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Archive for February, 2011

Backing Up the Cloud

Google’s Gmail service is suffering an outage that has left 120,000 of its 150 million Gmail users without e-mail, contacts, labels and other content since the weekend. While some will no doubt use the incident as a basis to proclaim the cloud as unreliable, the truth of the matter is more complex. Both on-premise and cloud-based services can, potentially, suffer from data loss. With on-premise services, you (or your IT staff) are typically 100% responsible for backing up your data, securely storing it, and testing recovery procedures. All (or at least most) cloud-based services will take care of this for . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Insurance Brokers, Investment brokers….law Brokers?

We are hearing so much these days about the changing landscape of legal services. See ‘The End of Lawyers?’ by Richard Susskind http://www.susskind.com/endoflawyers.html, or the writings of Jordan Furlong – http://www.law21.ca/consulting-services/ (also see his SLAW contributions).

One recurrent theme in the legal press now is that lawyers enjoy a legislated monopoly over the provision of certain services which do not require legal expertise. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

CCCT Court Web Site Guidelines – Recommendations 3 and 4: Content, Search, Navigation & Taxonomies – Keep It Simple

Last Saturday, I shared on Slaw the first two recommendations of the CCCT IntellAction Working Group on Court Web Site Guidelines. In this post, I’m sharing our draft recommendations 3 and 4.

(note: in the next few days, I will share our two remaining recommendations, 5 and 6)

As usual – your comments and suggestions are welcome! Please let us know if you think we are in the right direction… . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Technology: Internet

A Canadian Appeal Courts Citation Analysis

Brock Rutter, a member of the New York and Vermont bars and former research assistant at the Berkman Center and now enrolled in the master’s program at McGill Law School, wrote to me about his proposed thesis topic, wondering whether he might run it by Slaw’s readers for any advice they might have. I thought it would make sense to present his work and proposal in Q & A format:

    Q. You say you’re working on “a bibliometric analysis of citations between provincial courts of appeals.” Can you explain what it means in plainer terms?

    A. I will pick a

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Finding Foreign Criminal Procedure Codes

Professor Joseph Weiler, Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of International Law, recently posted an entry on his blog about a criminal defamation charge lodged against him in France for publishing a negative book review. [See also Libel Accusation from a Book Review on Slaw] That post got me thinking about how one would go about finding a criminal procedure code of a foreign country. It’s good to know in case someone charges me with a crime because of any of the book reviews I’ve written.


Image from The Life of Emile Zola

Discovery Tools

To find a foreign code . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

A Systematic Approach to Law Firm Management

This is an article by Malcolm Mercer, partner and general counsel at McCarthy Tetrault in Toronto. It originally appeared in the September 2010 edition of LawPRO Magazine.

Risk is an inevitable reality of law practice. The only way to eliminate risk is to stop practising law – an option most readers of this article are not yet contemplating. A more realistic option is to actively mitigate risk through structured, systematic risk management. This approach is particularly helpful at the law firm level, where risk management can sometimes be seen to be contrary to the perceived self-interest of individual lawyers . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

The Birth of a Student Law Review

The University of Western Ontario has been the only common law school in Canada without a student-run law review. Until now.

After years and several attempts of starting a student-run law review, the faculty finally approved the launch of a new peer-reviewed legal journal. This current effort started over a year ago, when I thought that it was ridiculous that we didn’t have our own academic publication that our student body could get involved with and administer themselves.

After consulting with a number of other colleagues in my year with a background in publishing, notably Joel Welch, Kamila Pizon, and . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools

Commissioner Cavoukian Says the Patriot Act Is “Nothing”

Last Thursday, Ryerson University hosted a symposium entitled “Exploring the Future of E-mail, Privacy and Cloud Computing at Ryerson.” It was co-hosted by a Ryerson administrative committee and Ryerson’s Privacy and Cyber Crime Institute for the purpose of seeking input on Ryerson’s own plans to upgrade its e-mail and collaboration systems, including its open consideration of cloud based services. Ryerson was kind enough to open the event to individuals outside of its own community, and attracted a number of interested observers from other Ontario post-secondary educational institutions, many of which are also intrigued by the clear benefits of outsourcing to . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

CCCT Court Web Site Guidelines – Recommendations 1 and 2: Use a WCMS

This posts continues to expose on Slaw the draft Court Web Site Guidelines produced by the CCCT IntellAction Working Group on court web sites. In this post, we present recommendations 1 and 2 contained in Part IV of the guidelines, together with related context information. The context information is taken from Part I of the guidelines.

In short, the CCCT IntellAction Working Group on Court Web Sites recommends to courts using the same Web Content Management System (WCMS) to power their public, internet web sites and to power their internal, intranet web site.

A Web Content Management System is . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Technology: Internet

New and Improved Google

Google has announced a change in its algorithms that will clear out some of the link-farm spam generated by over-zealous SEO operators:

This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.

Some description and commentary here: Reuters GMSV. Google also recently announced personal blocklists, which can also cut down on the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

EU Launches Public Consulltation on E-Signatures

The European Union has begun a public consultation on online authentication in the context of its review of its Electronic Signature Directive of 1999.

An early assertion in the press release is this: “difficulties in verifying people’s identities and signatures are a significant factor holding back the development of the EU’s online economy.”

Is this true, in your view or in your experience? How often is identification of the other party to a transaction, or authentication of an identity one already knows, a concern, compared to, for example, the solvency of the party, the quality of the goods offered, the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Supreme Court of Canada – Statistics 2000-2010

The Supreme Court of Canada has issued a Special Edition of its Bulletin of Proceedings containing a statistical overview of its activities for the period 2000-2010.

There are stats for cases filed, applications for leave submitted, appeals heard, judgments (including number of unanimous vs. split decisions), and average time lapses (time lines in the life of a case at the Court). . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions