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Archive for May, 2011

B.C. Orienteering – Thoughts on Orientation Programs for New Lawyers

I must start this post with a confession that the title above is borrowed from a song by Vancouver artists “Said the Whale”. It is not only a great song but also a great topic statement for a subject that has been consuming my attention of late; that of orientation programs for new lawyers in British Columbia. Although the context in which this topic arises for me is province-specific, I know from conversations with young lawyers and law students from across Canada that law firm orientation programs, or rather oftentimes the lack thereof, should be a topic of significant interest . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Shall We Keep Using “Shall” or Must We Stop?

There’s a recent trio of pieces in the Economist’s column on language, Johnson, that should be of interest to lawyers, as they all revolve around that tricky word “shall.” The fuss started when Robert Lane Greene, who edits the column and writes as R.L.G., praised the US government’s Federal Plain Language Guidelines [PDF] for recommending that writers drop “shall” and calling it that “officious and obsolete [word] that has encumbered legal style writing for many years.” That column racked up fifty comments, not all of them approving.

A day later, R.L.G. took another crack at the “shall,” in the light . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law: Legislation

Happy Birthday Amnesty International

The international human rights organization Amnesty International turns 50 on May 28th.

Not surprisingly for a campaigning organization, Amnesty will mark the occasion with a Global Call to Action:

“Amnesty International’s new Global Call to Action includes a digital ‘Earth Candle’ – a significant online breakthrough that allows activists for the first time to see an overview of the organization’s worldwide actions, and how their own actions add to this force for change.”

“This is accompanied by a new drive – ‘Be one more, ask one more, act once more’ – that aims to achieve a huge collective impact

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Client Interviews

As the client and service provider relationship evolves, the new normal for lawyers is that clients want more and they want it for less. So how do you successfully maintain and grow relationships with your clients without continually discounting rates?

The most effective way to learn more about your clients and about the relationship you have with them is simply to ask them. However, the development and implementation of a succinct client interview process is not something to be taken lightly.

There are many objectives behind interviewing clients. By asking clients for feedback we are telling the client that we . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

My iPad Experience

So after talking about how tablets are a game changing technology, I finally made the plunge. It was a toss up between an Android tablet like the upcoming Samsung models, and an iPad2. There are pros and cons to each – but in the end either would be a good choice. 

I’ve had the ipad2 for about a week now, and in many ways it truly is magical. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its frustrations – the biggest of which is how Apple designs it to depend on iTunes to share content. I’m not the only one to . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Selected MLB Case Summaries Now on Slaw

We’re proud to announce that as of today Slaw will post each week up to ten summaries of recent interesting cases.

The summaries are provided by Maritime Law Book. As you may know, MLB’s National Reporter System publishes 14 reporters covering federal decisions and those of every province except Quebec. MLB editors index, classify, and prepare headnotes for all decisions.

Cases are selected for us by MLB editors using the following criteria:

  • Cases involving modern technology
  • Cases that extend or restrict the common law
  • Cases that interpret new or existing statutes
  • Cases that extend or restrict the existing interpretation
. . . [more]
Posted in: Administration of Slaw

Legal Project Management: A New Role for Law Librarians?

I had the pleasure last week of presenting at the annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries / /L’Association canadienne des bibliothèques de droit on the topic “Legal Project Management: Is There a Role for Law Librarians?”

My co-speaker was Andrew Terrett, the National Director of Knowledge Management at BLG who provided a great, pragmatic overview of project management in law firms.

Although in my paper I also provided a brief overview of legal project management and what various law firms were doing about it, the focus of my talk was instead on the third part of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Privacy v Information: Who Has a Right to Know?

The UK has faced a barrage of information-related news recently, from how it is obtained, to how it is restricted, and how it affects individual rights of privacy and freedom of expression. When you come from a country such as Australia, with robust defamation laws, the intense media coverage by the British tabloid press of anyone in the public eye can be quite a shock. It is the scurrilous nature of much this information, the level of detail revealed, and the distortion of facts in salacious headlines that still surprises me, despite living here for more than seven years.

Recently . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Push Pop Press Redefines the Ebook

One of the cool things I learned last week at the Canadian Association of Law Libraries annual conference was that there are ebooks and also EBOOKS. Wendy Reynolds, Manager, Library Client Services, Legislative Library of Ontario, Helen Clarke, Associate Vice-Provost Collections, Libraries and Cultural Resources, University of Calgary, and Jeffrey Miller, President, Irwin Law spoke to attendees at a session titled “If eBooks are the Medium, What’s the Message?”.

Connie Crosby moderated this panel which included a discussion of various ereader devices – along with a show and tell of some favourite gadgets. Some themes that emerged from the session: . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

Judgmental Offers UK Decisions

A new outfit in the UK, Judgmental, has just gone online, boasting 90,000 UK case law judgments. From what I can gather, their aim is to make judgments searchable in ways that BAILII currently does not. Principally, Judgmental’s cases are to be searchable by Google and Bing, whereas BAILII — and, I believe, most if not all LIIs — sends the indexers away with a stern robots.txt no. And, it seems, the group is working on making online law more “usable” than it currently is.

At the moment, however, things are still very much in the developmental stage. There’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing