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Archive for ‘Legal Information’

Fostering a Culture of Legal Literacy

I have had the good fortune of being involved in a number of groups and initiatives aimed at improving access to justice and reforming family law processes over the last several years – from pro bono advice clinics and rosters, to public legal information websites and Wikibooks, to the reconstruction of court rules and legislation – and have recently become plagued by the feeling we’re getting something wrong, that there’s something more fundamental at play I’m overlooking. Partly this stems from the observation in Meaningful Change for Family Justice: Beyond Wise Words (PDF) that despite the innovations and . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information

The Rights and Responsibilities of Self-Represented Litigants

A few years ago I was doing some work for a professional association on guidelines for dealing with litigants without counsel and I was struck by the extent to which some legal professionals regard litigants without counsel as interlopers who gum up the finely tuned, well-oiled machine that is their justice system. Some of the same attitudes are evident in the research on lawyers’ and judges’ perceptions done by Nicholas Bala and Rachel Birnbaum in 2012 and by the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family in 2013. By way of illustration, respondents to a follow-up national survey of . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information, Practice of Law

Back to the Future of Law Libraries

Scott Frey, Reference Librarian, at the Western State College of Law, Fullerton, California, has written a nice Delorean free article that takes a look at the future of law libraries from the perspective of law librarian’s opinions from the past. It’s called, “A History of the Future of Law Libraries: Lessons in Forecasting from Law Librarians” Predictions of the Past,’ and was published in the June issue of AALL Spectrum.

Frey drops us back a hundred years ago to 1915 and then moves up to the present day citing a number of interesting predictions from law . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Canadian Football Leagues Tackles Violence in and Outside of the Workplace

The Canadian Football League (CFL) has just taken a seemingly strong stance against violence towards women, an issue that has been a hot topic over the past year, with several high profile incidents making the news. The league has instituted a new employment policy that imposes harsh penalties for acts of violence. The penalties, which range from suspensions to lifetime bans, will apply not only to players, but to all employees of the league.

The CFL policy provides that:

• The policy applies to everyone who works for the CFL – not just players, but coaches, officials, executives and staff.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information

Slaw Contributor Adam Dodek Wins 2015 Walter Owen Book Prize

Slaw Contributor Adam Dodek has been awarded the Canadian Bar Association (CBA)’s 2015 Walter Owen Book Prize for his book Solicitor-Client Privilege, published by Lexis-Nexis:

“Solicitor-Client Privilege explains key aspects of lawyer-client confidentiality, analyzes the exceptions to privilege, conditions where privilege is unclear, and situations of competing interests that might bring into question the application of privilege (…) ”

“Prof. Dodek teaches public law and legislation, constitutional law, legal ethics and professional responsibility, and a seminar on the Supreme Court of Canada at University of Ottawa. He is a founding member of the faculty’s Public Law Group, the director of

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

OPSEU Workers Seen Protesting the Government’s Privatization Agenda at the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games

Toronto has been sitting in the spotlight for the last month as the host of the 2015 Pan Am Games, which has brought together athletes, coaches, volunteers, and Games supporters from across the world. The public attention received by the Games has not gone un-noticed by workers in the Ontario Public Service Union (OPSEU), who have been protesting the Liberal government’s privatization agenda outside of the Games venues and events.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas has emphasized the important role that public service workers have played in the success of the Pan Am Games, and wants Ontarians to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

The Only Thing Wrong With Looseleafs Is They’re Printed on Paper

Like lawyers, computer scientists need up-to-date publications in a field that changes constantly, and in my case, sometimes frivolously. In effect, I need looseleafs, except I really don’t need them on paper in three-ring binders.

When I’m trying to put together an argument for a particular “design pattern” (think verdict), I want to refer to a classic reference I can pick up and read, where I use it enough that I remember where things are, and where I can cite it and have it recognized it by my peers. I want something like Gold’s Practitioners Criminal Code, but . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

Motivating Customer Service

Continuous improvement, process improvement, lean, six sigma, kaizen, and all of the other descriptors for changing to be more effective and efficient have the core value of providing the best possible customer service. Customers are external clients and also internal clients, for example users of the network are the clients of the IT department.

In law firms, it is pretty straight forward to be motivated to give excellent customer service to external clients. It may not always easy for everyone to consistently act on the motivation, but that is a separate issue. It is a bit more esoteric to connect . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Legal Health Checks for Employment Law

The CBA’s Legal Health Checks, which has been previously mentioned by  here, just released two new checklists in employment law.

One is for hiring for small businesses, and covers contentious issues such as employee/contractor distinctions and employment standards. The other is geared towards workers, and covers the law for non-unionized employees, and covers employment contracts, discrimination and harassment and wrongful dismissal.

Obtaining accurate legal information remains a challenge for the public, and efforts by our legal organizations to make this information more readily accessible is part of our professional mandate.

These checklists are also . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information

iManage Goes Independent

iManage, a significant player in the work product managment software space for professional services firms, has announced a management buyout of their business from Hewlett-Packard. From the press release:

The iManage leadership team today announced that it has completed a buyout from Hewlett-Packard (HP) for the purchase of the complete iManage business, including its brand, products and services. iManage co-founder and current General Manager Neil Araujo is the CEO of the management-owned company, now one of the largest independent software companies focused on work product management solutions for professional services firms and their clients. Rafiq Mohammadi, also a co-founder

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management

Of Lexbox and the Promise of Convenience for CanLII Users

CanLII has a new friend. Its name is Lexbox.

It’s a product from Lexum — the Montreal-based company responsible for the undergirding technology of CanLII — which first emailed me and a clutch of other legal research types back in late March with an invite to help test the experimental tool when it was still in a closed beta phase.

We were told then that the aim of Lexbox (and you can read a lot more about it here) is to simplify how lawyers store, monitor and share online legal information. Having kicked the tires over the past . . . [more]

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

The Lyon Declaration: Advocating for Access to Information

The third issue of the IFLA* Law Libraries Section** Newsletter came out last month. It includes a nice report on last summer’s IFLA conference in Lyon, France, which is worth reviewing to get a sense of what’s front of mind in international law libraries. However, what I wanted to draw your attention to is the Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Development drafted by IFLA and “a number of strategic partners in the library and development communities” and launched at the conference.

“The declaration calls upon the members of the United Nations to make an international commitment to

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information