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Archive for February, 2011

So You Want to Be a Research Lawyer?

Although my current work focuses more on knowledge and information management, I have in the past worked more formally as a research lawyer and I currently work with and know many others who work as research lawyers.

Based on recent discussions with colleagues on the role of legal research lawyers, I thought I would re-visit the topic and update my thinking in light of the changes in the economy and technological developments.

Just over 5 years ago here on SLAW, I posted Legal Researchers in the Year 2020 (30 November 2005). In that post, I discussed the likelihood that technology . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Jim Middlemiss Retires From Legal Post – Behind the Bar Column

Readers of SLAW will undoubtedly be readers of the Financial Post’s Legal Post.

Word comes today that lawyer/journalist/blogger Jim Middlemiss will retire from his blog posts at Legal Post and his Behind the Bar Columns but will instead continue to write a column for Canadian Lawyer magazine, “stick his toes in the corporate waters” and “maybe one day get that Twitter account figured out, assuming I have something relevant to say in 140 characters” (his words).

Drew Hasselback will continue as Legal Post editor.

Congratulations to both Jim and Drew. I find the Legal Post an excellent source for . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing

Case Law Reporting – the Way It Was

Over the years I heard from librarians that case law publishing should be regulated. I heard from lawyers who suggested that governments should publish case law reports. I heard a chief justice in Saskatchewan complain about the duplicate publication of judgments of the Supreme Court of Canada.

In the 1970s decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada were published by the Government of Canada in the Supreme Court Reports but many times it took up to two years for a case to be published. In response to a need for the timely publication of Supreme Court of Canada cases our . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

B.C. Provincial Court Policy on Live Coverage of Trials

The Office of the Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of British Columbia recently released a policy statement [PDF] regarding public and media access. A few sections of the policy are directed at using computers and other digital devices to transmit information during proceedings:

e. Computers
Members of the public and the media are permitted to use portable computers in Provincial Court provided that they do not disturb the proceedings or interfere with the operation of the court’s own electronic equipment, and that the computers are used solely for the purpose of note-taking.

f. Cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDA’s)

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Technology: Internet

Federal Law – Civil Law Harmonization

When the Quebec Civil Code came into force in 1994, replacing the Civil Code of Lower Canada, the Department of Justice began a process to review federal law with an eye to harmonizing it with the new code, essentially in areas where federal law deals with matters that in other respects fall within “property and civil rights within the province.” According to the recent legislative summary [PDF] from the Legal and Legislative Affairs Division Parliamentary Information and Research Service, the aim seems more to acknowledge and “respect” the civil law tradition than it does to correct terminology that has been . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Exploding Some Law School Myths

We’ve spent the last few decades building up a series of myths about legal education. I’d like to take a moment to deconstruct a few of them.

1. The law school from which a lawyer graduated is a relevant and reliable indicator of his or her quality.

This is the pedigree myth. Law firms for years have used “law school reputation” as a handy shortcut to avoid the hassle and expense of actual hard-nosed assessments of a candidate’s qualifications and potential. I’ve met lawyers from schools at the “top” and the “bottom” of the traditional rankings, and I’ve not . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

CCCT Court Web Site Guidelines – Some Complexities Underlying Court Web Sites – Privacy v. Public Access to Court Information

A few days ago, I presented the issue of copyright & licensing of information found on court web sites. In this post, please find – please feel welcome to comment! – our draft on the topic of “Balancing Privacy and Public Access to Court Information: The Need for Confidentiality Rules”. Essentially, our recommendation on topic is to follow the Canadian Judicial Council Model Policy on topic. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Technology: Internet

Zipline Company Cleared Over Waiver

The British Columbia Supreme Court released Loychuk v. Cougar Mountain Adventures Ltd., 2011 BCSC 193 on Friday, clearing the Defendant zipline company located outside of Whistler Mountain from injuries sustained by the Plaintiffs on August 18, 2007.

One of the Plaintiffs was proceeding down the zipline, which places users in a harness that travels up to 100 km an hour, but did not reach the next platform. She was essentially stranded about 500 metres before the end of the run, which formed the basis for the Plaintiffs claiming a limited measure of control.

The second Plaintiff, who incidentally . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Astroturfing: A Law Firm Opportunity

The HB Gary email leak just keeps on giving. First reported over a week ago, the leak of more than 50,000 internal emails was made by Anonymous, and revealed planned attacks by HB Gary on Wikileaks. The attacks were to be made at the behest of Bank of America, as it girded its loins in preparation for a promised exposure. Apart from demonstrating government involvement in the plot, which included targeting journalists the email have also shown a similar conspiracy in service of the US Chamber of Commerce. Now the emails have revealed the extent to which . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology: Internet

The Week’s Highlight

Those of you who get your Slaw via email or RSS may not visit the website often enough to know that a little dot has caused a big fuss here at Slaw. Lexum’s post, “Are We to Live with Useless Periods Forever?,” has elicited 18 comments as of Friday noon. It’s always a puzzle to me what prompts a reader to comment, and I must say that I’m a little surprised that a proposal about a period has generated debate. At any rate, go and have a look at the discussion, and add your 2¢ if you feel . . . [more]

Posted in: Slaw RSS Site News

A ‘common’ Law of Consumer Contracts for Online Dispute Resolution?

The European Union has been thinking about the disharmony of its consumer laws and the disincentive that this can pose to cross-border commerce, particularly e-commerce. This disincentive may be greater because the Rome Treaty requires that consumer disputes be resolved in the courts of the consumer’s residence according to the law of that place. B2C e-commerce among EU countries is not expanding along with domestic B2C e-commerce.

The EU has come up with a proposal to have a ‘28th law’ (in addition to the law of the 27 member states), being a common consumer law that could be opted into . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, ulc_ecomm_list

The Friday Fillip

Did you know that if you attach a rock to a lightbulb and drop it into the ocean, the bulb will implode at about 100 metres with a peculiar “bang”?

I didn’t either. (If you’d like to hear that “bang,” click on this.)

More interesting, I suppose, is the fact that the undersea is a “blooming, buzzing confusion” of sounds, most of which are made by living beings. We, unfortunately, are responsible for noise pollution, causing distress to some ocean creatures, among them whales. These great beasts moan and whoop and click and pop, typically beneath the range of . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous