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The Friday Fillip: Sweet Dreams

Few things are as boring as someone else’s dream.

If you don’t believe me, I invite you to sample some dreams recorded as part of a research project and accessible at the DreamBank. Here’s a dream chosen at random:

A group of friends and I are standing in a long line of people waiting to enter a patriotic shrine or public monument. The group is in a rowdy mood and there is much joking and kidding. As we walk single file through an underground hallway at the entrance we notice that there are signs hanging on the walls spelling

. . . [more]
Posted in: The Friday Fillip

Five New Documents Released by the OBA Working Group on Lawyers and Real Estate

The Working Group on Lawyers and Real Estate is tasked with focusing on issues facing the real estate lawyer and creates tools for lawyers to become more efficient and better serve their clients. One of its latest projects is to create a set of province-wide precedent materials which lawyers can use and adapt for their residential condominium practice, which sufficiently informs the clients, sets out the parties’ duties and obligations and manages the risk inherent in the condominium transaction. For further information on the Working Group or any of its initiatives, visit www.lawyersworkinggroup.com.

The Condominium Documents Subcommittee has released . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Facebook ‘likes’ as Protected Speech (More)

You will probably recall the litigation in the US a couple of years back about whether someone’s ‘like’ on a Facebook page was constitutionally protected ‘speech’.

An employee of a municipal sheriff had Liked the page of a candidate running against the incumbent sheriff. When the incumbent was re-elected, he fired the employee. The court of first instance held that the Like was not political expression and not protected against retaliation. On appeal, that decision was reversed – the Like was political speech – but the firing was upheld for other reasons.

The US National Labour Relations Board has recently . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Worker Could Sue Executive Officer for Massage, but Not Employer

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal recently decided that an employee was not allowed to sue her employer in court because the workers’ compensation regime prevented it. However, the employee was allowed to sue the executive officer of the employer who allegedly assaulted her because he was not acting in an employment-related capacity regarding the conduct that was subject to the civil action.
Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Project Charters and the Five-Tools Project Manager

In the last article I described the idea behind becoming a very highly valued five-tools project manager. This time, let’s look at the first tool, the project charter.

Charter Basics

To start, recognize that all projects have a charter.

I’m not suggesting all projects have a written or even a conscious charter, however. Too many project teams fail to formulate a charter intentionally but rather drift – or blunder – into various facts they’ll later wish they’d known at the start.

Because when projects go south, they usually do so from the very beginning. The team doesn’t realize it, of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

E-Filing Comes to Ontario (Gradually)

The Ministry of the Attorney General has announced an electronic filing system for the Ontario Small Claims Court. For the moment, the system is active in only a few court locations, but the Ministry intends to have it working province-wide by early 2015. In addition, the system works for statements of claim and notices of default, but not for statements of defence or settlement conference documents.

A fuller description is here.

What do you think? Does this look like a workable operation, as far as it goes? Is it the basis for a complete e-filing system (i.e. including defence . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Hackers Fast to Take Advantage of Fears Created by Celebrity Nude Photo Leak

This morning I got the following email, purportedly from Apple Support, telling me to take steps to update my Apple ID information (click ‘more’ to expand this post and see the screenshot):

It is a text book example of a phishing scam – the very type of scam that was likely used for tricking some of the celebrities caught in the nude photo leak into disclosing their personal account login information to hackers. (see this Verge article for a detailed timeline and explanation on how the celebrity nude photo leak likely happened.)

Wow – that didn’t take long. Here the . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Smartwatch Week

The IFA – the European equivalent of the Las Vegas Consumer Electronic Show – starts Friday – although manufacturers have already started pre-show press conferences. A wide range of consumer electronics and appliances will be on display. The tech press will have extensive coverage, including CNET and engadget.

Smartwatches will be prominent. With Google’s recent launch of its Android Wear smartwatch operating system, several new smart watches are being announced. Some are updates of existing models, and some are new. Examples include the Asus ZenWatch and the Sony SmartWatch 3. Not to be outdone, Apple is expected to . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Doing Nothing Is Not an Option

It has been estimated that a staggering 1.4 million Canadians will have Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias by 2031. Lawyers of course are not immune to the effects of aging. Whether presented with Alzheimer’s, mild cognitive impairment or dementia, law firm managers need to be alert to the changes that may occur as firm members age.

Diminishing cognitive ability is something that comes naturally with aging. Normal age-related cognitive decline means that each of us will, over time:

  • Rely more on prior knowledge in decision making and less on analytical thinking;
  • Learn more slowly and need more repetition to acquire
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Moral Relativism and the Gaza Crisis: Whither Canada’s Voice for Human Rights?

This summer’s conflict in Gaza and southern Israel was wrenching. Day after day it did not let up. Rockets launched from Gaza. Relentless aerial bombardment by Israeli forces in Gaza. More rockets from Gaza. Missiles and ground assaults by Israeli forces. All of that in a wider context of serious and longstanding human rights violations, including the collective punishment of the Gaza blockade; and very legitimate security concerns. Against this loud and angry backdrop the toll on civilians, overwhelmingly Palestinian civilians, was heartbreaking. In a corner of the world that has been enmeshed in decades of repression, terrorism, reprisal, defence . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

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. Hryniak v. Mauldin, 2014 SCC 7

[1] Ensuring access to justice is the greatest challenge to the rule of law in Canada today. Trials have become increasingly expensive and protracted. Most Canadians cannot afford to sue when they are wronged or defend themselves when they are sued, and cannot afford to go to trial. Without an effective and accessible means of . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Back to (Business) School

Ah, September. The leaves are falling, the air is crisp and most of us feel motivated to learn something new.

Stanford University offers several online learning options for lawyers and legal professionals* interested in sharpening their business skills, especially in the areas of entrepreneurialism and innovation. The videos and podcasts in their Entrepreneurship Corner are professionally produced, available for view at any time and presented by top faculty from several departments. I’ve especially enjoyed the interviews with Silicon Valley entrepreneurs such as Mitch Kapor who talk about lessons learned, developing “people skills” and learning to be comfortable with business risk. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Practice of Law: Practice Management