April, 2014 Archives – Slaw
Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for April, 2014

Limiting Missed Limitation Claims

I’m wearing my risk management hat this week, while attending the American Bar Association’s conference on legal malpractice. Though one might argue if I did my job well, there’d be no need for it, the unfortunate reality is that legal malpractice claims continue to be filed across Canada. In keeping with the theme of my week, following is a repost of a recent article I wrote for the Canadian Lawyers Insurance Association Loss Prevention Bulletin on a consistent source of claims against lawyers – the missed limitation date.

Two years ago, just after Christmas, there was a small fire in . . . [more]

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

Wednesday: What’s Hot on CanLII

Each Wednesday we tell you which three English-language cases and which French-language case have been the most viewed* on CanLII and we give you a small sense of what the cases are about.

For this last week:

  1. Reference re Senate Reform 2014 SCC 32

    [1] The Senate is one of Canada’s foundational political institutions. It lies at the heart of the agreements that gave birth to the Canadian federation. Yet from its first sittings, voices have called for reform of the Senate and even, on occasion, for its outright abolition.

    [2] The Government of Canada now asks this Court, under

. . . [more]
Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Do You Think That Patent Is Invalid?

You or your client may come across a patent or patent application and be aware of prior art or have other reasons to believe it is invalid. The patent may have shown up in a patent search, such as a freedom to operate search or be listed in a demand letter sent by the competitor.

Depending on the situation, the competitive situation, and the budget, there are several ways to challenge the validity of a Canadian patent application or issued patent. I recommend involving a patent agent and/or patent lawyer to assist with determining which, if any, option is best . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

A Brush With Debt: Climbing Out of the Financial Wreckage

Tax season brings the financial aspects of our careers into stark focus. Ledgers of our spending habits laid out in black and white. Nice and not-so-nice surprises in discussions with our accountants. Writing cheques to the Receiver General (what fun!).

In this vein, the topic of financial literacy sometimes crops up in the practice management discussions I have with young lawyers. The cost of living in Vancouver being what it is, student loan payments, social pressures to “keep up” with peers…it all adds up. Sometimes, it reaches a breaking point.

I recently sat down with an inspiring young professional who . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

Location Data and Maps

I recently retold a story about a colleague of mine, who back in the very early 2000s asked me to investigate whether there was a satellite image of a particular point of interest to our file. It was certainly the coolest research I had done at that point – finding a source of satellite images to prove or disprove the location of an object…new and very interesting stuff at that time. Given the period in time when this task occurred, the point in my recent story telling was how lawyers that I work with are creative in their use of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Should Access to Ontario Court Schedules Be Restricted?

Last week, I blogged about the fact that Ontario’s court schedules are finally online for viewing by the public. It is a small step; hopefully many more are to come.

Blogger and lawyer Addison Cameron-Huff brought to my attention the fact that the schedule website is protected by a CAPTCHA. The purpose of CAPTCHAs is to prevent automated access by search engines like Google and other similar webcrawlers.

I am not sure yet what to think about this. Cameron-Huff suggests it is a terrible development because the information should be made freely accessible to anyone who wants to use it. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

The Customer Is Sometimes Right

As part of the consultancy work I do, I have the great pleasure and privilege to work with most important, high-profile clients, sometimes to conduct product review processes on their behalf. On a couple of recent projects, an understanding of the status quo was required, combined with an appreciation of the ways in which the products are used and will, most likely, be so in the future. These were to be analysed and measured against industry trends and perceptions and converted into strategic plans for their evolution. The projects were conducted well, I believe and clear directions, pointing out . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Tips Tuesday

Here are excerpts from the most recent tips on SlawTips, the site that each week offers up useful advice, short and to the point, on technology, research and practice.

Technology

Clean Your Smartphone Lens for Sharper Pictures and Better Selfies
Dan Pinnington

For most photographers, a clean and unscratched lens is pretty much an obsession – and it is something that also is critical for getting sharp pictures.
Many smartphone users take an opposite tact and would rarely, if ever, clean their smartphone lenses. Needless the say, the design of most smartphones isn’t exactly conducive to having a clean . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

No Double Dipping in Ontario Employment Law…

In a helpful decision for employers looking to minimize wasteful litigation (Frith v. Cable Birdge Enterprises Limited, 2013 ONSC 6436), an Ontario Divisional Court Judge overturned a trial court judge’s decision that a plaintiff could puruse her employer for termination pay (notice and severance) before the Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) and the Superior Court even though her complaint before the MOL was never adjudicated (it appears she withdrew her complaint months after filing it).

This decision is an important reminder for employees to make sure that they pick the correct forum before going after their employer . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Extraordinary Video Dramatizing a Discovery Transcript

Today’s New York Times has started a new feature, taking the more outrageous elements of the US litigation system and dramatizing them.

This is quite wonderful – stick until the end.

They take verbatim (word for word) legal transcripts into dramatic, and often comedic, performances. Here you will find re-creations of actual events from the halls of law and government. You, our readers, can help us find material for future episodes. Have you come across court trials, depositions or government hearings that you think are surprising, bizarre or baffling — and lend themselves to performance?

Hat tip to Stan Freedman . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Technology: Office Technology

The Web Is Our Database

Recently I’ve been playing around with a linked data application called Callimachus.* So far I’ve successfully installed the program on my DigitalOcean server and hope to be able to report positively about developments in the weeks ahead.

Part of the playing around process included watching some of the video tutorials that Callimachus sponsor 3 Round Stones have made available. Along the way I found an interesting unrelated introduction to linked data by David Wood, the CTO at 3 Round Stones called Linked Data: Structured Data on the Web. But it was the sub-title that really caught my . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

The Role of Conflicts Information Specialist

Researching conflicts for law firms has been a function that has been around for many years now and lives in different departments depending on the law firm. But I only recently heard of Conflicts Information Specialist as being a full-time position. I am therefore thankful that Amanda Brooks has kindly shared her experiences as a Conflicts Information Specialist in a Canadian law firm over on the INALJ (“I need a library job”) website in the blog post A Day in the Life of a Conflicts Information Specialist.

Brooks discusses the role of the Conflicts Information Specialist:

The purpose of

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