Western Law

CLS Symposium provides access to justice tools to lawyers

Doug FergusonCommunity Legal Services continued its national leadership role in access to justice when it hosted its fourth annual Access to Justice Symposium on March 24, 2017. The event had its largest attendance ever, as over 125 persons came to Western Law.

The symposium’s theme was “Access to Justice: Innovative Tools for a Profitable Practice.”

In his welcoming remarks, CLS Director Doug Ferguson called access to justice “the most important legal issue of our generation.” The symposium was aimed at assisting small firms, sole practitioners, and clinics in lowering costs and increasing efficiency to make justice more accessible.

Keynote speaker Chris Bentley, former Attorney-General of Ontario and head of the Legal Innovation Zone at Ryerson, spoke of the need to approach access to justice issues differently. He quoted Albert Einstein, who said “problems cannot be resolved at the same level of awareness that created them.”

One example of approaching the issue differently, according to Mr. Bentley, is Resolver, a UK online application that assists individuals in making and resolving complaints with utilities, airlines, and other major sources of consumer issues.

To demonstrate the increasing importance of technology in improving access to justice, CLS arranged for demonstrations or discussions of apps from LexisNexis Practice Advisor Canada, Loom Analytics, Clausehound, and Carswell.

Other panels discussed topics of interest to small firms such as alternative fee arrangements, client coaching and the role of Pro Bono Law Ontario and Pro Bono Students Canada.

CLS would like to thank its sponsors: LexisNexis, The New Family Law Centre, Loom Analytics, Irwin Books, Carswell, Divorcemate, and Emond for their support of the Symposium.