Third-year student wins inaugural McGurk Fraese Family Law Scholarship

Third-year student Kyle Gardiner has won the inaugural McGurk Fraese Family Law Scholarship, valued at $5,000.

Third-year student Kyle Gardiner has won the inaugural McGurk Fraese Family Law Scholarship, valued at $5,000. The McGurk Fraese Family Law Scholarship is an annual scholarship for the best essay on family law innovation, as judged by a panel of distinguished Canadian family lawyers and scholars.

Kyle's essay discussed the initial problem of access to justice for family law litigants in Alberta and across the country, and how legal innovation can address this problem. He cited research that suggests that 60% of all self-represented litigants (SRLs) are family law litigants, and that this number is increasing and not confined to Alberta.

Kyle also reviewed and critiqued a number of techniques that if implemented, will leave family law firms well suited to meet the growing demand of legal services from Canadian families of all types. These includes the use of data analytics, cloud computing, and the "paperless office" concept. Kyle also critiqued current approaches to billing structures in family law, and discussed various alternatives that can increase access to justice for family law litigants. He further discussed the potential that the Calgary Family Law Incubator has to implement these and other innovative changes. In conclusion, Kyle notes that a family lawyer's intention to innovate her profession should not be delayed, because the choice to innovate will not be a voluntary one forever. To stay profitable, family law firms will soon have to innovate whether they want to or not.