The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

Yves Faguy

The Pitch 2018

Getting to know The Pitch finalists: Founded

By Yves Faguy April 5, 2018 5 April 2018

 

As part of a weekly series leading up to The Pitch 2018, the legal innovation startup competition put on by the Canadian Bar Association and Law Made in partnership with LexisNexis, we’re publishing interviews with the five selected finalists to get to know them better.  This week’s Q&A is with Shane Murphy (pictured above), co-founder and CLO of Founded, an outfit that helps lawyers and entrepreneurs automate the legal needs of growing businesses.

CBA National: What are the origins of Founded?

Shane Murphy: The whole idea of Founded came up when my co-founder [and CTO] Travis [Houlette] was selling his business to Yahoo in a fairly large transaction, back when I was practising law. Although I wasn’t involved in any way in that transaction, Travis was my friend and he was always calling me and saying, “What is wrong with the legal industry? Why is it so devoid of technology? And why is my experience as a client so antiquated, even though I’m hiring top tier lawyers?” So we started talking about how technology could be used to give clients a better experience when they need legal services. That was the genesis of it.

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Justice

Automating justice and public confidence in AI

By Yves Faguy April 5, 2018 5 April 2018

Automating justice and public confidence in AI

Bob Tarantino weighs in on the topic of our latest cover story on using predictive technology to improve our justice system. He raises an obvious but fundamental question: Who gets to say whether the justice system is fair?

Whether and when we deploy AI in the civil and criminal justice systems are questions that should be answered only after taking into account the views of the people who would be subject to those decisions. The answer to the question of judicial AI doesn’t belong to judges or lawyers, or at least not only to them — it belongs, in large part, to the public. Maintaining public confidence in the institution of the judiciary is a paramount concern for any liberal democratic society. If the courts are creaking under the strain of too many demands, if resolutions to disputes are hobbled by lengthy delays and exorbitant costs, we should be open to the possibility of using AI and algorithms to optimize judicial resources. If and to the extent we can preserve or enhance confidence in the administration of justice through the use of AI, policy-makers should be prepared to do so.

Do read the whole thing.

 

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Privacy

GDPR and the art of getting people to consent

By Yves Faguy April 3, 2018 3 April 2018

GDPR and the art of getting people to consent

 

The new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), coming into force next month, is meant to enable consumers to see, limit and control how companies collect and process their personal data. There are plenty of questions out there about how effective European authorities will be in enforcing rules that have extra-territorial reach. But Richard Stallman doubts that the GDPR will help all that much for another reason:

The GDPR makes much of requiring users (in some cases) to give consent for the collection of their data, but that doesn’t do much good. System designers have become expert at manufacturing consent (to repurpose Noam Chomsky’s phrase). Most users consent to a site’s terms without reading them; a company that required users to trade their first-born child got consent from plenty of users. Then again, when a system is crucial for modern life, like buses and trains, users ignore the terms because refusal of consent is too painful to consider.

To restore privacy, we must stop surveillance before it even asks for consent.

He wants our laws to go further by requiring that systems online be designed in such a way that they do not collect data.

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Legal marketplace

Has liberalization of the legal industry in England changed anything?

By Yves Faguy April 3, 2018 3 April 2018

Has liberalization of the legal industry in England changed anything?

Mark A. Cohen makes a case for splitting regulation of the practice of law (training, licensing, ethical responsibilities, and client obligations) away from the business of law (to promote competition and innovation):

The core tenets of legal practice—confidentiality, conflict avoidance, etc.—have changed little over time, even as new challenges arise. Lawyers are well-suited to regulate themselves.  But the business of delivering legal services in an increasingly corporatized, digitized, inter-connected, complex world requires outside regulators whose focus is on consumers, not lawyers. Regulation should encourage new delivery models, investment capital, and innovation that promote access and elevate legal buyer satisfaction. The legal industry has the resources to better serve consumers and society. Bifurcation of legal regulation will advance these important objectives and preserve the fundamental characteristics of legal practice.

He holds up the model in England and Wales as an example where a Solicitors Regulatory Authority oversees the business side of the industry, while practice matters are left to The Law Society.  This split happened when the Legal Services Act, 2007 fully came into force five years ago and introduced alternative business structures (ABS), which allows for non-lawyers in professional, management or ownership roles.

But in a recent post Malcolm Mercer takes a look at how the market for legal services in England has evolved since its liberalization five years ago, and proposes that Canadian law societies take more of a wait-and-see approach to re-regulation.

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Criminal law

The SCC interprets influence peddling broadly

By Yves Faguy March 23, 2018 23 March 2018

The SCC interprets influence peddling broadly

The Supreme Court dismissed Bruce Carson’s appeal, affirming his guilt on influence peddling charges in connection with his efforts to help a company sell water treatment systems to First Nations.  In an 8-1 ruling (Justice Suzanne Côté is the one dissenter), the top court noted that the former aide to then Prime Minister Stephen Harper admitted that he “was a person who had influence with the Government of Canada at the time…” The Criminal Code makes it a crime to sell influence “in connection with any matter of business relating to the government.” The Court wrote:

Simply showing that the accused accepted a benefit in exchange for promising to influence government does not suffice to make out the offence. Nevertheless, the phrase “any matter of business relating to the government” must be interpreted broadly. Reading the words of this phrase in their entire context and in their grammatical and ordinary sense, harmoniously with the scheme of the Act, the object of the Act, and the intention of Parliament, a matter of business relates to the government if it depends on government action or could be facilitated by the government, given its mandate. Matters of business relating to the government include publicly funded commercial transactions for which the government could impose or amend terms and conditions that would favour one vendor over others. The phrase “any matter of business relating to the government” must not be restricted to matters of business that can be facilitated by government under its existing operational structure. The offence captures promises to exercise influence to change or expand government programs.

The trial judge had acquitted Carson on account of the fact that it was up to the First Nations – not the government – to decide on whether to make the purchase.

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