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Archive for the ‘Legal Publishing’ Columns

Public Interests Versus Private Interests

In August of 2015 Gerard Comeau of Tracadie, New Brunswick, was the defendant in a trial following an agreed statement of facts. In October of 2012 Comeau bought 14 cases of beer in Quebec which he brought into New Brunswick where he was stopped by the police. Comeau was charged under the New Brunswick Liquor Control Act with illegally importing beer into New Brunswick. The beer was cheaper in Quebec than in New Brunswick. Comeau was fined $292.

At trial Comeau argued that the limitations in the New Brunswick Liquor Control Act were unconstitutional because s. 121 of the Constitution . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Publish and (Perhaps) Be Famed

Recently I was invited to make a written contribution to mark the 100th anniversary, in 2016, of the establishment of Tolley, now part of Lexis Nexis, where I was divisional chief executive until shortly after its acquisition in 1996. I was honoured to be approached and it set me searching through various documents and previously written materials from the seven-year period that I spent with the business. One such item was an article entitled Publish and be Famed (Gazette 93/24, 26 June 1996, p.20) that I wrote for The Gazette, the magazine of the Law Society of England and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Not So Fast!

What’s the right pace of change? A ridiculous question, I know; change is usually foisted upon us and we have little control generally. But for the few things we can control, it’s a great challenge to ensure that the pace of change we introduce is just right … not too fast and not too slow.

Our thinking over the past 20 years about what should change and when has been supported by a couple of core assumptions. But some recent information has challenged these beliefs.

The first assumption is that print is on its way out and dead as a . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

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