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Archive for February, 2014

Canadian Critical Infrastructure Security

As many of you know, the US National Institute on Standards and Technology (NIST) recently published its Framework on Critical Infrastructure Security. Here is one of many articles about it that gives a good summary.

Does Canada need something similar? If so, who would be the appropriate authority to issue it? Will the US framework spill over in any event to Canada, to set a civil standard of care for cybersecurity practices?

A number of American lawyers are advising that boards of directors of ‘critical infrastructure’ operations — a very broad class — have to be aware of these guidelines, . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Google’s New Map Gallery

Check out Google’s new Map Gallery.

Sourced from various governments, nonprofits, and businesses, this newly launched service works as a jumping off point to locate historical and resource-based map collections. Once a map of interest is identified, the user can click in and see that map as an overlay, layered together with Google maps. See the examples below to get a better idea:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology: Internet

Baby Lawyers and First Steps

What sort of skills would you like to see besides “traditional lawyer skills” included in new lawyer training? That was the first question asked in the CBA Futures Initiative’s afternoon Twitterchat Wednesday, hosted by Sarah Glassmeyer, Director of Content for CALI, the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction, in Chicago, in a wide-ranging discussion on how, what, and where to train new lawyers.

One of the first responses came from Karen Dyck, a freelance lawyer in Winnipeg and member of the Legal Futures Initiative’s Steering Committee. “Essential is communications, i.e., listening, restating, clear writing and speech, avoiding miscommunications.

“Interesting that you . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: CLE/PD, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

The Friday Fillip: How Shall I Put This?

By the time you read this, it will have been long decided. But whether, as BuzzFeed claimed, the loser of the Canada-U.S. men’s semi-final Olympic hockey game “gets to keep Justin Bieber” could take some time to emerge. That’s fine by BuzzFeed, which will have moved on with nary a backwards glance, relentlessly retailing its highly popular olio of entertainment disguised as news and news disguised as entertainment.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I learned that BuzzFeed has a style guide. I suppose I shouldn’t have been shocked: a multi-author, multi-million-dollar publication is a serious matter, regardless . . . [more]

Posted in: The Friday Fillip

The Social Lab: a Bridge Over the Implementation Gap for Justice Reform?

Justice reform is a hot topic in Canada these days. In particular, we have the benefit of the CBA’s Envisioning Equal Justice Summit and report and the final report of the National Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family matters. These follow a long series of reports federally and provincially that include many of the same recommendations for change including BC’s Civil Justice Reform Working group report and the CBA’s 1996 report. In fact, in 1919 Reginald H. Smith identified delay, court costs and fees and the expense of counsel as the three primary defects in the . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Two-Minute Engagement

A recent piece in University Affairs profiles Toronto lawyer Arshia Tabrizi and his academic community engagement start-up, Vidoyen. The name, the article explains, blends “video” and “doyen.” But I’m not sure how many Deans, if any, are on the roster: The site does, though, boast “academics, scholars, experts and thought leaders.”

The site features two-minute video mini-expositions falling in a range of categories. In a quick look through the categories, I don’t see any law professors or practitioners, other than Mr. Tabrizi himself. The slate of advisors includes Former Mayor David Miller and David Cohn, the Director of News . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology: Internet

Quebec Superior Court Invalidates Certain Provisions of the Pay Equity Act

A coalition of unions led by the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ) has won a court challenge against certain provisions of the 2009 reform of Quebec’s Pay Equity Act. The provisions in question require employers subject to the Act to audit pay equity in their businesses every five years, but not continuously. In other words, since 2009, Quebec employers have been required to perform a pay equity audit at the end of each five-year period, prepare a list of events that generated wage adjustments (e.g., promotions), and only pay the wage adjustments due at that time rather than when the adjustments occurred. The first audits would have taken place this year.
Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Thursday Thinkpiece: Fudge on Gender and Labour

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.

Women Workers: Is Equality Enough?
Judy Fudge
feminists@law, Vol 2, No 2 (2013)

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

(Footnotes omitted; they are available in the original, via the hyperlink above.)

. . . After the crisis of World War II, in most democratic capitalist countries . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Legal Business Development: Are Your Firm’s Strengths Becoming Weaknesses?

Experience success and it’s like a drug… you want more. Success in your law firm is much the same. Whatever got you there, you put into high gear to get you more. Whether it is building relationships with big corporate clients or lateral hires that bring a book of business, oftentimes the strategies that once worked will outlive their usefulness and become liabilities. Author and Inc. Magazine contributor Les McKeowen has seen several “types” of strengths turned into destructive weaknesses…

 1. The legacy business that holds growth hostage. Perhaps the most common way in which a great achievement becomes . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

A Matter of Trust

What distinguishes a licensed, practising lawyer from another unlicensed legal professional?

Many will say that the answer is trust. The lawyer has duties and obligations to their client pursuant to a professional code of ethics and the profession’s regulatory scheme. A regulated lawyer has professional liability insurance coverage (mandatory in Canada) and is also “covered” for theft by their local compensation fund.

Clients can rely on those structures to protect them from lawyer’s mistakes, misdeeds and misappropriations. They can place their trust in their lawyer, and failing that, the lawyer’s regulator, liability insurer and compensation fund.

I was reminded of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing

LSUC Makes Minutes and Transcripts of Convocation Available Online

Thanks to the work of Corporate Records & Archives and the Great Library, the Law Society of Upper Canada has made the minutes and transcripts of Convocation available online as a searchable and browsable database. According to LSUC Archivist Paul Leatherdale, “The site contains the public versions of the Minutes of Convocation from April 1988 to the present, and the public Transcripts of Convocation from September 1991 to the present.” . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law

LSUC’s Professional Regulation Committee Reports on Alternative Business Structures

The Professional Regulation Committee, in the form of the Alternative Business Structures Working Group, of the Law Society of Upper Canada has just submitted a Report to Convocation on the subject of alternative business structures. In all, though I’ve not had time to fully review the report, it’s quite positive about new business structures and recommends that Convocation explore various models and the rules necessary to implement and control them. This from the executive summary:

Conclusion and Recommendation: The Working Group concluded that there are negative consequences inherent in current regulatory limitations on the delivery of legal services in

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