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Archive for the ‘Legal Publishing’ Columns

Prosperity

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

State Trials, Honorary Protestants, and the Red River, Highlight the 2015 Osgoode Society List

The Osgoode Society has announced the fall line up of new titles in its series of original writings on Canadian Legal History. This year the Society will publish two titles with the University of Toronto Press and one with the McGill Queens University Press.

Security and the Limits of Toleration in War and Peace: Canadian State Trials, Volume IV, 1914-1939, edited by Barry WrightEric Tucker and Susan Binnie, published by the University of Toronto Press.

This latest in the collection of State Trials series looks at the legal issues raised by the repression of dissent from the outset of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Open Book

Rumors of the book’s death have clearly been exaggerated, and another lament is not needed. Still, I’m finding the books on my desk and shelves noticeably altered by the digital age of Kindles and iPads. My books have assumed a weight, for example, when I’m packing for trip, that I can’t recall them having had before. And sometimes when I turn the page, I have to pause over the extravagance of having had that page printed, assembled, bound, and shipped for me to read but once, perhaps adding a note to its luxuriant margin. Can it be that what remains . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Form Over Substance in Legal and Professional Publishing

It is rarely that I read the opinions and perceptions of Gary Rodrigues and not almost entirely agree. This was very much the case with his article Legal Publishing and Market Research – Getting It Right, in which he succeeds in identifying “form over substance” motives in some publishers’ research and in so doing highlights something short of honesty behind much of it. It set me thinking about the extent to which, in more general terms, form over substance is a familiar feature of the actions, decisions and priorities of some of the legal and professional publishers. Whether or . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Purpose of a Law School?

A profession is a vocation founded on specialized educational training, the purpose of which is to supply objective counsel and service to others (1).

Today in North America a person can become a legal professional by graduating from an accredited law school.

What kind of educational training should be offered at a law school?

I submit that law students must become familiar with basic legal concepts by taking courses such as contracts, criminal law, constitutional law, property, torts, statutes, administrative law, evidence, practice, professional conduct, wills and trusts, company law, labour law, legal research, etc.

Legal encyclopedia list over 150 . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

What Will 2015 Be Made Of?

I wrote this post in the middle of January. Some unlucky mishandling resulted in it being published just now. Part of my blog was trying to make good fun of colleagues in the industry who were getting close to releasing a product announced as imminent over a year ago. But their product was finally rolled out… before my post. I will have to remember this the next time I think about mocking colleagues.

What remains true is the cold over Montreal. At least that part of my post remains accurate. The picture attached shows how lucky we are in Quebec. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Question – When Is a Digital Case Citation Not a Case Citation?

Answer – When it appears in the McGill Law Journal’s Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (the “McGill Guide”)

In the McGill Guide, a case citation to decision of a court or tribunal in an online database is described as “an online case identifier”. It does not qualify to be considered as a case citation like any other. This makes no sense.

What is a case citation anyway?

Simply stated, a case citation is a reference to a reliable source of the full text of the decision of a court or tribunal. In his Foreword to the McGill Guide John . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

After the Gates Foundation Open Access Policy

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has demonstrated the power of philanthropy to reshape the world. Among the many instances, an earlier one touching my own area of work, which involves research on public access to research and scholarship, has been the PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, which “is the first open-access journal devoted to the world’s most neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) …affecting the world’s forgotten people,” as the journal describes itself. The launch of the journal was funded by the Gates Foundation. The pointedness of its stance matters. The Foundation enabled a new and open journal that changes the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

A Legal Publisher and the McGill Guide

Early in my career, when I was a freshly hatched legal editor, I pored over the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (the McGill Guide). It answered many of my questions about the finer points of legal citation: the meaning of square or round brackets; which words should be italicized; the correct order of parallel cites; and so on. I’m pretty sure I was using the first or second edition (we’re talking about 1988 and 1989). The Guide was tremendously helpful to me; although the rules were somewhat complex, they were clearly spelled out and easy to follow. On reflection, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing