⚖️ Insecurity

Is it that simple to bring a weapon into a courthouse? Plus some AI tools you might want to incorporate in your practice, and Trump's closing argument turned campaign speech.

In case you were wondering, the feeling is the same after sending an email newsletter to several hundred recipients.

— Dylan Gibbs

TODAY'S DOCKET

3 min read

  • What’s with all the recent courthouse security incidents?

  • New options for using AI in your legal practice.

  • Trump’s closing argument turned campaign speech

PRACTICE

Time for a stronger focus on courthouse security?

Courthouse security stops man with briefcase

A stabbing inside the Longueuil courthouse earlier this week left a court interpreter in critical condition. That’s the second major incident involving weapons at Canadian courthouses in just over a month. In December, someone allegedly intending to kill a defence lawyer brought a loaded gun into a courthouse in Vancouver. Neither location screens its visitors for weapons.

Should metal detectors have a more universal presence in Canadian courthouses? Personally, I’m surprised we aren’t there already. Legal proceedings are contentious. The stakes are high — especially for people facing prison time. Surely there’s more risk of harm in a courthouse than there is risk of someone bringing bomb juice disguised as toothpaste onto an airplane?

That said, front-door security isn’t the be-all and end-all. Case in point: the guy who supermanned himself over the bench last week to attack the judge at his Las Vegas sentencing. Like the alleged Longueuil stabber, he’s now facing an attempted murder charge.

HEARSAY ROUNDUP

Tech talk

🦾 ChatGPT has a new subscription option that might be a good fit for some legal teams. A “ChatGPT Team” subscription gives businesses a private workspace and higher usage limits, at a much lower cost than ChatGPT’s enterprise plan.

👀 If you’re holding out for a legal-specific solution, check out LexisNexis’s generative AI tool. The company launched its “commercial preview” of the software in Canada today. I’ll admit, I have no idea what a commercial preview is, but the tool is purpose-built for Canadian law and the demo video looks pretty neat.

Beyond the border

💃 More women than men worked as associates at US law firms last year. When NALP started tracking the statistic in 1991, only 38% of associates were women. This year was 50.3% — the first time women have exceeded men. Partnership numbers still lag behind by a wide margin.

😤 New York’s Attorney General and Donald Trump made their closing arguments in Trump’s civil fraud trial today. You might assume I mean Trump the litigant, making submissions through his lawyers like a rational courtroom actor. But Trump took over in the literal sense and addressed the Court himself.

To be fair, everyone had some advance warning Trump had things to get off his chest. Last week, his lawyer let the judge know by email that “president trump plans to present argument”.

You read that right, Trump’s lawyer still calls him president. And even in correspondence to a judge, he avoids capitalization like a senior partner sending a rushed note to an articling student.

The full email exchange is available here if you want to read it — the upshot is that the judge was happy to let Trump speak, as long as he followed the rules that apply to closing arguments and refrained from making a campaign speech. Trump’s team wouldn’t agree to that stipulation, so the judge barred Trump from participating.

Prohibition be damned, Trump inserted himself into the proceedings without the judge’s permission. He used the opportunity to reiterate (as he has throughout his trial) that he’s being persecuted not prosecuted. The judge let Trump rip for 6 minutes or so before he cut him off and broke for lunch.

That’s all for today. If you’re craving substantive law, stay tuned for tomorrow’s update. I’ll be looking at the leave applications granted by the SCC today, and the anti-SLAPP case involving ex-UBC prof Steven Galloway.

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