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Archive for ‘Legal Information’

“The First Thing We Do, Let’s Poll All the Lawyers”

Courthouse Libraries BC (CLBC) just launched its #CLBClawyersurvey2016. Now we’re looking for sweet, precious survey fuel to reach the moon-like destination of 350 respondents—our statistically significant sample. By “survey fuel” I mean, of course, human lawyers in BC capable of clicking through a 10-minute survey. Eligible takers can start the online survey now.

CLBC has a long history in BC. We have served lawyers and the public for over 40 years in (and beyond) dozens of branches in courthouses throughout the province. This survey is the first of its kind for us, and it should help CLBC evolve  . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology

High Level Descriptions Added to Alberta Legislation

What does it all mean? Many people are asking themselves that on this day after the US general election.

If your personal ‘what does it all mean’ relates to the laws of Alberta (and why wouldn’t it) there is a new tool to assist you with an answer. The Alberta Queen’s Printer is now providing ‘high level descriptions’ to provide context to search and browse results for legislative information.

Wondering what the Judicature Act is all about? The description offers:

This act provides for the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal of Alberta and the Court of Queen’s Bench of

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information

Consulting With Canadians on a Federal Accessibility Legislation

Between July 2016 and February 2017, the federal government is consulting Canadians on planned federal accessibility legislation. The goal of the law would be to promote equality of opportunity and increase the inclusion and participation of Canadians who have disabilities or functional limitations in all areas of every day life. It is expected that the new legislation will incorporate many features from Ontario and Manitoba’s accessibility laws that would include the process or processes that the Government would use to develop the accessibility standards, as well as the areas or activities to which the standards would apply. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Do the Opposite

‘”The Opposite” is the 86th episode of the NBC sitcom Seinfeld,’ according to Wikipedia. It is also one of my favourite episodes because it teaches an important life lesson. Here is a clip to refresh your memory:


Today, a Canadian company backed up by tech interests and talent announced acquisition of an important Canadian legal publisher Maritime Law Book (“maritime” here does not mean admiralty law; instead, it refers to the Maritimes—the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island—presumably because that’s where the publisher originated).

Law tech startups, attention. Your exit strategy probably involves acquisition . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Technology

New Legal Trends Report Provides Data Insights for Small- to Medium-Sized Law Firms

In the 4,000-year history of the legal profession, unbiased information sharing has never been the norm. Instead, insights have remained siloed in large institutions—or traded anecdotally among groups at networking events.

That changes with today’s release of the Legal Trends Report. The Legal Trends Report is being published by Clio, the world’s most widely-used legal practice management platform (disclosure: I am the founder and CEO of Clio). By leveraging anonymized, aggregate data from 40,000 active Clio users and over $60 billion in billing volume, the Legal Trends Report provides new insights into topics including average billing rates by state, . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Reading: Recommended, Technology, Technology: Internet

New Law Library of Congress Reports on Encrypted Communications and Foreign Intelligence Gathering

In Custodia Legis, the blog of the Law Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., reported earlier this week on two recent comparative law reports published by the institution.

The first, Government Access to Encrypted Communications, “describes the law of 12 nations and the European Union on whether the government, pursuant to a court order or other government process, can require companies to decrypt encrypted communications or provide the government with the means to do so”.

The other one is an updated version of an earlier report entitled Foreign Intelligence Gathering Laws that examines the legislation regulating the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

Early Neutral Evaluation Programs in Family Law Disputes

The Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family has just released a new research report, An International Review of Early Neutral Evaluation Programs and Their Use in Family Law Disputes in Alberta, which includes a literature review of early neutral evaluation programs in Manitoba, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States, and makes recommendations about the implementation of such a program in Alberta. The findings from the literature review are very positive and are likely applicable throughout Canada.

Generally speaking, early neutral evaluation programs are court-based programs that require the parties to a . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information

Does Legal Analytics Really Need “Big Data” to Make Predictions?

If you’re at all interested in legal technology, you’ve probably grown tired of the recent influx of fear-mongering articles about “robot lawyers” that are going to put legal professionals out of a job. This sub-genre of legal tech reporting features a lot of buzzwords. There’s “machine learning”, “NLP (natural language processing)”, “AI (artificial intelligence)”, and “predictive analytics”, to name just a few. Regrettably, a lot of these articles discuss legal technologies only in very vague terms, or sometimes don’t bother with definitions at all. And it’s very difficult to have a nuanced conversation about legal tech when it seems like . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology

Of Copyright, Copyleft and the Unique Creative Commons Needs of PLEI

Unlocking Intellectual Property

Last May, Vancouver Foundation, Canada’s largest community foundation, announced it would develop and adopt an open licensing policy. This is a big deal for an organization that spends over $50 million yearly on its grantees and programs. The right policy could amplify the impact of the Foundation’s spending, and create knock-on benefits shared by other groups working for good causes. On the flip side, a flawed one could dilute the incentives (real or perceived) for grantees expected to share success, credit and perhaps even intellectual property with unknown others.

Meanwhile, Clicklaw Wikibooks, a project I . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing

Access to Private Standards Incorporated Into Law

From time to time governments make law by referring to non-governmental rules. These are often technical matters on which standards are developed by outside experts. For example, a regulation might require manufacturers to comply with a safety standard of the Canadian General Standards Board or the International Standards Organization.

When this happens, should the government have to ensure that the outside standards be accessible to those affected by them? Many standards bodies finance their operation at least in part through the sale of their standards. In other words, access to the text of the standards is not free. Is that . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law: Legislation, ulc_ecomm_list

Statutes of Limitations & Mrs. Trump

Politico published a story today on Mrs. Trump’s immigration history: “Gaps in Melania Trump’s Immigration Story Raise Questions.” The issue stems from Mrs. Trump’s status if/when she worked in the US during 1995 & 1996. It seems that she may have been working without authorization, a violation of immigration law (in Canada and the US), which would constitute “visa fraud” (in Canada, “misrepresentation”) and lead to an investigation. I am guessing that Mr. Trump is consulting his lawyers to see if Mrs. Trump’s US citizenship is at risk. It may be.

In her own words, Mrs. Trump described how she . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information

Best Guide to Canadian Legal Research Sustained

I was delighted to see the announcement that Catherine Best’s fantastic work at legalresearch.org will continue on under an excellent editorial board after her retirement. Catherine generously donated the site to CanLII and the site has been renamed The Canadian Legal Research and Writing Guide.

What a fabulous legacy.

The Best Guide is one of those resources that act as a starting point for fresh legal researchers, a reminder for the occasional researcher, and a review for the experienced. It is a frequently referred to resource in student training programs, including the Edmonton Law Libraries Association HeadStart program, which, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information