Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for the ‘Legal Publishing’ Columns

Thomson Reuters Labs in Waterloo Research Partnership

Cloaked in several “cliches and meaningless metaphors” (in the words of a colleague) is an announcement of a research partnership intended to improve access to “Thomson Reuters vast and unique datasets”. This could lead to significant developments in legal research. Then again maybe just cliches and….

Thomson Reuters to launch data and innovation lab in Waterloo, Ontario
By GlobeNewswire, September 16, 2015, 11:00:00 AM EDT

NEW YORK, September 16, 2015- Thomson Reuters, the world’s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals, today announced the establishment of Thomson Reuters Labs – Waterloo Region, in Ontario, Canada. The Lab will . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Loose-Leaf Redux

The latest round of columns on loose-leaf publications contains plenty of useful discussion about the format of legal information and the legal publishing business generally (see here, here, and here). I have a serious interest in these topics: CLEBC publishes 50 titles: practice manuals, annotated precedents, and annotated statutes on BC law and practice. We publish online and in print, mostly loose-leaf and some softcover.

I’ve written before about “Death to Loose-leaf?”. I’ve concluded that the fury that seems to attach to this format is only partly related to the format itself. Yes, filing is . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Basis for Optimism About the Future

Should young persons be optimistic about the future?

Does history set the context for the present and the future? Is the past prologue?

Based on history, I submit that a young person should be optimistic about our future.

Some of our history that supports an optimistic outlook are :

  1. improvements in the health sciences and life expectancy;
  2. the growth of educational opportunities;
  3. the consolidation of governments;
  4. the growth of democratic government;
  5. the decline in violence over the centuries;
  6. the decline of wars by the major powers;
  7. the expansion of global trade.

1. Health:

In Canada our life expectancy has increased . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Publishing

Quality in Legal and Professional Publishing

“Quality”. It’s one of those nouns and/or adjectives that everyone uses to describe their own output standards but for the most part is applied to whatever level – high, medium or low, that they are willing and/or able to offer. In many respects, though, that’s a good and desirable thing as more often than not there are no objective standards of quality such as those of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). In any case, sensibly, the word should be preceded by “optimum”, “appropriate” or suchlike as quality cannot be divorced from competence, price, speed, brand . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Loose Leaf Pain No One’s Gain.

There is a way out for the publisher

At the most recent meeting of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries in Moncton, it was clear that the present, past and future of looseleaf services continue to be a source of angst and concern in the legal research community. This fact has been documented on many occasions, most recently by Louis Mirando in The Curse of the Loose-Leaf Law Book posted on on July 22, 2015. There is no doubt that loose-leaf services are an open wound that can and should be healed.

A sense of loss

The issue is . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Future of Digital Reading

Recently my daughter gave me a book by Naomi S. Baron titled Words on Screen – The Fate of Reading in a Digital World (2015 Oxford). Naomi Baron is Professor of Linguistics at American University in Washington, D.C.

In the U.S.A in 2013, 30% of the books sold were eBooks – page 207.

Professor Baron states “for romance, erotic fiction and mysteries or thrillers, eBooks were strongly preferred over print”. Page 232.

Baron argues that careful reading and careful thinking are the hallmark of higher education, and that such reading and thinking is better done in print. Baron states “the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Pulled in Both Directions

I thoroughly enjoyed attending this year’s CALL conference in Moncton. It was especially interesting to see and hear about some of the new products and services developed by the English legal publishers.

The Incorporated Council of Law Reporting (“ICLR”) is a non-profit that publishes the official law reports for England. For reported decisions, they include links not only to the cases cited, but also to cases cited in the argument.

Justis is an English publisher of unreported judgments; their product Justcite has a fantastic new feature that shows the treatment of cases: a circular visualization of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Back to the Future of Legal Publishing

The benefit that I gained, while participating with Jason Wilson and Gary Rodrigues in a session on the future of legal publishing at the Canadian Association of Law Libraries annual conference, was in learning more about the broad range of issues that both concerned and excited law librarians in their relationships with the major law publishers.

We had set out to explore questions of challenges and publisher responses to them, changing market structures and competitive factors, digital challenges impact on business models and how they need to be altered and who will be the winners and losers. These were . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing


Not all countries prosper … Why?

There are over 190 countries in the world today. Some prosper, some do not. Why?

Some answers to such a question is the subject of a book by Francis Fukuyama in 2014 titled Political Order and Political Decay.

Some elements of prosperity include the free market ideas of Adam Smith plus an honest and effective government. Apparently democracy is not required for a country to prosper, even though a majority of countries (over 115) are today democracies.

An effective government provides an array of public goods, such as clean air, defense, public safety, public . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Continuing Legal Education and the Self-Representing Litigant

How should CLE providers approach the issue of self-representing litigants?

I’m sure all Slaw readers are aware of the phenomenon of the rise of the self-represented litigant. Over the past 20 years there has been a vast increase in the number of people coming to court or interacting with the justice system without legal representation. In British Columbia, this change correlates with the decline in legal aid, although this is only one reason for the increase.

You could take the view that this development should have little impact on education of the legal profession. But if you’re invested in the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

An Intellectual Property Category Mistake: The Work of Learning

I have been working for some time on a book-length manuscript (introduced here earlier) tracing the history of the idea of intellectual property before there was a legal class of intellectual property in the modern sense (which is usually said to originate with the Statute of Anne 1710). My history is focused on the particular, if not peculiar, class of intellectual property associated with learning and the learned, which is to say with works of scholarship and research.

The book itself is a good number of months and two reviews away from publication, so this is not an infomercial-blog for . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Future of Legal Publishing

My opinion stands that it is not always wise to try and predict the future, certainly for the longer-term, however necessary it is to seek to do so. Unpredictable risk for companies is everywhere and the impact of getting things wrong can be huge, perhaps in some cases immeasurably high. So perhaps rather than use prediction, it is preferable to identify a few key factors and examine the evidence surrounding them in order to anticipate trends in legal and professional publishing.

I believe that, without doubt, legal publishers, particularly the larger ones, face a broad range of challenges. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing