Bencher, Law Society of Saskatchewan
The Law Society regularly receives enquiries from lawyers regarding the rules relating to the storage, composition, and destruction of client files. Increasingly, these enquiries include questions relating to the proper use of electronic, or “paperless” filing systems. Law Society Practice Advisors have indicated that they are seeing a significant increase in attempts by practitioners to run “paperless”, or fully electronic filing systems. The Rules of the Law Society of Saskatchewan do not dictate either that client files need to be in paper format, or that lawyers are entitled to maintain digital (electronic) client files. The Rules apply in the same fashion, regardless of the format of a client file. A lawyer must be in a position to produce a complete file to the Law Society or to a Practice Advisor of the Law Society, on demand.
For some, the concept of a digital client file is unnerving, but with the right digital file system, there are many advantages including advanced search capabilities and lack of the need for physical file storage space. Just as ‘brads’ are an important part of keeping correspondence on a paper client file in chronological order, digital file naming conventions are key for filing correspondence chronologically in a digital client file.
In order to assist members who are maintaining digital client files, or who are thinking about starting a digital practice, the Law Society’s Professional Standards Committee formed a small sub-committee consisting of lawyers Colin Clackson, Q.C., Andrew Mason and Riley Potter, together with Benchers, Ronni Nordal and David Rusnak, Q.C.
Colin, Andrew and Riley all maintain electronic client files, and each has their own way of managing files. It became clear quite quickly that, just as is the case with paper client files, there are a number of different ways a proper client file can be maintained, and each member will need to determine what works best for him/her. After sharing ideas and much discussion, the Committee has developed a document entitled “Practice Tips for Maintaining a Digital Practice”, for the assistance of the membership.
We hope these Practice Tips will assist members in setting up and maintaining a proper digital client file system. To further assist, a webinar will be presented in March 2018 featuring Law Society of Saskatchewan Practice Advisor, Jeffrey Scott, Q.C., and Sub-Committee member, Colin Clackson, Q.C. Jeff will review the expectations of the Practice Advisors when requesting to review a client file (whether paper or electronic) and some of the pitfalls members have fallen into when not properly maintaining client files. Colin will then show examples of a digital law practice and client files, that will make even those members who still only have a ‘flip phone’ realize that it truly is possible to have digital client files and a digital law practice. For more information about the upcoming webinar, please visit the Continuing Professional Development page.
By Melanie Hodges Neufeld
For those of you who don’t already follow Slaw, Canadian’s online magazine, make sure to check out Monday’s Mix. Each Monday, Slaw shares brief excerpts of recent posts from five of Canada’s award-winning legal blogs chosen at random from more than 80 recent Clawbie winners. Slaw hopes to promote the work of these blogs to as wide an audience as possible. This week’s featured blogs include:
- Ontario Condo Law Blog
- Canadian Class Actions Monitor
- Global Workplace Insider
- Eva Chan
- Le Blogue du CRL
As a three-time Clawbie winner, Legal Sourcery is also occasionally featured!
By Melanie Hodges Neufeld
In honour of the Charter’s 35th anniversary, the Department of justice has released the online Charterpedia. As noted on the site:
This Charterpedia provides legal information about the Charter and contains information about the purpose of each section of the Charter, the analysis or test developed through case law in respect of the section, and any particular considerations related to it. Each Charterpedia entry cites relevant case law, and citations to Supreme Court of Canada decisions are hyperlinked whenever possible.
It contains a wealth of information about the Charter by section, including info on similar provisions, purpose, and detailed analysis. Check it out!
By Alan Kilpatrick
Our colleagues at the Law Society of Manitoba Library recently launched a new blog called Great LEXpectations. It is written and maintained by the Law Society of Manitoba’s Librarian, Karen Sawatzky, and Library Assistant, Stafany Shirley, with new posts every week or two.
On Great LEXpectations, you will find research tips, resources, and news of interest to members of the Manitoba legal profession. Some recent posts include:
Great LEXpectations is a play on words of the Dickens novel, Great Expectations, and lex, the latin word for law. The library for the Law Society of Manitoba and the legal profession, is called the Great Library, thus the mashup of “Great LEXpectations”.
We look forward to following Great LEXpectations! You can find it online at lawlibrary.ca.
By Sarah Sutherland
Manager, Content and Partnerships
Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII)
Since CanLII’s founding, we have been working to make sure the law you need is available. As part of our project to add the Dominion Law Reports cases that have been cited in CanLII case collection that we announced last year, we are including historical cases that are foundational to understanding the context of Canadian law, including Browne v Dunn (1893), 6 R 67 (HL), which we are informed was the most requested case at the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Great Library (Thank you to David Whelan for letting us know this was the case and sharing the scanned copy from the Great Library’s print collection!).
Did you know that the Saskatchewan Law Review is available in fulltext for members on the Law Society’s website since 2013? The current issue, volume 80, issue no. 2 (2017) is now available. Articles in this issue include:
- Refiner’s Fire: The University of Saskatchewan College of Law in Times of Depression and War (Beth Bilson)
- We Don’t Need No (Catholic) Education – But Why Can’t It Be Saved By Section 1? A Comment on Good Spirit School Division No. 204 (Michelle Biddulph)
- How Good Are Our “Best Practices” When It Comes To Executive Compensation? A Review of Forty Years of Skyrocketing Pay, Regulation, and the Forces of Good Governance (Bryce Tingle)
- Solicitor-Client Privilege and Income Tax Act Seizures: A Comment on Canada (Attorney General) v. Chambre des Notaires du Quebec (Jonathan Milani)
- Assisted Death in Canada: An Exploration of the Constitutionality of Bill C-14 (Firuz Rahimi)