Law Times

August 24, 2015

The premier weekly newspaper for the legal profession in Ontario

Issue link: http://digital.lawtimesnews.com/i/559715

Contents of this Issue

Navigation

Page 1 of 15

Page 2 August 24, 2015 • Law Times www.lawtimesnews.com NEWS Aviva suggested in written arguments that "Diamond & Diamond" doesn't appear to fit within the definition of a law firm under the Rules of Profes- sional Conduct and questioned whether the name should appear on a statement of claim. The motion was "ill-con- ceived" and targeted at a "hypo- thetical issue that appears to be conceived out of whole cloth by Aviva and its counsel," responded Kris Borg-Olivier, the lawyer for Diamond & Diamond. Far from being confusing, the lawyer for Cautius is "Corey Sax of the Diamond & Diamond firm," wrote Borg-Olivier, of Paliare Ro- land Rosenberg Rothstein LLP. The judge concluded the Aviva motion couldn't succeed because it didn't fit within the scope of the rule. "Rule 21 is a tool available to counsel and in turn to the court, to determine questions of law raised by the pleadings," he stated in a brief written decision. In reference to attempts by Aviva to determine the "type of legal entity to describe D&D based on lawyers apparently practising in independent as- sociation," the judge wrote there appeared to be "some merit" to the inquiries. However, it wasn't an issue to be "determined by the allegations raised" in the state- ment of claim, he concluded. The court heard that Rachlin had informed the law society about the issues he was raising. "They said if you don't want to make a complaint, there is noth- ing for us to do," he said. "I am surprised they took no position," the judge replied. "I don't think self-governance should be kick-started only by a complaint," he said. The judge's written decision stated it was unfortunate the LSUC didn't participate and the ruling dealt only with the application of the specific section of Rule 21. Denise McCourtie, a spokes- woman for the LSUC, said there's no specific requirement for a law firm to publicly state its specific business structure, such as a limited liability partnership or an association. However, all marketing "must be true, accu- rate, and verifiable and must not be misleading, confusing or de- ceptive," she said. Diamond & Diamond sought $7,000 in costs to defend the mo- tion. "This was a full frontal as- sault on the firm. There was no choice but to defend itself," Borg- Olivier said in court. The judge ultimately awarded $5,000 in costs against Aviva. LT Rejoice. Serengeti lets you take charge and take control of your entire legal landscape. You can organize and analyze everything from documents to deadlines, billing to budgets, pricing to profi tability, all with one surprisingly simple, maintenance-free system. In fact, Serengeti is so easy to use it's almost instinctive. Serengeti also allows you to collaborate, compare and share data more effectively than ever. Used by more than 18,000 in-house counsel and 21,000 law offi ces from international fi rms to solo practitioners, it's not only the most widely used system, it's also the highest rated. Just one more way Thomson Reuters gives you knowledge to act. To learn more, call 1-866-609-5811 or visit serengetilaw.com/canada The number one legal matter management, e-billing and performance analytics system saves you time, money and lots of headaches. Now, that's worth celebrating. Continued from page 1 Firms not required to state business structure Applications such as Apple Inc.'s Siri provide what panellist and electronic discovery expert Dera Ne- vin called "narrow artificial intelligence," while the more significant advances, she noted, will offer greater perception as machines learn over time. She gave the example of what she called the "dog context," in which the machine learns over time to move beyond obvious words related to the word dog in performing a search to consider other terms such as leash and schnauzer. "It's learning from your cues to improve the results . . ." she said. Of course, the legal profession has heard a lot in the last year about ROSS, an application deve- loped by students at the University of Toronto that can provide answers to legal questions. While such artificial intelligence applications are significant, they generally still involve lawyers to interpret the results, panellists noted, suggesting the real chan- ge will come from more autonomous systems. But what about the role of the lawyer when that happens, especially in light of reports that IBM's Watson has, in some cases, done a better job of diagnosing cancer than the medical experts? Se- veral of the panellists had an answer for that. As participants at the session noted, they already have plenty of work to keep them busy. "That's why you don't have to be afraid of this because you already have more work than you can handle," said Nevin, suggesting artificial intelligen- ce would allow lawyers to focus on more imagina- tive tasks. "What if there's a new law to be discovered?" she asked, adding there's still a role for lawyers. Prof. Ian Kerr, who holds the Canada research chair in ethics, law, and technology at the Univer- sity of Ottawa, offered a more nuanced view. "The question becomes a question of delegation and which things it's appropriate for machines to do and which things it's not appropriate for ma- chines to do," he said, suggesting society might not want an algorithm to decide a criminal case even if that were possible. Besides the ethical concerns, there are practical ones as well, he noted, citing the need for lawyers and law students to still perform tasks that remain meaningful despite the fact machines can do them. And a particular risk, he added, is overdependence on machines to do things. Kerr is also skeptical about the touted improve- ments to access to justice as services trickle down to those currently left out. "I think it's going to require more than the ad- vent of some great technology," he said. And as panellists discussed the advent of soft- ware that will be able to make increasingly accura- te assessments about the likely success of cases by mining past rulings and detecting judges' biases, Noah Waisberg of contract review and analysis software provider Kira Inc. said lawyers would do themselves a favour by understanding and adop- ting these new technologies sooner rather than later since everyone will be using them in the co- ming years. Nevin, in particular, advised lawyers to start using XRef, a writing tool that suggests improve- ments to legal documents by analyzing precedent. Lawyer and entrepreneur Leonard Brody, in a conference keynote speech peppered with exam- ples about how much society had changed just since 2008, offered his own solution to those stru- ggling with how to adapt. He touted the 10-per- cent rule. Under it, lawyers and law firms would invest 10 per cent of, for example, their time or money into whatever threatens their business. The opportunity, McLachlin noted in her speech, is for "nimble, tech-savvy lawyers" to take advantage of the digital revolution. "We're part of it, and there's no escape," she told the conference. LT Artificial intelligence debated Continued from page 1

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Law Times - August 24, 2015