Canada’s online legal magazine.

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 research and writing, practice, and technology.

Research & Writing

Don’t Forget the Interpretation Act
Susannah Tredwell

Although most acts have a definitions section, usually at the beginning of the act, it is logistically impossible for an act to define all the words and terms it uses. If you are trying to find the meaning of a term that isn’t defined in an act, check that jurisdiction’s Interpretation Act. …

Practice

So Long, From David . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

“Success Doesn’t Just Happen. It’s Planned For.”

According to a recent video post by BTI’s Mad Clientist, Big Law is winning new work and new clients, due in part to the adoption of an aggressive mindset and the strategic allocation its business development and marketing resources. Having worked in Big Law for the last six years, this was one of two recent posts that validates my experience in Big Law amid a lot of noise about its decline (the other was a great article by Josh Kubicki of Seyfarth Shaw LLP, which appeared in the OBA’s JUST ‘Debatable’ column in June). Both articles underscore the importance . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

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 seventy 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. Law & Style  2. À bon droit  3. Double Aspect  4. David Whelan  5. ABlawg

Law & Style
Meet the lawyer who became a reality-TV star

When Veronica Cham saw her family, she let out a childlike shriek of excitement — and it was all caught on camera and . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Do Not Fear Robot Lawyers—Fear Robot Clients

Tech is famous for its shorter and shorter hype cycles. Robot lawyers were all over the twitters only a few months ago and now people actually yell at you for even mentioning the thing. Of course, robot lawyers should not even have surfaced in the first place because no one is remotely close to building them. Lawyers should not fear for their livelihoods.

But there is something that is much more important than robot lawyers. It’s robot clients. Or at least the proliferation of machines, automated transactions, and standardized processes where lawyers once controlled the terrain.

Let’s start with an . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The Big Data Problem for AI in Law

Artificial intelligence is a big deal. It will change our society, and the way we do things. Just maybe not immediately, and in law it might be even longer.

The function of artificial intelligence is directly connected to the concept of big data. The superior functioning of artificial intelligence over current processes is based in part on the superior ability of computing large amounts of information, data sets that are so large and so complex that the traditional means of processing this information simply isn’t adequate enough when compared to techniques like predictive analytics.

For this reason, much of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology

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.

PÉNAL (DROIT) : L’article 222 (5) c) C.Cr. cible en termes suffisamment clairs la conduite objectivement dangereuse de celui qui, par ses actes (menace, crainte de violence, supercherie), porte un autre être humain à accomplir un geste qui cause sa propre mort; c’est à bon droit que le juge de . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

The Canadian Open Access Publishing Cooperative Revisited

Since joining this “Canadian cooperative weblog,” as Simon Fodden identified SLAW some years ago, in 2008, I have returned to this theme of cooperation in scholarly publishing a number of times (I discovered doing a search of this well-indexed site).

In 2010, for example, I wrote about an idea that Rowly Lorimer, then director of the Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing, had for a Canadian scholarly publishing cooperative. This country’s academic journals would be supported by the libraries and funding councils enabling them to share their content openly and freely, without having to restrict access to subscribers. I . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Typography and Legal Information

You may have noticed that, as of January 2016, the online federal statutes look quite different. According to the announcement, these changes were made to improve the readability of the legislation:

Different styles and sizes of fonts are used to give greater prominence to certain elements and to help direct readers’ eyes more easily through the text. The structure of the legislative text (headings, sections, subsections, paragraphs, etc.) has been made more evident in order to improve readability.

Because headings and sub-headings are larger, they are more noticeable, helping readers to find the information they are looking for, and

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information

Going Back to the Future


It’s orientation week on university campuses across the country. This September marks my first back-to-school since 1991 (yikes!), although this time as a sessional instructor instead of a student. While much has changed in the past twenty-five years, I’m more than a little curious to see what has not.

When I started out as a 1L student at Robson Hall in 1989, my school supplies included a couple of 500-sheet packs of looseleaf, several binders, a clipboard for daily notetaking use and of course, dozens of pens and highlighters in all colours. I loaded it all up in a canvas . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools

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. Valard Construction Ltd v Bird Construction Company, 2016 ABCA 249

[26] The appellant does not dispute the fact that it had the means to legally compel the respondent to provide information about a bond under s 33 of Alberta’s Builders’ Lien Act. Nor does it suggest ignorance of its general rights under a labour and material payment bond, or the need for . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Tribunals Consulting With Stakeholders: The Rewards and Risks

Over the summer news broke about a meeting of National Energy Board (NEB) members and stakeholders in 2015, where the Energy East pipeline was discussed. Initially, the NEB stated that they had met with former Quebec premier, Jean Charest, to seek his political advice. Mr. Charest was a consultant to TransCanada (the pipeline company). An access to information request revealed that the pipeline proposal was included in the discussion and the NEB changed its story, blaming a memory lapse.

A Montreal Gazette editorial had strong words for the NEB: “this oversight will only stoke the suspicion of skeptics who fear . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

What Does Your Car Know About You?

Our cell phones know everything about us. Who we talk to. Who we Google. Who we email. Who we date. Who we text. When we wake up. Where we go. When we go online. What photos we take. And so on.

Now your rental car may know it too. It is a researcher’s/ businessperson’s/ marketer’s best dream. And there is really nothing stopping it. In an episode of the Exchange, Dr. Ann Cavoukian (Executive Director of the Privacy and Big Data Institute at Ryerson University) speaks out about this latest danger of rental cars stealing personal data when drivers link . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology