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Archive for the ‘Legal Publishing’ Columns

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

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