President's Message: Practical Innovation - The Lawyer’s Advantage

  • December 03, 2019
  • Colin Stevenson

Colin StevensonSince beginning my term as OBA president and unveiling my innovation mandate, I have enjoyed robust, riveting and, occasionally, revelatory conversations across the province about recent developments in our profession and new directions in practice.

What all of these discussions make clear is the extent to which the provision of legal services is changing — and will continue to change. Market and technological forces, which you can read more about in my article here, have converged to create an undeniable demand for innovation and it is essential that lawyers answer this call.

Lawyers, natural problem-solvers and strategic thinkers, are best equipped to devise innovative ways to deliver legal advice, documentation and action that address our clients' needs effectively and efficiently. And, I would argue, we bear a responsibility to do so. We hold ourselves to high standards of professionalism, and an increasingly important part of being capable and trustworthy agents of justice is providing the public with legal services in an accessible, affordable and customer-friendly fashion.

Adding technological tools, practices and knowledge to our legal expertise and advocacy skill can only expand our professional horizons and enhance our reputation as valued advisors and dependable service providers. 

As lawyers, our understanding of the law and our principled approach to practice uniquely position us to drive thoughtful innovation and sharpen our competitive advantage in the legal marketplace, but we cannot do it alone. As you will have read in your first OBA Practice Innovation Newsletter, the OBA has mapped out an action plan for the profession that is powered by five pillars — Information Services, Tools, Testing, Knowhow and Advocacy. It is designed to provide practical innovation for all lawyers — from sole practice to big firm settings, across the full spectrum of technological sophistication and legal specialization.

We will ensure appropriate and easy-to-implement solutions are made available to all our members, thereby creating a constructive and workable framework for constructive change in our profession.

As announced in October, we will bring you the in-depth expertise of our 2019-20 Innovator in Residence, the Legal Innovation Zone at Ryerson (The LIZ), to deliver on our practice innovation promise. However, we are also keen to hear from you about challenges or opportunities arising in your practice areas that cry out for an innovative approach. Email me your thoughts at and keep an eye on our OBA website, CPD emails and innovation newsletter for opportunities to exchange ideas about innovation as we usher in a new era of progress in our profession.