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Facebook and the Bench

Hidden by the furore over Facebook’s privacy policy changes this week, an interesting little story about Facebook relationships between judges and lawyers popped up this week.

Florida’s Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee came out with a guideline on whether judges can “friend” lawyers who are appearing in cases before them. According to the Committee, it isn’t permissible since it creates the impression that the “friended” lawyer is in a position to influence the judge.

Of course, most people’s facebook friend list is comprised mostly of people who you’ve barely spoken with recently, never mind having any influence over. Luckily, judges can . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Colvin’s Response Letter Available Here

Richard Colvin, the Canadian diplomat who has testified before a Parliamentary committee concerning his warnings to the government about the torture of Afghan detainees captured by the Canadian military and turned over to Afghan authorities, has released a sixteen-page letter in which he addresses the claims of the government concerning his testimony.

The document is available for downloading here. The publicly available document is hosted on Scribd and is marked with a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution.

You can also read it online at the Globe and Mail website, where an article outlines the letter’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Marketing in the Olympic Wake

Is it rogue or is it ambush marketing? With hockey helmet toques, a front tooth blackout marker, Canada-emblazoned hoodies, and Eh? t-shirts, it calls out to the inner hoser in all of us. The latest news is that manifesto-driven, zen-making sportswear company Lululemon Athletica is getting cheeky in the pre-Olympic season. Lululemon launched a special edition clothing line this week: the “Cool Sporting Event That Takes Place in British Columbia Between 2009 & 2011 Edition.” The Hudson’s Bay Company is the official clothing sponsor of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. This is one way to get the attention of Olympic . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

The Domino Effect

There is still some sensitivity around legal process outsourcing (LPO); however as time passes, we are seeing a growing number of law firms and corporate law departments embracing LPO. Simmons & Simmons is the latest law firm to outsource some of its legal work.

Based on published sources, the list of corporations and law firms offshoring legal work and the type of work they are outsourcing includes:

Accenture – support, contracts
American Express
Andrew Corp
Cadence Design Systems – document review
Dell – procurement and sales contracts
DuPont – document review
General Electric – contracts
General Mills – patent . . . [more]

Posted in: Outsourcing

Lucasfilm Loses to Stormtrooper in U.K.

The Court of Appeal for England and Wales has ruled against Lucasfilm in its breach of copyright suit against Andrew Ainsworth, the British designer who produced the Stormtrooper costume for the Star Wars films. (Lucasfilm Limited et al. v. Andrew Ainsworth [2009] EWCA Civ 1328)

Ainsworth had been selling a few Stormtrooper helmets both in the U.S. and in Britain. Lucasfilm claimed that the models for the helmet were copyright works as “sculptures” within the meaning of s.4 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. After a long review of the legislative history and the caselaw, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Answers to Ontario Lawyers’ Questions About LAWPRO’s New Enhanced Fraud Coverage

[A post for Ontario lawyers only.]

We have received various questions and comments on the enhanced coverage for counterfeit certified cheques and bank drafts that we are providing under the 2010 LAWPRO insurance program and policy. To respond to those questions and comments, we’ve prepared an extensive list of FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) that help explain this new enhanced coverage>, and also to provide some tips and guidance on how to make the coverage requirements work in your law practice.

These FAQs should help answer your questions as some recent media coverage about this new enhanced fraud coverage was not . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

But Was Her Majesty Alarmed?

From today’s news of import (:-P)

Noisy British lover admits anti-social sex

LONDON (AFP) – A British woman admitted Tuesday breaching an anti-social behaviour order by having noisy sex.

Caroline Cartwright was served with a civil order over marathon romps with husband Steve, described in court as “unnatural” and “like they are both in considerable pain.”

And on Tuesday Cartwright pleaded guilty at Newcastle Crown Court to violating the order three times in April.

We must not, of course, conclude from this that the Caroline and Steve had sex only 3 times in April.

For those who must know, . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Cornell University’s Digitized Law Books

Thanks to a tweet by @richards1000 I was reminded about Cornell University Library’s digitization project, which has resulted in over 2000 law books’ becoming freely available online at the Internet Archive. Slawyer Michael Lines spent some time at Cornell in 2008 and reported on the digitization project then current. As with most texts in the Internet Archive, you are able to read these materials online in an interactive version of the actual books, see or download them in plain text or PDF, or obtain them in, among others, a format suitable for Kindle or EPUB.

I’ve done a fairly . . . [more]

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

Another Reason to Back Up Your Laptop

Or perhaps, as I mentioned in a recent article, don’t have anything important on it when crossing borders. And take only an old laptop that you can afford to lose.

This incident has been mentioned in a few places. To paraphrase from a Wired post:

US citizen Lily Sussman took a vacation in Israel.

After pulling her aside for questioning, she was left alone. An announcement was made that Israeli security needed to blow up suspicious passenger luggage. They then put three bullets through her computer. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Update: Custom Google Search of Canadian Law Firms

I have made the following enhancements to my Custom Google Search of Canadian Law Firms available at

– Renamed the site to “Search Canadian Law Firm Websites, Blogs & Journals”

– added 28 more law firms to include boutiques and regional (smaller) firms for a total of 79 Canadian law firms (and I broadened URLs to include subdomains of law firms [e.g., instead of*]).

– added 205 Canadian law-related blogs

– added 20 Canadian law journal websites, the BC Courthouse Library and the CBA and CBAO

– added refinement tags to refine search results to publications . . . [more]

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

Playing With Linux and a USB Internet Stick

Simon Fodden recently quipped that Apple was becoming so mainstream that he might have to switch to Linux to keep his “smug sense of computer specialness.” This reminded me that, a little more than a year ago, I posted a little note here indicating that I was thinking about getting a Linux netbook and an internet stick. I eventually did just that, and thought I would offer some reflections on my experience so far.

The bad news is that most people using Linux (at least those without IT support) are going to feel “special” at least some of the time, . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Technology

U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Review Right to Read Employee’s Messages

Yesterday the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in the case of Ontario, CA, et al. v. Quon, Jeff, et al.. (No, not that Ontario; no, not that CA.) Quon is a police officer who sent hundreds of personal text messages to his girlfriend and others on a device provided by Quon’s employer, which had an informal policy that it wouldn’t inquire into an employee’s use of the device if he or she paid for the cost of extra usage. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals [PDF] ruled that the town’s review of Quon’s messages was an . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology