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A Cautionary Handmaiden’s Tale

Margaret started working with senior partner Lawrence right out of her articles. In her first years of call she worked with many lawyers at the firm, but slowly Lawrence commandeered more and more of her time until he provided the majority of her billable work. Lawrence had churned through many associates before Margaret. She was the first one who was good enough to meet his exacting standards and the only one who would put up with his daily criticisms of her work. Lawrence kept her apart from his clients. Even as Margaret increased in seniority he held tightly to his . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Tips Tuesday

Here are excerpts from the most recent tips on SlawTips, the site that each week offers up useful advice, short and to the point, on technology, research and practice.


Point, Click, Hover, Interact
Shaunna Mireau

Today’s Tip is about interacting with your research world. We are involved in an increasingly complex universe of data that has increasingly complex functionality. In order to get the most out of what is in front of you I suggest that you engage with the data. Mouse over text and images; set your browser status bar to visible so that you can read . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Of Prima Facie Discrimination and Humanizing the Street Homeless

The long-dead brains of history are still quite handy when you need to brandish something with rhetorical flourish—Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare, Milton, Locke, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill are some obvious choices. But it’s rare that a quote at the head of a judgement is as good as what BC Supreme Court Justice Sharma gave us this past Friday in Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users v. British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. Here’s how the reasons begin:

“Near the end of the 19th Century, the poet, author and Nobel laureate Antole France composed this oft-cited saying: ‘[t]he law in its

. . . [more]
Posted in: Case Comment, Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Average Lawyer Is 90% More Skeptical Than Everyone Else: What This Means for Your Clients, Your Colleagues, and Your Firm

A skeptical lawyer is a good lawyer. He scrutinizes every line in a contract. He questions the opposing party’s arguments. He looks for hidden motives. He looks at the law with a critical eye. His legal decisions are guided by a healthy pessimism, which helps him guard against mistakes.

At the same time, a skeptical lawyer is not fun to be around when he is not dealing with legal issues. Because of his cynical, argumentative and judgemental character he doesn’t play well with others. He is less accepting, less trusting, and less willing to give others the benefit of . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Copyright, Author Rights and Open Access

Anyone involved with clearing copyright permissions to allow for open access to digital resources on a personal website or in an institutional repository are probably familiar with the SHERPA/RoMEO database.

SHERPA/RoMEO began as a UK research project developed at the University of Loughborough and is now maintained by the Centre for Research Communications (CRC) at the University of Nottingham. It’s an excellent starting point to find summaries of “permissions that are normally given as part of each publisher’s copyright transfer agreement.” Policies can be searched for by journal titles or their ISSNs or by a publisher’s name. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

Monday’s Mix

Each Monday we present brief excerpts of recent posts from five of Canada’s award­-winning legal blogs chosen at random* from sixty recent Clawbie winners. In this way we hope to promote their work, with their permission, to as wide an audience as possible.

This week the randomly selected blogs are 1. First Reference Talks  2. Susan on the Soapbox 3. Clicklaw Blog  4. Labour Pains  5. Blogue du CR

First Reference Talks
All pay and no work? That’s constructive dismissal!

Last year, we discussed a case which held that preventing an employee from working during a purported “working notice” period . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Divide to Conquer: Content Strategy for a Distracted Digital Age

There are two somewhat related media consumption patterns happening right now that most law firms haven’t given much thought to yet – mobility and distraction. You can use these developments to your advantage by building modular content that can be sliced and diced in a variety of ways to help you get more mileage out of your lawyers’ substantive writing and create a more unique online presence for your firm. Let me explain. . .

The first pattern is the ongoing shift to consuming content on mobile devices – by which I mean phones and tablets (and by all that . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Requiring Diversity in Law Society Structures

The Law Society of Upper Canada Bencher Elections are currently underway, with voting concluding on April 30, 2015.

As with elections in society generally, bencher elections matter, and help determine the course and future of the legal profession. But lawyers, who fully understand the relationship between representatives and policies undertaken, have a lower voter turnout than the general public.

In 2014, the provincial elections in Ontario enjoyed a 52.1 per cent turnout, an increase following five successive drops in turnout and even a record low. Similarly, in the 2011 LSUC Bencher Election, voter turnout increased and reversed a long-term . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Summaries Sunday: SOQUIJ

Every week we present the summary of a decision handed down by a Québec court provided to us by SOQUIJ and considered to be of interest to our readers throughout Canada. SOQUIJ is attached to the Québec Department of Justice and collects, analyzes, enriches, and disseminates legal information in Québec.

FAMILLE : Un parent ne peut s’être libéré de son obligation alimentaire de base en payant des frais qui pourraient être considérés comme des frais particuliers ou encore des dépenses discrétionnaires.

Intitulé : Droit de la famille — 15564, 2015 QCCA 526
Juridiction : Cour d’appel (C.A.), Montréal, 500-09-024536-146
Décision . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Summaries Sunday: Supreme Advocacy

On one Sunday each month we bring you a summary from Supreme Advocacy LLP of recent decisions at the Supreme Court of Canada. Supreme Advocacy LLP offers a weekly electronic newsletter, Supreme Advocacy Letter, to which you may subscribe.

Summary of all appeals and leaves to appeal granted (so you know what the S.C.C. will soon be dealing with) ( Mar. 11 – Apr. 8, 2015 inclusive).


Charter: Freedom of Religion
Loyola High School v. Quebec (Attorney General), 2015 SCC 12 (35201)
The Québec Ethics & Religious Culture Program is an unreasonable interference with values underlying . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Summaries Sunday: Maritime Law Book

Summaries of selected recent cases are provided each week to Slaw by Maritime Law Book. Every Sunday we present a precis of the latest summaries, a fuller version of which can be found on MLB-Slaw Selected Case Summaries at

This week’s summaries concern:
Criminal Law – Torts – Damages – Master and Servant – Civil Rights

Samaroo v. Canada Revenue Agency et al. 2015 BCCA 116
Criminal Law – Torts
Summary: The plaintiffs brought a civil claim for malicious prosecution after they were acquitted of all tax charges on a 21-count information. The defendants resisted disclosure of . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Family Justice 3.7: Concluding Remarks

I have, to the relief of many, exhausted my ability to devise alternate means of dealing with family justice issues. I could write more explicitly about therapeutic justice, I suppose, or perhaps provide a sketch of what a triaged entry to the justice system might look like, but these ideas have been talked and written about extensively. I doubt I have anything useful to add.

As I worked through these different models of doing family justice – and realized that I was reaching the end of my creative rope – it struck me that the first cause of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues