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Archive for January, 2012

Harvard Library Reorganization and Fallout

A couple of weeks ago the academic library blog and twittersphere was ablaze reacting to a tweet that “[a]ll of Harvard library staff have just effectively been fired”. As more news came out of a January 19 Harvard town hall meeting it appears that the reorganization at Harvard will not be that extreme – but these will be very challenging times for the Harvard library. The Chronicle of Higher Education has a nice short piece on this situation here. The text of the presentation that sparked the reaction is here. More news is expected next month. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Access to Justice Falling Off the Federal-Provincial Agenda

Last week the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Justice met in Charlottetown for an annual conference started four decades ago by then Minister of Justice John Turner. With the big price tag attached to the federal government’s omnibus crime bill C-10 and budget cuts on the horizon, there were no significant spending commitments by the federal government.

Legal aid is still on the agenda at these meetings, but barely. By my count, it is item number 16 out of 19 in the post-conference communiqué. Here is what the carefully-crafted language said:

Ministers affirmed their commitment to a responsive,

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Right-to-Work Legislation

The state of Indiana may soon become the 23rd state in the US to adopt right-to-work legislation. With the Senate Committee having already passed the Bill, it will go to the full Senate. If there are no amendments, the governor of Indiana could be signing the Bill as early as tomorrow (see a news article here).

Back-to-work legislation prohibits contracts between employers and unions which require all employees to pay union dues as a condition of employment. As such, this type of legislation gives the non-member employee the option of paying union dues (or not). Supporters of this type . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

Criminological Highlights

It just so happened that as Slaw columnist Ed Prutschi’s “Crime & Punishment in 2012” appeared today, I received the latest emailed copy of Criminological Highlights from the University of Toronto’s Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies. I thought I’d pass on the link to those of our readers who are interested in criminal law or the intersection of law and social behaviour.

Criminological Highlights is a digest of selected academic articles,

designed to provide an accessible look at some of the more interesting criminological research that is currently being published. Each issue contains “Headlines and Conclusions” for

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

LTNY 2012 Talking Technology to Lawyers

I have the pleasure of attending LegalTech 2012 in New York this week. Though I came to NYC to talk to vendors of legal technology products as my primary purpose, there have been some interesting learning opportunities as well. One session I attended yesterday was titled “Talking Technology to Lawyers”.

The session was moderated by Gina Buser of Travelling Coaches. Panelists were all Chief Informatin Officers at large US law firms: Bob Dolinsky, Terry Pressley, and Kirk Scruggs. Thpugh their titles were the same, their approaches to speaking about technology to lawyers differed. My impression of the panelists was simplified . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Crime & Punishment in 2012

It’s that time of year again. Judges and lawyers have returned to court sporting freshly bronzed bodies, and Ontario’s RIDE program has tucked away the bulk of its breathalysers until the summer cottage season. A perfect time to transition from reflections of the past to contemplation of the future. And so I bring you my second annual Crime & Punishment Predictions. (If you’re wondering how plausible a prognosticator this Prutschi fellow is, you may peruse my previous perennial predictions here: http://www.slaw.ca/2011/02/07/crime-punishment-in-2011/). 

5. A Return to the 11(b) Crisis

For nearly a decade appellate courts have been discreetly warning their . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Interactive Law?

My post today is a question.

I recently heard an interview in which a major newspaper editor said the traditional model of “active” journalist and “passive” reader, is dead. He gave the following illustration. On the opening night of a new opera production the most experienced and highly regarded opera critic in the world can write a review for the next day’s paper. It will be brilliant as usual, but it is “nonsensical” to think the other 700 people in the audience have nothing of value to add.

He likened this change in perspective to flipping a switch in our . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Clio Raises $6 Million in Funding

Who are these guys and why are they so happy? You’re looking at Clio co-founders Rian Gauvreau on the left and Jack Newton (Slaw blogger) on the right; and they’ll be smiling right now because they’ve just announced at Legal Tech that Clio has raised six million dollars in its Series B round of financing. From the Clio press release:

Clio will use this new funding to extend its product leadership position, aggressively developing new functionalities and supporting its growing customer base. In addition, the company aims to expand its footprint beyond the U.S. (which currently represents 95% of

. . . [more]
Posted in: Announcements, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology: Office Technology

Reference Guide for Judges Heading Commissions

A number of months ago (but unremarked here on Slaw) The Canadian Judicial Council released a “Reference Guide for Judges Appointed to Commissions of Inquiry,” [PDF] those investigative, often palliative, and sometimes corrective events with which all Canadians are familiar. This acts as a resource guide to accompany the Protocol [PDF] governing appointments of judges that the Council released back in August of 2010.

Part I serves as an Introduction to orientate the reader and briefly describe the purpose of the Protocol.

Part II offers a checklist of the types of things any commissioner will likely wish to

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

The House of Commons Returns Today

After a 6 week break the Members of Parliament return to Ottawa today starting at 11 am ET. The Projected Order of Business mentions resumption of the debate over Bill C-25, Pooled Registered Pension Plans Act. CBC’s Kady O’Malley has her take on today’s proceedings over on the CBC website.

We are expecting a new Federal budget in the next few weeks. And according to CBC News Now, other major legislation that will be dealt with this session includes immigration, financial services review, copyright reform (Bill C-11), the omnibus crime bill (Bill C-10) and doing away with the long . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology: Internet

The Top Downloads From practicePRO.ca in 2011

At the end of each year we at practicePRO take a look at what articles, checklists, tips, and other resources had the most downloads. As always, the list contains many resources that remain popular year after year, though there are some items that stand out.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Will Google Succeed in Its Privacy Policy Overhaul?

On January 24th, Google announced a sweeping overhaul to its privacy policies that will take effect March 1, 2012. Rather than maintaining 60+ distinct privacy policies for its various properties, Google has created a single, unified privacy policy that will provide what Google describes as a ” beautifully simple and intuitive experience” across all of the company’s sites.

The company should be commended for rolling out these changes in a completely transparent way: it has advertised the changes across its properties, and given users over a month to review the changes prior to them taking effect. Google’s educational site does . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, Technology: Internet