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Ethics, Competence, Law Students & Lawyers

Any day is a good day to think about matters of ethics; this being Saturday, it’s as good a day as any. In no particular order of demerit, I’ll list some of the issues I’ve seen over the past month. Much of this is, of course, the eternal ends and means discussion.

1. Lawyers too lazy, or too incompetent, or not aware, or who simply don’t care, about their obligations to give the judge the current law and not knowingly give judges law that is out of date;

2. Lawyers too willing to make arguments that ought not to be . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

White House Executive Order

Tough for a Friday, perhaps, but if you have a moment over the weekend when you feel you just need to tussle with a patch of legal prose, take a look at the recent executive order issued Tuesday from the White House, “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq.”

I’ve cut to the chase by choosing what I think is one of the more worrisome paths through the order (always a risky business, so read the original if you’re at all curious):

S.1 (a)
…all …interests in property of the following persons, that are

. . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Friday Fillip – the Simpsons and Legal Research

As many SLAW readers likely know, Fox’s “ The Simpsons” includes a number of great legal references, primarily through the character called Lionel Hutz, a.k.a Miguel Sánchez, as the “law talking guy” (voiced by the late Phil Hartman). One of Lionel Hutz’s scenes even has him talking about legal research. In the episode “Flaming Moe” (where Homer accuses Moe of stealing his cocktail recipe), Homer and Marge consult Lionel Hutz for legal advice:

Marge: So, Mr. Hutz, does my husband have a case?

Hutz: I’m sorry, Mrs. Simpson, but you can’t copyright a drink.

Homer: [whines]

. . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Canadian Newspaper Viewer

Stephen Taylor of “Blogging Tories” has just released the Newspaper Viewer, a nifty website that lets you look at the front page of a lot of Canadian newspapers from the last couple of years. Designed in Flash and looking very like the iTunes jukebox albumn cover view, it presents you with an image that is somewhat legible. However, if you want to read the page, double-clicking on it will bring up a PDF version.

This has some potential to be a useful research tool, at least so far as major, i.e. front page, stories are concerned, and . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Spock

Just read an article on Law.com about this interesting new search engine that focuses on retrieving people information. According to the article, Spock searches sites like MySpace, LinkedIn, Flickr and more for information and then compiles bios of people. Similar to Wikipedia, it works by allowing members to contribute information about themselves or others. Its currently in an invitation-only beta test mode, but it plans to launch in a month with a database of about 100 million people. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Return to Sender

I’ve been reading case law recently. I don’t know what’s the matter with me; the phase will pass. I mean, it is not anyone’s idea of appropriate summer reading. But while I’m in this mood…

A couple of years ago or more the United States Postal Service caused our Registrar of of Trade‑marks to give public notice of the their adoption and use of 13 official marks, pursuant to s.9 (1) (n) (iii) of the Trade‑marks Act, to wit: “United States Postal Service”, “Express Mail”, First‑class Mail”, “Standard A Mail”, “Standard B Mail, “Parcel Select”, Priority Mail”, “Global Priority . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Fly in the Ointment Water

The case of Mustapha v. Culligan of Canada Ltd. (2006 CanLII 41807 (ON C.A.)) is an interesting one. Unlike the ginger beer bottle, where there apparently was no snail at all, this bottle of water did in fact sport a fly. The plaintiff had been purchasing water from the defendant company for sixteen years. The discovery of the fly upset Mr. Mustapha so considerably that he became seriously depressed; he sued for and won some $300,000 in damages for, among other things, his nervous shock. The Court of Appeal overturned the trial judgement, finding that there was no liability . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Bertha Wilson and the Creation of the Discipline of Legal Research

I hope that my friend Maurice Coombs will forgive me reproducing a tribute to the late Justice Bertha Wilson, which has some interesting insights into how Osler established the first legal research practice area in Canada – and I would suspect the world. It comes from the OBA’s Briefly Speaking but deserves a wider readership.

With the death of Bertha Wilson we have lost a superb lawyer, a wonderful woman, and a great Canadian.

I first met her in the fall of 1971 when I interviewed with her for the position of associate lawyer in the research practice she had

. . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Welcome Dave

The new law blog from the Pacific west may be new – but the views and contributions of David Bilinsky are well known across the country.

Through:
his pioneering articles in the legal press
his leadership of the Pacific Legal Technology Conference
his book on Amicus Attorney in One Hour for Lawyers
his editorial leadership of Law Practice Magazine
his work as Practice Management Advisor to the Law Society of British Columbia
and
his marathons and jogs up the Grouse Grind.

Welcome Dave

. . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Lawyer Dissatisfaction

As ever, Rob Hyndman points us to the important stuff, in this case a piece in the Times Online on why lawyers are miserable. Sathnam Sanghera takes a look at U.K. and U.S. evidence and then gives us 6 beautifully written reasons for practitioner chagrin — “Up to 40 per cent of US lawyers want to leave their profession” — reasons such as “the vortex of hatred that envelops them entirely” or “the yawning gap between their intelligence and the mind-numbing nature of their work.”

Nothing here is new, of course, law being the second oldest profession and the most . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous