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The Security of Judicial Information

On electronic discovery issues we tend to focus on the early stages – identification and preservation. But what happens at the end of the process? After all, the purpose of electronic discovery is to help the parties settle their case and ultimately prepare for trial. When cases do get to that stage, and the parties have gathered, reviewed and produced their “ESI”, can they be sure that the court will handle the evidence in a way that keeps it secure?

Because not all governments and court administrators have developed appropriate systems for e-trials, some judges have taken it upon themselves . . . [more]

Posted in: e-Discovery

Kudos to Burnet, Duckworth: Put the Boots to Hunger

As Calgarians head into the Stampede, today’s Globe and Mail notes that the partners at Burnet, Duckworth & Palmer have decided to make a donation to their local food bank rather than hold their annual Stampede party. Here’s the relevant bit:

Burnet, Duckworth & Palmer LLP decided to forgo its usual glitzy party with more than 2,000 guests after it learned that the Calgary Inter-Faith Food Bank had recently seen a 50-per-cent jump in demand, but a decrease in donations and volunteers.

“The partners got together and decided, you know, it may be more appropriate this year instead of putting

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management

More Federal Expenditures From Public Accounts Volume III

Since Steve pointed the way, Slaw readers might well be interested to see from the Public Accounts volume III that Justice Canada appears to be a Lexis shop rather than a Westlaw-ECarswell.

Page 71 of the Accounts provide details of where “Canada’s largest law firm” – as Justice Canada is often described – spends its legal information dollars:

Lexisnexis Canada Inc Kingston Ont $1,146,011
Quicklaw Inc Kingston Ont $200,484
Carswell Toronto Ont $409,583

The DPP expenditures are similarly skewed.

Lexisnexis Canada Inc Kingston Ont 324,940
Quicklaw Inc Kingston Ont 102,476

Of course the really large cheques are cut elsewhere: CGI . . . [more]

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

DOJ Spends Over 24M in 2008

Thanks to a couple of well placed FOI requests & investigative journalism by Robert Todd over at the Law Times, we now know that the DOJ spent over 24 million on outside counsel in 2008.

Below is a graphic clipped from the story showing those top-10 firms:

A couple of observations here. First, even if we acknowledge that this is only a list of the top-10, it’s hard not to notice a non-Canadian firm is was way out in front with 35% of the work delivered. And second, it seems odd that both Quebec and East Coast firms are . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

The Friday Fillip

The Beeb, home to much that is creative, has done it again. They’re hosting a site called Memoryshare, the title to which pretty much tells it all. The simple notion is that viewers log in to leave their memories of a time gone by, whether a day or decades in the past. Each nostalgic note is represented as a coloured blob in a time spiral that goes back to 1900. Hovering over a blog causes an excerpt to pop up so you can judge whether this is a memory you want to visit.

Now there’s not much in this . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Mobile Lawyer

We’ve talked about virtual law offices before here on Slaw. Well here’s a fellow who has an office but perhaps doesn’t use it much:

click to see full image

No, he’s not in Alabama. He’s a lawyer in Ottawa who’s decided to make house calls — for those who can’t afford house counsel. Kind of the opposite of a virtual law office… . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Court Room Furniture

Courts hold sittings — which demand chairs, for everyone except witnesses at least. Yet it’s surprising (okay: only mildly) how little attention gets paid to courtroom furniture, as if bums would be happy in any old seats. But if I were in London (England) right now, I’d be able to see how a couple of the world’s great architects tackled the problem.

First, however, a bit of background. After partition in India, half of Punjab went to Pakistan and the capital, Lahore, along with it. So the state and federal governments decided to construct a new, modern capital in Chandigarh, . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Updates on KM in Law Firms

Two recent interesting articles on knowledge management in law firms you might find useful:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology

And How Does That Make You FEEL?

Synesketch feels your pain, and expresses it as an abstract drawing. Just feed it some text to start it off.

Synesketch is a result of a research that spreads out through several diverse fields – from natural language processing techniques based on WordNet, across Ekman’s research of emotions, to color psychology, visual design, data visualizations, and affective computing.

Produced in Belgrade, by Uroš Krčadinac and others, the potential applications are interesting.

The author also suggests it could be useful for a chat program, but that strikes me as pretty abitious, considering that it is the lack of context that can . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Michigan Supreme Court Bans Jury Tweets

Hat tip to the National Law Journal for this news:

The Michigan Supreme Court has laid the hammer down on gadget-happy jurors in banning all electronic communications by jurors during trial, including tweets on Twitter, text messages and Google searches. The ruling, which takes effect Sept. 1, will require Michigan judges for the first time to instruct jurors not to use any handheld device, such as iPhones or Blackberrys, while in the jury box or during deliberations

Read more at the Michigan Courts website

July is Juror Appreciation Month. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Remember the Basics – Check the Facts

In this world of super fast document retrieval it is sometimes important to remember the basics. I was just asked for a decision where the style of cause and the citation both contained errors. The “help I can’t find this case” is usually one of my favourite problems. This Thursday after a mid-week Canada Day off is a lot like a Monday.

The citation that was given to me was a 1983 case from the O.L.R.s – obviously that was incorrect as the Cardiff Index to Legal Abbreviationreports that the Ontario Law Reports was published between 1901-1931 only. Rather . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

More on Legal Sofware as a Service (SaaS)

Steve Matthews has mentioned his client CLIO and their blogging about SaaS here on Slaw previously. I expect he doesn’t want to inundate us with client talk, but some of their recent blogging begs to be mentioned. They have just completed a 10-part blog series “10 Things Every Lawyer Should Know About Legal Saas” as follows:

Part 1: What is Software-as-a-Service? A discussion of what exactly Software-as-a-Service is, and how it compares to the more traditional desktop computing model.

Part 2: Why (Or Why Not) Choose a SaaS Solution? Why SaaS offers compelling advantages over traditional desktop software

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology