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Archive for ‘Education & Training: Law Schools’

A New Approach to Legal Research and Writing?

I have now taken the better part of two legal research and writing courses (though the term paper still looms) and on the whole I have found them to be a beneficial to my legal research both in other classes and in the workplace. However, if there is one thing that I find these courses a bit short on, it is direct feedback and a corresponding opportunity to put this feedback into practice, and observe and evaluate the end results.

While I was an undergraduate I had the opportunity to participate in a writing intensive class as both a student . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Why We Should Keep the Doggie-Door Closed on Emotional Damages

Household pets are a cherished part of many families. Yet, in the words of Auxier J. in Pezzente v. McClain, 2005 BCPC 352 (CanLII), the law remains “coldly unemotional” towards companion animals, which continue to be considered “just another consumer product.” Nonetheless, there is good reason for continuing to restrict the compensation available in pet death or injury cases. A line of cases out of Ontario has begun to award more than just replacement value and incurred costs to owners of wrongfully injured or killed pets – and it may be setting a precarious precedent.

In Ferguson v. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Learning to Keep a Proper Research Record

The Importance of Keeping a Record

When I registered for ALRW I thought the most important improvement in my research skills would relate to finding and locating relevant legal materials. However, learning to keep a detailed record of my research has been the most valuable skill I’ve developed.

I kept a record in the past but I didn’t give too much importance to it and it tended to be recorded a bit haphazardly. I kept track of the relevant cases, statutes, and principles I came across but did not keep a detailed record of search terms I used or the . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Eluding Relief: Ministerial Discretion and the Impact of Recent Amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

Recent amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, SC 2001, c 27 (“IRPA”) (http://canlii.ca/t/52dg2) will make ministerial relief illusory for some foreign nationals deemed inadmissible to Canada on security grounds. The government created this problem in its response to the Supreme Court of Canada’s (“SCC”) ruling in Agraira v Canada, 2013 SCC 36 (“Agraira”) (http://canlii.ca/t/fz8c4). Agraira challenged the application of IRPA s 34(2) (http://canlii.ca/t/521ff) under which an inadmissible foreign national could apply to the Minister of Public Safety for an exemption if they could prove their presence was not contrary to the “national . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Should Advanced Legal Research and Writing Be Mandatory?

As I approach the last few weeks of my legal education I begin to ask myself: Am I ready? Am I a well-trained individual ready to take on any challenge thrown my way? Or at least a competent individual with the basic skills necessary to write my first “real” memo? I have spent the last seven years in university researching and writing multiple papers; is that enough?

Even in my third year I find myself turning to the student next to me, whispering, “Where would I find that?” or “How do I cite that?” As embarrassing as this is, I . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

The Role of ISPs in Canada’s New Copyright Regime

In 2012, the Copyright Modernization Act was enacted to make a number of significant changes to Canada’s existing copyright regime. One of the primary goals of this new legislation was to ensure that Canada did not open the floodgates to “copyright trolls” (copyright plaintiffs who file lawsuits simply to extort quick settlements) and devolve into the shocking state of copyright litigation south of the border. The federal government hopes to balance the rights of copyright holders with the privacy rights of the alleged copyright infringers. The Act now has a statutory limit of $5,000 on damages for all non-commercial copyright . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Law Blogs and Law Reviews: A Tale of Dialogue?

In October 2013, Adam Liptak—The New York Times’ Supreme Court correspondent—dismissed law reviews as repositories of irrelevant and un(der)-read legal scholarship that merely bolster the curriculum vitae of published authors and, presumably, the student editors.

Disagreement with Liptak’s bold assertion ran the gamut from the observation that students run law reviews for lack of an alternative to the rebuke that Liptak’s criticism overreached to taint law reviews with less problematic publication structures. Others focused on Liptak’s brief praise for legal blogging; Kevin O’Keefe celebrated the article for heralding law blogs as better sources of “valuable legal insight” . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week, Legal Information: Publishing

Do Mental Health Act Detainees Have Charter Rights?

Upon arrest or detention, a police officer must advise a detainee of their s. 10 Charter right to retain and instruct counsel without delay. Does this right apply if a person is “apprehended” and taken involuntarily to a health facility for a psychiatric assessment? Presumably it does: if the individual is not free to leave the officer’s custody or refuse the examination, then their individual liberty is clearly suspended by a state authority. This is the very definition of a “detention” under the Charter: R v Grant. Yet, the case law implies that officers may be failing to advise . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Thoughts From UVic Law Students

For the past two years I’ve taught Advanced Legal Research and Writing to upper year law students, and I’ve just begun a third session.

This is a small seminar course and the students are primarily final-year students. My day-one poll of the students generally suggests some feel uncertainty about their legal research and writing skills as they prepare to enter the profession, and they take the course almost as “remedial legal research and writing,” to borrow the words of a colleague.

To meet stated student learning needs, we generally focus in depth on the skills of researching case . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

When Even Trump Calls Foul on Scalia

The controversial situation around affirmative action in American universities has reared its legal head at the Supreme Court of the United States more than once.

Affirmative action was brought into the forefront in 1961, when John F. Kennedy issued an executive and provided financing for it. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 went further, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, colour, religion, sex, or national origin, while never explicitly mentioning affirmative action. The Act does not have a comparable component to s. 15(2) of the Charter, but Title VII and subsequent amendments empowered the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

How to Master Complex, Unfamiliar Tasks

If you’re about to tackle a complex matter or task in an unfamiliar area, how should you prioritize your first steps? New research shows that you’ll be off to a better start if you focus on learning rather than results. This is especially true if the matter context is unpredictable or dynamic.

I interviewed Dr. Meredith Woodwark – whose research uncovered these findings – to learn more. Woodwark teaches organizational behavior and leadership at the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University. Her research focuses on motivation, learning goals and employee engagement.

Q. How is your research . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Feedback From the Bench & Grading Written Advocacy

With the rise of the “vanishing” trial, lawyers must master the art of written advocacy. Part of mastering anything requires consistent feedback. Yet, lawyers operate with little to no commentary from judges on the quality of their written submissions.

In Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman states that we acquire expertise when:

(1) There is an environment that is sufficiently regular to be predictable, and

(2) There is an opportunity to learn these regularities through prolonged practice. An opportunity to learn entails quick and clear feedback. For example:

Among medical specialties, anesthesiologists benefit from good feedback, because the effects of

. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools