The amount of information required to stay abreast of the changing law, in a general sense, is massive. Supreme Court of Canada statistics tell us that there were over 70 decisions to read from that court alone every year. Add your jurisdiction’s Court of Appeal and trial courts decisions, federal and provincial legislative changes, tribunal decisions, municipal and other delegated legislation and you have way more material than any generalist can reasonably consume.
Of course you don’t need to know it all. Many of those pieces of legal information can be learned just in time rather than just in case. I would argue though that Canadian lawyers should be aware of all decisions being made by the Supreme Court of Canada using the just in case model. Thanks to friend of Slaw Eugene Meehan and his commitment to producing the SupremeAdvocacyLett@r. This Scot-free publication has been a staple of my information diet for over a decade.
Now, put yourself in the shoes of a lawyer returning from a maternity, parental, or any other lengthy leave from practice. How on earth do you manage to survey the landscape of ‘just in case’ information? Like this:
- Navigate to the Newsletter Archives at the Supremem Advocacy website
- Read the Supreme One-Liners at the top to see a one sentence statement of the meaning of the latest SCC decisions
- Open the latest Newsletter and click on the link to Past One-Liners (sample from Sept. 10, 2014) and read the one sentence statement of the whole years SCC appeals, oral judgments and leaves granted
- Check out the previous years’s version (sample – the 2013 Supreme One-Liners
- Feel confident that you have done something about what you need to know just in case
Proving that he would have made an excellent librarian, the Supreme One-Liners are alphabetized by legal topic for ease of use. I use the update steps above when I return from vacations just to read myslef back in the legal information loop.
My sincerest thanks to Eugene Meehan for adding supreme value to the legal information landscape.