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Archive for May, 2010

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

This week, a deal far away from home helped bring closer to home one of the challenges facing the biotech industry. Abbott labs bought a unit of India’s Piramal healthcare, moving further into the generics business (at least in emerging markets).

The recent introduction of generic Lipitor in Canada is one example of the challenges facing pharma companies as current blockbusters come off patent and face generic competition. A lot of commenters have been expecting that challenge to turn into more money spent by pharma companies on biotech; but the Abbott-Piramal transaction emphasized that there’s more than one way . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Legal Problems in Ontario? You’re Not Alone

The Ontario Civil Legal Needs Project released a report today, Listening to Ontarians, funded by the Law Society of Upper Canada, Legal Aid Ontario and Pro Bono Law Ontario. The study focused on middle-to-low-income populations, defined as a household income of under $75,000.

Tracey Tyler provides a summary of the report at The Star.

The study shows that one-third of those interviewed had a legal problem in the preceding year, with low-income populations facing the greatest hurdles,

While the rate of incidence of legal problems within this group was consistent with Ontarians in the total survey

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

Law Firms, Law Graduates and Training – Who Is Responsible, and Who Is to Blame?

Law firm librarians are often critical of the lack of research skills demonstrated by the annual crop of new graduates when they start working in law firms. The issue has been a bone of contention for many years, and can create a divide between academic and firm librarians. I think the issue is not one of training, but of understanding that the purpose of a university education and that of a law firm placement are fundamentally different, and legal research needs and experiences have little in common from one environment to the other.

I was back in my home town . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Implications of Failed R&R Act for 1st Nations in B.C.

The proposed New Reconciliation and Recognition Act by the British Columbia government failed in 2009, largely due to the withdrawal of support by 1st Nations leaders. Vic Burstall, a retired lawyer in Victoria, outlines the developments today in the Times Colonist.

According to the province, the legislation was intended to:

  • increase partnerships and bring certainty to the land base in B.C.;
  • establish a flexible framework to avoid the costly and lengthy litigation that has too often characterized relations with First Nations in the past;
  • ensure constitutional or common law on rights and title remain unchanged;
  • not affect Crown-granted
. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Baby Barista Bails From Times

Tim Kevan, author of BabyBarista, the fictitious and amusing “worm’s eye view of the English bar,” has withdrawn the column from The Times where it ran for years, because of that paper’s decision to put its content behind a paywall. (See the piece on Slaw from last month.). BabyBarista is now a free-standing — and still free — blog.

The new main page sports a raft of cartoon illustrations by Alex Williams and potted biographies of the main players in BabyB’s life at the law, characters such as OldRuin, TheCreep, OldSmoothie, UpTights, and JudgeFetish.

[hat tip Charon QC] . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Friday Fillip

I remember reading a few years back that a geek was someone who would record his daily mood in for years on end. If so, Nicholas Felton is geek extraordinaire. He’s a well-known designer who, to quote him himself, “spends much of his time thinking about data, charts and our daily routines.” He doesn’t just think about them, though. Each year he releases a work of art based on his own past twelve-month. These personal annual reports “collate countless measurements into a rich assortment of graphs and maps reflecting the year’s activities.”

Sounds icky, I know. But fear . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Are Technophobes Negligent?

Is a technophobe litigator who fails to take advantage of courtroom technology negligent? Can a litigator’s failure to use courtroom technology amount to negligent breach of duty when the case fails?

Why not?

We expect professionals to be aware of, and use, the most modern of methods. We most certainly demand this of doctors.

Imagine an old heart surgeon refusing to use current technology, preferring to launch into open heart surgery the way it was done in the ‘old days’. The doctor might rationalize it this way, “well it was good enough to operate on hearts without modern technology in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Lawyers Sue Thomson Over Pleadings Database

Yesterday, May 25, 2010 Sack Goldblatt launched a class proceeding against Thomson Reuters Corporation and Thomson Reuters Canada Limited on behalf of a class of Canadian lawyers and law firms. The Statement of Claim claims that Thomson Reuters breaches copyright by making available original lawyer created legal documents for fee or subscription without permission from, or compensation to, the authors of the documents.

The representative plaintiff is Lorne Waldman, a leading immigration and refugee lawyer, whose work for Maher Arar has allegedly been copied by Thomson Reuters through its “Litigator” service. Litigator is a fee and subscription-based database for lawyer-created . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions