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Archive for October, 2012

Law Firm Merger Mania – Part 2

It was a year ago that I wrote the Slaw.ca post “Law Firm Merger Mania“, talking about the trend of law firms merging. Notably, we were seeing international firms merging to build a Canadian presence. It is interesting to check in again to see how/whether this trend is developing.

Canada’s Fasken Martineau expands into South Africa
Today we have news of a Canadian firm merging to build a larger international presence: I noticed the announcement on Twitter this morning that Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP has merged with 76 lawyer South African law firm Bell Dewar Inc. based in . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Dissenting Judgments

In his 8 October speech entitled ‘Dissenting Judgments – Self Indulgence or Self Sacrifice’, Lord justice Kerr of the UK Supreme Court poses this interesting question: “Should the possible future utility of a dissent encourage, or should the apparent futility of a dissent deter an expression of disagreement with the majority? And should the circumstance that the dissent is to be expressed in a final court of appeal make a difference?”

Are dissents in courts of final appeal “poignant judicial tragedies” offensive to conventions of certainty and unanimity, as some commentators have said?

Do they weaken the effect of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Legal Research – Clients in the Driver’s Seat

Today’s Wall Street Journal has an intriguing story on legal fees and the changes that a client-driven marketplace has had on the way that firms bill not merely for their professional fees, but also for disbursements.

For example, the article comments on ways in which technology has transformed processes which would previously have resulted in charges to clients:

To be sure, technology has swept some items off law firm bills entirely. Before the advent of email, law firms spent small fortunes on couriers to hustle documents across town or out to the airport. Lawyers now upload digital briefs and memos

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology: Office Technology

Using Social Media for Legal Research: How Google and Wikipedia Are Not “Just Noise”

by Tiffany Wong

On September 17, 2012, I presented at the APLIC-ABPAC and Parliamentary Researchers Conference held at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario on the subject of using social media for legal research. I quickly discovered while facilitating discussion through a sample research question that I was not quite able to convince a room full of skeptical parliamentary librarians into using Wikipedia for their research needs, namely research requests on any myriad of topics from current Members of Parliament (MPPs). Understandably, like many lawyers, parliamentary researchers are concerned that the information found on social media is:

  • Unreliable
  • Changes often
  • Out-of-date
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Patent and Trade-Mark Agent Requirements

New requirements are coming for lawyers wanting to become patent and trademark agents. Registered patent and trademark agents are able to represent applicants before the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.

Proposed amendments to the governing regulations were recently published in the Canada Gazette (“Rules Amending the Patent Rules”, “Regulations Amending the Trade-marks Regulations”) for comment. I expect the final amendments to be very similar to these proposed changes and will likely come into force in the next several months. Earlier versions of these changes were published by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) several years ago.

Many of . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Debate the Article “Crisis” at Convocation – Online

The Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) is dealing with a highly contentious issue – the future of articling in Ontario. After consulting with stakeholders and reading submissions from across the province, Laurie Pawlitza, the former LSUC Treasurer described the feedback as “disparate” in the 2012 Canadian Bar Association (CBA) National Student edition.

The Articling Task Force released their Final Report this week, Pathways to the Profession: A Roadmap for the Reform of Lawyer Licensing in OntarioA preliminary cost assessment of the minority view’s preliminary cost is also available. But what is the Law Society to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology: Internet

The Supremes and Expectations of Privacy on Workplace Computers

This morning, by 6 to 1, the SCC dealt with pornography on a work-issued computer and whether an employee had any reasonable expectation of privacy. The majority of the court set asise the Ontario Court of Appeal’s order in R. v. Cole, to exclude the evidence on the basis that it was obatined in breach of ss. 8 and 24(2) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Abella J. would have continued the exclusion. A new trial will be held in any event.

Here is the headnote: . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

The Friday Fillip: Site Lines

Pretty much from the start people saw the Web as the Wunderkammer that it is, an (impossibly) large room chock-a-block with objects designed to delight, horrify, inform, pander, edify, entertain . . . . Surfing is wandering through this room and fingering the exhibits. Of course, the rational, utilitarian impulse was there at the same time, and is captained now, perhaps, by Google, which asks you to know what you want before you go there, making the web helpfully instrumental, rather than an end in itself.

But even so we tend to keep “useless” corners of the web as surprises. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Finding Point-in-Time-Legislation

Sometimes you need to know how an act (or a specific section of an act) read at an earlier point in time. It may be to confirm that the relevant portions of the legislation have not changed, to determine how a contract should be interpreted, or for some other reason.

Finding a point-in-time version of an act can be a challenge. Fortunately a number of electronic services offer point-in-time versions of legislation, although few of these services go back more than ten years. There are three main sources for point-in-time legislation: government websites, Quicklaw and CanLII.

The federal government provides . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

You Might Like … to Hear About Scranton, Rennes, MakerBots, Helicopters, Gorgeousness, Spain 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: Miscellaneous, Reading: You might like...

Did Gizmodo Misread the Judgement?

Following yet another Apple-Samsung court battle, this time over tablet infringement, a ruling out of the UK has the Judges ordering Apple to make a public online apology. One of the first references I came across this afternoon, and not yet having read the judgement, was a Gizmodo post that poked fun at the Judges’ very specific directions, that Apple is Forced to Run their Public Apology in 14pt Arial font.

I thought it was pretty funny. That the judges would dictate the actual font and font size that must be used; and that Apple, of all companies, . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

New White Paper on Transformation of Legal Information Management

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) and the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) have co-published a white paper called The New Librarian that looks at the new skills that today’s information professionals need to have or acquire to do well and survive. It is full of examples of how law librarians in different contexts are facing up to the challenges of constant change.

In her introduction, Kate Hagan, Executive Director of AALL, writes:

This joint white paper acknowledges the strategic alliance that has developed between the law librarian and technologist in driving efficient and effective legal information management. The

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Technology: Internet