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Archive for the ‘Legal Publishing’ Columns

Modern Legal Practice

I was invited recently to take on the role of editor of the journal, Modern Legal Practice, which is published by Globe Law and Business. I was honoured to be asked and quick to accept, even though my role as an associate editor on the Italian Law Journal and Slaw columns give me less time for other pro-bono and non-law focused activities.

Modern Legal Practice is a relatively new and growing journal which deals with a broad range of topics to do with the practice of law, embracing business and the development of it, strategy, leadership, governance, risk . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Making the Best Better

In a recent article on legal practice Ken Grady offered this thought:

As we often hear today, lawyers need to become fans of data. The age of talking to a lawyer who gives an opinion based on the 10 or 15 cases she has handled is past (or it should be). Clients should recognize that advice based on such weak datasets is meaningless and should call out their lawyers for basing opinions on it. Excellence means knowing more than the average player. It means having that depth and breadth of knowledge that is hard to match. Law firms need to

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Posted in: Legal Publishing

Let Canada Be First to Turn an Open Access Research Policy Into a Legal Right to Know

Canada’s three federal research funding agencies – the Canadian Institutes of Health ($1 billion annual budget in 2016-17), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada ($1.1 billion), the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada ($380 million) – instituted an intellectual property law exception in 2014. It effects the publication of research and scholarship resulting from grants which they have awarded. What began with CIHR in 2008, evolved six years later into Tri-Agency Policy on Open Access Policy on Publications. Under this policy “grant recipients are required to ensure that any peer-reviewed journal publications arising from . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Risks of Litigation

Why do businessmen try to avoid litigation?

Consider the lawyerly advice that a poor settlement is better than a good lawsuit. This proverb asks one to consider the money and effort required for a trial, in addition to the risks of a trial.

Most civil legal claims are settled before trial. According to a survey by the U.S. Department of Justice, over 95 percent of civil cases (in state courts) are settled or dismissed without a trial.

Many cases are settled because trials are notoriously risky.

Some lawyers say that there are several risks. One risk is the credibility of . . . [more]

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Driving Mister Butterworth – 200 Years of Law Publishing

Butterworths was founded in 1818 by Henry Butterworth. I know that this momentous anniversary is being marked and celebrated far and wide. Now more frequently but not always described as Lexis Nexis, the business, with its classic brand name, remains by any measure or description, one of the handful of information icons of the Common Law world.

My own direct connection to Butterworths was fleeting, having worked for it for a short time only in London and Toronto in consequence, in 1996, of its acquisition of Tolley Publishing, where I was divisional chief executive of Tolley Professional Information. However, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Access Copyright v. York University, and the Friends of Intellectual Property

Last summer, York University declared that it will appeal the July 12, 2017 ruling of the Federal Court of Canada that was made in favor of Access Copyright, whose tariff on course materials, approved by Copyright Board of Canada, the university refused to pay. Instead of paying a set fee per student, York had relied on its interpretation of fair dealing to guide its faculty’s use of course readings. The court’s decision, delivered by Justice Michael L. Phelan, has been much commented upon, and I seek to add but a late footnote’s worth of further context as an educator and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Evidence Versus Prediction

What is the point of all that time-consuming and expensive study of and training in law, jurisprudence and rational thinking if, once into the real world, it is all thrown aside in favour of feelings and emotions, fairground fortune-telling, astrology, belief in the power of positive thinking and gambling like a sad addict?

It seems to me that people attempting to influence serious lawyers or sell to them should realise that the latter are sometimes cautious and risk-aware for the very good reason that they are supposed to rely primarily on evidence and logic before making judgments. While, obviously, the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Problem of Change

Several mass media pundits currently argue that change is accelerating and that technology is mostly responsible. Such change is affecting employees and persons about to enter the job market.

I feel that these changes are due in part to the “creative destruction” of the capitalistic system.

Do commercial firms become less efficient as they increase in size and grow older?

I submit that over time a firm is challenged by both growth and technological change. History shows that only a few firms are able to survive these challenges.

The Fortune 500 is an annual list compiled and published by Fortune . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Working the Law Against Its Intent: Policing Access to Research

The current series of legal kerfuffles in scholarly publishing involves property and access rights in an industry that is, for all intents and purposes, moving toward universal open access. Let’s begin with recent moves by Elsevier, the largest of scholarly publishing corporations with over 2,000 journals, and the American Chemical Society, among the richest of the non-profit societies. These two entities have recently been awarded damages of $15 million (June 2017) and $4.8 million (September 2017) respectively by the U.S. courts, in light of Sci-Hub database, (which I have addressed earlier) providing free access to the better part of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Trade

Trade creates wealth. See Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (1776). The world’s wealthiest nation, the U.S.A., is the most successful economic union in world history.

Russell David “Russ” Roberts is an economist and a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. Roberts states that self-sufficiency is the road to poverty. Roberts in a podcast elaborates on the economic theories of Adam Smith and David Ricardo to explain how specialization and trade creates wealth and how radical self-sufficiency leads to poverty.

Trade restrictions reduce the benefits of trade for consumers. Adam Smith condemned government restrictions that restricted an economic activity . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Then There Were Two

The sale of Wolters Kluwer’s remaining Croner/CCH publishing assets in the UK did not, of itself, significantly affect the bigger picture of law and tax publishing there, primarily because of the residual size and scope of its activities and failure to compete immediately prior to the sale. To some romantics and self-delusionists, it may be thought to be the end of an era, with wistful memories of Croner’s heyday in the last century; to others, for its, at times, unhinged, incompetent (or perhaps worse) and at top level, obscenely and inconceivably justifiable overpaid management and self-serving nitwit advisers and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Earlscourt Legal Press at 20

One that got away

In my time at Carswell (now Thomson Reuters) I took a very aggressive approach to product development and was never very happy when an author signed with another publisher. Even more distressing was a decision by an author to go his or her own way and self publish a title that was originally published by Carswell. I always believed that publishing with an well established major legal publisher was the key to acceptance by the legal community and the key to commercial success. I was wrong.

One request by an author for the return of publishing . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing