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The Friday Fillip: Strong Verbs

Verbs like “heave” or “shove,” “endure” or “conquer”?

Nope. More like “be” and “do” and “let.”

I chanced on the word “gat” recently. Not the gun slang, though; rather, a past tense of “get.” It came in a passage from the King James version of Ecclesiastes (the “there is no new thing under the sun” book; a short, well-written, skeptical blast worth reading in full):

2:8 I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as

. . . [more]
Posted in: The Friday Fillip

Do You Want to Know a Secret?

It was some time ago, while reading a few articles and columns offering opinions and insights into the legal and professional information publishing industry, that I perceived the extent to which the bonds between the employee and company appear, unfortunately, to have weakened.

Now just to put that into context, personally and subjectively, I believe that corporate loyalty can be much over-rated and more often than not is encouraged as a means by which to exploit workers. I’m much happier with the idea of a contractual relationship of obviously unequal parties in which each owes the other legal and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

UofT Professor Kent Roach on Canadian Counter-Terrorism Law

Well-known University of Toronto law professor Kent Roach has reacted to this week’s two terrorist attacks in St-Jean and Ottawa with a post about The Canadian Terrorist Attacks and Canadian Counter-Terrorism Law on the US-based Just Security website.

Roach’s text examines some of the existing powers in the Criminal Code that can be used against suspected terrorists, and discusses the issues surrounding proposed amendments that would expand powers of Canadian intelligence services.

Roach is the author of The 9/11 Effect: Comparative Counter Terrorism Law (Cambridge University Press, 2011).

He served as research director for the commission of inquiry into the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Thursday Thinkpiece: Oliphant on Creeping Monism in Charter Interpretation

Each Thursday we present a significant excerpt, usually from a recently published book or journal article. In every case the proper permissions have been obtained. If you are a publisher who would like to participate in this feature, please let us know via the site’s contact form.

INTERPRETING THE CHARTER WITH INTERNATIONAL LAW: PITFALLS & PRINCIPLES

Benjamin Oliphant
APPEAL: Review of Current Law & Reform Vol. 19, no.1 (2014): 105-129

Excerpt: Part II

(Footnotes omitted. They are available in the online version via the link above.)

II. PRESUMPTIONS OF COMPLIANCE AND CREEPING MONISM

A number of critics have suggested that . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Don’t Let Your Strategic Plan Become a Very Expensive Bookend!

My firm was recently retained by a client to assist with their Strategic Planning process. During the “interview stage” of our relationship, the Managing Partner went to great lengths to have me explain my process and style. We had numerous meetings (more than I believe any lawyer would think was reasonable if the situation were reversed) but still I persevered. I knew that there was a reason underlying their reluctance to sign on the dotted line although I understood that it was not about my firm (they had already told me that we were the consultants with whom they wanted . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Does #A2J Need a Strategic Plan?

I’m in the midst of preparing a presentation for Manitoba’s upcoming Pitblado Lectures describing various online and new media approaches to access to justice. In doing so, I have been struck by the range and variety of players in this game. Though they may be providing access to justice services and supports for different reasons (whether for profit, for the public good or as a public service more generally) the resulting innovations show great promise to enhance access to justice and reduce gaps.

Groups like HiiL based in The Hague, are supporting innovative approaches to access to justice worldwide. Technology . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Wednesday: What’s Hot on CanLII

Each Wednesday we tell you which three English-language cases and which French-language case have been the most viewed* on CanLII and we give you a small sense of what the cases are about.

For this last week:

1. Miller v. Carley, 2009 CanLII 39065 (ON SC)

[1] After a busy day conducting illegal drug transactions, the plaintiff, the defendant and a mutual friend stopped at a corner store where the defendant purchased some “scratch” lottery tickets. One of the tickets proved to be a $5-million winner.

[2] The parties dispute ownership of the winning ticket. If the ticket were . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

A National Holiday, a Sports Team’s Name, and Researching Native American Law

In the United States we recently celebrated Columbus Day on October 13th. The day was established in 1934, as a national holiday to celebrate the Italian-American heritage of exploration; then was moved to the second Monday in October in 1968. Its celebration has become controversial, however, because Columbus did not in fact discover America and his arrival unleashed genocide against the indigenous people already living in the Americas.

This year both Seattle and Minneapolis celebrated the day as “Indigenous People’s Day”. Since 1990 the state of South Dakota has called this second Monday in October “Native . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Simple Questions in Complex Situations

How many lawyers consistently use a checklist of questions to ask clients at the beginning of a personal legal matter? Many customize the checklists published by provincial Law Societies for a particular practice area, client service style or matter management process. The focus is often on quality assurance, risk mitigation and scope of work. Is there a way to include the human element too?

I attended a lecture by Atul Gawande in New York a few weeks ago. Gawande is a surgeon who teaches at Harvard Medical School, writes for The New Yorker and leads two health care organizations. He . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Reading, Reading: Recommended

Statistics Cheat Sheets

In my spare time lately, I have been studying. My partner Patric deserves special recognition for handling the bulk of homestead related activities as I park myself in front of the computer each evening to delve into the specifics of Z scores, standard deviation, degrees of freedom, probability and regression analysis.

It is interesting and also quite challenging to be facing an exam with the practice question: “43.5% of students pass this certification exam. The department head is sending 12 people from your company to take the exam and says that if you all pass you will each receive a . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training

Drowning in Alphabet Soup

“You need to return on a Wednesday at 9:00am or a Friday at 2:00pm.”

“Excuse me?”

“Oh wait, sorry. You’re client’s last name begins with ‘G’. That’s a Tuesday matter.”

“But I’m back here this Monday…”

“Oops. Hang on. It’s a domestic. Thursdays at 10:00am. Definitely Thursday.”

***

The above is a pretty faithful recounting of nearly every day in set-date courts across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and, perhaps to a lesser extent, across Ontario. I don’t have a sufficient personal sample size to gauge whether the alphabet soup insanity that has infected my home province has spread its . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Tips Tuesday

Here are excerpts from the most recent tips on SlawTips, the site that each week offers up useful advice, short and to the point, on technology, research and practice.

Technology
Dan Pinnington

To Avoid Corruption – Formatting a Memory Card Is Better Than Erasing Images on It*

With DSLRs, it has become very easy to fill your SD or memory card to capacity. Many of us have will have found ourselves deleting pictures when we run out of space. Doing this in the middle of a photo shoot is fine. However, if you are taking a bunch of pictures . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday