Monthly Archives: February 2020

Legal tech company releases toolkit summarizing e-filing requirements across Canada

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, courts have been allowing e-filing more as a way to prevent physical contact through expanding its use of technology. Toronto legal research software provider CiteRight saw a need and has just filled it with the launch of a free e-filing toolkit.

The toolkit summarizes the requirements for e-filing for every jurisdiction in Canada that allows it. It follows on the heels of a COVID-19 courts resource that the company launched in March, and its core CiteRight product launched last year, which is a platform that allows legal teams to work together and to automatically cite sources.

“In building a tool to help lawyers comply with court requirements and generate properly formatted submissions, it meant that we learned a lot about how the courts operate,” says CiteRight founder and CEO Aaron Wenner. “And … so we were able to turn that around and say, ‘Okay, well, how can we generate more information about this that’s helpful to the wider legal community?’” The result was the online COVID resource — a daily update of how the courts’ practice records are changing in response to coronavirus — and then the e-filing toolkit.
“As we started speaking to our customers, we heard that this thing, electronic filing, was becoming implemented more widely across Canada, but that the rules were really hard to find,” says Wenner. “We felt like we could make those rules a lot more accessible to the general public by just extracting the core parts, rather than having to read an entire document at a glance.”

Wenner is trained as a lawyer (McGill Law, then articling for a large Bay Street firm), and experienced a lot of problems that CiteRight is trying to solve, he says. “When it came to the coronavirus and e-filing, I realized there was a crisis. It feels like giving back to the legal community … but coming from my background, we care about making resources available. We have a general interest in contributing.”

“What we’ve done is look at every single place in Canada that allows e-filing, and extract common elements across all of them. Do you submit by email? Is there a filing fee? A naming convention [for files]? … For every jurisdiction, we’ve filled out that list. … We’ve summarized those rules for every single jurisdiction in Canada that allows e-filing, and if there’s more than one branch in that court. It provides an at-a-glance summary for electronic submission of court materials.”

CiteRight counts some of Canada’s largest law firms as its clients, and Wenner says the response to both its core product and to the toolkit has been very gratifying; “our site traffic has doubled, and we’re continuing to grow.

All of CiteRight’s products have been built in close partnership with its users, and new information, such as filing fees, was recently added in.

Brad Regehr becomes first Indigenous president of CBA

Winnipeg lawyer Brad Regehr has become the first Indigenous president of the Canadian Bar Association, assuming the office on Sept. 1.

Regehr, who is a partner with Maurice Law in its Winnipeg office and practises Aboriginal law, civil litigation and administrative law, told Canadian Lawyer that he will continue the CBA’s strategic direction of focusing on young lawyers, lawyer wellness and co-chairing (with immediate past president Vivene Salmon) the CBA’s Task Force on Justice Issues Arising from COVID-19.

As well, “a big thing for me is our ongoing work on Truth and Reconciliation,” he says. “We’re doing good work, and I want to continue that good work.”

Regehr will continue communicating with members through the podcast Conversations with the President, which this year will focus on the Calls to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report.

A native Winnipeger and member of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation in Saskatchewan bordering on Manitoba, Regehr was called to the Bar of Manitoba in 1997 and has been a CBA member since law school. He has been actively involved in various leadership positions in the Association for the past 15 years, including as vice-president in 2019-2020, as a national board member, and as chair of the National Aboriginal Law Section. He also served as president of the Manitoba Bar Association for two years.

Regehr’s practice focus is aboriginal law, with administrative and civil law tying into that, and a smattering of corporate-commercial work.

“I went into law wanting to work for Indigenous people, and oriented my career towards doing that,” he says. “I feel quite passionate about being an advocate for Indigenous people within the legal system. That’s what I love doing.”

Regehr was part of the legal team that successfully defended a challenge to a First Nation’s tax laws under the First Nations Fiscal Management Act, the first litigation involving that statute. He also acted for a First Nation which became a partner in a major hydro-electric project, and has advised several First Nation on implementation issues involving land claims and flooding agreements, and in arbitrations and litigation concerning the Manitoba Treaty Land Entitlement Framework Agreement and Saskatchewan Treaty Land Entitlement Framework Agreement.