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Archive for February, 2012

Does the Google Vending Machine Work for Everything?

Lots of money and legions of online followers can generate a lot of successful business models. Ask our friends at Google, who have delved into everything from search, to email hosting, browser software, OS developer, and mobile hardware building. Google has applied their infrastructure to a lot of different businesses, and frequently finds success.

Having a person on the other end of the phone to solve problems? Unfortunately, that is not part of the Google toolbox. And when it works, few of us are likely to complain. We respect the idea of thoughtfully engineering activities to the point where human . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, Technology: Internet

Upcoming CBA Webconference: Trends in Law Practice Management – Calculating the Risks

Trends in Law Practice Management – Calculating the Risks

“Trends in Law Practice Management – Calculating the Risks” will be
presented on Feb. 28, 2012, by the CBA’s Legal Profession Assistance Conference, the Canadian Lawyers Insurance Association and the National Law Practice Management and Technology Section live via webconference.

The advantages of cloud computing, virtual or online law practices and unbundling of legal services are getting a lot of press – convenience to clients, reduced overhead expenses, remote access, and enhanced access to justice are among the benefits touted. But there are also very real and practical risks, and ethical

. . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Slaw Site News – 2012-02-23

Site news for those who read Slaw only via RSS or email

1. Comment Watch:

In the last week there were 34 comments. You might be particularly interested in these:

  • The erudite comment by John Davis on “The Friday Fillip: Time… and Time Again”
  • the comments elaborating on Adam Dodek’s post, “Reform-Minded BC Ready to Tackle Sacred Cows of Justice System”
  • Nate Russell’s comment with the link to an XLS file of all the tweets involved in the recent Twitter moot introduced in Dave Bilinsky’s post, “First Ever Twitter Moot: #Twtmoot”.

You can subscribe to the comments on Slaw either . . . [more]

Posted in: Slaw RSS Site News

Invasion of Seclusion & Data Protection

It hasn’t taken long for a court to apply the new tort of invasion of seclusion first recognized by the Ontario Court of Appeal in Jones v. Tsige January. While not providing a great deal of added nuance, the Small Claims Court’s decision in Connolly v. Telus Communications Co., [2012] O.J. No. 464, does provide some new insights. While providing little new insight into the substance of this new tort, the case is somewhat remarkable for its very subject matter.

First, it involves a lawsuit by an aggrieved Telus customer sued his mobile service provider over its perceived mishandling . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment

Catholic Students Cannot Be Exempt From Ethics and World Religions Course

On February 17, 2012, the highest court in Canada disagreed with Quebec parents and dismissed their case. Writing for the majority, Justice Marie Deschamps said the parents failed to show that the Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC) curriculum interfered with their ability to transmit their faith to their children stating:
. . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment

Don’t Dumpster That Book! a Life as Art Awaits It

Artists are cutting, burning, and hanging books to create “shaped prose”, landscapes, and faces. University of Iowa professor, Garrett Stewart, sees these book sculptures as symbols of “renewable intellectual energy.” The resulting art is pretty incredible, albeit bittersweet,and sometimes strangely beautiful (such as the Edinburgh paper sculptures). This “book tree” from a gallery in the Netherlands is a good example:

Give Law Books to Art

Law libraries in the Netherlands have also gotten into the act. Here is a sculpture created out of law books that have been written in, torn, or defaced in some way. Now, they . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Wearable Computers, Augmented Reality, and Gesture Control

On average, the typical lawyer does not use cutting edge technology, and even if we do have the latest smartphone or tablet, we generally don’t push the envelope for its use. It is worthwhile though (at least for those of us who might be described as tech geeks) to think about how we might better use the tech we have now, and what might lie ahead. For example:

Microsoft announced in November a modified version of the Kinect that is designed to work with PC’s, rather than the XBox. So Minority Report like gesture control can now be used, for . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

What’s Hot on CanLII This Week

Here are the three most-consulted English-language cases on CanLII for the week of February 14 – 21.

1. R. v. Smickle 2012 ONSC 602

[1] At just before 2:00 am on March 9, 2009, Leroy Smickle was engaged in a very foolish act. He was alone in the apartment of his cousin, Rojohn Brown, having elected (because he had to be at work in the morning) to stay in while his cousin went out to a club. Mr. Smickle was reclining on the sofa, wearing boxer shorts, a white tank top, and sunglasses. Thus clad, he was in the

. . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Unlocking the Potential of Commercial Mediation

A senior commercial litigator who had just completed five days of civil mediation training in BC commented: “That didn’t look at all like what I have experienced in mediation!”

With a little probing, he expanded on the disconnect that he experienced as follows: . . . [more]

Attribute
Training Model
Commercial Mediation Model

Mediator selection
Process expertise
Subject matter expertise

Pre-mediation preparation
Detailed separate meetings between mediator and each party and counsel, if any, to discuss underlying interests, goals
Little or no interaction with the mediator prior to mediation. Possibly some exchange of mediation briefs (similar to court submissions)

Mediation
Emphasis on joint meetings

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Love Contracts

The Globe and Mail (see here) is reporting today on a recent article from Forbes.com (see here) about so-called “love contracts” in the workplace. The name alone does not necessarily lead to the correct conclusion as to the actual purpose of these contracts: love contracts are meant to be signed between two romantically-involved coworkers stating that their relationship is consensual and that they understand the employer’s policy on harassment.

Indeed, office romances, while not uncommon, can make life difficult for employees and employers alike when they head south. Some time ago, my colleague, Gabriel Granatstein, wrote a column . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

Report Labels WiFi Dangerous in Schools

The Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association Health and Safety Committee has produced and published a report [PDF] that urges wifi be regarded as a workplace hazard in schools. The OECTA website glosses it this way:

A position regarding the use of Non-Ionizing Electromagnetic Radiation, including WiFi, in the workplace, Researched and presented by the OECTA Provincial Health and Safety Committee, January 2012

There are growing health and safety concerns regarding the widespread use of technology, such as cellular phones and wireless computer networking (WiFi), which produce non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation. It is estimated that at least 3 per cent of

. . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology

Fast Favourites

We are deep in Pilot rollout of Windows 7 and Office 2010 at Field Law. It is fun, interesting, frustrating, and intense.

Fun – I love learning new things, especially technology things. I especially like being in Pilot groups where I can see that my feedback is shaping the way we offer these tools to the rest of the firm.

Interesting – It is interesting to see how ribbons and menus were contemplated by the developers who are likely not the same folks who created Windows originally. New technologies are often, for me, a glimpse of how the current generation . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Technology: Office Technology