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Commercial Pre-Law Courses Come to Canada

So, you’ve done your LSAT, completed your applications, and received your acceptance. You’re going to law school and starting in one week.

But that’s not enough. You want a boot camp to prepare you for the rigours of law school, and hopefully come out on top.

These courses have previously been available in the U.S. They often partnerwith LSAT courses to feed them incoming students, and using existing legal faculty from prominent institutions to teach their courses, often the same professors these students will have when school officially starts.

It’s a little less elaborate, but a similar enterprise has started . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training

Are Good Litigators Born?

I’ve always been leery of proponents of a biological basis for intelligence [or running].

I have conceded that genetics play some role on an individual basis, but need to be activated by the environment. Measures of intelligence are far too culturally specific, and ignore many other forms of intelligence. And I wholly reject, for largely scientific reasons, attempts to correlate genetic intelligence with racial or ethnic groups.

The same holds true for great lawyers.

Some of us are born to a long line of lawyers, or have parents that are judges or legal academics. We grew up . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Welcome Shaunna Mireau

Welcome to Shaunna Mireau, librarian at Field Law in Edmonton, and one of our newest core contributors. I count Shaunna as a colleague and friend who inspires me with her energy. She is actively involved in the Edmonton Law Libraries Association (ELLA), and is one of the organizers of the Head Start program, a legal research “boot camp” for law students from various firms put on by ELLA. It involves librarians, lawyers, and judges who all volunteer their time annually to provide the program each June. She contributes to the ELLA blog and is currently ELLA’s web editor. Shaunna also . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

The Friday Fillip

A very brief fillip today. I’m running out of time… Just as at times your printer runs out of toner. Or says so, at least.

Apparently, some printers lie. Well, at least they exaggerate. Slate has an interesting article that explores this phenomenon: “Take That, Stupid Printer! How To Fight Back Against The Lying, Infuriating, Evil Ink-And-Toner Cabal,” by Farhad Manjoo. Seems that Brother laser printers, the author’s model at the time of writing, have an evil eye that senses when the toner falls below a certain level and causes the machine to down tools. A tiny piece . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Extended Powers of Attorney: WCLRA Report

The “Western Canada Law Reform Agencies” — i.e. those of B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba — have together produced a report entitled “Enduring Powers of Attorney: Areas for Reform” [PDF] with the aim of harmonizing their separate pieces of legislation. The report is 90 pages in length and contains the following substantive chapters:

  • Recognizing and Extended Power of Attorney
  • Clarifying Attorney Duties Under an EPA
  • Preventing Misuse of an EPA
  • Transitional Provisions
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Law Firms as Public Corporations?

We’ve had a number of posts (for example, from Gavin and Jordan) lately on the future of the traditional law firm model.

This week’s issue of The Economist has a thought-provoking article on recent changes to U.K. law permitting law firms to become publicly traded corporations. Australia appears to have been the first jurisdiction to permit this; Slater & Gordon went public in May of last year.

What are people’s views on this? Is it good? Bad? Inevitable? . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Point-in-Time Legislation From a LII

AustLII is developing point-in-time legislation on their site! You can read about the project here.

In Canada, the Department of Justice Laws site has point-in-time legislation available back to Jauanary 2003 for acts and from March 22, 2006 for regulations.

e-Laws has Ontario period in time legislation available too.

The Alberta QPSource Internet paid site has point-in-time statutes back to January 1, 2002 for subscribers. Other legal publishers offer some point-in-time services too.

Wouldn’t it be great if other LII’s could offer point-in-time legislation for one stop shopping. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law: Legislation

Indian Courts on Search Engines

Indian courts have recently become involved in two issues affecting the operation of search engines in that country.

According to the Hindu Times, the Supreme Court in New Delhi has “issued notice” to various search engine companies — Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, etc. — on a petition claiming their violation of the Preconception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques Act because of advertising on their sites promoting sex selection techniques. The companies have not yet responded to the petition. (See also the story in the Straits Times.)

In Mumbai, a local company wishes to sue a blogger who goes by the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

A Lament for Legal History

A friend (and fellow law graduate, non-practising) recently related an exchange she had with a prominent Canadian justice in the course of the friend’s work with a federal government department. (You may notice I am trying very hard to keep details vague, so as not to cause any embarrassment, although the friend did give me permission to relate this story in this column.) My friend had the pleasure of accompanying the judge during a trip, and they got to chatting about Canadian law and the Charter in particular. The friend mentioned the concept of the “living tree” in the context . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Will Technology Save Us – or Ruin Us?

Two articles this week take apparently opposite views on this – although on reflection both probably just say that there are factors that can prevent technology from helping. I think the save us viewpoint wins out in the end.

Chris Anderson of Wired wrote an article in Newsweek entitled Why Technology Hasn’t Saved Us From Inflation (but still can). It essentially says that technology could have prevented our current problems with energy, the environment, and the economy – but political issues got in the way.

Shelly Palmer wrote a post entitled How Technology Is Costing Companies Millions . . . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Censorship in China – on the Internet and Elsewhere

Media reports today from the Times Online (UK) remind us all that censorship is alive and well in China. The story describes how two Chinese national women (ages 77 and 79!) — who applied 5 times for permits to protest at designated venues their house evictions relating to the Chinese Olympics — have been sentenced to one year of “re-education through labour.”

Three years ago I raised on SLAW in a post the issue of Internet censorship in China (and others here have done so as well).

I am amazed at how tightly the Chinese government has been able to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Number 10 Goes Beta

Number 10 Downing Street recently launched a website,,… in self-proclaimed beta! That’s a bit of a head scratcher: it’s not as though creating a website is so complicated that you’ve got to announce to the world that “We may not get this right, folks, the first time around, so stand by for patches…” And this for a site about the Prime Minister of the U.K.

There are some interesting things about the site, though, gamma or not. They’ve made considerable use of social media to keep things interesting and up-to-date: so you’ll see links to Number 10’s pics . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law