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Archive for July, 2007

Scott Turow on the Billable Hour

…I still believe that lawyers in general, and litigators in particular, are yet to confront the realistic limits of [the] competitive environment. And in this regard there is no more vicious culprit than the practice of basing our fees solely on the time spent on a matter.

Dollars times hours sounds like a formula for fairness. What could be more equitable than basing a fee on how long and hard a litigator worked to resolve a matter? But as a system, it’s a prison. When you are selling your time, there are only three ways to make more money—higher rates,

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

‘The Action Is in the Informal Literature’

Walt Crawford, an engaging and controversial voice in the library world, has just released an article characterizing blogs and other forms of grey literature as “the most compelling and worthwhile literature in the library field today.” Are blog entries and other kinds of ‘informal literature’ making inroads into academic evaluation, due to their currency and relevance? There are calls for such a change at the Carnegie Foundation, and more particularly at the NCSUE. In Canada the problem has been recognised, and recently a major step forward was taken. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Articling Student Season – Summer 2007

This is Week Two for our firm’s 2007-8 Articling Students. Week One consisted of full-time training and orientation sessions. Week Two consists of part-time training and orientation, together with “free time” to take on lawyer assignments. My role was to deliver a one and a half hour session on law firm knowledge management/how to use precedents.

As usual, I find myself wondering if there is a better way to deliver so much content in such a short time. A few weeks ago, a speaker at a program on Office 2007 (not a program one can expect to see in large . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Contract Law Rediscovered

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals “consider[s] whether a service provider may change the terms of its service contract by merely posting a revised contract on its website” and decides it cannot. In Douglas v. Talk America Inc [PDF] the facts were that Douglas had been a customer of AOL, Talk America’s predecessor, from whom he purchased telephone services. When Talk America bought AOL it changed the terms of service in various ways including the addition of more charges, which changes it posted on its website. Douglas was unaware of the changes, and when, after four years of using . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Word Watch: Gank

I came across “gank” in a BoingBoing post today, hadn’t seen the word before, and thought you might like to add it to your online vocabulary: it means, essentially, to steal, with connotations of ripping off, and is probably a portmanteau word marrying “grab” and “yank.” (You can find online definitions here, here and here.)

You use it thus: “I ganked the idea from a BoingBoing post.” . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

BlawgWorld 2007

New and improved now that it contains Slaw, BlawgWorld 2007 [PDF] is available free, along with the 2007 TechnoLawyer Problem/Solution Guide, all wrapped into a book format that lets you get to your destination with no more than three clicks. The master blawg list contains a sample post from something like 75 legal blogs, of which half a dozen or so are Canadian. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Friday Fillip

Given that the majority of Canadians live in urban settings, it may that most children have never seen the stars; and in time most of the population will be included in that unfortunate group. Oh, sure, Venus and the moon and one or two other very bright objects may peep through the bruise of the night sky, but the full glory of heavens is lost to us in cities and towns because of light pollution.

Technology can help — by showing us what we’re missing and intriguing us with science and mythology, so that we’ll be more likely to head . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

A Role for Older Lawyers?

An interesting story from the Montreal Gazette this morning about the coaching mentoring role Paul Jolin is playing at Heenan Blaikie.

I think every firm has its retired senior lawyers that make it out to firm events once a year, or lawyers that aren’t retired but are winding down billable production and looking to contribute in other ways. As firms deal with the boomer retirement issue, the challenge it seems will be to leverage those key individuals and their knowledge.

The role of mentor or coach is one direction. I also think that a strategic business development role would be . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

PKP 2007 – Some Additional Notes

The conference has been over for more than a week now, and many of the presentations have been blogged by the PKP team. Most of the conference presentations are abstracted at the conference website, and many have full text available.

I’d like to highlight a few of the presentations that I thought were really notable (from a librarian’s perspective), and then describe four of the sessions that were not blogged by the conference team. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Listen to This End-User Agreement

Choral Performance of SONY EULA
Here’s a choral performance of the Sony/BMG End User License Agreement — remember the Rootkit fiasco — set to music and arranged for choir and recorded by Toronto recording artist Brian Joseph Davis.

Here’s the story in Wired.

Listen to the words. Listen to the words.

Apparently, Sony is suing the software supplier. Sony must be shocked, shocked that the software company did what it did. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Ontario E-Laws Site Revamped

The Ontario government has just released version 4 of its E-Laws website.

E-Laws contains the province’s statutes and associated regulations as well as legislative history tables for amendments and repeals.

What’s new:

  • Current Consolidated law given prominence to assist new and occasional users
  • More precise currency information for consolidated law
  • Direct link from home page to the most frequently accessed laws
  • Search and Browse functions available on a single web page for each ‘category’ of law
  • Basic and advanced search capacities combined for easier searching
  • Search and Browse functions available for Period in Time and Repealed, Revoked and Spent
. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous