Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for ‘Legal Information’

Happy Birthday Canlii

Our friends at Canlii are celebrating eight years. Yes August 29, 2000 it all started.

Now CanLII publishes over 140 databases, gets nearly 25,000 visits per day, 2,500 new cases are added every week and 11 statutory databases are updated monthly.

The announcement has links so you can look back at what it used to look like.

Long may it thrive. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology

Law Librarians and Virtual Worlds

While we’ve had discussions from time to time about Second Life, but we missed telling you about a novel virtual workshop on innovative forms of library services through virtual worlds. The workshop explored the benefits and challenges of operating a virtual world law library program, leading to practical advice on how to create and present a program or topical resource within Second Life.

The website noted that a legal community is developing in Second Life: over 65 lawyers and firms have an official Second Life presence, the “Second Life Bar Association” has 200+ members, and the ABA has recently . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Substantive Law, Technology

Board and Tribunal RSS Feeds

I am occasionally surprised by really great service.

Here is an example: In the spring I sent an email to the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board to let them know that even though their news releases were available through the Alberta Government RSS feeds, I thought it would be a good idea if they had their own RSS channels so that if someone only wanted their material, it would be available. I was happily surprised this week when I received an e-mail saying they had their own RSS feeds.

A quick check tells me that there are a couple of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing

Cognition for Legal

The race is on to make (and sell to users) the first truly good search engine that deals well with concepts, such that a search for “dog bites man” would include results without the word “dog” or “bites” but that include “Pomeranian” and “attacks,” to give a very simple example. Natural language processing — or NLP — is not easy for machines to learn, of course. Not only must they have a decent thesaurus, but as well they should be able to parse a document and derive some sense of context so that the results of a “dog bites man . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Ontario Justice Portal

Chris Bentley, Ontario’s Attorney General announced today a new one-stop “Justice Ontario” Website And Hotline to provide access to legal information

Justice Ontario is billed as providing

An online door to the justice system including easy-to-use information on family law, criminal law, lawsuits and disputes, human rights, estate planning and tickets and fines

Easy access to legal resources such as lawyer referral services and family law information centres

Toll-free telephone access to the same information in 173 languages at 1-866-252-0104.

The Press Release states that “Improving access to justice for all Ontarians begins with better, easy-to-use legal information,” a point . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology

An Online Law Library – Sunbury PA Politicians Have Their Doubts

Cost of online law library criticized

MIDDLEBURG — Snyder County Commissioner Joe Kantz doesn’t understand why county leaders last year tossed hundreds of law books into the garbage.

Last October, officials heaped the county’s law library into a green Dumpster behind the Snyder County Courthouse, leaving the county to swap paper and ink for software.

While the books did require periodic updates, Kantz said Snyder County now is shelling out $10,000 each year to maintain its online law library — a sum at which he scoffed Tuesday. “That was a pretty good waste of taxpayer dollars if you ask me,” . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Collaborative Search

As law schools explore more team learning (though they’ve a long way to go to get to the Business School small group culture), the possibility of collaborative tools becomes more important. Remember the line from Google’s Joe Kraus that “”the nature of information discovery is changing … from a solitary activity to a social one”.

That’s why a posting on the Italian blog Programmazione.it v6.0 beta caught our attention. A post on a tool for group collaboration, describing a free Internet Explorer plug-in that allows groups of people to collaborate on Web searches . The features include include group query . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Technology

Pipl Search: Online Directory for Searching for People

A column by Randolph Hock in this month’s edition of The CyberSkeptic’s Guide to Internet Research alerted me to Pipl (apparently pronounced “people”). It does not appear to have yet been discussed on SLAW so I thought I would mention it now.

It is a search engine to find people. What’s makes it different, according to the site, is that it searches various (presumably free) databases on the Web that are part of the “deep” or “invisible” web:

Unlike a typical search-engine, Pipl is designed to retrieve information from the deep web, our robots are set to interact with searchable

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Expertise Management and Networking – an Emerging KM Challenge

When the subject of “finding experts” comes up in most groups of legal KM professionals, the discussion often polarizes into two camps – either automated solutions or self-declared solutions. Indeed, some of this is fueled by early solutions that either tried to mine email, document and other work product to determine who the experts were (based on frequency, but not depth or quality, of conversation) or systems that allowed an individual to tick off the boxes indicating their self-declared expertise or interests in particular areas. But the landscape is more complex than that. It is simply not an “either / . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management

Are Good Litigators Born?

I’ve always been leery of proponents of a biological basis for intelligence [or running].

I have conceded that genetics play some role on an individual basis, but need to be activated by the environment. Measures of intelligence are far too culturally specific, and ignore many other forms of intelligence. And I wholly reject, for largely scientific reasons, attempts to correlate genetic intelligence with racial or ethnic groups.

The same holds true for great lawyers.

Some of us are born to a long line of lawyers, or have parents that are judges or legal academics. We grew up . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Extended Powers of Attorney: WCLRA Report

The “Western Canada Law Reform Agencies” — i.e. those of B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba — have together produced a report entitled “Enduring Powers of Attorney: Areas for Reform” [PDF] with the aim of harmonizing their separate pieces of legislation. The report is 90 pages in length and contains the following substantive chapters:

  • Recognizing and Extended Power of Attorney
  • Clarifying Attorney Duties Under an EPA
  • Preventing Misuse of an EPA
  • Transitional Provisions
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation