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Archive for March, 2017

Marilyn Macfarlane – the Glue That Binds

After a remarkable career, Marilyn Macfarlane has retired from the Osgoode Society. Marilyn was the first and only administrator of the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History for over 40 years. During that period, over 100 books were published and over 600 oral histories compiled. Throughout it all, Marilyn served as the point person between the Society, and the many authors, publishers and members of the legal community who were part of the process. Known for her gracious manner, thoughtfulness and careful attention to detail, Marilyn was truly the glue that bound its many disparate parts and personalities together.

My . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Researchers Play Along With “Tech Support” Scam Calls

Have you ever been tempted to play along with scammers that phone just to see where it goes and to give them some grief? Researchers at the State University of New York at Stony Brook did that and more.

They sought out scammers who claim to be from Microsoft or some sort of official tech support, and followed it through to see what happened. They set up virtual machines that looked like normal PC’s to the scammers who remote on, and let the scam play out.

This Wired article has more detail, including the paper that the researchers wrote, and . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

The Belt Challenge and the Need for a Think

This will be a bit of an odd column: I’m going to talk international relations. Yes – I know I am a lawyer and not a foreign policy wonk. But I am worried about Europe. No, I don’t mean Brexit, Greek debts, or German, French and Dutch elections. A much bigger challenge lies more to the South, below Italy’s boot. I call that challenge the Belt. It’s a bit of a crude word, because it gives the impression that it’s a single challenge. It’s not. Justice is a large part of it.

Picture yourself on the top of the Mont . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

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. Buenrostro-Ramirez, 2017 ONCJ 101

[33] While it makes little to no difference for analytical purposes, the alternative defence position, and the one I find more accurately reflects the informational function and mandatory impact of the statutory demand, is that the officer did not make an ASD demand until he read it from his notebook and translated it into non-legalese . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

What if Your Personal Digital Assistant Defames Somebody?

We recently had a discussion about police access to the recordings made by in-home digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and its (her?) ilk.

Now our focus turns to the actions of these devices if they do bad things themselves. This story reports that Siri, Apple’s version, routinely answered requests in Toronto for prostitutes by referring the inquired to an “eSports bar” – one where clients play electronic sports games. Apparently the word may be too close to “escorts” for Siri’s sense of discrimination. It is clear – take it as established for the present discussion – that the bar is . . . [more]

Posted in: International issues, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Why the LSAT Should Be Retired

Starting this fall Harvard Law School will allow applicants to submit their scores from either the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). This is a significant departure from the last 70 years, where LSATs have been considered a rite of passage.

Even though the LSAT provides a “neutral” way to measure students from diverse schools and programs, it’s continued use must be questioned.

Many of the critiques that apply to the SAT apply to the LSAT. The SAT has been “called out of touch, instructionally irrelevant, and a contributor to the diversity gaps on college . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: Law Schools

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.

Research & Writing

4 Questions to Ask About Any Database (Part 4)
Ken Fox – Law Society of Saskatchewan Library

This is the fourth and final part of a series on questions you should ask about any electronic research source. Catch parts 1-3 of this series here, here and here. 4. How are the results ORDERED? Don’t assume relevance ranking. Our databases, for example, always order the results in reverse . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

EFF Publishes New Guide to Mitigating Digital Privacy Risks at US Border

If you care about solicitor-client privilege, travel to the US and use computing technology, then read this:

By its own admission, US border protection conducted five-times as many electronic media searches in a single year—4,764 in 2015 to 23,877 in 2016.

Yup. That’s 500% more cause for anyone travelling to the US to be concerned. Should Canadian lawyers be cautious too? Yes.

America’s digital rights sentinel, Electronic Frontier Foundation, just released its 2017 reboot to its guide for mitigating risks to digital privacy when travelling to the US. The newly minted guide (last revised in 2011) is titled “Digital . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Technology: Office Technology

Wellness & Balance: Are You a “maximizer” or a “satisficer”?

This article is by Nora Rock, corporate writer & policy analyst at LAWPRO.

The last time you bought a house or searched for a rental apartment, how did you choose, and how did you feel about your choice afterward?

Psychologists studying the relationship between how we make choices and our life satisfaction have found that those who put the greatest effort into making choices are rewarded with less happiness.

In his book The Paradox of Choice, Dr. Barry Schwartz, a professor of psychology from Pennsylvania sorts decision-makers into two broad categories. “Satisficers” settle promptly on the first option that . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Beyond the Binary

I work in the justice sector managing a collective impact initiative that facilitates collaboration with institutional, political and community stakeholders. Our goal is to develop meaningful, public-focused access to justice solutions for Ontario. The term “innovation” is one that I hear often, delivered with a sense of urgency to catch up, to be more like other sectors and to make better use of technology. This pressure – and the related jargon – can at times obscure what innovation is really about and inadvertently alienate. Of course, innovation is about change but it doesn’t have to entail a scorched earth approach . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

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 more than 80 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 Blog  2. University of Alberta Faculty of Law Blog 3. StartupSource  4. Peter Sankoff  5. Clio Blog

Mack’s Criminal Law Blog
Avoiding an otiose and absurd result

Carson Bingley was driving his car, poorly. His driving was erratic. He cut off one driver and . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Including Paralegals in Family Law – the Bonkalo Report

Few things are as contentious in the bar in Ontario as the scope of paralegals. Created in 2007, paralegals have been practicing under a limited scope which has explicitly excluded the provision of family services.

Last week, Justice Annemarie E. Bonkalo released the Family Legal Services Review report, which was part of the Expanding Legal Services Options for Families review being conducted by the Ministry of the Attorney General.

Although the report also focuses on more unbundled services and coaching by lawyers, and use of law students to provide family law, it recognizes,

The most controversial recommendations, however, will be

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions