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Archive for June, 2014

Basics of Strategic Planning

In April, I summarized an annual spring cleaning process that I recommend to clients in a post entitled “6 Steps for Small Firm Spring Cleaning”. The final step that was recommended for small firms was the development of a strategic plan. In the April post I stated that “Strategic plans do not have to take an inordinate amount of time to develop and they do not have to become unwieldy documents that nobody uses.” I then promised that my next post would include some basic tips for developing a strategic plan and below is my attempt to do so.

The . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Avoiding Confusion (And Claims) When Making Charitable Bequests

Many wills include one or more bequests to charitable or religious institutions. In spite of the testator’s good intentions, these bequests often lead to claims when there is confusion over which institution was to receive the bequest. These mistakes often come to light only when the estate is being distributed – and they can lead to costly and time-consuming litigation when charities fight over the bequest.

Many of the claims reported in this area could be avoided if lawyers took steps to confirm that the information given by the testator is correct when the will is being drafted. Often testators . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Slaw Welcomes Nate Russell

I’m pleased to welcome our newest blogger at Slaw, Nate Russell. Nate will be joining our Monday team of writers.

For those of us stationed on the west coast, you may already recognize Nate as the liaison lawyer at Courthouse Libraries BC. Working with local practitioners, Nate has been involved in a number of CLBC initiatives over the years, including Clicklaw Wikibooks, CPD program development, and initiating new programs to help lawyers access research materials.

In addition to writing for the CLBC blog, The Stream, Nate is also a regular contributor to the widely respected Vancouver Bar . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

Visualizing Law: “A Scheme of Cosmic Synchronicity”

Anyone following the possibilities of visualizing law will be interested in Robert Ambrogi‘s recent cover story in the ABA Journal, “Visual law services are worth a thousand words—and big money.” Ambrogi is a lawyer and consultant who has been writing about legal technology and social media for a couple of decades.

He provides a nice overview of the current players working in the visualization of legal research. He begin’s with Ravel, the “legal research alternative” developed by David Lewis and Nicholas Reed at Stanford Law School and Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. When . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology

#Cbafutureschat Recap: Law & Design

What if every law firm and court had a basement lab where developers and designers hung out and built solutions?

That was a question posed by host Margaret Hagan during Tuesday’s CBA Twitterchat on the topic of law and design.

Hagan, who works at Stanford’s d.school and will soon work at the university’s law school, focuses on bringing user-centred design to legal services.

One of the key findings of the CBA’s Legal Futures Initiative is that the client needs to become the centre of the legal universe if the profession is to maintain its relevance in the face of transformative . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology

Of Baked Beans and the Rule of Law

In episode 6 of season 5 of TV’s Mad Men, there’s a scene where the ad agency is trying to sell Heinz a vision for one of its more lacklustre products, oven-baked beans. Peggy, who’s running the pitch, moves through her mock-up cards and at a measured pace a story unfolds. No matter how unglamorous the legume, it’s the advertiser’s job to win her audience over through storytelling. In this case, she describes how the youth lean in towards one another around the campfire. With their backs to the lonely night, Heinz beans brings familiarity. The product is nothing less . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous

Open Data Husbandry

In Canada, the legal community started reaping the benefits of open data not only before it became trendy, but even before governments started becoming familiar with the concept. Indeed, in mid-nineties, when our governments were still jealously protecting their information assets, the free access to law activities begun in Canada. Every crack in the otherwise watertight system of protection was exploited and opportunities were grabbed as they showed up. The Supreme Court is open to freely distribute its ruling: let’ start with that then. Justice Canada is ready to publish the laws for free: let’s go for it. At a . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Monday’s Mix

Each Monday we present brief excerpts of recent posts from five of Canada’s award­-winning legal blogs chosen at random* from sixty recent Clawbie winners. In this way we hope to promote their work, with their permission, to as wide an audience as possible.

This week the randomly selected blogs are 1. Family LLB 2. Blogue du CRL 3. SOQUIJ | Le Blogue 4. ABlawg.ca 5. DroitDu.Net

Family LLB
Can Tardy Dad Force Mom to Move Back to Ontario?

In situations where parents are separated or divorced and share custody, courts are sometimes called upon to decide whether one of them . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Dress Down for Success

Most of us have heard it over and over and over again – you need to dress for the job or the position that you want. Silvia Bellezza et al. describe this phenomenon in the June 2014 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research,

In both professional and nonprofessional settings, individuals often make a significant effort to learn and adhere to dress codes, etiquette, and other written and unwritten standards of behavior. Conformity to such rules and social norms is driven by a desire to gain social acceptance and status.

What they don’t tell you is the exception to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Marketing

Summaries Sunday: Maritime Law Book

Summaries of selected recent cases are provided each week to Slaw by Maritime Law Book. Every Sunday we present a precis of the latest summaries, a fuller version of which can be found on MLB-Slaw Selected Case Summaries at cases.slaw.ca.

This week’s summaries concern:
Civil Rights/ Courts / Criminal Law

R. v. Anderson (F.) 2014 SCC 41
Civil Rights – Courts – Criminal Law
Anderson was charged with driving with a blood-alcohol content over .08. He was served with a Notice of the Crown’s intention to seek a greater punishment by reason of previous convictions (Criminal Code, s. . . . [more]
Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Summaries Sunday: SOQUIJ

Every week we present the summary of a decision handed down by a Québec court provided to us by SOQUIJ and considered to be of interest to our readers throughout Canada. SOQUIJ is attached to the Québec Department of Justice and collects, analyzes, enriches, and disseminates legal information in Québec.

DROITS ET LIBERTÉS : La politique non écrite de l’Agence des services frontaliers du Canada de refuser d’accorder un horaire régulier et stable, à temps plein, aux employés qui invoquent un motif fondé sur leur situation familiale relativement à la garde d’enfants est discriminatoire au sens des articles 7 et . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

The Duty Not to Find …

On the heels of the European Court of Justice’s decision, discussed on Slaw here and here, to require Google to suppress links to particular web sites that had ‘irrelevant and outdated’ personal information about a complainant, and US courts’ refusal to do the same, the British Columbia Supreme Court has now gone a step further: it has ordered Google to ensure that searches for particular topics or a particular company do not find the company defendant in the action before it.

The principals of the defendant company were accused of stealing trade secrets of the plaintiff and of . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list