New Scholarship: A2J and UPL

An article authored by Jennifer Bond, David Wiseman and Emily Bates titled “The Cost of Uncertainty: Navigating the Boundary between Legal Information and Legal Services in the Access to Justice Sector” is now available on SSRN.

Here is the link:

Here is the abstract:

The self-regulatory bodies that oversee legal professionals in Canada maintain strict control on the delivery of legal services, and access to justice projects must therefore always be conscious of activities that would violate certain restrictions. Careful adherence to these parameters is made difficult, however, by the lack of clarity about where the relevant boundaries are drawn. Using a project that provides legal assistance for refugees as a case study, this article highlights the challenges that the unclear distinction between “legal information” and “legal services” creates for access to justice initiatives. We conclude that the uncertainty can carry a variety of significant costs — including financial expense, human resource burdens, and unnecessary limits on program innovation — in a sector where affordable and creative solutions are desperately needed as a result of a persistent access to justice crisis. Ultimately, it is not merely the under-resourced access to justice sector that bears these costs, but rather disadvantaged individuals and society as a whole.

New Scholarship: ‘Gorilla exceptions’ and the ethically apathetic corporate lawyer

A new article on corporate finance lawyers by Steven Vaughan and Emma Oakley is now available here. See below for the abstract:

This paper draws on interviews with 57 corporate finance lawyers working from global law firms based in the City of London. Drawing on this data, we highlight common themes of taking deals at ‘face value’, being the lawyer-technician who uses the law to effect his client’s wishes, and not ‘pushing’ ethics. We suggest that there is an apathy – a lack of concern or interest – about ethics on the part of corporate lawyers. This apathy stems from various sources. It is linked to assumptions about the sorts of clients that large law firms are willing or not willing to act for, and assumptions about the ‘right sort of people’ the firm hires and retains; it is linked to strong notions of role morality; and it is founded on the classic legal ethics ‘standard conception’ principles of neutrality and non-accountability. Our data also highlights a lack of ethical infrastructures in large firms, and a lack of ethical leadership from law firm partners for the associates and trainees working for them.



Groia v. The Law Society of Upper Canada

On June 14, 2016, the Ontario Court of Appeal released its decision in the above matter, dismissing Joseph Groia’s appeal relating to the Law Society Appeal Panel’s findings of professional misconduct against him in relation to his in-court conduct towards opposing counsel and finding, inter alia:

[241]  The requirement of professionalism for lawyers, both inside and outside a courtroom, including zealous advocacy accompanied by courtesy, civility and good faith dealings, secures the nobility of the profession in which lawyers in this province are privileged to practise.  The Appeal Panel concluded that this requirement was breached in this case.  This conclusion, in my opinion, was both reasonable and correct.

For some commentary on this decision, see this article in the Toronto Star, and this blog post by CALE member Tom Harrison.