“The legal world is behind everyone else by at least five years,” told me Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law, several years ago for a story I wrote about how technology was changing the legal landscape. “There is some convincing to do partly because many lawyers, particularly some of the senior partners, entered the field when technology was not a core part of the practice.”That has changed. A few years ago, Leonard Glickman, a partner with Cassells Brock’s Information, Communications & Entertainment Law Practice, would begin his day by immersing himself in his dossiers and checked his correspondence only during the mid-morning mailround. No longer. “Technology has shortened the time frame in which lawyers have to respond, and that window has been shrinking. We’ve gone from an era to where people expected a response within three days with mail to the same day with faxes to within minutes with e-mail. So the expectation levels of clients have increased. They now expect faster and faster turnaround,” Glickman told me.
The bar has now been anted even more. The Centre d’accès à l’information juridique (the network of law libraries associated with the Barreau du Québec) recently launched a mobile version of its suite of free online legal research products. The CAIJ mobile will provide access to its online catalogue, its databases of legislation, case law and legal literature, JuriBistro TOPO (a knowledgebase of hundreds of legal questions and answers covering 57 fields of law), and access to Quebec Bar Association publications.