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Archive for ‘Columns’

The “Combo” of Human Touch and Technology

Most ADR practitioners know of the contributions of Carrie Menkel-Meadow [Note 1] to the conflict resolution field. She is a “founder” of the US “ADR” movement and continues to deepen and strengthen our global understanding of the field.

Professor Menkel-Meadow attended the 15th ODR (Online Dispute Resolution) Conference in the Hague in May 2016 and published a helpful commentary on her experience comparing ODR with ADR [Note 2]. She began by suggesting that the modern “ADR movement” grew for three main reasons:

First, what I call ‘quantitative’ ADR – for cheaper, faster and more efficient docket clearing from

. . . [more]
Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Legal Business Development: the Possibility of Optimism

The possibility of optimism, Seth Godin explains…

“Is the glass half full or half empty?

The pessimist sees what’s present today and can only imagine eventual decline. The glass is already half empty and its only going to get worse.

The optimist understands that there’s a difference between today and tomorrow. The glass is half full, with room for more. The vision is based on possibility, the future tense, not the present one.

Pessimists have trouble making room for possibility, and thus possibility has trouble finding room for pessimists.

As soon as we realize that there is a difference between

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Marketing

Pick Two Cards. Any Two.

It always amuses me when I see light-hearted references to the rather tedious-sounding Project Management Triangle (alternatively called the Triple Constraint or Iron Triangle). Much fun can be made of the idea that in relation to products, services or outcomes, the choice is of quality, speed or price but only any two out of three can be had. For entertainment purposes it can be applied to restaurants, plumbing services, professional advice, airline travel and the like. However, it makes me wonder about the veracity of the notion and whether or not it is applied or applicable in relation to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Access to Justice in Criminal Law

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees everyone the right to retain and instruct counsel on arrest or detention. What do we mean by that? Specifically, do we mean it? Do we mean it for people other than the relatively affluent few?

Canadian governments claim that we do. The vision of Legal Aid Alberta states that it aims for “An Alberta where everyone can access justice and achieve fair and lasting resolutions to their legal issues.” Legal Aid Ontario’s website says that it “provides legal assistance for low-income people”.

Justice Ian Nordheimer isn’t buying it. In a stinging judgment issued . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Cutting Through the Mysteries of Journal and Article Pricing

I’m delighted to be able to offer a guest blog from Rebecca Kennison. Rebecca is the principal of K|N Consultants and has worked extensively in scholarly publishing. What follows is a remarkably acute analysis of Elsevier’s journal pricing practices that she recently contributed to the Open Scholarship Initiative listserv. (This version has been slightly edited to provide additional clarification.) Rebecca is responding to a post by an Elsevier representative, and yet what she has written struck me as speaking to all of us interested in how the major corporate publishers are handling the shift to open access.

Rebecca is . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

International Identity Management

It used to be that on the Internet, nobody knew you were a dog … or a trading partner, or a rogue. In this era of Big Data, geolocation, and light bulbs that call home, it may seem that those days are behind us.

But it’s one thing to know who somebody is in order to send them a personally targeted advertisement. It’s another to know with enough certainty to engage in large-value transactions, or to confer on them some public benefit, like a welfare payment or a student loan.

Therefore the management of identity online remains an . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

No Votes in Justice — Plea Bargaining and Wrongful Convictions

At the expense of justice, governments improve the cost-efficiency of the criminal justice system but thereby weaken the safeguards against wrongful convictions. Doing so makes more money available to be spent on more politically profitable areas because there are no votes to be gained by improving the criminal justice system. This is a summary of part of a published article that develops this theme: that poor resources given the criminal justice system, increases the probability of wrongful convictions in these ways:

  1. Prosecutors’ method of plea bargaining changes so as to produce more guilty pleas which increases the probability of wrongful
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law

Sound Prediction Update – Federal Court Continues to Disagree on Fundamental Disclosure Aspect of Test

Utility is a basic requirement set out in the Patent Act, yet Canadian courts over the past year have continued to approach this concept from very different points of view. The “disclosure” requirement for sound prediction has been both wholly adopted and rejected by the Federal Court. The pro-disclosure side requires that the sound line of reasoning and factual basis be in the patent, whatever the nature of the invention.[1] The anti-disclosure side only requires any explanation in the patent where the invention is directed at a new use[2]. Otherwise the sound prediction may be satisfied . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Stars in Their Eyes: the Growing Influence of Online Lawyer Reviews

Boring but important fact: law firm clients of all types – sophisticated, unsophisticated, big, small (and everywhere in between) increasingly use the Internet to research, vet, and select their lawyers. This is not news. But what is noteworthy is that online ratings & reviews of lawyers generated by the public are becoming a more predominant part of the overall picture of your firm that prospective clients see when they look you up online. You may want to address that.

Ratings are not new either. I’m old enough to remember when Martindale-Hubbell’s highly coveted AV ratings were doled out in giant-book . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

The Product Life Cycle of Knowledge Management

I recently taught “Legal Information Sources and Services” at the School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies at the University of British Columbia. One of the topics that gave rise to a particularly interesting conversation was knowledge management. I was informed (very politely and gently) that at the school knowledge management is mainly discussed in the context of the archival program, but that as a term of art it is now considered old fashioned in information studies, as it is difficult to define and measure among other problems. Instead other terms like information management are taking its place.

This is . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Law’s Reverse Musical Chair Challenge

Despite recent years of decades-low law school application levels, law school seats are still heavily over-subscribed. Similarly, for those who graduate (which, to be honest, is nearly every single admitted student that manages to pay tuition), the opportunities to be called and to practice as a lawyer is case of too many grads and too few jobs. Yet when it comes to supporting the legal needs of the public, lawyers aren’t even close to filling the chairs that exist, much less the new ones added each day. Worse, we’re increasingly less interested in doing so.

Estimates and sources vary, but . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Artificial Intelligence in Law: What Are the Consequences for Law Librarians?

Several Slaw contributors have written recently about the use of artificial intelligence in law (Tim Knight here, Nate Russell here) with particular reference to the program on “Computers in Legal Research” at the conference of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries held in Vancouver this past May, moderated by Slaw’s Steve Matthews. I attended the program. I was disappointed though not surprised that none of the speakers was a librarian; and, while there was much discussion of the potential and possible consequences of artificial intelligence (AI) in legal practice, there was, aside from the moderator’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information