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Archive for April, 2015

Digitization of Print Materials: A Solution in Search of a Problem?

Over the past few years “But can’t you digitize this [and throw away the original]?” has joined “but isn’t it available electronically?” as a justification for getting rid of print library materials.

While there are advantages to having materials in digital format, the digitization process should not be treated as an easy way of reducing a library’s physical holdings. University libraries have been carrying out interesting digitization projects for some while now, but smaller libraries may find digitizing material more challenging since they do not have the same resources to call upon.

Before starting a library digitization project, there are . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Google Search Favours Mobile Friendly Sites

Is your website mobile friendly? As of yesterday, Google search ranks mobile friendly sites higher in search results.

This means that if someone does a google search from a mobile device, a site that is mobile friendly will appear higher in the search results than one that is not mobile friendly and would otherwise rank the same.

Given the high and trending higher percentage of time people use phones and tablets for search compared to PC’s, it is increasingly important that web sites be mobile friendly.

You can test a URL for mobile friendliness on this google page. In . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

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. R. v. Nur, 2015 SCC 15

[1] Gun-related crime poses grave danger to Canadians. Parliament has therefore chosen to prohibit some weapons outright, while restricting the possession of others. The Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, imposes severe penalties for violations of these laws.

[2] Section 95(2)(a) imposes mandatory minimum sentences for the offence of possessing prohibited or restricted firearms when . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Style in Decision Writing: Guidance for Adjudicators

“In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing.”

Oscar Wilde

“Originality in the law is viewed with scepticism. It is only the arrogant fool or the truly gifted who will depart entirely from the established template and reformulate an existing idea in the belief that in doing so they will improve it. While over time incremental changes occur, the wholesale abandonment of established expression is generally considered foolhardy.”

Duncan Webb, ‘Plagiarism: A Threat to Lawyers’ Integrity?’ (2009), International Bar Association

Reasons for decisions are the windows into the decision making process. Reasons should ensure . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Needs and Nerves: Delegating to Part-Time Employees

I’ve had several recent conversations with senior lawyers who are reluctant to delegate work to part-time administrative staff. They don’t want to be perceived as demanding. They’re afraid of confrontation.

They are actually more open to the concept of flexible work arrangements than most people give them credit for, but they need reassurances that part-time staff are just as committed to quality work as their full-time counterparts.

Unique challenges of delegating to part-time administrative staff
With more and more of us working outside the office or part-time, there is less opportunity for face-to-face communication, which means that it takes longer . . . [more]

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

On Being Prepared

Three things have converged recently that relate to being prepared. Thinking about Slawyers, I am certain that readers of this blog are likely those that support and espouse the notion of preparedness, I decided to write about preparedness from three perspecitives.

1. The unprepared (fly by the seat of your pants and deal with the consequences as they arise)

My youngest daughter is a musician. She recently finished her first year of university and is now looking for employment. Despite her mother and father’s strong (occasionally screechy) suggestions that she begin applying for summer work in March, she put the . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Plaintiff Spends $550,000 on Legal Fees to Recover $10,000

In a recent defamation decision, the plaintiff spent nearly $550,000 on legal fees only to recover a $10,000 judgment. The plaintiff was not alone in racking up a large legal bill. The defendant spent nearly $250,000 on legal fees defending the claim.

After the conclusion of trial both sides sought their legal costs from the other side.

The plaintiff argued that it was successful in the result and therefore ought to be entitled to costs.

The defendant argued that the plaintiff should have brought its case in Small Claims Court, or under the Simplified Procedure, and should not be . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law

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.

Research

Legislative History in Case Law
Shaunna Mireau

I was reminded that sometimes you can find a decent review of the history of a piece of legisaltion within written decisions. For instance, a discussion of the Election Act for Alberta was published in Engel v Alberta (Executive Council), 2015 ABQB 226 and includes a bit of legislative history. …

Practice

Getting Your Legal Writing Right
Garry Wise

I remember the . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Everyday Legal Problems and the Cost of Justice in Canada

Last month, as part of a five-year SSHRC funded research project exploring the costs of justice, the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice released the first data from its national legal problems survey, “Everyday Legal Problems and the Cost of Justice in Canada”. Completed in 2014 with over 3000 respondents, the survey finds that everyday legal problems are ubiquitous in the lives of adult Canadians. Over any given three-year period almost 50% of adult Canadians will experience at least one legal problem that they find series and difficult to resolve.

What Are Everyday Legal Problems?

Everyday legal problems are the . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Publications Nominated for the 2015 Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing

Every year, the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) hands out the Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing.

It honours a publisher that has demonstrated excellence by publishing a work, series, website or e-product that makes a significant contribution to legal research and scholarship.

The nominees for this year are:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

Inside the Lawyer’s Mind: Autonomy

Following up on his previous post on lawyers’ personality traits, Ian Hu (practicePRO and Claims Prevention Counsel at LAWPRO) discusses autonomy, a trait that helps lawyers do their job but makes them poor bedfellows in a law firm environment.

Dr. Larry Richard states in our LAWPRO magazine article “Herding Cats: The Lawyer Personality Revealed” that studies suggest high achieving lawyers score in the 89th percentile of this trait, which measures the degree to which a person is sensitive to externally defined rules, policies and procedures. A high autonomy score means that the person is more likely to be unresponsive . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

The Table of Public Statutes for Ontario (Detailed Legislative History Tables) Are No More

Hello!
On the day that the new E-Laws site went live, I sent them an email to ask where I could find the Detailed Legislative History Tables.
Here is their reply:

Dear Ms. Demers:

Thank you for your e-mail concerning the new e-Laws web site (www.ontario.ca/laws).

Detailed legislative history (DLH) tables are no longer being maintained. As of April 10, 2015, there were 3,971 regulation tables and 998 statute tables, which were regularly being updated manually in Word format. In their current format, the DLH tables could not meet the web accessibility requirements set out under the Accessibility . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research