were first told  “always read it before you sign it!”  was it in grade school? or possibly early high school? -certainly before you ever graduated I’m sure the words “READ BEFORE SIGNING” were seared into your adolescent brain. I would hazard a guess that if you know how to read, you have heard that warning.

So then why is it such a common occurrence for clients to request a document review from a lawyer of a document they’ve already signed? what part of  READ BEFORE SIGNING don’t they understand?

It leads me to think that there must be a widespread misconception making the rounds on the Internet, to the effect that you can always wiggle out of a bad contract, if your lawyer, after the fact, explains that you’ve been hosed. Why else would we be inundated with requests to “hey, could you take a look at this heavy-duty contract I signed last week?-Just in case is anything bad in there?”

Then again, I wonder if the misconception stems from our consumer protection laws, which do stipulate a cooling off period to allow the rescission of certain high pressure door-to-door sales contracts. Possibly our clients believe all contracts have a cooling off period- courtesy of the Nanny State? (-some free legal advice-they don’t!)

Or possibly,  we have all just been numbed into submission by the daily barrage of contracts of adhesion to which we are subjected – you want to rent the car, or book the hotel room, or access the website – then sign the contract, or click “I Agree”- no sense reading it, its not negotiable. I confess, I have been caught that way myself, with some sneaky wording in a gym membership which I hadn’t read ( although I successfully pled insanity – after all- what sane person pays good money to get sweaty?)

Whatever the root cause, there are an inordinate number of people out there blithely signing important, (and otherwise negotiable) contracts, for things like home and business purchases, or commercial leases, even separation agreements, without bothering to read  or understand them.

The unpleasant task of explaining to a client that they have been very foolish, but could have averted disaster if only they  had sought advice  before signing is just one of the things that make a lawyer hair turn grey.