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Archive for January, 2012

Occupy the Courts

Winston Churchill once famously rejected a desert saying, as he pushed it away, “This pudding has no theme.”

Of the many criticisms that can be justifiably leveled at my weekly post on this blog, lack of theme, I hope, is not one.

The theme of my posts is the need to preserve our adversarial system of civil justice; to prevent it from morphing into one that basically offers only interest-based dispute resolution because the energy and the skills needed to determine rights, have fallen into disuse.

I carry that theme around all during the working week, and after hours too. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Background Paper on Legal Status of Assisted Human Reproduction

The Library of Parliament’s Information and Research Service has released a background paper, “Legal Status at the Federal Level of Assisted Human Reproduction in Canada” [PDF] by Sonya Noris and Marlisa Tiedemann. The paper takes the reader though the recent history (1990 – present) of federal attempts at the regulation of this set of developing medical practices, culminating in a brief analysis of the Quebec constitutional challenge to the Assisted Human Reproduction Act culminating in the ambiguous / ambivalent response of the Supreme Court (4-4-1, so to speak) in Reference re Assisted Human Reproduction Act 2010 SCC 61 . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

Building Your Practice Profile Through Social Media

On Friday I had the pleasure of speaking to an audience of lawyers at The Commons Institute‘s eCommerce and the Practice of Law conference in Toronto. I was given the large topic of using social media in a legal practice.

Below are the slides I started with in the discussion, but the real meat of it was the many excellent questions that were put to me by the group. I hope to blog more about those questions, either here or over on my personal blog (will let you know!). In the meantime, I hope these slides are helpful.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Technology: Internet

Dealing With Disasters

This column was prompted by an article in the Toronto Globe and Mail’s Report on Business during that post-Christmas period of year-end retrospectives. In “Earthquake. Tsunami. Floods. Here is how a battered industry is getting back on its feet” (Globe and Mail, December 27, 2011), Greg Keenan analyzed how Japanese automakers were affected by recent natural disasters: last March’s powerful earthquake and tsunami and the Thailand floods. The devastating impact was aggravated by problems with the automakers’ suppliers: the automakers suffered severe parts shortages but were unable to adjust to these problems because of their inability to obtain . . . [more]

Posted in: Outsourcing

UWOJLS Launches First Issue

Canada’s newest student-run law review just released its first issue.

The University of Western Ontario Journal of Legal Studies is published entirely online, and is the first student journal coming out of UWO for over 25 years. The contents of the first issue are as follows:

Editors’ Note Lisa Di Valentino and Benjamin D. Tinholt

Niqab vs. Quebec: Negotiating Minority Rights within Quebec Identity Nafay Choudhury

Protecting Your Personality Rights in Canada: A Matter of Property or Privacy? Amy M. Conroy

The Rules of Professional Conduct: A Conflicting Guide for Counsel in Child Custody and Access Proceedings Jennifer L. Hiatt

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

Ontario Justice Not on Target

In 2008, the Ontario Attorney-General launched “Justice on Target,” a project intended to reduce wait times and delays in the criminal court system. The initiatives were broken down into several programs:

The new Attorney General, Hon. John Gerretsen, announced today to the media that the project may not meet its goal of 30% reduction in appearances,

It’s difficult for all of us to change the way we’ve traditionally been doing things,

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

The Friday Fillip: Wordnik Et Al.

“phantosmia” means smelling bacon when there’s no one cooking breakfast.

That’s my definition. But don’t trust me. Take a look at wordnik, where, as the about page explains, you’ll find a better definition of this or any word, examples of its use, lists of (somewhat) related words, brief discussions of the phenom, and more. Indeed, I only came across “phantosmia” because I hit the random word button.

Now that site alone could lead to hours of harmless amusement, but this is your lucky day. I’m piling on. Here are three more word-ish sites that belong on your reference list, . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

You Might Like… Brief Bits on the Bard, Bolaño, Steak, Salvage, Taxonomy, Passports, and More

This is a post in a series appearing each Friday, setting out some articles, videos, podcasts and the like that contributors at Slaw are enjoying and that you might find interesting. The articles tend to be longer than blog posts and shorter than books, just right for that stolen half hour on the weekend. It’s also likely that most of them won’t be about law — just right for etc.

Please let us have your recommendations for what we and our readers might like.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Reading: You might like...

Professional Associations and Why They Matter

Do you belong to a Professional Association? Have you become involved in it in any way? This column is written in praise of such bodies, and the work they do. It’s not very techie, there isn’t anything new or even greatly educational in it, but it is more a reflection on an unsung entity that is not often recognised beyond its own membership.

In December I participated in the annual meeting of the International Association of Law Libraries, which was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was the 30th meeting, with the first one being held in 1966; they . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

UK City Councils to Offer Free Legal Advice via Webcam in Libraries

The general public can already get legal information and/or advice from public legal education websites or from legal clinics and pro bono groups.

Some city councils in the United Kingdom are going one step further. Birmingham and Westminster are teaming up with videoconferencing firm Instant Law UK to offer free legal advice via webcam in public libraries:

“The plan is now to be in 100 locations within 12 months and 360 locations in 24 months. Though it will continue to place kiosks in those shopping centres which have already been identified – with three set to launch at

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology: Internet

3D Web Presentations

From an item I just posted on Stem’s newly launched blog The Greenhouse, a javascript library is now available called impress.js that replicates many of zooming effects found in Prezi.com. For those not familiar with Prezi, this web presentation tool delivers a number of cool 3D effects, zooming in and out of your presentation elements.

The impress.js library offers similar effects, but without the flash technology. Developed by Bartek Szopka, it is also open source, and utilizes CSS3 3D transitions found in newer webkit supported browsers — which means you’ll need Chrome or Safari to see the . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet