BARE BONES BRIEFS | Survey: full-time remote work off the table | Osler bulletin: corporate diversity tanks | Law firm gives away profits | OCA: “No escape” supports inmate’s duress defence | legaltrot: helping lawyers on the go get help on the go |

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By Julius Melnitzer | May 16, 2021

REMOTE WORK: THE DISCONNECT

The Littler 2021 Annual Employer Survey Report has uncovered a “disconnect” between employers and employees about what the return to physical workspaces should look like. The following paragraph says it all:

While 71 percent of employers surveyed believe that most of their employees who can work remotely prefer a hybrid model and that only 4 percent prefer full-time in-person work, 28 percent of those employers plan to have most employees return full time and in person, and 55 percent will offer a hybrid model (i.e., a mix of remote and in-person work). Only 7 percent say their employees who are able to work remotely full time can continue to do so if they wish, despite 16 percent saying they believe most would prefer this option. (Emphasis added)

Related Story: Beware the pitfalls of employees working remotely from abroad

MUST-READ LAW FIRM BULLETINS

Osler, Hoskin: Corporations Canada reports on first year of diversity disclosure (And it’s not good)

PANDEMIC-INDUCED ALTRUISM

Two lawyers in the U.K. have pledged to give away all profits from their new firm. The Law Society Gazette reports that solicitors Laura van Ree and Trina Worden’s “community interest” practice, called Not For Profit Law, will charge less than traditional firms, pay salaries and other expenses, and give what remains to the Norfolk Community Foundation, which supports small charities and groups in the county. Van Ree and Worden say they made the decision after reassessing their careers during the pandemic.

Related Story: The interplay of profit & relevance: post-COVID opportunities for law firms

OCA: PRISON PUTS PEOPLE UNDER DURESS – EVEN CRIMINALS

In a rare case upholding the defence of duress, the Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled that Francis Norman, who attempted to smuggle drugs into Ontario’s Central East Correctional Centre (CECC), was properly acquitted of trafficking charges. Norman, who had “been in an out of jail for the last seven years”, and his brother, who was incarcerated for the first time, were inmates at the CECC when a Hells Angel member threatened them with stabbing if Norman refused to smuggle drugs into the detention centre after his release. The court concluded that there was an “air of reality to the duress defence” as Norman had “no safe avenue of escape” – even though he had been released and had an opportunity to seek help from the police and prison authorities before he committed the crime.

Related Story: Too many “made for Twitter” decisions from the Supreme Court?

LEGALTROT LAUNCHES CROWD-BASED LEGAL OUTSOURCING PLATFORM

A new crowd-based outsourcing platform, legaltrot, has launched a website aimed at providing a flexible, cost-effective workforce for project-based jobs in the legal profession. The platform, composed of lawyers, law students, paralegals and other legal professionals, provides daily opportunities for job-seekers to find work on an as-needed basis even as it allows firms to control costs and workload. 

“The platform was created with legal professionals and law students in mind because we understand how frustrating and unmanageable certain aspects of the industry can be,” legaltrot says on its website.

There’s no cost to jobseekers who wish to sign up, and the same seems to be true for those who “post a project”.  But the site also has a decidedly American bent, and it’s not at all clear whether it’s meant for Canadians. But it’s an interesting idea that we’ll keep tabs on. Stay tuned.

Related Story: Today’s law firm recruiting takes massive stakeholder co-operation

Julius Melnitzer is a Toronto-based legal affairs writer, ghostwriter, writing coach and media trainer. Readers can reach him at julius@legalwriter.net or https://legalwriter.net/contact.

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