The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

Yves Faguy

Doing business in the U.S.: Build your relationships

By Yves Faguy May 1, 2018 1 May 2018

Doing business in the U.S.: Build your relationships

“Relationships do matter. But remember that presidents and Congresses come and go.”

That was the message from James Blanchard, former U.S. ambassador to Canada, at the morning plenary at the CCCA National Conference, where panelists shared their thoughts on the evolving U.S. -Canada relationship.

The discussion took place only hours after the Trump administration announced its decision to postpone imposing steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico, as the three trade partners are in the thick of renegotiating a new NAFTA deal.  Blanchard, now a partner at DLA Piper ventured a guess that President Donald Trump “will not issue a termination” of the current trade deal. “His advisors will advise against it.”

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CCCA Conference

People skills in an era of advancing technology

By Yves Faguy May 1, 2018 1 May 2018

People skills in an era of advancing technology

 

With automation promising to shake up the legal industry, lawyers are understandably fearful that machines will replace them. But even as technology becomes more widely deployed, law firms will still have to focus their efforts on hiring the right people, says Mark A. Cohen, a legal strategist and a keynote speaker at the 2018 CCCA National Conference in Toronto.

In the battle for talent, there will be a premium on a mix of contemporary skills. These include an understanding of technology’s role in legal delivery, project management, marketing and data analytics. 

 

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CCCA Conference

The risk of negotiating new cyber norms in international law

By Yves Faguy May 1, 2018 1 May 2018

Earlier this month, 34 high-tech firms signed the Cybersecurity Tech Accord, first proposed by Microsoft’s president Brad Smith.

"We called on the world to borrow a page from history in the form of a Digital Geneva Convention, a long-term goal of updating international law to protect people in times of peace from malicious cyberattacks," Smith wrote in a blog post . “Just as the Fourth Geneva Convention has long protected civilians in times of war, we now need a Digital Geneva Convention that will commit governments to protecting civilians from nation-state attacks in times of peace.”

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The Pitch 2018

Getting to know The Pitch finalists: PatentBot

By Yves Faguy April 30, 2018 30 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 Valentin Pivovarov​ (featured in the above video), managing director of PatentBot, a legal chatbot that helps users register their trademarks.

CBA National: What are the origins of PatentBot?

Valentin Pivovarov: The idea came from our BDO Artem Afian and CEO Nataly Vladimirova. We saw that the procedure of trademark registration – which is quite similar in most countries – could be disrupted and this market. So our team created chatbots because it’s simple to create them, and easier than to build a full website. We started to build our bots in late May. Once we built a better version of PatentBot, we posted about it on Facebook and we got 800 customers in one day.  It was really impressive for me, because we had no marketing, and no advertising.

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Access to justice

How an adversarial system can adapt to the rise of self-represented litigants

By Yves Faguy April 26, 2018 26 April 2018

How an adversarial system can adapt to the rise of self-represented litigants

In a recent Canadian Bar Review article, Jennifer A. Leitch notes an uptick in members of the traditional middle class joining the ranks of self-represented litigants. With time these litigants -- “not otherwise marginalized within society” -- are likely to take a more critical view of the legal profession’s value. Leitch also discusses how our adversarial system of justice is being forced to evolve as a result of the extraordinary growth of self-representation:

This approach to truth-seeking in an adversarial system is problematic due to the fact that the truth-finding process is often idealized but not always functional. The reality is that the adversarial process tends to ignore inequalities within the system and between the parties.

These inequalities may stem from a lack of resources (e.g., monetary) or a discrepancy in skills or experience such that one party is disadvantaged in terms of being able to investigate and present their best case and test the opposing party’s case. The result is that inequalities between the parties leave the truth-finding mechanism open to manipulation and this serves to undermine the objectives of the system as a whole. One example in this regard is cross- examination. Notwithstanding that cross-examination is often touted as an essential component of the truth-finding process in an adversarial system, the benefits of cross-examinations may also be subverted through rhetorical manipulation and imbalances in lawyers’ resources and/or skills. This further helps to discredit “opposing testimony known to be truthful.” At best, cross-examinations may discover and reveal untruths, but may be less effective at discerning the truth. At worst, the process of cross-examination reflects an affront to the dignity of those being cross-examined. The consequence of this manifestation of adversarialism is that the legal system becomes “more and more removed from the substantive justice concerns of ordinary people.”

Interestingly, Leitch suggests it might be time to accept SRLs as a normal feature of our modern civil justice system, which would require rethinking the code of conduct rules around the legal profession’s engagement with SRLs, possibly borrowing from inquisitorial norms, and redefining the responsibilities of lawyers toward them.

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