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Archive for August, 2012

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Neutral Citation

Gary Rodrigues’ recent column Reality Check: Fact, Fiction, and Case Citations, sparked an interesting discussion about the use of case citations: whether using the neutral citation in a secondary source is enough; which parallel citations should be included in case tables; whether we need to cite print reporters at all; and so on.

As long as I’ve been working in the world of legal publishing, we’ve taken for granted that we should include in every publication a table of cases with as many parallel citations as we could rustle up. Our tables of cases still include citations to as . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Only Effective Password Is One You Can’t Remember

Having effective passwords for the myriad of sites that we need them for is getting harder. The best passwords are: long, not words, no pattern, include numbers, symbols and caps. We shouldn’t use the same one, or similar ones, twice, in case 1 gets compromised. And we should change them often.

Password cracking is getting easier all the time. This arstechnica article entitled Why passwords have never been weaker—and crackers have never been stronger goes into great detail, but the essence of it is:

The ancient art of password cracking has advanced further in the past five years than it . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Douglas Inquiry Website

With the resignation of Guy Pratte, independent counsel in the Canadian Judicial Council inquiry into the conduct of Manitoba Justice Lori Douglas, the wretched business oppressing her is back in the news again. I’m not about to wade into the dark waters of commentary here — at least, not until this process has run its course — but a Slaw reader suggests, and I agree, that we might point you to the inquiry website. There you’ll find the documents that will let you see the legal issues facing the panel and Justice Douglas, as well as some of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Causing Commotion, but Not Here

Dear All,

Once upon a time, a trial judge said that an article I’d written on causation was “complete” and that some of what I’d said was “the current state of the law in Canada”. However, the “complete” adjective was part of a phrase: “complete, if not overly analytical” – see here.

Anyway, starting this week, my “overly analytical”, denser (all implications intended), posts on causation will now appear on my own blog called “The 4th Monkey“. I will still post about important causation issues on Slaw, but those posts will will be shorter and punchier . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

“Learning the Ropes”: Sailing Into Legal Project Management

A sailboat is an incredibly complex machine made up of other machines. It’s full of expensive parts whose cost seems to run proportionately with the length of their names – e.g., a “fiddle block with ratchet, cam, and becket.” Even something as apparently simple as the sail itself is a complex feat of engineering, with complex curves sown into the fabric. And the “ropes” these days are made of high-tech materials that can run many dollars per meter.

All of those expensive, complex, and absurdly named parts have to work together properly for a sailboat to even approach maximum performance. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Risks and Benefits of Legal Technology – Recognized…

♬ It’s been a long time comin’, my dear
It’s been a long time comin’, but now it’s here
And now it’s here..♬

Lyrics, music and recorded by Bruce Springsteen.

My friend Bob Ambrogi noted it first. The American Bar Association amended the commentary to Model Rule 1.1 dealing with competence:

Rule 1.1 Competence

A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.

The amended commentary is as follows:

Maintaining Competence

To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of

. . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Women in Law

An article in the Montreal Gazette (see here) summarized well the situation of women in private practice in Quebec, citing interesting statistics:

  • women make up 65 percent of law school graduates
  • women make up nearly half of the members of the Barreau du Québec
  • women make up 30 percent of lawyers in private practice
  • women make up 20 percent of partners in private practice

It certainly isn’t surprising that work-life balance or accessibility to partnership are cited as reasons for leaving private practice. An ongoing project by the Barreau du Québec – “Projet Justicia” – seeks to  . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

ILTA 2012

The International Legal Technology Association conference is happening right now in Washington, D.C. In addition to the conference blog, Mary Abraham of Above and Beyond KM is sharing reports of the conference on her blog. Mary’s recent posts include:

As you can infer from Mary’s post titles, you can also follow the conference by its Twitter hashtag #ILTA12

You can follow the conference by . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Technology

Divisional Court Calls for Reform of Ontario’s Residential Tenancy Laws

Residential tenancies are governed in Ontario by the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 (the “RTA”). Whether you are pro-landlord or pro-tenant it is hard to argue with the fact that the RTA heavily favours the rights of tenants over the rights of landlords as property owners and service providers. In Ontario, it is illegal for a landlord to, among other things, require (or even obtain on consent) a damage deposit, require the tenant provide post-dated cheques, or prohibit a tenant from owning a pet. If a tenant vandalizes a rental property and up and leaves in the middle of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

The Future of Cost Recovery

For most law libraries, the percentage of the library budget representing subscriptions to online databases has been increasing. Many of these subscriptions represent multi-year contracts and there is little flexibility in the contracts to accommodate budget cuts.

For law firm libraries, one way of alleviating the effect of the increasing cost of these databases is to pass some of it on to clients. How this is done varies amongst law firms; some pass on all online costs to clients, some charge back a percentage of costs, and some just treat them as overhead. My 2011 survey of Vancouver-area law firm . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

LAWPRO’s Domestic Contract Matter Tooklit Helps Family Law Practitioners Reduce Claims

The following article from the August 2012 issue of LAWPRO Magazine introduces LAWPRO’s new domestic contract matter toolkit. The toolkit can be downloaded in full or in part at www.practicepro.ca/checklists

Between 2007 and 2011, 830 family law claims were reported to LAWPRO. These claims are costly. Resolving them will cost LAWPRO approximately $21 million. Some of these claims arose due to real (or alleged) problems with domestic contract matters. That is the bad news.

Domestic contracts are complex documents that deal with complicated issues involving emotional clients. The dangers are real and there are many places that errors can . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Reading: Recommended