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Archive for July, 2011

Thinking Like an Owner

The magic words that every associate wants to hear from a partner is that the associate is now “thinking like an owner”. These words mean that the junior lawyer realizes the difference between being an employee and becoming a partner in a professional services firm. It means that the associate has grasped the difference between a partnership structure and a corporation. 

Many young lawyers starting out believe that being smart, skilled and working hard will naturally lead to partnership. While this may lead to promotions within a corporate structure, in a professional services firm such as law, accounting or consulting, . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Implementing International Conventions – and Their Declarations?

Must, or should, a declaration permitted under an international convention be expressly ‘implemented’ in Canadian law, or is implementation of the convention as a whole sufficient to give legal effect not only to the convention but also to any declaration made by Canada?

It is commonplace that in our legal system, treaties are not self-executing. This means that Canada’s ratification of or accession to an international convention has an effect only in international law, creating an obligation that may be enforceable by remedies provided in the convention itself but not in Canadian courts.

However, the convention will have domestic legal . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

AALL 2011 in Philadelphia: Anatomy of a License Agreement

On 25 July 2011, AALL hosted a panel discussion attracting at least 250 attendees. Coordinated by Michael G. Bernier, Director of Library Relations, BNA and moderated by Christine L. Graesser, Head Legislative Librarian, Connecticut Legislative Library, the speakers were:

  • Lesley Ellen Harris, lawyer, author and educator, Copyrightlaws.com
  • Katherine Lowry, Director of Information Resources, Baker & Hostetler
  • Tracy L. Thompson-Przylucki, Executive Director, New England Law Library Consortium, Inc.

Bernier described the discussions “like listening in on a living room conversation between three experts!”

Some of the many questions discussed:

How should the license define licensed content? Usually falling under “Subject Matter” . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

More From the Grumpy Grammarian

My post earlier this morning complaining about “and/or” has got me on a roll.

Here are a few more pet peeves or commonly seen grammar errors:

1) Commas in Pairs (Rule 6.17, Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed)

Whenever a comma is used to set off an element, a second comma is required if the phrase or sentence continues beyond the element being set off:

– Incorrect: Judy went to Italy on June 15, 2004 to eat pasta. – Correct: Judy went to Italy on June 15, 2004, to eat pasta.

You need a comma after the year in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

Access or Theft?

As reported last week internet activist Aaron Schwartz “was charged … with sneaking into a computer closet at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and making unauthorized downloads of more than four million journal articles” from JSTOR. While there is a long list of charges (a copy of the 15 page indictment from the US District Court can be found here), the charge that has generated the most online debate is “intentionally accesses a computer without authorization or exceeds authorized access” 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(2).

Academic libraries pay for access to JSTOR – an enormous repository of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing

What I’ve Learned on Google+ This Week

Google+ is the latest social media tool. It will take some time before we know how it will fit in with twitter, facebook and linkedin. Opinions range from it being a nuisance as it is just another thing we need to follow, to being a superior tool that will supplant other social media. But for now its growth rate has been phenomenal – 20 million users in 24 days.

So I thought it would be interesting to look at what I would have learned so far this week from Google+ if that was my only source of information. These are . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology

Do Not Use “and/or” in Legal Writing

I remain surprised at the number of intelligent, articulate, and well-read legal professionals who still use “and/or” in legal writing.

I am therefore creating this post to document a fairly complete list of authorities that support what I think is the better (if not obvious) view: never use “and/or” in legal writing (or any writing). And yes, I said “never.”

The Abomination that is “And/Or”

Although there is some support for “and/or,” the weight of authority is against its use, primarily for two reasons: (i) its use can result in uncertainty, (ii) it is not a real word.

I definitely . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Let’s (Not) Make a Deal: Supreme Court Gets It Right but Justice Takes the Fall as Crowns Entitled to Break Plea Bargains

A deal’s a deal. Except where lawyers are concerned.

That’s the tough lesson learned by Alberta’s Olga Maria Nixon. Having been involved in a car crash that orphaned and seriously injured a seven-year old boy, Ms. Nixon may not engender a high degree of public sympathy but her legal ordeal set the stage for a very significant precedent handed down by the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) several weeks ago in R. v. Nixon 2011 SCC 34.

Ms. Nixon was alleged to have driven her motor home though an intersection without stopping striking another vehicle and thus causing the . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Liveblogged Posts From AALL 2011 in Philadelphia

In addition to the blog posts I put together from selected sessions at the PLL Summit on Saturday, I have also liveblogged a few of the other conference sessions I have attended:

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing

Summer Work Dress Codes?

Do flip-flops, exercise shorts, or spaghetti strap tank tops belong in the workplace? An article (in French) in Le Devoir, “Relâchement vestimentaire – Pour en finir avec la «gougoune» au travail”, attempts to answer exactly that. According to the article, Revenu Québec and The Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec (OIIQ) have insisted that their employees dress appropriately for the workplace, where exercise shorts, tank tops, flip-flops and other overly casual items do not belong. In fact, Revenu Québec sent out a memo to all its employees on the subject of office dress codes as recently . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Licensing in a Nutshell

The Meaning of License

According to Black’s Law Dictionary, a “license” is “The permission by competent authority to do an act which, without such permission, would be illegal, a trespass, or a tort.” Also, “Permission to do something which without the license would not be allowable.” It is that license which allows us to download an e-book onto our e-book reader, upload computer software, and legally obtain music online. In fact, with digital content, licensing has become an integral part of our access to, and use of, informational, educational, and entertainment content. And yet the meaning of a license . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Upcoming CALL Webinar Promises to Be Educational and Fun

I just received this information from the CALL webinar committee, and thought the SLAW community would be interested. I work with Rick – he has incredible knowledge of legislation and a wicked sense of humour. Caroline is not unknown to the CALL community – she has spoken at annual conferences before, and has always impressed me with her skill as a speaker and her encyclopedic knowledge.

This is a session not to be missed!

    Thursday September 15, 2011
    1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. EDT 

    Join two legislation experts in the first of a series of webinars that will share tips

    . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Legal Information: Libraries & Research