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Archive for February, 2010

Keep Your Guard Up: Bad Cheque Scams Targeting Lawyers Are Getting More Sophisticated

Just over two months ago I did posts on SLAW and AvoidAClaim that warned family law lawyers to be aware of bad cheque scams on matters involving the collection of outstanding spousal support. [See either of the earlier posts for the actual text of one of these messages.]

Family lawyers continue to be the targets of fraud attempts – even more so than two months ago. On an almost daily basis I am getting at 2-3 calls and emails from Ontario lawyers who have been approached to act on matters that are clearly frauds. On some occasions it appears dozens . . . [more]

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

Italian Court Convicts Google Employees

The Official Google Blog is reporting a conviction yesterday of three Google employees by a court in Italy of failing to abide by the Italian privacy code. According to Google, the gist of the matter is this: about three years ago some Italian students in Turin uploaded a video to YouTube that showed them bullying an autistic classmate. Google took the video down “within hours of being notified” of its existence and helped the police identify the uploader and those in the video. Subsequently, a prosecutor in Milan indicted the Google employees for criminal defamation and the privacy offence mentioned. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology: Internet

The Checklist Manifesto and the Smarter Lawyer

The Checklist Manifesto
by Dr Atul Gawande
published by Metropolitan Books, December 2009
price: $29.50
ISBN: 978-0-8050-9174-8

Gawande shows how using checklists can significantly improve workflows and outcomes at work. The book has real lessons for lawyers and lawfirms

In The Checklist Manifesto, Dr. Atul Gawande examines how the use of checklists can significantly improve workflows and outcomes in the work environment. He focuses primarily on the aviation and construction industries, and analyzes where and how checklists are used. He speaks as well about his experience in a WHO-sponsored initiative bringing checklists to surgical operating theatres around . . . [more]

Posted in: Book Review, Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law

Changed ‘Time Served’ Rule Now in Force

The annoyingly named Truth in Sentencing Act (S.C. 2009, c.29) came into force on Monday, February 22.

Given third reading in October of last year, the statute amends Criminal Code provisions concerning judicial freedom to take into consideration, when sentencing, time already spent in custody. (As always, the Library of Parliament summary and backgrounder is thorough.) The “common but not automatic” practice of the courts was to count pre-sentencing incarceration as double time. Now, the new rules require that courts may only count on a one-for-one basis, unless “the circumstances justify” granting the prisoner 1 1/2 days for . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Ted Video: Four Ways to Fix a Broken Legal System

The annual Ted conference always has thought provoking presentations. One of the presentations this year was entitled “Four ways to fix a broken legal system“. Its worth taking the 19 minutes to watch.

The basic proposition of the presenter, Philip K. Howard, is that the legal system has become so complex that it instills fear to act. People become so self-conscious of their judgments that it skews behaviour towards failure. 

We should not just dismiss this as being unique to the American legal system. The Canadian system may not be as extreme in this regard – but . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Blog by Articling Student

Remember what it was like? Articling, that is. If not — perhaps you wiped that difficult period of your life out of your memory, or perhaps you’re just getting old like me — you might like to revisit the period of indenture through the eyes of Lisa Hutch. Ms Hutch graduated from the University of Saskatchewan Faculty of Law and is now in articling rotation. And blogging it.

She kind of went off line along about November of last year, but has recently re-emerged and looks to be back in the blogging biz again. Might be fun.

(As an . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Technology: Internet

Equine Law

Here’s a niche for the eager young lawyer: equine law (or might we say “equiny” — emphasis on the ‘whinny’ ). Makes sense, of course. There’s “a law” of pretty much anything of value in our culture. Horses, though their general use preceded the death of the buggy whip by a bit, are still with us, or some of us, that is, and are bought, sold, trained, treated, and, sadly, mistreated, all events that can have legal ramifications.

I happened across Equine Law and Horsemanship Safety, A resource for horsemen, lawyers and law students, a site at the University . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

Millennials’ Use of Technology: Accenture Global Report

Accenture’s new report “Jumping the boundaries of corporate IT: Accenture global research on Millennials’ use of technology” looks at how Millennials across the world use IT. For this report, Accenture surveyed over 5,000 employees and students, ages 14-27, in 13 countries in the Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. Interesting findings include:

  • Millennials in the Americas and Asia-Pacific have very positive perceptions of technology, whereas most of them in Europe think that technology takes up too much time.
  • Chinese Millennials spend the most time using real-time communication tools for both work and personal use.
  • Millennials want to choose what technologies
. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology

Google Search Results From People in Your Social Circle

Simon Fodden mentioned Google social search back in October, but this was the first time I had seen results from people in my social circle be included. I was searching for “listserv alternatives” and was surprised to see my friend Jim Milles at University at Buffalo appear to give me some advice from one of his blogs, Out of the Jungle:

At first I thought it was coincidence, but then when I look closer it says he is included because we are “connected via Gmail.” (Sorry, Jim, if I blew the privacy on that connection!). So, while Simon was . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Technology: Internet

2010 Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide

Hat tip to my friends Sharon Nelson and John Simek of Sensei who today published the 2010 edition of their annual legal technology guide. It is discussed in the latest ABA podcast.

The blurb says

This annual guide is the only one of its kind written to help solo and small firm lawyers find the best technology for their dollar. You’ll find the most current information and recommendations on computers, servers, networking equipment, legal software, printers, security products, smart phones, and anything else a law office might need. It’s written in clear, easily understandable language to make implementation easier

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

Parliamentary Library Tops HuffPost’s New List of Gorgeous Libraries

Long-standing Slaw readers may remember our salaciously titled post on beautiful libraries. The Huffington Post picked up on the idea in January and today the Parliamentary Library is topping the poll of the second batch.

Times are changing for libraries everywhere. But even as many libraries build their digital collections and amp up their technological offerings, we thought we’d take a step back and show our appreciation for the beauty of many of these vast collections of books. Below are some of the most amazingly beautiful libraries from around the world.

Slaw readers can vote – and suggest what’s missing: . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information