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Archive for October, 2009

Freedom — Another Reason to Switch to Apple

If you’re reading this, you’re on the internet. And it’s probably a good bet that you’re on the internet a lot — continuously, indeed, if you’re like me. This is by now unavoidable at the office and, it seems, unavoidable at the “office in your pocket,” whether BlackBerry or iPhone or some other portal to the work world.

But I’ve got a winking modem at home and a honking great (and beautiful) desktop computer sitting on my desk that glows like a persistent fire in the hearth, ready to answer my every question in millions upon millions of vibrant colours. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology

Google Street View Privacy Concerns Go to ETHI Committee

Simon Fodden predicted that the privacy complaints would begin once Google Maps Street View was launched. The maps have proven popular in Canada, with over 150 million views of other countries by Canadians in 2009 alone.

Google recognizes privacy concerns, but claims to address them through their collection and processing approach:

  • public access images, no different than what would normally be seen walking down the street
  • not in real time, so images can be months old before going live
  • blurring of license plates and faces
  • allowing removal requests, through the “Report a Problem” option in the bottom-left of all images
. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology: Internet

Supreme Court Judgment on Fiduciary Obligation

The Supreme Court has just released its judgment in the case of Galambos v. Perez, 2009 SCC 48 (CanLII). The opinion of the court was written by Cromwell J., his second[1. His first was R. v. Godin, 2009 SCC 26 (CanLII)], I believe, since his installation on the court, and concurred in by all eight other members of the court.

This judgment might be of special interest to the bar as it deals with relations between a bookkeeper for a small firm and the bankrupt firm. Essentially, the bookkeeper and de facto office manager loaned large sums . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Friday Fillip

Followers of the fillip will know I often like to get away from words on this weekly indulgence, and this is one of those times. The simple offering today is a video of a woman doing sand animation. This is not quite the same sand art that you might find a Tibetan Buddhist monk or a Navajo shaman doing, though there’s a kinship here, perhaps. This is story telling achieved by forming and reforming images in sand on a light tray as you watch the ebb and flow from above.

But seeing is understanding. So take a look at this . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Office

I read this a few days ago now, but it has been on my mind ever since. It is an attempt to take what “The Office” has to say about workplace dynamics at least somewhat seriously. Not being well-versed in management theory, I’m not sure how good this thinking is, but it is provocative. It is The Gervais Principle, or The Office According to “The Office”.

The Office is not a random series of cynical gags aimed at momentarily alleviating the existential despair of low-level grunts. It is a fully-realized theory of management that falsifies 83.8% of the business

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Social Media & Business Productivity

The lines in the sand seem firmly drawn when it comes to social media blocking. Some firms have taken the view that accessing websites such as Facebook during work hours is an attack on business productivity, and have locked down access. Detractors identify the fact that any personal smart phone can access these sites, and that blocking is not only ineffective, but is taking young lawyers ‘off-grid’ and restricting their ability to communicate with peers and business contacts.

So who’s right? Unfortunately, the answer may be everyone.

The Case for Lockdown

Let’s start this piece by facing facts. Having worked . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Designing a Better Uniform Law Web Site

The Uniform Law Conference of Canada is considering upgrading its web site – at least within its modest means. What do you think a legal reform and harmonization site needs to offer? Some ongoing projects are more accessible to the public than others, but once something has been discussed at the annual conference, any documents are in principle available.

What is lacking in your view? What needs to be kept? What should be improved?

Does a creative commons licence make sense for it? (We might not be able to provide that retrospectively for commissioned studies, but at present the policy . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

IT in Today’s Globe and Mail

The business section of the Globe and Mail today was something of a bonanza for pieces on information technology, and I thought that I’d pass the links along for those of our readers too busy to digest the (or that) morning paper.

First off, of course, is the story about the launch of Windows 7 in Canada. Microsoft’s CEO, Steve Ballmer, showed up in Toronto to give a talk to a bunch of IT professionals, hoping to help them forget about the Vista disaster. The Globe has a whole section online with a dozen or so articles about Windows . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Miscellaneous, Technology, Technology: Internet

University of Chicago Manual of Legal Citation Online

The newest version of the University of Chicago Manual of Legal Citation, known as the Maroonbook, is available online in PDF. This brief — 77 page — competitor to the Bluebook is not directly applicable to us here in Canada, of course, but may assist with material filed in the United States. And it serves to remind us that we, too, ought to have available to us a free, online manual.

We’ve mooted this on Slaw a number of times, and, if some irons I’ve got in the fire at the moment get hot in the next few weeks, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Reading

KM Outside the Comfort Zone

I attended a great workshop on Wednesday looking at KM from novel perspectives, part of the ARK Group Knowledge Management for the Legal Profession 2009 Conference.

Workshop theme and goals:
For KM to continue to grow in law firms, we need to move beyond “traditional” projects and technology initiatives.
This full-day workshop will dive into those areas that lie at the innovative edge of KM. Our goal for the day is simple. We want each attendee to leave this workshop with tools they can apply to the expansion and improvement of KM’s reach within their respective firms.

I believe the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management

The 7 Faces of Legal Knowledge Management

I will be speaking at LawTech Canada on November 16th in Toronto.

Although my talk may differ slightly from the paper I submitted, I ended up submitting a paper called “The 7 Faces of Legal Knowledge Management.” The paper reflects my current thinking on the topic of legal KM, influenced in part by discussions with colleagues in the industry. Many of us wear quite different hats as legal knowledge managers depending on the type of firm where we practice, our individual backgrounds and experiences, and staffing and resources.

The 7 “faces” of legal KM I identified are:

1. Document / . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management

Dayton and Eagan Strike New Paths

A couple of releases from Thomson-West and Reed Elsevier that may interest Slaw readers.

The first radical search innovation in a while from Dayton is the use of semantic search methodology to enrich searching for prior patent art. Here is a slide show advert – which sadly doesn’t explain how it all works. And Kindles are coming to West’s monograph series. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Reading, Substantive Law, Technology