Canadian Bar Association CBA 2014 report titled Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in CanadaThis morning, if my plans don’t go awry, I’ll be attending the kickoff meeting of the new Arizona Supreme Court task force that will assess the management and governance of the State Bar of Arizona. I’ll report back on how it goes and what comes next.

Until then, you may want to skim some material about proposed changes to the Canadian legal system. True, the northerly report, if adopted, would make significant changes far beyond one bar association. But I was impressed by the Canadian task force’s willingness to look at all elements of the legal profession with a new eye.

I’m suspecting that the Arizona Supreme Court seeks a similarly clear-eyed look.

The entire report, titled “Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada,” is here.

Jordan Furlong

Jordan Furlong

And I agree: 106 pages is tough sledding on a Friday. But that’s why you should start with a Jordan Furlong column.

I have mentioned Jordan Furlong before (here and here). And I think his name is well associated with any assessment of what the future of law holds.

His concise and point-by-point analysis deconstructs the Canadian Bar Association report, which he admits he likes quite a bit. And, I’m pretty sure, his column and the related report are solid guideposts for what we may see coming to these United States in the not-so-distant future.

Here is Jordan’s post.

Have a wonderful—and transformative—weekend.

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Access to justice can be golden: Arizona Attorney Magazine opening image for a story on the topic by former State Bar of Arizona President Amelia Craig Cramer, Oct. 2012.

Access to justice can be golden: Arizona Attorney Magazine opening image for a story on the topic by former State Bar of Arizona President Amelia Craig Cramer, Oct. 2012.

As has been reported numerous times (even in Arizona Attorney Magazine), access to justice is in a pretty sorry state in Arizona and the United States.

It’s worth noting that the problem extends beyond borders.

Thanks to a lawyer and former State Bar colleague Nedra Brown, I’m reading a report out of the Canadian Bar Association on their own challenges.

Canadian Bar Association equal justice cover 2013Titled “Reaching Equal Justice: An Invitation To Envision and Act,” the 59-page report paints a bleak picture of the country’s legal access situation. Ultimately, though, the report authors provide a solid roadmap that could rectify the situation.

As a news story from Canadian Lawyer Magazine opens:

“The ‘abysmal’ state of access to justice in Canada can be turned around by 2030, according to a Canadian Bar Association report published today. But the report says hitting the deadline will require ‘dramatic’ change, and sets out 31 recommendations for the legal industry, regulators, and government. These include establishing national benchmarks for legal aid coverage, increasing federal justice spending, and drawing up clearer guidelines on alternative billing structures.”

Canadian Bar Association logoRead that story here.

The complete report is here in PDF format. (The “solutions” portion begins on page 15.)

What lessons do you think we can learn here in Arizona? Do attorneys (especially those who have been in the legal access trenches for years) see a similar positive path to a better system for delivering justice?

Do you think a similar Arizona report could cast needed light onto the problem and possible solutions?

Here is a graphic from the excellent report. How do you picture access?

Canadian Bar Association graphic from its 2013 report on access to justice

Canadian Bar Association graphic from its 2013 report on access to justice

 

Does William Shakespeare have a lesson for lawyers?

“It’s a long way from the bar to The Bard.”

Any news story that opens thusly will probably get my attention. And so it was in this article about poetry and the law—brought to you on this Change of Venue Friday.

An Ontario lawyer believes poetry may be the antidote to decades of verbosity in his profession. Though admittedly whimsical, condensing lengthy legal documents into limericks, couplets and other rhymes is proposed as a way of teaching attorneys not to write a symphony where a song would suffice.”

The lawyer is Jordan Furlong, and I immediately liked him, but not just for his literary ambitions for lawyers—he also was the editor of the Canadian Bar Association’s magazine National. Booya for lawyer pubs and the people who helm them!

Reactions to his rhyming notions have been mixed. Read the story here. Still interested? Jordan blogs here.

Jordan Furlong

To hear his pitch for more legal poetry—of the briefer variety—click here to read his story Shall I Compare Thee to a Summary Judgment?” Boy, does that make a litigant swoon!

But why do that at all? He argues that it will help counter lawyers’ tendency toward maddening completeness, which leads to 400-word sentences transparent to no one.

“Ask a lawyer for a tune and she’ll give you a symphony. Ask him for a snack and he’ll bring you a three-course meal.”

So as an exercise, “Have your lawyers share, once a week, a single poetic expression of legal information.”

And yes, he gives some examples. Enjoy.

Finally, as long as we’re Bard-like today, I point you to a video making the rounds. It has performer Jim Meskimen reciting Clarence’s speech from Shakespeare’s Richard III.

Dry stuff, you say? Oh no no no, for he does it as a large number of different celebrities. We’re talking George Clooney to Droopy Dog.

I beseech you: Have a great weekend.