BARE BONES BRIEFS: 60-year-old lawyer seeks Miss Universe crown | OCA to trial judges: don’t call parties’ testimony ‘self-serving’ | No correlation between ‘attack dog’ counsel and success | AI legal robot sued: lacks license to practice

By Julius Melnitzer | May 2, 2024


Alejandra Rodriguez, a 60-year old Argentinian hospital lawyer, pictured above, has won the Miss Buenos Aires contest. If she wins the next round in the Miss Universe competition by becoming Miss Argentina, she will enter the final, international round as the oldest contestant ever. According to the Daily Mail, Rodriguez seized her opportunity after the contest broadened eligibility rules in 2023, allowing women aged 29-73 to compete. Before that, the age limit was 28, and as it turns out, Texan R’Bonney Gabriel was precisely that age when she became the oldest winner in 2022.

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It’s always refreshing when courts call a spade a spade. Here’s an example, from the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision in R. v. Myles: “Finally, while we do not intervene on this ground, we suggest that use of the perjorative term ‘self-serving’ in characterizing the appellant’s evidence is not helpful. Parties usually testify in their own self-interest and their testimony could always be characterized as ‘self-serving’. But that description does no analytical work and is best avoided by trial judges.”

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According to The Law Society Gazette, litigators are stuck in a ‘time warp’: while much of the profession has embraced ‘wellbeing and collaboration’, many would still have it that litigators must be ‘attack dogs to their opponents and beholden to clients at any time of day or night’. It comes at a cost: “Evidence is growing that this attitude is causing a crisis in lawyers’ mental health”, the Gazette reports. The difficulty is that clients ‘understand litigaiton to be an aggressive format’. But James Boon, a partner in the IP disputes team at Bristow, says that these views were misplaced: “I’ve experienced relationships that were quite aggressive and antagonistic where there was an emotional component – there’s no correlation between that behaviour and positive outcomes for the client.”

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Jonathan Faridian, a California lawyer who uses the app DoNotPay to draft various legal documents has sued the company behind the software, alleging that the app “does not have a law degree” and is “not barred in any jurisdiction.” According to Legal Cheek, DoNotPay is aimed at helping consumers fight parking tickets and other charges. But Faridian alleges that the app is ‘merely a website with a repository of . . . substandard documents’ – in other words, DoNotPay, apart from being unlicensed, is also incompetent. DoNotPay founder Joshua Browder says the claims have ‘no merit’.

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Julius Melnitzer is a Toronto-based legal affairs writer, ghostwriter, writing coach and media trainer. Readers can reach him at [email protected] or

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