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The Replicability of Research’s Irrational Publishing Economy

After a year of sabbatical concentration and isolation spent working on a pre-history of intellectual property, it’s good to be back blogging on the here and now at Slaw. The book I finished (with a draft online) still needs work in its tracing of the intellectual properties of learning from Saint Jerome to John Locke. I’ll give it a blog or two later, point, but I’m keen to get back to what currently tickles and troubles learned publishing.

Certainly, the previous academic year has seen gains, if not tipping points, in favor of open access as the model and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Part-Time Lawyer, Full-Time Juggler

Later this week, I’ll be talking with articling students in the Law Society of Manitoba’s CPLED program as part of their practice management curriculum. My assigned topic is stress management, and includes the sub-topic of work/life balance.

I’m certainly no expert on work/life balance though I do write about it from time to time and practice it daily. In fact, I struggle constantly with keeping some sort of balance to my own life. As a part-time freelance lawyer, frequent volunteer and full-time mother, I know what it is to juggle conflicting priorities, responsibilities and obligations while trying to do it . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

The Unconscious Barrier to Equality

Before reading: (1) think of four colleagues (some male and some female), and (2) consider the first adjective that pops into your mind to describe each of those colleagues. Now continue reading.

….

I am a feminist. I know, I just heard a collective internal groan from the internet. But, like most feminists (and most people), I’m not a bra-burning, Thai fisherman pant-wearing, men-hating, razor-neglecting aggressor. Rather, I hold the simple belief that women and men should be treated equally. (And I am happy to report that I am part of a significant majority in Western society.) Unfortunately, I . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Wednesday: What’s Hot on CanLII

Each Wednesday we tell you which three English-language cases and which French-language case have been the most viewed* on CanLII and we give you a small sense of what the cases are about.

For this last week:

1. Bhasin v. Hrynew, 2014 SCC 71

[1] The key issues on this appeal come down to two, straightforward questions: Does Canadian common law impose a duty on parties to perform their contractual obligations honestly? And, if so, did either of the respondents breach that duty? I would answer both questions in the affirmative. Finding that there is a duty to perform . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Big Data, Small Data

Sole practitioners often struggle to find and interpret meaningful practice data that points business-building efforts in the right direction.

New practice management software with great reporting features helps many lawyers find personalized information in an instant. But old habits – such as not bothering to look at the data on a regular basis or do anything about it – can be difficult to overcome.

Obviously, it’s necessary to be aware of your financial performance. Regular conversations with your accountant highlight cash flow, operating costs and, hopefully, profitability.

But there’s more to it.

I have a client who asks herself a . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Frequently Asked Questions (And Answers) on BC Lawyers’ Use of Cloud Computing

It’s coming down, it’s coming down, it’s coming down
These clouds could never hope to save us…

Lyrics, music and recorded by Thrice.

On Nov. 17, 2014 Jack Newton posted on Slaw: “Did the LSBC Just Kill Cloud Computing for Lawyers in BC?

To set the record straight, the death of cloud computing for BC lawyers has been greatly exaggerated. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Cloud computing for BC lawyers is alive and well. What the Benchers have recently done is adopt rule changes based on the report and recommendations of the Cloud . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

The Tone of Legislation

I am horribly embarrassed for my neighbours (in the broad sense) in the federal Yellowhead riding. CBC News reported:

Voter turnout in the federal by-election could near a historic low, with CBC estimating that fewer than one in five eligible voters making the trip to the polls.

A sad tone for democracy when less than one in five people feels engaged enough to vote in a federal by-election. This phenomenon isn’t new; the June 30, 2014 by-election for Macleod saw ~18% voter turnout. On the plus side, there were no lines at the polling station.

The tone for Provincial politics . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

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.

Technology

Passphrases Can Help You Remember Complex Passwords*
Dan Pinnington

Creating a long, unique, complex (letters in upper and lower case, numbers and symbols) and random password for every service you use is the best practice standard when it comes to using secure and strong passwords. If you follow this advice however, your passwords will be an unreadable mix of letters, numbers and characters….

Research

Fast, Convenient and Mobile
Shaunna . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Trinity Western… Again

I can’t stop thinking about the law society decisions on Trinity Western University (TWU). Part of the reason for that is the complexity and difficulty of the substantive issue raised by TWU’s proposed law school: the proper resolution of an irreducible conflict between equality rights and freedom of religion (I discuss that here). But as I spent the last few weeks teaching administrative law procedural fairness, I realized that the other thing bothering me about the law society decisions is the process used to reach them.

As far as I can tell, each law society that has independently considered . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Judge Does Not Mince Words When Counsel Fail to Follow Simple Instructions

In a very brief decision, Justice Lemon of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice cut right to the point when he asked for cost submissions of no more than three pages and ended up with much more from both sides.

Justice Lemon stated that neither costs

“submission is of assistance to me. When I ask for no more than three pages, I expect to get no more than three pages. When I ask for costs submissions, I expect to get a Bill of Costs in readable form. I do not expect to get a badly copied, small print version . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Of Cloud Computing and Concrete Parachutes

The British Columbia branch of the Canadian Bar Association’s annual conference is an excellent way to earn CPD while connecting with friends in the BC legal profession. Attendees enjoy a well hosted slate of speakers, great company, and time away from the usual hustle, plus it’s usually held somewhere much warmer than BC. Normally this temperature difference is climate-related—although this year in Phoenix, during the final seconds of Jack Newton’s session on cloud computing, the mercury in the room rose a little higher than even the Valley of the Sun could take credit for.

Jack, a fellow SLAW contributor and . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Should the Rules of Professional Conduct Require Competence in Technology?

The recent revisions to Ontario’s Rules of Professional Conduct do not contain the words ‘computer’, ‘information technology’, or ‘electronic’, except in the latter case for a reference to the electronic registration of real estate transfers.

Is this a desirable demonstration of technology neutrality or a missed opportunity to give useful direction to the profession on an increasingly important aspect of the practice of law?

Monica Goyal, who makes her living in the law-and-technology world, suggests in her recent column for the Law Times that the rules should give some guidance.

Do you agree?

If not, have you read the long . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology: Office Technology, ulc_ecomm_list