Month: July 2018

CREATE Justice Bulletin – July 2018

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From Centre for Research, Evaluation, and Action Towards Equal Justice (CREATE Justice)

The 3rd annual Saskatchewan Access to Justice Week is October 20-26. Have an event you would like to hold or an initiative you would like to highlight during the week? Contact the Access to Justice Coordinator with your idea: b.lowenberger@usask.ca.

The Impact of Changing Technology: https://bit.ly/2Ly9iDi.

Spotlight on Technology – Law Society of Saskatchewan’s President’s Report: https://bit.ly/2LlcGSw.

Survey Results from the First Two Years of Data Collection on Summary Legal Advice Services in Alberta: https://bit.ly/2NXMTh7.

Upcoming Family Law information sessions in Saskatoon and Regina: https://bit.ly/2O47roa.

Court fees to increase in Saskatchewan: https://bit.ly/2uCfLDj.

Professors Michaela Keet and Heather Heavin’s research on “Anticipating and Managing the Psychological Cost of Civil Litigation” featured on Slaw: https://bit.ly/2LbtafZ.

Nominations open for the 2018 Canadian Pro Bono Awards: https://bit.ly/2JA2Q9D.

Last day for CLASSIC client applications is July 30, with applications opening up again on September 10.

CBA launches free information on immigrating to Canada, including tips on the application process: https://bit.ly/2uCiKM9.

New podcast creates better understanding of legal issues: https://bit.ly/2mMpuCN.

Free ID clinic hosted by CLASSIC on August 28 at Station 20 West: https://bit.ly/2msY58L.

Over 40 researchers commit to artificial intelligence project aimed at improving access to justice: https://bit.ly/2v5VrJU.

PASS IT ON! SUBMIT YOUR BITE-SIZED ACCESS TO JUSTICE NEWS TO BE INCLUDED IN THE BULLETIN TO createjustice@usask.ca AND ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO SUBSCRIBE FOR THE BULLETIN AT http://bit.ly/29eyYPr.

Supporting Women in Private Practice

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By Barbra Bailey, Policy Counsel
Law Society of Saskatchewan

The cover story for the summer 2018 issue of the CBA National magazine is entitled “Why women leave,” and examines what they describe as a “perennial problem” for the legal profession – women lawyers aren’t staying in private practice.  Saskatchewan’s demographics are not unlike those of the rest of Canada: although a recent study conducted at the University of Saskatchewan revealed that 49% of law students are women, only 37% of the active lawyers in Saskatchewan are women.  Further, of those women, only 53% are in private practice, as compared to 71% of male lawyers.

In recognition of these statistics, the Law Society launched the Saskatchewan Justicia Project in 2014, which began with a survey of the profession about workplace policies and practices for lawyer retention and advancement.  Respondents to the survey felt that there was a need for more mentorship and professional development opportunities for new lawyers, particularly women, as well as a need for more support for parental leaves and flexible working arrangements.  The survey also revealed a high incidence of sexual discrimination and harassment in the legal profession, with 48% of women reporting having experienced sexual discrimination (being denied professional opportunities) in a legal workplace and 25% having experienced sexual harassment.

In response to these findings, volunteers from several Saskatchewan firms worked together to create resources for firms to help with the retention and advancement of women lawyers, focusing on flexible work arrangements, parental leave and mentorship.  All Saskatchewan firms and other legal workplaces are encouraged to review the guidelines and model policies on the Law Society website and consider implementing parts or all of them.  Firms that commit to either implement the materials developed by the Saskatchewan Justicia Project or review their existing policies to ensure that they are substantially similar to the  model policies developed by the Saskatchewan Justicia Project will be permitted to identify themselves as Justicia Firms. For more information, please visit our website.

These resources are only one part of the solution; the CBA article points to many other considerations to help firms develop a workplace culture that fosters success for all lawyers.

 

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Technology Programming

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By Sarah Rider
CPD Program Coordinator, Law Society of Saskatchewan

A quick scan of the Law Society CPD Past Activities webpage reveals the extent technology has influenced our programming in the past few years.

The use of new and innovative technologies in the practice of law has provided the opportunity for educating our members on how their time, money and resources may be better spent if they are properly informed of the technologies that exist to aid their daily operations and processes. To this end, we have utilized specialists in these matters to share their expertise with our members.  These sessions have always been well attended and received as our members recognize the necessity of embracing the changes to the profession that advancements in technology will always yield.

Some examples of these activities, which are available to purchase on-demand through the CPD Recorded Versions webpage, are offered below with a brief description:

Webinar – The Use of Technology in Evidence:

Technology is an integral part of our lives and the legal profession. It has become critical to understand what technology exists, how it can be used and the value it presents in the Courtroom.  Technology can be the evidence as well as the tool to present the evidence. This presentation discusses the impact of technology on evidence and how technology can be used to fulfill the role of advocate.

This webinar was presented by Loreley Berra, a Senior Crown Prosecutor with the Ministry of Justice. She has experience in prosecuting a wide variety of criminal matters and is currently the dedicated Crown for the Saskatchewan Integrated Child Exploitation Unit (ICE) in Regina. Saskatchewan ICE deals primarily with criminal offences committed with the use of electronic devices.

Webinar – Creating and Managing a Digital Practice:

Lawyers are swamped in paper. We generate and receive reams of it. We chase it, try to keep it organized, are slaved to our desks so we can access it and when it is no longer needed we store it, sometimes at pricey, downtown, lease rates. If you are tired of this drain on your resources then this is your opportunity to learn how to “kick the habit”. Not only will you learn how to actually create a paperless practice but also best practices for managing it. Who should view this webinar? Anyone who is finally tired of the daily paper-hunt.

The webinar was presented by Jeff Scott, Q.C., Practice Advisor and Colin Clackson, Q.C., Committee Member with the Electronic Office Working Group for the Law Society of Saskatchewan.

Panel Discussion on Technology and the Changing Legal Landscape:

The focus of this CPD session was technology and the changing legal landscape. We were fortunate to have a panel of esteemed lawyers from across the country who addressed the inevitability of change and the impact that technology will have on the legal profession, and more broadly, on the legal system. Fred Headon is Assistant General Counsel, Labour and Employment for Air Canada. As Chair of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) Legal Futures Initiative, Fred discussed innovation in the practice of law and the role of technology in creating opportunities for the profession.

Karen Dyck is the Executive Director of the Manitoba Law Foundation, has been involved with various not-for-profit organizations, and is a member of the Futures Initiative Steering Committee. Karen discussed technology and the opportunities it can create from an access to justice perspective. We also heard from Dan Pinnington, President and CEO at LawPRO. Dan is a prolific writer,  speaker and blogger on legal malpractice, risk management, legal technology and law practice management issues. The aim of this session was to leave attendees with a better understanding of what they and their firm will need to do to adapt to the changing legal landscape.

Recorded Seminar – Technology Academy for Saskatchewan Lawyers and Legal Professionals 2018:

Barron K. Henley is one of the most popular CPD instructors in North America and an expert on technology solutions for lawyers. Barron presented to Saskatchewan members of the bar in 2012, 2016 and in May 2018. Barron’s classes are designed by lawyers for legal professionals making them some of the most relevant training you and your staff can receive in the legal technology area.

In his 2018 program Barron took us back to basics in hopes of allowing members and their staff to fully utilize the software they work with (and pay for!) every day, with sessions titled:
• Microsoft Word Power Tips
• Using Outlook To Get Email Under Control
• A Lawyer’s Guide to PDF Files

He then switched gears to discuss that ever-present concern when considering technology for lawyers – security. His session Cyber Security – Legal Tech Security Measures Every Lawyer Should Take, provided practical measures members and their staff can take to manage their high-risk digital environments. Barron completed this seminar with a session entitled, 8 Things Hurting Your Law Firm – And How to Eliminate Them.

The flip side to any advancement in legal technology is the greater risk for security breaches. With ever increasing effort and imagination, hackers and fraudsters continue to target lawyers and law firms. Daily, phishing emails, bad cheque scams and other sophisticated frauds are being used in attempts to breach law firm systems and steal trust funds. The Law Society has been, and remains, cognizant of these very real issues. We have worked hard, with various partners, to offer CPD programming focused on how to recognize these threats and how to react to them in order to minimize the disruption to your practice.

 

The most recent programming offered in this area, including a description of the session, is listed below:

Webinar – “Surf the Net and Lose Your Trust Funds” – Cybercrime and Law Firms:

As the face of Claims Prevention and practicePRO at LawPRO, Ian Hu speaks, writes and blogs about practice management, claims prevention and lawyering issues. We worked with Ian in 2016 to offer a webinar designed to educate our members on:

• phising scams, cyber criminals and malware;
• horror stories from real firms;
• the steps you need to take to secure your data and systems;
• proper use of passwords;
• technology use policies;
• responding to a cyber breach; and
• tech tips to help manage your practice.

Webinar – Common Cyber Dangers and How to Avoid Them:

In order to keep our content current, we followed up Ian’s session a year later with a presentation from Dan Pinnington, President and CEO of LawPRO. He has been teaching lawyers about  technology and malpractice dangers for almost 20 years. Dan provided an overview of the most common cyber dangers and showed how you and your staff can recognize and avoid cyber scams.

Free Webinar – Cybersecurity Webinar and Training Introduction:

In April we partnered with our information technology (IT) Support provider, MicroAge, and their cybersecurity training team, KnowBe4, to offer our members a short, free introduction webinar. This webinar introduced attendees to an intuitive, IT-focused approach to cybersecurity problems and how you can teach your entire company to spot the warning signs of a cyberattack, and how to train your users with safe, simulated attacks to avoid these threats before cybercriminals target you.

 

[Originally published in Benchers’ Digest, Summer 2018]

Website and Brand Renewal

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By Melanie Hodges Neufeld

The Law Society of Saskatchewan is currently updating its communication processes for members and the public to better meet information needs. Thank you to those members who took the time to complete the recent survey. There were 340 responses between May 4 and 18, 2018 and we are pleased to share some of the key findings:

Approximately 90 per cent of respondents noted they receive the information they need from the Law Society.

More than 90 per cent of respondents preferred to receive time sensitive information via the weekly email updates. For more detailed information, the top preference of respondents was email (85%), with Benchers’ Digest and the Legal Sourcery blog noted as good channels to continue.

Over 40% of the respondents visit the LSS website weekly, about 33% monthly, 12% other and about 10% daily. Some members have incorporated the LSS site or library page as their home page.

More than half of the respondents note the current website meets their needs well, emphasizing the importance of keeping the information current. More than 60 per cent felt the information on the website was either very easy or extremely easy to understand; and the vast majority found it somewhat or very easy to find what they were looking for. About half of the respondents use the site’s search function.

There were several examples of areas members wanted on the home page including: latest news, calendar of events, and a series of quick links. There were also suggestions to consider improving detail related to CPD, provide an improved search function, and enhance the Find a Lawyer function, to note a few.

The most frequently visited subpages off the LSS home page for respondents were: Members’ section, continuing professional development, lawyer regulation, library, publications and information for lawyers and students. Their most common comments focused on career opportunities and Casemail, as well as some recommendations on how to improve the login process for CPD members.

In terms of desired direct links off the home page, respondents’ suggestions included: CanLII, job postings, legal research, Legal Sourcery, and additional reference to CPD programming.

Slightly more than half of the respondents would recommend the website as a reference for a friend or colleague, that they typically spend about the expected amount of time finding detail they are looking for.

While there wasn’t significant interest in the visual aspect of the website, there were areas identified for consideration for any website renewal. This included making sure the site was presented in an organized way and making sure functionality and navigability were kept as priorities. Some members referenced the importance of the visual renewal to keep the process current and not to cause search delays with overuse of visual elements.

What is being done to better meet members’ communication and information needs?

Although not all comments can be addressed immediately, this insight will help to address communication channels and improvement as well as website renewal with the new site expected to be launched later this year. As part of the website renewal, we are looking forward to:

• Providing an improved “Find A Lawyer” link;
• Delivering enhancements to the CPD area of the website for members;
• Improving our weekly email bulletins to members and begin an archived area of this detail;
• Continuing to provide important professional information and trends through the Legal Sourcery blog;
• Scheduling the annual communication update survey of members for May 2019;

Over this year, we will also be updating our visual identity process which will include an updated logo, address numerous inconsistencies and provide for standardized print elements and templates.

All efforts align with our value of open communication and help to meet a goal of providing information in a manner that is in the preference of the user and in a most user-friendly format, whether for our members or the public. Thank you for your patience while we make these improvements. If you would like any further information throughout the process, please contact Melanie Hodges Neufeld at melanie.hodgesneufeld@lawsociety.sk.ca.

[Originally published in Benchers’ Digest, Summer 2018]