Link Round-Up: March 24, 2017
'Link Round-Up’ gives you a glimpse into the articles that got the most airtime around the Loom Analytics water cooler this week. Published every Friday, article topics include access to justice, big data, legal technology, and what’s happening in the Canadian legal landscape.
- To start off with some exciting (hyper)local news, Mitch Kowalski with the National Post covers the announcement that Bennett Jones will be putting the Loom Analytics platform "into production" throughout the firm, while Gowling WLG will be embarking on a pilot project to integrate Loom into their operations. (Loom's own announcements of the partnerships can be found here.)
- The Government of Canada has released the 2017 Federal Budget, and experts have been quick to weigh in.
- BetaKit has released a roundup of policies which will directly affect the tech industry in the coming year, which range from the launch of a national AI strategy to "$50 million over two years to support organizations delivering digital skills training to girls and boys from kindergarten to grade 12."
- Meanwhile on the CBA National, Justin Ling takes a look at the budget allocations for justice, with R. v. Jordan still at the forefront of everyone's minds.
- Justice Pazaratz of Hamilton has been making waves after publishing a sharply-worded family court decision suggesting that the case was a waste of Legal Aid money and court time. The Abdulaali v Salih endorsement begins with a much-quoted section that reads:
“The next time anyone at Legal Aid Ontario tells you they’re short of money, don’t believe it. It can’t possibly be true. Not if they’re funding cases like this”
Slaw's Alice Woolley responded with a critical analysis of Justice Pazaratz’s decision, expressing her concern that the Justice's comments on public policy and morality exceeded his office and, in her own words, "pleading with Justice Pazaratz and other judges to be more restrained in their ambitions, and more careful in their reasons."
- Another Slaw regular, Omar Ha-Redeye, had a different take on Abdulaali v Salih, believing that the March 9th decision illustrates the problems with the legal aid system as it currently stands. In his article entitled "Sometimes Legal Aid Is the Problem, Not the Solution", Ha-Redeye examines the ways in which Legal Aid is failing Canadians, arguing that increasing Legal Aid funding is not the ultimate solution in closing the access to justice gap. Increased funding has been a common suggestion floated by detractors of Justice Bonkalo's recommendation that specially-trained paralegals be allowed into family court. Ha-Redeye writes:
One of the greatest fallacies we have in legal reform is that increasing legal aid is a panacea to all of our problems in the legal industry. Even with increased funding, the majority of Canadians are ineligible, and still cannot afford a lawyer.
What’s needed is more comprehensive overhauls of our legal system, including greater reliance on technology, more free and accessible legal information, and greater consequences for inappropriate conduct by lawyers or self-represented parties. Many of us within the law are pushing for these changes, as is the attorney general.
- On the CBA National, a discussion of the ubiquitous nature of online tracking and Canadian lawmakers’ attempts to "keep pace with technology and business models that are, by nature, anti-privacy" while also worrying that "overly stringent rules could dampen growth in the digital economy which is expected to contribute an estimated $4-trillion to major economies."
- The 31st annual ABA Techshow took place last week. Check out Robert Ambrogi's post-mortem on this year's highlights, including a Startup Alley and pitch competition, over on Above the Law.