Canada’s online legal magazine.

From Galaxy (1954)

We discovered an early description of a computerized online retrieval system in the short story “How-2” by science fiction writer Clifford D. Simak. The story was published in Galaxy November, 1954.

One morning, a lawyer discovers a box with a do-it-yourself kit inside. Following the instructions for use, he builds a robot – one whose design happens to be misdelivered from the future. The lawyer is to appear in court. But his friendly robot spends the night before the trial building a new robot – a lawyer-robot.

‘”(A lawyer robot) with a far greater memory capacity than any

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Miscellaneous, Technology

Copyright Reform Survey – What Do You Think?

With the copyright reform hearings and public input now in full gear, I thought it would be interesting to get a feel for where readers are at with this issue. So I created this quick, clearly unscientific poll. Copyright issues are really about balancing the interests of creators, users, and society as a whole, and are far more complex than a short question – but lets see which side of the larger debate readers fall on.

Take the survey

Survey results . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

The Great Library’s Canadian Legislation Online Page

I had earlier asked about efforts to organize the increasing amount of legislation being digitized as a result of various efforts by academic and courthouse law libraries.

While conducting such historical legislative research online I stumbled across the Canadian Legislation Online page at the Great Library and I don’t think SLAW has yet commented on their page.

Kudos to the Great Library. They provide links to a number of the historical material, including:

Revised Statutes of Canada, 1970

– the Canada Gazette (soon to be from 1841 to 1997) (via Library and Archives Canada) (the site works great and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law: Legislation

Humour and Legal Advocacy: Use It… With Care

When, if ever, is it appropriate to use humour in a hearing? And what boundaries should lawyers respect?

This, my first slaw.ca post, has been a great opportunity to read a little, think a little and affirm my belief that humour is an important advocacy tool, though subtlety is the key to its successful use.

My interest in the subject of humour and advocacy began at an Advocate’s Society lunchtime session a few years ago. In debriefing a mock examination, one of our well-respected Superior Court judges took great exception to a flippant remark made by a witness. She turned . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Hugh Lawford 1933-2009

We learned this morning of the death of Professor Hugh Lawford, a legend in Canadian legal information. He will be mourned by many students who studied with him at Queen’s University Law School, and his passing should be noted by every Canadian lawyer, because Hugh and his colleagues revolutionized how law is practiced. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law

The LCO Visits the Uniform Law Conference of Canada

I spent most of the last week moderately involved in a somewhat different model of law reform, the annual meetings of the Uniform Law Conference of Canada, held this year in Ottawa, hosted by Justice Canada. (The website does not include this year’s proceedings, but you can find last year’s reports, resolutions and other documents there.) One of our fellow slawyers, a long term ULCC full participant, was also there as an Ontario delegate. The delegate to the ULCC are mainly senior or middle-level bureaucrats from the provincial, territorial and federal governments, but law commission representatives and others (such . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Administrative Dismissals: Avoid Claims by Taking Them Seriously and Asking for Help

Domenic Bellacicco’s phone is ringing off the hook these days thanks to a great “practice tip” article he wrote for latest issue of LAWPRO Magazine. Domenic is a Claims Counsel in the New Claims Unit at LAWPRO. and his article addresses an area we all too frequently see claims in these days: administrative dismissals.

Read the full Administrative Dismissal: Take It Seriously And Ask For (Our) Help article here.

I spoke with colleagues at two law societies (one in the West and one in the East) who said this was also a big issue (with local variations) in their . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Lawyers Weekly Talks About Online Collaboration

In his regular column for Lawyers Weekly Magazine, freelance technology writer Luigi Benetton has a piece in the Aug. 21, 2009 issue on drafting and editing documents in real-time.

He discusses real-time applications like NetMeeting, and asynchronous platforms like wikis and traditional DMS. He suggests the latter are more appropriate for lawyers who don’t collaborate as smoothly together.

I point out that the efficiencies created by collaboration tools help boost lawyer productivity, which can raise billable hours and improve work/life balance. The amount of time learning new technologies is minimal compared to the returns over time.

Fostering more . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Technology

CNW Group: Social Media for Law Firms

The increasing influence of social media has not just been noticed by traditional print publications.

CNW Group (formerly Canada News Wire) is Canada’s largest source for press releases and media information. They’re also known for their audio and video webcasting abilities, so they’re always on the cutting edge for technological developments.

One of their more exciting projects recently has been the Social Media Release, which allows for text to be augmented by more rich content including hyperlinks, dowloadable images and logos, audio and video.

You know the time has come for law firms to adopt social media when they . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Marketing

Trouble in Dayton?

The English legal / publishing press are taking Reed Elsevier’s current travails to speculate whether the RoI of legal publishers is sustainable.

In previous economic downturns, the London firms have not responded by making cuts to legal information budgets. This time, perhaps with the transformations that have come with with the rise of free public legal information and increased client scrutiny of disbursements, it appears to be happening.

I recall one indiscreet Canadian legal publisher tell me that their company had been profitable since inception, including the Great Depression.

Here is the English take on the issues, from the Guardian . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Practice of Law

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

A “Round 2” edition of biotech highlights:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Exploring How Many Minds Produce Knowledge

One of the quotes I go back to often is a quote from a 1945 paper by the economist Hayek where he says:

The economic problem of society … is not merely a problem of how to allocate ‘given’ resources – if ‘given’ is taken to mean given to a single mind … It is rather a problem of how to secure the best use of resources known to any of the members of society … a problem of the utilization of knowledge which is not given to anyone in its totality. (Friedrich Hayek, The Use of Knowledge in Society

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management