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Archive for November, 2016

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. Royal Bank of Canada v. Trang, 2016 SCC 50

[1] This appeal raises the issue of the proper interpretation of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, S.C. 2000, c. 5 (“PIPEDA”). The Royal Bank of Canada (“RBC”) is a judgment creditor of Phat Trang and Phuong Trang (“the Trangs”) and seeks a sheriff’s sale of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

What Can We Do With Big Data? Problems and Products

In late October, I attended the 12th Annual Knowledge Management in the Legal Profession conference. I have been attending this conference on and off since its inception, and this was absolutely the best so far. Which is really interesting: as Joshua Fireman, co-chair, noted “We still have things to talk about!”

One of those things, if not the biggest thing, is the continuing changing landscape of legal technology and how law firms can and should be using it. In particular, the emergence of “big data” remains a promise and a worry.

Big Data – Problems and Products

Intro . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The KF Modification: A Canadian Approach to Organizing and Understanding Law

Anyone who has studied law will have used a library at some point in their studies. If you studied at an American or Canadian university, it is likely that the library’s print collections were physically organized on the shelves using the Library of Congress Classification system (LCC), a subject-based classification scheme using a letter or combination of letters to represent a broad subject (eg, D for History, DA for British history, DC for French history) and a number between 1 and 9999 to represent a narrower topic within that subject (eg, DA 445 for the Stuart Restoration, 1660-1688, or . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

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, writing, and practice.


Passwords – as Painless as Possible
Law Society of Saskatchewan Library

Passwords are a necessary evil if you use a computer and the Internet for almost anything these days. A typical user has to remember 19 passwords on average, and a whopping 80% of us use the same password for multiple online accounts. …

Research & Writing

Comma Conundrums
Neil Guthrie

The humble comma seems to baffle many. Space . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Dropping the Ball on a File Transfer: Rule 48 Danger for Ontario Lawyers

This article is by Ian Hu, claims prevention & practicePRO counsel at LAWPRO.

When a file is transferred from one lawyer to another, one danger is when nothing happens on the file due to a clumsy transfer or missing critical information. A new file that has not been looked at can be a ticking time bomb. Deadlines like limitation periods can pass by unnoticed, and Rule 48 administrative dismissal dates can be discovered too late. The resulting malpractice claim can have lawyers pointing fingers at each other. Consider the following tips whether you’re transferring a file or on the receiving . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

How Black Is the AI Black Box?

It’s always interesting to me how things can sometimes coalesce and synchronize around an idea. For example, I’ve been thinking about a comment that Nicole Shanahan made in a recent collection of presentations delivered at Codex, the Stanford Center for Legal Informatics. She was talking about “lawyering in the AI age” and touched on “predictive policing” where the computer is used to predict human behaviour. Based on her experience with how algorithms and data work Shanahan characterizes this as “not really a rational goal.”

However, she notes, there are products on the market today and, . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

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. Vincent Gautrais  2. Slater Vecchio Connected 3. Legal Post  4. Blogue du CRL  5. Western Canada Business Litigation Blog

Vincent Gautrais
Le consommateur numérique: une protection à la hauteur de la confiance?

Le présent ouvrage rassemble les textes des conférences prononcées lors du colloque intitulé « Le consommateur numérique . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Stepping Up for Diversity: Law Societies Must Begin to Address the Challenges Faced by Racialized Lawyers and Paralegals

Law Societies have a lot on their plates these days: ABS, access to justice, advertising, articling . . . and that’s only the first letter of the alphabet! It is critical that the work of the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Working Group on the Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees not get lost in all this regulatory alphabet soup. The report is important. It is groundbreaking. It is also controversial. And it is necessary. This report will be debated by Ontario’s benchers on December 2nd. The Law Society of Upper Canada has a real opportunity to exercise strong . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

The Future of MAID in Canada

When Bill C-14 received Royal Assent on June 17, 2016 Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) became law in Canada. But the debate over the limits of MAID are far from over.

Bill C-14 includes a number of review mechanisms. The entire scheme is subject to a 5-year review, with a report to be submitted with recommendations.

Specific portions of the Bill are subject to a shorter-term review, for “requests by mature minors for medical assistance in dying, to advance requests and to requests where mental illness is the sole underlying medical condition.” These issues were inadequately resolved at the time . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

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.

PÉNAL (DROIT) : La juge de première instance a commis des erreurs déterminantes en concluant à la culpabilité de l’appelant aux infractions de vol qualifié et de voies de fait par le truchement de l’article 21 (2) C.Cr.; des verdicts d’acquittement sont substitués à ceux de culpabilité.

Intitulé : LSJPA . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Why Do I Need a Marketing Plan?

If you were to go on a holiday, would you just jump in your car and start driving? Of course you wouldn’t. You’d determine your destination. You’d figure out the best time to go. You’d book accommodations and make travel arrangements. You’d consider the costs involved, and you’d pack according to the weather and your planned activities. And that’s just a holiday. But when lawyers run a $500k to a million dollar practice, they do so with far less planning. In doing so they are operating with far more risk, far less control, and ultimately may be leaving money and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Can a Robot Administer Oaths?

Not until legislatures allow this. But technically yes.

There are two kinds of legal tech.

One does not require the state’s approval. The other one does. And, as is usually the case with lawyers, there is a grey area.

Let’s talk about the grey area first. I met a lawyer friend at a Starbucks a few days ago. It was a networking/war story meeting just like most social situations with lawyers.

We talked about the paperless office. He said he could not be paperless because he did real estate transactions. Among other things, my friend needed to meet with clients . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology