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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

The Myth of Work Life Balance in Law

I am totally exhausted after a day involving a chambers application, client meetings, attempting to settle a high conflict matter likely headed to litigation despite all efforts and then coming home to two children under four with a husband out of town. And, Monday is my day to post on Slaw …

Which leads to me to a little rumination on the ethereal promise of work life balance in the context of private practice law. I am with Jordan Furlong, whom I met coincidentally for the first time in person at a CBA Work Life Balance function, that we . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

Dealing With Digital Assets After Death

The New York Times had an interesting blog entry the other day about how one should plan to have one’s digital assets dealt with after death.

The author is not talking about bank or brokerage accounts accessed by electronic means, but about one’s PayPal account, or eBay, or Second Life virtual/real estate, etc — social media assets, as it were — or just personal information that one might not want to survive one’s own ability to control it.

Is this something we should be concerned about in Canada? What would you recommend? Or do most people really have to care . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Practice of Law, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Honourable Frank Iacobucci on Residential Schools

Notes from a keynote speech by Justice Iacobucci at the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (FACL) Fall Conference.

Grew up in the East End of Vancouver, where there was lots of diversity of people from many backgrounds. Justice Iacobucci noted that he entered the law exactly 50 years ago, in 1959, when he graduated from UBC. There wasn’t a lot of visible minorities in the profession back then. There also wasn’t a lot of “funny names” in it back then. He recalls that when he told by one of his undergraduate professors that he wanted to do law that . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Taxing Justice

The HST is coming and its ramifications for those who practice law and those who purchase legal services is going to be extreme.

While other industries (notably mutual funds, auto, and real estate) are all engaged in full-court-press mode as they lobby the Ontario government for exemptions, we in the legal services field have remained disturbingly complacent. The problem is simple to define. Starting in July 2010 when Ontario’s GST and PST are replaced by the new Harmonized Sales Tax, virtually everything, including legal bills, will be subject to the new 13% HST. For those of you who are blessed . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Linguist Tongue-Lashes Jurist

One of the things I enjoy about reading the Language Log, a cooperative blog by academic linguists, is the ease with which some of the authors slip into high dudgeon. (I suppose I might be like that, too, if my subject were language, in which everyone is an expert.) The latest target of Geoff Pullum’s indignation is U.S. Supreme Court Justice Kennedy, who, it turns out, doesn’t know his active from his passive, when it comes to voice.

The offending passage occurred in the judge’s dissent in Jones v. United States 526 U.S. 227 (1999) where Kennedy is interpreting a . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Legal Information, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Study on Impact of Intervenors at Supreme Court of Canada

University of Toronto law professors Ben Alarie and Andrew Green have posted a draft of a new paper to the Social Science Research Network.

The paper is entitled Interventions at the Supreme Court of Canada: Accuracy, Affiliation, and Acceptance:

“Do interveners matter? Under Chief Justice McLachlin the Supreme Court of Canada has allowed an average of 176 interventions per calendar year and interveners have cumulatively made submissions in half of the cases heard by the Court. This level of activity suggests that interveners are doing something. But what is it that they are doing?”

“In the abstract, there are

. . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Successful Hiring in a Law Firm

It’s trite to say, but a truism nonetheless that the inherent success or lack thereof of a law firm lies in its people. The way a firm manages human resources determines its ability to attract, retain and motivate the talent necessary to be the superior and profitable organisation it seeks to be.

I recently read Who, authored by Randy Street and Geoff Smart. Geoff Smart is the son of Brad Smart, who wrote the seminal book Topgrading on how to recruit, hire and keep the right people for the right job to get excellent results.

The authors state their . . . [more]

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

University of Montreal’s Cyberjustice Project

Word came down recently that the University of Montreal’s Centre de recherche en droit public won a six million dollar grant “to create a research infrastructure in which to develop different software solutions to the many problems currently plaguing the justice system.” You can read the CRDP announcement here. The Cyberjustice Laboratory project will comprise a research facility, a “virtual courtroom” and a “transportable courtroom” housed at McGill University. The project is headed by Professor Karim Benyekhlef, Director of the CRDP, and by Nicolas Vermeys, Associate Director of the project.

The chart below will give you some idea of . . . [more]

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

Google Mobile GPS Services With Crowdsourcing

Just like Google’s Street View feature, which followed a Canadian launch after being tested in the American market, Google introduced this month traffic levels for major Canadian cities after almost three years of use in the U.S. In the past week the service was extended from mobile devices to web browsing as well. has offered much more limited traffic features for several years, but nothing even close to the level of detail or interactivity provided by Google.

Late this summer Google had expanded the service to include arterial roads, which was a major complaint among American users. They also . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Technology: Internet

Metadata as Record

Tip of the hat to my friend and partner Stan Freedman, the Supreme Court of Arizona en banc this week held that if a public entity maintains a public record in an electronic format, then the electronic version, including any embedded metadata, is subject to disclosure under our public records laws.

The case involved an employment discrimination action by a Phoenix policeman David Lake who suspected that there had been some backdating or manipulation of his employee file. He moved to see access to the metadata.

As the Phoenix paper reported:

A suspicious Lake requested the metadata from the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

USA Border Searches of Laptops..

♫ Everyone has a secret
But can they keep it
Oh no they can’t…♫

Lyrics and music by: Adam Levine, Jesse Carmichael, recorded by Maroon 5.

The CBA has released: Laptop Searches at the Border: What the Revised U.S. Guidelines Say on their PracticeLink web page.

As they state:

For the frequent business traveller, it bears repeating: U.S. Customs officers have the authority to search and detain any device capable of storing electronic information for any reason; they can examine the electronic device without the traveller present; they can copy from the device or “detain” the device; . . . [more]

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