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Observing the Office Grouch

Monday, November 10th marked the 45th anniversary of ‘Sesame Street’. I grew up watching the show. I’m not so grown up that I didn’t smile when I saw my favourite characters in the news coverage of the milestone event.

Many of the lessons Sesame Street taught us about how to get along with the people in our neighborhood actually still serve us well in the workplace.

Consider Oscar the Grouch, for example. Okay, he’s a Muppet, not a person. But his traits aren’t too different from some of the curmudgeonly colleagues I’ve worked with. When I . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Mobile Legal Research – Notes From the US

Cheryl Niemeier, Director of Knowledge & Research Services at Bose McKinney & Evans LLP, started a series of blog posts on legal research apps last week. The post was titled Part 1 – Legal Research in Your Pocket: Fee-based Services and it made me a little bit jealous.

It also made me a little bit nervous and a little bit worried and a little bit puzzled.

Cheryl’s excellent annotated list of research apps includes content that many Canadian law libraries would license, HeinOnline and CCH Intelliconnect. It also contained a lengthy list of sources that would only apply for . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

LSUC: No Yurts!

The Law Society of Upper Canada is located in beautiful Osgoode Hall on Queen Street in the heart of downtown Toronto. The large, manicured grounds in front are partly surrounded by an ornate iron fence that’s interrupted at a few points by elaborate gates known as “cow gates,” baffle affairs that would indeed keep cows out (or in) and that are enjoyable to wiggle through.

I happened to pass by recently and saw that No Trespassing notices had been posted at these gates. Perhaps they’ve been there for a while and I’ve just never noticed them before. At any rate, . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Citizenship Act Reforms: Unjust and Insecure

In the wake of the attacks in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Ottawa in October, and against the backdrop of the sudden and very terrifying rise of the Islamic State in Syria and northern Iraq this year, there is renewed fear and anxiety about terrorism, at home and abroad.

The Islamic State (varyingly known as IS, ISIS and ISIL) has been responsible for unimaginable acts of cruel violence and widespread human rights abuse against women and girls, followers of other religious sects or faiths, ethnic minorities and western hostages. Amnesty International researchers catalogued the horrors in a number of grim reports in recent . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

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
Dan Pinnington
Two Simple Rules for Avoiding the Dangers of Email Attachments*

While email attachments are frequently used to share documents between lawyers, law firm staff, and clients, they are also one of the most common delivery mechanisms for malware. While most messages that have infected attachments will be stopped if your anti-malware software and/or spam filter are working properly and updated, some will make it through. …

Research . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Ogletree Deakins Wins Intranet Innovations 2014 Award

Last week at the KMWorld 2014 conference in Washington, DC, Step Two Designs out of Australia once again handed out their annual international Intranet Innovations Awards. This year Ogletree Deakins, an international labour and employment law firm based in the U.S., is winner of the Gold Award for Intranet Rework:

ODConnect, Ogletree Deakins’ intranet, was specifically acclaimed for its client-matter sites and search capability, which judges said provided “a rich set of intranet improvements to support lawyers in their everyday work” and demonstrated “an intranet developed with clear priorities and strong business alignment.” The judges also highlighted “really

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Technology, Technology: Office Technology

8 Legal Tech CEOs Talk About Their Work

Last month CodeX hosted a “video demo event” called EVOLVE LAW. CEOs from eBrevia, Casetext, Traklight, LawGives, Ravel Law, Wizdocs, Hire an Esquire and ClearAccess IP were invited to talk about the “nuts and bolts of starting a legal tech business, funding experience, marketing and sales strategies and brief video demos of their products.” The session is almost two hours long so I thought I’d break it down and give you a chance to jump into the video where it might interest you most. However, if you have the time . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

What Keeps Family Law Lawyers Up at Night? Self-Represented Parties

Like many areas of practice, family law is going through a period of change. Both clients and their lawyers are questioning traditional modes of practice. Economic woes both cause legal problems, and leave clients with limited resources with which to resolve them. Stress – for both families in crisis and for their lawyers – is a constant reality. Still, within this challenging climate, family lawyers are expected to work diligently and professionally in the service of their clients’ interests.

To understand how the bar is coping with the demands of modern family law practice, LAWPRO invited a sampling of lawyers . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

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. Legal Feeds  2. The Ontario Condo Law Blog  3. Excess Copyright  4. Western Canadian Business Litigation Blog  5. Combat Sports Law

Legal Feeds
Native cultural preservation used to justify mixed-marriage ban, evictions

The collective right to cultural preservation cannot be presented as justification for depriving individuals of their basic . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Excessive Executive Compensation

A friend of mine is concerned that the existence today of excessive executive compensation is leading to the accumulation of disproportionate wealth and economic and political power in the hands of a few.

No one doubts that individuals try to better their condition.

Business leaders such as Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger of Berkshire Hathaway are critical of excessive executive compensation.

Munger states that Berkshire Hathaway, a large holding company, owns many companies with boards of directors. Munger says that Berkshire Hathaway does not pay directors fees to non-executive board members of its subsidiaries. Munger said that if you start . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Ontario May Review Municipal Conflict of Interest Act

Ontario’s Municipal Conflict of Interest Act (MCIA) has played a central role in some of the legal disputes around some of our mayors.

The 2013 appeal of the conflict of interest case for Rob Ford illustrated some of the shortcomings of the MCIA. Prior to that, Justice Cunningham made recommendations over the MCIA in context of a judicial inquiry into Mississauga’s Hazel McCallion.

The Toronto Star reported this week that some much needed changes may be coming to the Act,

The ministry is reviewing the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, and is considering Justice Cunningham’s recommendations as well as stakeholder

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

How Law Libraries Can Help Self-Represented Litigants

This is a follow-up to a September 18, 2014 post on Slaw.ca entitled American Association of Law Libraries Report on Access to Justice that referred to a white paper about what U.S. law libraries are doing to assist self-represented litigants (SRLs).

The blog of the National Self-Represented Litigants Project funded by the University of Windsor Faculty of Law has a recent guest post on the role that Canadian law libraries can play to help SRLs.

It is written by Annette Demers, Acting Law Librarian, University of Windsor, Melanie Hodges Neufeld, Director of Legal Resources, Law Society of Saskatchewan, and . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Legal Information: Libraries & Research