Research Tip: Thousands of Canadian Legal Articles Free!

[Reposted with permission from Legal Sourcery, by Ken Fox]

No, I am not talking about HeinOnline. The Law Society of Ontario’s AccessCLE site hosts, at the time of writing, 9,543 CPD articles dating from 2004 to 2019.

Here is an overview of the browsable collection.

With this many articles available at a single source, best bet might be to use search rather than browse – and my preference would be to bypass the single-line command search and go straight to the Advanced Search.

Advanced Search allows you to select searching fields (Title, Author, Full-text, etc) using drop-down menus, and to search multiple fields at once. If I am looking for articles on resulting trusts, I might use the drop-downs to select Article Title, then place my terms in separate boxes. So I am searching for articles that include both words – “resulting” and “trusts” – in the title.

The far right searching column (not appearing in the screen capture here) allows you to select the AND or the OR operator. In this case, I am searching for terms that are complementary, so I use AND. If I were searching for terms that were synonyms or antonyms (e.g. “resulting trusts” and “constructive trusts”) – then I might use OR.

My search has retrieved four hits. Don’t be dissuaded by the low “Relevance” ratings. Clearly these are four articles that feature Resulting Trusts as a principal topic. The latest article is from 2017 and the oldest one is from 2007. And, of course, the PDF buttons in the View column on the far right enable you to view the full-text article.

Not all documents in this database are actually “articles.” Some are PowerPoint presentations or checklists. But after briefly perusing the results of this search and a few others – it looks to me like AccessCLE contains a great wealth of predominantly full-text, substantial legal articles.

2019 Manitoba Articling Review Survey Results

by Kris Dangerfield, Chief Executive Officer

The Law Society of Manitoba, in conjunction with the law societies of Alberta and Saskatchewan, conducted a survey in May and June of this year of articling students and new lawyers (those who articled in the last five years) as well as principals and those who mentored articling students or new lawyers in the last five years.

The intent of the survey was to help us better understand the nature of articles, the types of training and mentoring that articling students are receiving and how prepared articling students feel to practise law in the 21st century. We also wanted to better understand if articling students have or are experiencing any issues related to discrimination and harassment in their workplaces.

In total, the survey was completed by 736 articling students and new lawyers (549 in Alberta, 104 in Saskatchewan and 83 in Manitoba) and 407 principals, recruiters and mentors (295 in Alberta, 64 in Saskatchewan and 48 in Manitoba). The response rate in Manitoba, although better than average for an external survey, was 17.8% for students and young lawyers and 12.3% for principals and mentors. Some of the key findings from the survey of Manitoba respondents were:

  • 7 in 10 students are very satisfied or satisfied with their articling experience. 17% are unsatisfied;
  • 24% of Manitoba articling students and new lawyers report experiencing discrimination and/or harassment during recruitment and/or articling;
  • The top challenge for Manitoba students is inadequate compensation.
  • 6 in 10 articling students work 50-plus hours per week;
  • 50% of new lawyers lacked confidence in their training and felt only somewhat prepared or not prepared for entry level practice;
  • The quality of mentorship for students, mentors and principals is a challenge and impacts satisfaction with the articling experience.

Overall, the survey provided rich data which deepened our understanding on a number of issues including workloads, compensation and retention rates, and areas where both students and mentors felt that further resources or assistance may be beneficial.

The results also contained troubling reports about the incidence of discrimination and/or harassment during both the recruitment phase and the articling experience, with 24% of students in Manitoba reporting such experiences. Seventy percent of those who experienced discrimination or harassment were women. The primary types of discrimination and harassment reported included:

  • Discrimination based on being female or a visible minority;
  • Females given more administrative non-billable work;
  • Complimenting female students’ outfits and bodies;
  • Senior male counsel dismissive towards a female student;
  • Fewer positions offered to visible minority students;
  • Racist jokes;
  • Using students to attract clients from the same minority group.

These findings are generally consistent with a 2017 survey in Ontario which reported that one in five respondents faced harassing or discriminatory comments or conduct based on their gender, race, sexual orientation, citizenship, disability, or other personal characteristics during their articling terms. Anecdotally, in Manitoba we have been aware of complaints concerning harassment and discrimination in the profession, but it is disappointing nonetheless to hear of the extent to which these concerns exist. As one Manitoba Bencher stated when the results were provided to them in September, even one report of harassment or discrimination is too many.

Next Steps

What are we going to do about it? The survey results will be provided to the Law Society’s Equity Committee for consideration and discussion as to how best to address the concerns. A number of findings in the survey will help to inform our thinking around how articling might better integrate with the new PREP program and what changes and improvements might be made in future. That work is already well underway with our partners at CPLED for implementation in the new program. In addition, staff at the Law Society of Manitoba are currently reviewing the report with a view to identifying a number of opportunities to ensure that students and young lawyers are aware of existing resources available to support them in the early years of practice.

We wish to thank those who took the time to participate in the survey. Although the survey is closed, our door is always open and if you have information you wish to share, please contact our Equity Officer, Alissa Schacter.

Registration closes on Oct. 30th ~ 2019 Isaac Pitblado Lectures ~ Capacity to Decide: Planning for Death and Dying

Jointly presented by the Manitoba Bar Association, The University of Manitoba Faculty of Law & The Law Society of Manitoba

The 2019 Isaac Pitblado Lectures
Capacity to Decide: Planning for Death and Dying

November 8, 2019 │ 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Fort Garry Place Conference Centre, Grand Ballroom

Registration closes on October 30th 

Register Now 

6 CPD hours, including 1.5 EPPM hours

Visit the Pitblado Lectures website for information about the diverse range of presenters who will provide thought provoking presentations as well as concrete guidance for practitioners on topics including:

– Testamentary Capacity
– Predatory Marriages
– Medical Perspective on Capacity
– Capacity Assessments
– Video Recording Will Instructions
– Assisted Dying – constitutional, philosophical and ethical issues
– How Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) works in Manitoba
 

SCC Historical Visit: Part #2 – The Supreme Court of Canada Blazes a New Trail in Winnipeg

by Alissa Schacter
Equity Officer and Policy Counsel, The Law Society of Manitoba

The country’s highest court exhibited boldness and initiative in its decision to sit outside of Ottawa for the first time in its 145-year history. Winnipeg had the great honour of hosting the nine Supreme Court judges during the last week of September.

The justices took up temporary residence in the Manitoba Court of Appeal. In addition to hearing a criminal and civil appeal, they had a jam packed schedule, which included meeting local high school students and law students, attending a reception with Mayor Bowman, hosting a Q&A event for the public at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, attending a presentation of sacred eagle feathers to the Manitoba courts, meeting with representatives of First Nations, Métis, and Francophone communities as well as with Executive members of the Law Society and Manitoba Bar Association. Chief Justice Richard Wagner even managed to make time to drop the puck at a Jets game. The justices were the guests of honour at a gala dinner attended by approximately 800 members of Manitoba’s legal profession. They mingled with the crowd in the packed foyer of the Convention Centre and played musical chairs, doing an admirable job of rubbing elbows with as many members of the bar as possible. Throughout the week, there was a palpable excitement in the air within the legal community, as their presence carried an aura of celebrity. Even beyond the legal community, many people took a keen interest and attended the hearings and the public events, which was exactly the point of the Court’s visit.

The Winnipeg visit was part of a broader commitment the Supreme Court has made to access to justice. The court has established an active presence on Twitter and Facebook, and in March 2018, it began posting plain language case summaries on its website. All of these initiatives are intended to help the public better understand the role of the Court and its decisions. As the Supreme Court presides over cases involving some of the most important social policy issues of our time, from same sex marriage and the right to assisted dying to delineating Indigenous rights, it has a hand in shaping Canada’s social fabric. It is imperative that the Canadian public understand the function of the Court so that they have confidence in our justice system. This is critical at a time when people increasingly obtain news and information in easy-to-digest nuggets via diffuse social media platforms, not all of which are reliable.

When the nine esteemed Supreme Court jurists hailing from around the country travelled to Winnipeg and spent the week meeting with a cross section of the legal and broader communities, they revealed their personalities, their senses of humour, their genuine curiosity about the local community and of course, their humanity. They put a human face on the Supreme Court and sent a powerful message that the Court wants to understand the people it serves and make itself more transparent and accessible to them. It also demonstrated the Court’s awareness of its need to adapt to the changing context in which it operates and to modernize its approach.

As in most endeavours, you create trust by fostering greater mutual understanding and building relationships. That is exactly what the nine judges did during their time in Winnipeg. Canada’s Supreme Court has long been venerated around the world. When the Court left its grand building on Wellington Street to head west to the Prairies, it also increased its profile and esteem among Canadians.