Canada’s online legal magazine.
CPAC Beyond Politics
Osgoode Professional LLM

Archive for May, 2013

Ontario Benchers Lose Their Extravagant $75,000 Annual Dinner

I received from a friend, Banack Bencher News #114. This newsletter is sent out by Ontario Bencher, Larry Banack. What caught my eye was the following provision:

The Treasurer has cancelled the Law Society’s traditional end of term dinner which had recognized the hard work of Benchers and the sacrifice of our families. This will save about $75,000.00 [emphasis added]. This small step will hopefully be a prelude to more significant savings to reduce the high cost of self-regulation. It is in conjunction with the CEO quest for improvements to achieve operational and cost efficiencies to ensure that the Law . . . [more]

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

1 Time Out of 20

I would normally take care in posting something about “the curve” in law circles, as there is a good chance that somebody who graduated law school will break out in hives. Those who do break out in hives might be heartened to know that the curve has utility far beyond determining law school mark, one such is use is in explaining how polling works. With the results of most recent election in B.C. and the recent spotty track record of polls in various Canadian elections, I have found these recent tribulations fascinating as I distinctly remember a few years ago . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Miscellaneous

The Friday Fillip: The Car

The car was the computer of its day:

  • A shiny piece of technology that “everyone” had to have,
  • an object that divided owners into geeks who delved into the entrails and users who, trained-pigeon-like, merely pushed the provided buttons,
  • a people-connector of immense and unprecedented power,
  • the reason for the creation of a vast and intricate infrastructure, and
  • the principal element in the industrial structure of the west.

I say “was” because I think that the car’s days are numbered, at least as we now know it, the first edge of this change being evident in Google’s self-driving camera cars, . . . [more]

Posted in: The Friday Fillip

The Perils of Social Media for Judges

The authors thank D.C. Superior Court Judge Herbert Dixon, who maintains a two-way street of information sharing with us on this subject.

It was inevitable that, after lawyers flocked to social media, judges would follow. Unsurprisingly, stories of judicial misconduct are beginning to appear. But let us begin with the biggest news story of 2013 involving judges and social media.

ABA Formal Opinion 462

In the most striking recent development, the American Bar Association issued Formal Opinion 462 on February 21, 2013. While it was not groundbreaking, it certainly reaffirmed the general trends among states which have looked the implications . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Flip That Classroom!

Two resources I’d like to share with you, each touching on the topic of flipped classrooms. The first is Matt Homann’s 6 minute contribution at lexthink.1 where he talks about disrupting CLE. Moving beyond technology supported learning, Matt makes some interesting points on the physical structure of learning environments, telling us to “flip that classroom!”. (Click into this post to view the embedded materials.)

The second piece is from Rich McCue’s recent presentation at UVic on Flipped Classroom Benefits. The preceding link routes to a summary of Rich’s presentation, and his prezi slides are embedded below:

I would consider . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Technology: Internet

The Privacy Commissioner’s Case for Reforming PIPEDA

With 10 years of experience as Privacy Commissioner of Canada behind her, and her term reaching its end, Jennifer Stoddart has released a report titled "The Case for Reforming the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act" which describes how to modernize Canada's private-sector privacy legislation to ensure it is able to meet the current and future challenges of the digital age and protect Canadians’ right to privacy.
Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, Technology: Internet

Thursday Thinkpiece: Arthurs on Legal Education

Each Thursday we present a significant excerpt, usually from a recently published book or journal article. In every case the proper permissions have been obtained. If you are a publisher who would like to participate in this feature, please let us know via the site’s contact form.

“Valour Rather Than Prudence”: Hard Times And Hard Choices For Canada’s Legal Academy
Harry Arthurs
(2013) 76 (1) Saskatchewan Law Review

Excerpt: Part C, The Return of Legal Fundamentalism

[Footnotes converted to endnotes and renumbered.]

I have not completed my catalogue of the hard times confronting our law schools. Perhaps the most serious . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

SE Asia Finally Has Its Home Grown Own Crime Fiction Publishing House

Somewhat off topic again this month as let’s face it legal publishing and talking about it an be rather dull to say the least. So let’s talk about Crime Wave Press Asia who have published 6 online titles since launching September 2012 and we do so love their tag line..”Crime Wave Press – It’s always too late for someone.

In the summer of 2012 two veterans of the publishing industry. Hong Kong based publisher Hans Kemp and Bangkok based writer Tom Vater got together and decided the time was ripe for a new publishing house, dedicated to crime fiction set . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Yes, PLEIs, and Thank You

Last month I participated in the CBA Equal Justice Summit, and previously I wrote about its highly effective opening evening simulation.

I found the plenaries and parallel workshops equally stimulating. Indeed, they seemed to diverge in character from traditional conference sessions. The plenaries engaged participants with multimedia, debate, and even theatre. The workshops I attended were interactive, beyond a handful of questions post-presentation, and some drew from the diverse thoughts of panels larger than I often see in conferences.

The pursuit of equal access to justice is manifold, and Summit organizers, presenters, and many participants are active in . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Justice Issues, Legal Information

Cell Phones – Good for Tracking People?

It seems that law enforcement agencies are commonly using the records of people’s cell phones to establish where the people (or at least their phones) were at material times.

A US court decision has recently refused to admit such evidence, as not being properly based on science. One expert quoted in the article calls this use ‘junk science’.

Have there been attacks on the use of cell phone records in Canada on the ground that they are not reliable indicators of location? Should there be?

The US case referred to tracking by use of the relation of the phone to . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

The Failure of Personal Data Retention

Two basic privacy principles are that no more personal info should be collected than necessary, and it should not be kept any longer than necessary. That flies in the face of repeated attempts by governments and law enforcement to collect and retain data, or to require others to retain it.

One example is attempts to pass laws to require ISPs and telecommunications companies to retain data on customers for a fixed period of time just in case it might be helpful to police. Denmark has had such a data retention law in place for many years. The Danish Ministry of . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

10 Tips for Managing Risk in Litigation

Clients sue their lawyers for a variety of reasons, not limited to cases where the lawyer has made an actual error. In a family litigation-based practice, there are a few common scenarios that increase the odds that a client will be dissatisfied with the results and seek to place the blame on legal counsel. While the list that follows is drawn from common claims against family law practitioners, it contains a number of useful lessons for litigators in general.

1. Emotionally invested clients

Clients who are emotionally invested in the issues under litigation are more likely to be dissatisfied . . . [more]

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