Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for August, 2016

Taking My Own Advice

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted here. That’s mostly because I’ve been working hard at taking my own advice this summer, focusing on taking real breaks from my work, scheduling time for fun and doing things I love. Not all the time, mind you. Sometimes I forget what I know to be true about how to maintain a sense of balance in my life and fall off the rails awhile.

There’s that trigger word — balance. I know some of you may be about to quit reading. For many lawyers, the concepts of balance and wellness are anathema to what . . . [more]

Posted in: 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. Goska J. Nowak Professional Corporation v Robinson, 2016 ABCA 240

[21] This argument mischaracterizes the Agreement. The parties agreed that Dr. Robinson would provide his personal services to a corporate entity, his former professional corporation, RRPC 1. That corporation retained the assets of the practice. Dr. Robinson was to perform his services using office facilities and staff provided by RRPC 1 . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Mined Gems From 2016 SLTS Conference

James Williams, a commentator on the article “Meet ROSS, the bankruptcy robo-lawyer employed by some of the world’s largest law firms”, laments the lack of reference to supporting research, or consultation with the “40 year old research community that has long focused on the use of technology in a legal setting” in Toronto. My SLAW column “The Long Tale of 2 Systems” highlighted the role both Toronto and Sydney played in the development of legal technology.

So while IBM’s Watson was mentioned a few times at the 10th annual Sinch Legal Tech Sydney Conference (#SLTS16), . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Why It’s Hard to Sell Tech to Lawyers

And when I say lawyers, I include the courts, law firm staff, paralegals. Everyone who moves the machinery of law.

So here is why it’s hard to sell tech to lawyers.

Everything your law tech can do is already possible by other means.

Here is a list of other means:

  1. Email
  2. Microsoft Word
  3. Spreadsheets
  4. Phone
  5. Fax (disgusting but true)
  6. Folders and files on your computer
  7. And last but not least: human labour

The above is also tech. At some point it was hot new tech (even human labour—see the history of employment and management science). People who designed the above . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

My Ideal Law Publisher

It’s too easy to be negative about almost everything but for the most part it’s a lazy approach that requires little thought and analysis. Particularly when considering and discussing law publishing, the industry’s faults and downsides often come quickly to the fore. Sometimes this is justified. However, for present purposes the objective is to focus on what would be, for me, the ideal law publishing business. By “ideal”, I mean having those characteristics that make its objectives, efforts and results hugely satisfying and rewarding for customers, those working for such a business, its suppliers and in the interests . . . [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 research and writing, practice, and technology.

Research & Writing

Deep Links to Paragraphs in CanLII Judgments
Bronwyn Guiton

A short tip today to remind you that you can deep link to a specific paragraph for most judgments on CanLII. This is helpful when you want to bring a colleague’s attention to specific paragraphs in a judgment. Each decision on CanLII has a permanent URL, which will look like this: …

Practice

From Wallflower to . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Court of Appeal Clears Way for Mortgagees to Set Aside Sham Tenancies

The Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled that a provision of the Mortgages Act (“MA”) which allows lenders to set aside tenancy agreements for the purpose of taking possession of real property does not conflict with the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 (“RTA”) and can be used by lenders to set aside “sweetheart” tenancy agreements that are designed to discourage the lender from taking possession or adversely affecting the value of the lender’s interest in the property.

In the instant case, the TD Bank took a mortgage on a condominium unit in July, 2011. On November 1, 2012 the owner defaulted . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment

Of Taylor Swift, Referent Power, Jury Duty and Psychological Theories of Social Influence

I don’t know much about Taylor Swift (or TayTay/Swifty/Tayter Tot/T-Swizzle depending on fan-preference), but I take pride that most of what I do know comes from a delightfully small number of sources:

  • My six-year old daughter (more “stream of consciousness fan fiction” than literal news)
  • The Dover Police Department—this YouTube video in particular
  • The ingenious OpenDataTaylorSwift Twitter account (@ts_institute) — light on Taylor Swift data (Tay-lore?), true, but a truly great dig into the Open Data world… see!
. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous

Franchise Law Tenet: Disclosure! Disclosure! Disclosure!

LAWPRO is seeing an increase in claims against Ontario lawyers by franchisees and franchisors. These claims tend to involve significant damages which often approach or exceed the available limits under the primary LAWPRO policy.

Franchises are governed by the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), 2000 (the “Act”) which was enacted by the Ontario government to provide protection to franchisees in relation to their dealings with franchisors, and to address the imbalance of power that exists between the parties.

Franchisees often share similar characteristics: They are not sophisticated business people or are not experienced with franchises; they are running a “mom-and . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

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 seventy 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. Mack’s Criminal Law  2. Blogue du CRL 3. All about Information  4. Slater Vecchio Connected  5. The Stream

Mack’s Criminal Law
Looked like a gun, walked like a gun, quacked like a gun

Dirie and Omar were both convicted of weapons possession offences. The sole issue at trial was . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Florida Court Rules Bitcoin Not Money

None of us is really sure what bitcoin is, or what it’s fully used for. It seems the courts are just as confused.

A judge in Florida v Espinoza recently stated the following in regards to a police sting involving Bitcoin:

Nothing in our frame of references allows us to accurately define or describe Bitcoin…

Bitcoin may have some attributes in common with what we commonly refer to as money, but differ in many important aspects. While Bitcoin can be exchanged for items of value, they are not a commonly used means of exchange. They are accepted by some

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law

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.

FAMILLE : L’article 596 C.C.Q. et les autres articles du titre troisième du Livre deuxième (art. 585 à 596.1) du Code civil du Québec trouvent application en matière de divorce, sauf exceptions prévues à la Loi sur le divorce ou incompatibilité avec celle-ci, de sorte que le juge de première . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday