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Archive for February, 2010

Completing the Circle of Blood for Future [Minority] Law Students

Originally published in the 6th issue of the Black Law Students Association (BLSAC) magazine.

In the West African culture, historical tradition is passed down orally through what are known in the Western world as griots. The griot is a repository of knowledge, and ensures that the lessons of one generation are passed down to the next.

It’s our pleasure as BLSAC members to be your griot, and share what we’ve learned from our experiences.

The Mende people refer to a griot as a jali, which comes from their word for “blood.” Make no mistake; there will be plenty of . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training

Audio, Visual: Differing Privacy?

Mark Liberman raised an interesting question on the Language Log yesterday: Why is it, he wonders, that “the laws and practices dealing with the recording of human interactions seem to be so different for video compared to audio?” We penalize recordings of conversations without proper consent but think nothing of videoing millions of interactions daily.

Here in Canada, too, Criminal Code provisions concerning privacy seem directed at speech. Section 184. (1) provides that:

Every one who, by means of any electro-magnetic, acoustic, mechanical or other device, wilfully intercepts a private communication is guilty of an indictable offence and liable

. . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

From Vimy to Yancouver…

♫There’s a Long, Long trail a winding
Into the land of my dreams,
Where the nightingales are singing
And a white moon beams.
There’s a long, long night of waiting
Until my dreams all come true;
Till the day when I’ll be going down
That long, long trail with you…♫

Lyrics by Stoddard King, Music by Zo Elliott, “There’s a Long, Long Trail” (WWI song).

This is a co-operative Canadian weblog on things legal. I thought that, as a Canadian who is observing firsthand an interesting event taking place here in Vancouver, I would take a moment and blog about . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Historic Tweet

The 140 character limit on Twitter may be a constraint for some, but it lets others go retro.

On February 20, an antique Commodore VIC-20 (circa 1981) at the Personal Computer Museum in Brantford, Ontario was used to send a tweet. There was a CBC report on YouTube the day before, and the event itself was recorded for posterity here.

The program had to be loaded into memory from a cassette tape. Talk about constraints! . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Friday Fillip

It’s a big freebie today, a big filmic freebie: HotDocs, the great Canadian documentary film festival, has opened its online library to us all. I count 171 movies for you to choose from, some as short as 6 minutes, others a full hour-and-a-half.

The basic site lets you browse the films sorted by title or by year (1951-2009). And there’s an alternative version of the site done in Flash that lets you filter by subject, time, date and language, or a combination of these facets. As well on the Flash site you can create your own playlists.

What do . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Libel Accusation From a Book Review

London may still be for the moment the “libel tourism” capital of the world for affronted folk, but Paris has its strong points, too, if the case of Professor Joseph H. H. Weiler is anything to go by. A professor of law at NYU and the editor-in-chief of the European Journal of International Law, Professor Weiler was summoned to appear in French criminal court to defend himself against a complaint of criminal libel lodged by Dr. Karin N. Calvo-Goller, a senior lecturer at the Academic Center of Law & Business in Israel. The basis for her complaint? Professor Weiler . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Reading, Substantive Law

Domain Name Issues for Law Firms

These days, it’s a given that within its collection of web properties, a law firm must have its own website. Every year, the legal industry spends a pretty penny hiring consultants, designers and copywriters to produce a website that will serve as the firm’s online headquarters. 

Much attention is given (at least we hope it is…) to the aesthetics: colour and font choices, graphical images, photos, etc. And if the firm is smart, the actual content of the website is given just as much consideration. But what about the site’s most basic, fundamental element: the domain name? How much thought . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Immigrant Lawyers Rarely Admitted to Practice

Statistics Canada has released a study of how often immigrants who studied outside Canada for “a regulated occupation” wind up working in that occupation. Of the various regulated professions, law admitted the least number of foreign-trained immigrants. According to the full report of the study, which used 2006 data,

Immigrants who studied law outside Canada had the lowest match rates of all fields of study leading to a regulated occupation. While 69% of the Canadian-born who studied law worked as lawyers, the corresponding figure was 12% for immigrants, making the Canadian-born with law degrees almost 6 times as likely

. . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Legal Information, Practice of Law

Facebook Tip: List Multiple Websites on Your Facebook Profile Page

Facebook appears to let you list only a single website or blog on your profile page.

Of course, many people have a website and a blog, and loads of us have connections with multiple websites and/or blogs.

With this simple trick you can list multiple sites on your Facebook profile page: Simply list the URLs for multiple sites in the Website textbox and separate them with a comma. They will display properly as separate links on your Profile page. Not sure if there is an upper limit, but I currently list 5 websites and blogs on my Facebook profile.

Previously . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Technology

Plaintiff-Side Work Opportunities for Big Law?

The WSJ has an interesting question,

Is more plaintiff-side work on the horizon for BigLaw?

The query stems from an observation of substantial profits by large U.S. firms using alternative billing arrangements for plaintiff-side antitrust cases. They don’t foresee doing personal injury or products liability plaintiff work, but tax and customs cases using contingency fees may arise.

Although the diversity of litigation might make for a more interesting workplace, it would be one heck of a headache for conflicts checks. . . . [more]

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

May Law Blogs Be Ghostwritten?

Controversy has developed in the US about whether it is appropriate for law blogs to be ghostwritten. The ABA Journal has an article on the topic, and many comments that are about evenly divided pro and con.

Some would distinguish between a law firm blog, which sounds more like other publicity material that the firm may generate, and individual blogs that appear to – and thus arguably should – be the product of the individual personally.

Would it matter in either case if the ghostwriting were disclosed? Would disclosure matter if the firm or lawyer in whose name the blog . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology: Internet

Irwin Law’s New E-Book Platform

Irwin Law’s new e-book platform is now available.

[Note of disclosure: Irwin Law is a publisher for me and also for Simon Fodden but I regularly post on e-books (see here and here, for example) and will continue to do so regardless of publisher].

It appears that Irwin Law has made huge improvements over earlier efforts of making their books available online. I think their new online platform will come closer to addressing some of the concerns that Angela Swan (see here) and others have expressed over how e-books in law may change or affect legal . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Reading