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Archive for the ‘Legal Publishing’ Columns

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

Global Legal Publishing – a Bad Idea?

In Canada and elsewhere, we have seen a seemingly endless series of reorganizations in the multinational legal publishing houses. The pattern is one characterized by the acquisition of smaller legal publishing houses, followed by serial changes in their reporting lines, and ending with their disappearance altogether, as old established brands are dropped and replaced by the corporate brand. These changes are attempts to conceal a sad truth – that “global legal publishing” has proven to be a bit of a bust. Was it a bad business idea in the first place, or merely a good idea that was overwhelmed by . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing


Who was Confucius?

See the book Confucius: And the World he Created by Michael Schuman (2015). Many of the words and phrases below are those of Michael Schuman.

Confucius was born in China in 551 B.C. and died in 479 B.C. He was a teacher, politician and philosopher. In Asia his influence ranks with Abraham, Jesus and Buddha. He spent most of his professional life teaching – he taught the wisdom of Chinese antiquity, a timeless code of morality. He handed down the standards for human morality.

Confucianism offers a moral code to guide human behavior analogous to the Ten . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Scholarly Publishing Has Its Napster Moment

It has become widely known that scholarly publishing has been hit by its own version of Napster, with Alexandra Elbakyan’s creation of Sci-Hub, which offers up to 48 million pirated journal articles and, as we have more recently learned, hundreds of university press books through its dark-web companion site LibGen. Elbakyan’s site, which she initiated in 2011 when she was a graduate student in Kazakhstan, has since been sued for infringing and other causing “irreparable harm” to Elsevier’s copyright. The suit heard by the Southern District of New York Court has resulted in a preliminary injunction that managed to close . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

“The Fall of the Priests and the Rise of the Lawyers”

Not so long ago I had the great pleasure of being invited by the eminent lawyer, Professor Philip R. Wood, to discuss a book that he had nearly completed at that time, specifically as to which publisher might be most appropriate for what he had in mind. I was fascinated by what he described and was delighted to be able to point him in the direction of Hart Publishing, part of Bloomsbury Professional and in turn Bloomsbury Publishing. He was kind enough to include a reference to me in the book’s acknowledgements page.

Philip Wood CBE, QC (Hon) is head . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Helping New Lawyers Become Practice-Ready

Everyone seems to agree that law school new graduates are not practice-ready, but there continues to be disagreement about how ready they should be at that stage of their careers. This discussion has been going on for at least 30 years, and the debate continues to rage. The latest edition of the National sets it all out, highlighting the challenges inherent in changing the law school curriculum, along with some law school innovations that have taken hold. This topic was also the focus of a recent CBA Futures workshop entitled Transforming Legal Education in Canada: a Workshop to Inspire . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Emond – a Fresh Voice in Legal Publishing

“Emond” Rises, while Brand Names “Canada Law Book” and “Carswell” fade to black

Publishing houses rise and fall. Legal publishing houses are no exception. Changes in ownership and/or hidden weaknesses may cause a company that dominates in one decade, to be displaced in the next by another, with a better idea as to how to best meet the needs of consumers. “Canada Law Book” is one such company, and “Carswell” another. Both names will disappear in the near future as these historic brands are replaced by “Thomson Reuters” in the coming year.

Canada Law Book

In the early seventies, Canada . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

A Most Ordinary Curriculum Vitae

The really interesting and exciting people that one encounters have been everywhere, done everything and remain on the move. Not for them the conservatism of a monochromatic career in a single industry sector or one spent with a small number of employers, as has happily been the case for me to date. Still, it occurs to me that my own cautious path presents an opportunity to offer, for those interested, an entirely subjective, probably biased and personal description of much of the legal and professional information scene in the UK and Ireland and to a minor extent in mainland Europe. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing


Recently, the business press has contained articles and books about the abundance of products and services being produced by our economy. See Abundance-The Future is Better than you Think, by Peter H. Diamandis & Steven Kotler (2012).

Some commentators attribute some economic malaise to “too much of everything”. Examples of abundance are the over supply of commodities such as crude oil. Scott Barlow in the Globe and Mail on February 2, 2016 stated that there are “too many mutual funds, television channels, cereal brands, auto companies, clothing brands, taxis, department stores ….”. Barlow added that “technology increases efficiencies and reduces . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

2015 Roundup

The daily Pinhawk newsletter is one of the best ways to keep up with the torrent of information about legal information, tech, and publishing. Every day an email appears including links and highlights of the latest news from the blogosphere. (Slaw columns often get a mention.) In the spirit of Pinhawk, this column is a roundup of some of the more interesting recent developments in our world of legal information:

  • Fellow Slaw columnist Sarah Glassmeyer is spending a year at the Harvard Law Library Innovation Lab as a Research Fellow. Her latest column was a masterful discussion of the state
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Discipline of Thinking

Some measures of success in life require the development of some of the many virtues. Discipline or self-discipline and thinking are some of these virtues.
Self-discipline is the ability to do things that ought to be done. Focus on what ought to be done may be an important element of achieving success. Think of the focus by a great athlete like Wayne Gretzky or the focus of the Wright brothers who created the first powered aircraft in 1903.
Critical thinking may be an important element of reaching a goal. Critical thinking is an important component of most professions. It is . . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Osgoode Society for Legal History Makes It to 100!

After a year of quiet anticipation, the Osgoode Society launched four new titles bringing the total to 100. Surprisingly, little or no fanfare accompanied the momentous occasion. Even the usual collection of literary minded judges were absent, passing on hat should have been major celebration.

While reluctant to say so at an event launching four new titles, the 100th title announced by the Society that evening was in fact the latest offering by Ian Kyer. It was an appropriate acknowledgement of his many contributions to scholarly writing in Canada, on a range of subjects from the history of the Faskens . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing