Pacific Legal Technology Webinar Series (PLTW)

An overview of the PLTW series, by Chair, Michael McCubbin

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Earlier this year, I had the very distinct honour of being approached by the Trial Lawyers’ Association to chair the Pacific Legal Technology Webinar series (formerly the biennial Pacific Legal Technology Conference – the “PLTC” and not to be confused with the Law Society’s PLTC) in David Bilinsky’s place. Big shoes to fill, indeed, but the process has been much smoother than I expected.

I have been a faculty member of a few seminars in the past, including the PLTC, but chairing such a one was a first for me. Fortunately, I had superb guidance from Erin Monahan, the Education Director at the TLABC. I also benefited from the network that David had in place having run the PLTC for several years as well as a planning committee including counsel, support staff, and one member of the court of appeal. Many hands make light work and credit for the new seminar’s success should be shared widely. Really, I could not have imagined a more determined group that got along so constructively.

This year, the PLTC converted to a series of seven lunch-hour webinars instead of a single-day in-person conference coupled with a live webinar. Each webinar is comprised of 2-3 speakers presenting on a specific topic for about an hour, followed by a sponsor-demonstration and Q&A. I am pleased to say that attendance at the first webinar was roughly the same as what we had at earlier in-person sessions.

The series imagines a hypothetical lawyer wanting to “go paperless” but not knowing where to start. This lawyer needs a fundamental grounding in available solutions but also wants to exploit some of the tangible benefits of more advanced technology and software (FYI: software is called “apps” these days). So, early webinars are very basic but later ones progress to more nuanced topics, such as data security and artificial intelligence.

From that fundamental knowledge gained early in the series, the lawyer is equipped to follow later, more specific and complex presentations. This way, “newbies” can start early, and counsel with more developed knowledge and experience can jump into those specific sessions of interest to them.

Why is this webinar series important? A few reasons:

  1. The subject matter transcends individual practice areas and firm cultures. Xennials and millennials are becoming lawyers and partners in firms big and small. They want to practice and live differently. More importantly, they’re also becoming clients, which means their expectations will be drastically different from our parents’ generation.
  2. We are on the cusp of a computational move forward in how law is practiced. While most law firms have made or are beginning the transition from an analog to a digital practice, artificial intelligence will be increasingly common in the near term (that’s the “computational” move). I venture to say that it will have as important an impact on the practice of law as Henry Ford did on the manufacturing process. Legal research and document review will be much cheaper and more efficient. Outcome predicting software (err, sorry – “apps”) will drive more cases toward settlement, probably much earlier in the process. All this will free up court time, improve access to justice, and improve the value clients derive from our work. That is part of the reason we have pushed so hard to have things like AI and task automation included as topics.
  3. There are many technologies available that can improve lawyers’ quality of life by making the practice cheaper and more efficient. Our profession has embarrassingly high rates of burnout, poor job satisfaction, and substance abuse problems. In this respect, technology is a liberating ally and not something to be feared.
  4. In many ways, the quality of the debate around legal technology is poor and uninformed. Yes, data breaches occur. But what is the risk and the consequences? Who are the targets? What are the methods of attack? Is it safer than entrusting a binder of documents to a bike courier you’ve never met? Is it less safe? For that reason, we have included experts in the field who can shed light on this evolving and dynamic issue.

I’ll be following up soon with another blog post to talk more about how this new series is progressing. In the interim, please don’t be shy to give me a call or an email with any questions, suggestions, or feedback.

mike@whitecaplegal.ca               @McCubbinLaw                whitecaplegal.ca

 

Upcoming PLTW Programs:

Friday December 8th 2017
PLTW: Practical Software Tips for a Digital Practice
Webinar Sponsor: Heuristica Discovery Counsel
Presented by Chilwin Cheng & Jeremy Hessing-Lewis
12:00 – 1:30 pm, 1.5 CPD Credits
Click here to register

Friday February 9th 2018
PLTW: Practical Advice for Conducting Electronic Discovery 
Webinar Sponsor: Tracy Ayling, Litigation Support Consultant
Presented by Michel Conde, Kate Gower & Ann Halkett
12:00 – 1:30 pm, 1.5 CPD Credits

Click here to register

Friday March 9th 2018
PLTW: Artificial Intelligence: Will It Replace Lawyers? 
Webinar Sponsor: i-worx
Presented by Kate Gower, David W. Miller & Thomas Spraggs
12:00 – 1:30 pm, 1.5 CPD Credits

Click here to register

Friday April 13th 2018
PLTW: Everyone’s Got Boundaries:  Essentials on Crossing the Border and Maintaining Data Security
Webinar Sponsor: HUB International
Presented by Ryan Black, Brian Mauch & Solomon Wong
12:00 – 1:30 pm, 1.5 CPD Credits
Click here to register


Friday May 11th 2018
PLTW: 60 Tech Tips in 60 Minutes! 
Webinar Sponsor: Dye and Durham

Presented by Valter Cid, Paul Doroshenko, Nathaniel Russell, Shannon Salter & Euan Sinclair
12:00 – 1:30 pm, 1.5 
CPD Credits
Click here to register

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American Museum of Tort Law: An Important Showcase – (PART 1)

Landmark Tort Cases Highlighted in Little Connecticut
Special Entry for the Verdict, edition #154 – FALL 2017 – By Bentley Doyle

Lawyers and laypeople north and south of the border, make sure to put Winsted, Connecticut on your list of places to visit when embarking on a vacation in New England, and specifically the American Museum of Tort Law. It is far more about people than the profession. As a matter of fact, people are the entire point. The museum would not have been constructed, let alone conceived of, if it weren’t for people and those who care about protecting them and preserving their right to justice.

It was the first stop on a seven-day swing through Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maine. This was not incidental. We flew to Hartford, then by design drove our rental car north to Winsted, setting off a great journey that began with a look at the importance of law and the enormous ways it has shaped society.

On this day, our day, my brother Dave and I were fortunate to meet both the museum’s Director of Engagement, Joan Bowman, and the Executive Director, Richard Newman (a past-president of the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association). It was a thrill to chat with them and to find out we have some mutual acquaintances scattered throughout the United States, primarily due to our experiences as members and associates of the US-based National Association of Trial Lawyer Executives (NATLE) and the American Association for Justice (AAJ). Richard had recently been in Boston for AAJ’s annual general meeting and summer convention, an event I’ve participated at several times, mainly as a member of NATLE. But, even closer to home, i.e. to the American Museum of Tort Law, we have a connection in common to the museum’s creator, consumer advocate Ralph Nader, famed for being the author of Unsafe at Any Speed – an expose of the deadly dangers of the Corvair automobile, and internationally renowned for his life’s work of holding reckless corporations accountable for the products they create. He is also a former candidate for the US Presidency (and wouldn’t that be a great thing right now, a time when more than ever the US needs a good, smart and thoughtful person in the White House).

Nader is famous for what he has done throughout the past 50 years, but it was events 20 years ago that made things personal for me. We – the Trial Lawyers Association of BC – brought Mr. Nader to British Columbia three times due to a big battle in our province to oppose no-fault auto insurance. The first two occasions had him making public appearances and doing media interviews to counter the spin created by proponents of no-fault back in that day. Nader was then – as he has demonstrated many times before and since – simultaneously brilliant and selfless. He warned of the dehumanizing effects of no-fault insurance, a scheme he said treated people like property rather than as human beings.

I had the honour of driving Mr. Nader to and from events in and around Vancouver, including picking him up at the airport with a highly enthused team of TLABC reps along for the ride. I was terrified, of course. I mean, being a young-in at the wheel chauffeuring the sophisticated author of 1965’s Unsafe at Any Speed… well, it certainly wasn’t sans stress, albeit the experience was also exhilarating. The third time Nader came to Vancouver was to join us in celebrating the defeat of no-fault plans that had been threatening to upend the legal rights of individuals. That occasion was 20 years ago this August. I was honoured to drive him back to the airport, just him and I in the car, and I handed him a personal card of thanks when we parted. It is remarkable to be in the presence of a man with so much professional success to his name and to see him also be so humble. The Nader experience that year had another highlight. He had asked us, in advance of arriving, to set up a speaking engagement for him to make a presentation to the law students at the University of British Columbia. The school’s faculty of law was happy to oblige, of course. The room was packed, as you’d expect. A few of us from TLABC had the good fortune of being on hand for this special event. Nader’s passion for legal efforts conducted for public good was never more clear than on this day. He spoke with larger-than-life enthusiasm, wisdom, grace and humour. His prior efforts in sounding warnings against no-fault had been superb, no question, but this occasion was a convergence of everything he stood for and still stands for to this day. He had the time and the perfect place to talk about the importance of tort law. It was majestic. The law students were spellbound.

Today, with the American Museum of Tort Law that he created now two years old, Mr. Nader continues to lead America as a voice for safety, fairness and accountability. An American gem – the man and his museum.

For certain, the museum does justice to justice. If you get your chance, a couple hours there will do it justice. Lawyers, you will be even prouder of your noble profession. Laypeople, you will gain an understanding of why tort law and the principle of accountability are both so relevant to your lives.    (Stay tuned for PART 2)

More to come… stay tuned for our next post!

@tla_bc

Perspective: TLABC New Lawyers Retreat

We think it’s important to get some perspective, from time-to-time, on our events and programs from the people they are designed to benefit the most… our members!

Recently, we held our inaugural New Lawyers Retreat in Squamish, BC and from all accounts, it was a huge success!  Set up as a mentorship weekend, TLABC hosted a group of new lawyers and seasoned veterans for an outdoor adventure retreat.

One of the new lawyer committee representatives, Alexia Majidi, shares her account of this awesome event.

“The first ever New Lawyers Retreat this year was nothing short of a true success!

From the mentors, the speakers, and the general collegial atmosphere, everything was just great. Friday night was an opportunity for everyone to meet and to socialize in a more comfortable setting than what we are all used to back in the office. It was a chance for everyone to loosen up and get to know one another before getting down to business on Saturday morning.

Saturday, we all slowly made our way to the conference hall and sat back and listened to some of the greatest in our profession. Barb Cornish and Mary-Ellen Boyd gave us vital insight into a successful mediation, while The Honourable Madam Justice Lisa Warren gave us her “Top DOs and DON’Ts in the Courtroom.” As a new call, there is nothing more valuable than getting these sorts of tips straight from the top!

Later we broke into smaller groups and had a chance to ask general questions, like work-life balance and the key to a successful practice, from amazing mentors. Once the educational part of the retreat was over we all headed off on our Squamish adventures. Once back from the adventures, we got together for a BBQ and beverages before we headed off into town, finding ourselves belting karaoke tunes with (TLABC President,) Aseem, at The Chief!

I am already looking forward to planning and attending next years’ retreat! It was the perfect way to learn, meet great mentors, and to enjoy ourselves with some of the most humble and brilliant minds that make up the BC Bar today.” 

 Alexia Majidi
TLABC Member/Lawyer – Jiwa Law Corporation

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Hit the Ground Running

 

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Well, we’re back.

It’s fall, it’s busy, and we are ready to hit the ground running!

“There’s a feeling in the air when summer fades and fall begins… that back-to-school ‘something’ that is crisp and busy and smells like falling leaves and hot apple pie.  Warm afternoons turn into cool, dark evenings and calendars fill up again with meetings, fundraising and campaign strategy…”  [from the upcoming issue of the Verdict – Fall 2016 – Ejack]

Our committees are kicking off new initiatives and projects, our Executive and Board of Governors will meet next week to begin implementing the strategy that arose from our annual Governance Retreat, and the smell of fresh coffee brewing for those early morning meetings permeates TLABC headquarters.

We’ve been examining our goals and planning for the year ahead, but the work has been strategic and internal and now it’s time for action.

In short, Fall hits – and it’s go-time.

Not that summer has been all that quiet around here- we’ve had multiple retreats and conferences going on for the TLABC Staff, the Board & Executive, and some of our campaign committees, (albeit with a few vacation days tacked on.)  We’ve had staff in Los Angeles and Seattle, Washington, Squamish, the Yukon and Osoyoos, and we’ve even be honoured with a couple of awards!

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The National Association of Trial Lawyer Executives (NATLE) has awarded TLABC it’s innaugural Award of Excellence for Publication of the Year for the Verdict, TLABC’s widely recognized magazine. 

NATLE is an organization whose members are chief executives and staff of justice associations throughout North America. Its 67 member associations collectively represent over 60,000 attorneys. 

the Verdict Board:

  • Editorial Board: Candace Cho, Aseem Dosanjh, Ed Good, Bill MacLeod, Dana Quantz, Harmonie Roesch-West, Michael Sporer
  • Publisher: Julia Chalifoux
  • Managing Editor: Carla Terzariol
  • Editor Emeritus: Ken Price
  • Staff Writer: Ben Doyle

As well, the International Association for Continuing Legal Education (ACLEA) has awarded TLABC one of only 21 annual awards granted to competitors representing more than 300 organizations.

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An Award for OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT was given to TLABC for our Medical Legal Conference XIII: Hawaii 2015 – Health and Legal Professionals Working Together as Allies in the Best Program category. 

ACLEA members are professionals in the fields of continuing legal education and legal publishing. Its annual ACLEA’s Best Awards are highly competitive and winning projects represent the highest level of achievement for the staff and volunteers involved.

Project Faculty and Staff: 
•    Mock Trial / Focus Group: Robyn Wishart, The Hon. Mr. Justice Nathan Smith, Marc Kazimirski, Joseph Cahan, Dr. Gwyllyn Goddard, and Christy Pratt.
•    Conference Planning Committee: Derek Miura, Robyn Wishart, Dr. Nairn Stewart, Dr. Mark Frobb, Dr. Douglas Lee & Dr. James Kennedy
•    TLABC Staff: Erin Monahan (Education Director) and Carla Terzariol (Executive Director)

While we’re tooting our horns, we were also named as one of the top 10 legal Twitter accounts last year by Lawsome  – see the original post here.  

Follow us on Twitter @tla_bc

It’s been a busy summer and it’s definitely going to be a busy year, so gear up with us, and let’s make 2016/2017 the most successful year yet!

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Help the BC Courthouse Library!

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CLBC is taking a deep look at how they serve value to their membership and lawyers across the province. This is your chance to have a say! This exercise involves several interviews. To get good representation (year of call, region, etc.), they will be doing a quick (4-5 minutes) intake survey and then short-listing folks for a longer 1-hour Skype, phone or in-person interview. Thank you for your interest!

Please email Audrey Jun at ajun@courthouselibrary.ca  before August 9th, 2016 (next Tuesday!)

Commitment to Justice

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Summer may be just around the corner, but our fiscal year is getting ready to wrap up!

Next week, the Staff, Board of Governors and Executive Committee will be heading to Osoyoos for our Strategic Planning Retreat to discuss the past, present and future of TLABC, and we are excited to keep moving forward.

We are so proud of the strength of our membership – as well as the successful work of our PAC – The Public Affairs Committee.  PAC is what fuels our advocacy work and allows us to stand up to threats to our justice system.

We couldn’t do the work we do without the generous support of our PAC donors – and today, we’d like to specifically acknowledge our high-level firm donors, who show an incredible “Commitment to Justice!”  Thank you.

Champions of Justice:

Diamond:

Platinum:

Would you like to learn more about PAC? Contact megan@tlabc.org or call the TLABC office (604-682-5343) and find out how you can make a “Commitment to Justice!”

Twitter Town Hall with Chief Judge Crabtree

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Tomorrow, the BC Provincial Court is holding an event that is the first of its kind in Canada!

From 1-3pm, Chief Judge Crabtree will be online – tweeting live and answering questions about our provincial justice system, in the first-ever “Twitter Town Hall.”

Hoping to get a valuable discussion started, associations like the CBA (Canadian Bar Association,) the Law Society and ourselves, along with many other colleagues and the community, will be submitting topics and questions to address.  While I’m not sure 2 hours will be enough time to cover every single issue, it is certainly a formidable start!  We need to be talking about our justice system, and our citizens need to know that this dialogue is happening.  In my view, this is not just a new-age initiative to prove that Judge Crabtree can roll with the social media crowd, but a glimpse into what the future may hold.

Online engagement is no longer an option, nor is transparency within our systems – and this unique initiative is a perfect opportunity to see how we can effectively progress with both.

Tune in tomorrow to see how it goes – you can follow the hashtag #AskChiefJudge and check in with us (@tla_bc) and the BC Provincial Court (@BCProvCourt) as it develops!

(If you’d like to submit your own question, just tag @BCProvCourt & feel free to send it in advance to provide ample time for a response tomorrow.)

Remember, that you don’t have to be on twitter to follow along – simply click on the links to view the event tomorrow.  If you are on twitter, however, remember to tweet  @BCProvCourt & tag #TLABC and tell us where you are – a courthouse, office etc. 

We’ll “see” you tomorrow – Online!

Hot Off The Press! #TLABC

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The spring edition of the Verdict is out… have you seen it? Print and digital editions are now available. Here is a look at what is inside:www.theverdictmagazine.com

Wellness Wednesday

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Stress.

There’s no way around it, particularly in our profession.  In fact, it surrounds the way we think, act, and even succeed.  Part of what is attractive about a career in litigation is the fast-paced,  high-stakes environment itself – There is a certain adrenaline rush that comes from working hard, going to court, helping clients, fighting for JUSTICE.  But with all this comes an immense amount of stress.

In our office, we’re constantly talking about “work life balance.”  It’s a lovely thought. Being able to succeed at life with everything in harmonious balance… work, family, home, health, passion, fitness, sleep… (wait, what’s sleep?)

Well, wouldn’t that be lovely.  So how does it work?

For today’s Wellness Wednesday, we are posting some tips for reducing job stress, found in Chatelaine Online.  While stress cannot be avoided, and the work must continue to get done, it’s crucial for our health to find ways to cultivate balance.

These may seem like basic concepts, but do we do anything with them?  Rarely.

And so… read, digest, implement what you can.  Baby steps, as they say.

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From “The Toxic Effects Of Workplace Stress” by Kathryn Hayward for Chatelaine Online – (October 27, 2015)…

Dr. David Posen’s tips for reducing job stress

1. Leave work an hour earlier. “Never in 30 years have I had a patient who couldn’t get the same amount of work done in less time when they took better care of themselves.”
2. Spend that extra hour after work wisely. Book time for exercise, seeing friends, napping or even just sitting near something you find beautiful.
3. Take a micro-break every 90 minutes. Research shows that’s the longest we can concentrate intensely on something. “The best thing you can do is get up and walk away.”
4. Get a better night’s rest. To do this, Posen advises patients to slowly wean themselves off caffeine.
5. Work out. Every bit helps. Exercise drains off excess stress energy, so it lowers cortisol in the body, which can help reduce anxiety.
6. Change the way you think. Modify unrealistic expectations and try to identify problematic patterns. “Type A people need to slow down, and people pleasers need to learn how to say no occasionally.”

Hot Off The Press!

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Have you received your copy winter edition of the Verdict? Print and digital editions are now available. Here is a look at what is inside:

Actions, activities and tasks that occur prior to a trial are vastly different in criminal law and civil law, but one thing is common for the lawyers involved in any legal matter: You must be prepared; your client is counting on you. Proper management of a case typically involves a range of things. If you represent a person accused of a crime, your involvement will get increasingly heavy from the time of arraignment through to an interim or preliminary hearing. If you represent an injured plaintiff in a civil lawsuit, it’s highly likely you will need to be prepared for a full trial whether one happens or not, and you certainly will be front and centre in any pre-trial conferences or settlement discussions, as well as discoveries. The fall 2015 edition of the Verdict explores the pre-trial needs and responsibilities of today’s lawyers and litigators, the duties required when representing laypersons in BC….

Read your copy online today at www.theverdictmagazine.com