Canada’s online legal magazine.

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

Lost Expectations

Simon has drawn our attention to Peter Schwartz’s comments on the “Reinvention of Legal Research” that appear in the Huffington Post. The premise of the post appears to be that legal publishers are suffering because they are no longer able to impose “per-minute and per-use pricing structures” which allowed publishers to use law firms as information wholesalers. According to Schwartz, this pricing model facilitated cost recovery by law firms who passed these charges through to their clients.

The flaw in this argument, in Canada at least, is that it has been more than a decade since flat rate pricing models . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Ontario Bar Association on Codification of Judicial Jurisdiction

The Law Commission of Ontario (LCO/CDO) has an ongoing project on the possible reform of the law of crossborder litigation, particularly the matter of judicial jurisdiction. A consultation paper has been prepared by Professor Janet Walker, a scholar in residence with the LCO/CDO, and comments were invited from members of the profession.

The Ontario Bar Association submitted its response to the consultation paper this spring, and has made its work available online in PDF. . . . [more]

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

Slaw’s Simon Fodden Featured in CBA’s National Magazine

Congratulations to Slaw and The Court founder Simon Fodden for being featured in the article “The Paperless Chase” by Emily White in the July/August 2009 edition of National, the Canadian Bar Association magazine (see pages 38 & 39). Simon talks at length about Slaw, law blogging, and technological change.

In the article, Simon explains:

I think there are a good many lawyers who would like to write much more than they do…Of course, they write memos and opinions, but I think they’d like to expand on a topic. And blogs give them that opportunity to do that.

White also . . . [more]

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

Carabash’s 4 Steps to Online Legal Marketing

Michael Carabash, a recent Osgoode graduate who has set up with his own practice and marketing services, just released a free online book for legal marketing.

I’ve been sharing some ideas with him and Garry Wise recently, and there are a couple of projects in works that may be interesting.

Although Carabash’s book covers what many of us would consider the basics, there are still lots of lawyers coming up speed. The U.K. government is paying £160,000 a year for these specialty services.

You can get the book for free here. . . . [more]

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

Collaborative Bibliography on French Legal Research

The excellent Stéphane Cottin has launched a collaborative bibliography on researching French legal information, using Zotero as the collaborative tool. The project is described in an associated website (in French); and the bibliography can be found at the Zotero Groups site Recherche doc juridique. At present there are over 300 entries in the bibliography/library.

Stéphane was until recently Chef de service du Greffe-Informatique et de service Bibliothèque – Documentation at the Conseil constitutionnel, France’s high constitutional council whose principal duty is to rule on the constitutionality of proposed legislation. He is currently working in the Prime Minister’s office, . . . [more]

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

Tossing Your Cookies

Every now and then you may wish to use a feature in your browser to check out which of the sites you visit have set cookies on you machine — those tiny morsels of text that get sent back and forth between your browser and the machine serving up web pages so that your site-specific preferences are known and respected. They are by and large benign, but, given that they track some of your progress through the web, they can be used to inform advertisers of your interests. And, because cookies can carry personal information, they represent a privacy risk, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law, Technology

Slate on the Open Web

Slate has an excellent article up on the opening of micro-blogging standards. The piece is titled To Live, Twitter Must Die, but the content isn’t nearly so sensational.

I really like the message here. There are dangers anytime we put too much faith in a single company, and expect them to police the balance between their own business interests surrounding a proprietary technology, and the greater access to that web technology. Especially when we grow to depend on it. This article references Twitter’s dominance with micro-blogging, but it could have easily been Google’s relationship to internet search.

I also . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

August 2009 Issue of Law Practice Today: Balance and Wellness

The August 2009 issue of Law Practice Today, the ABA Law Practice Management Section’s webzine was just published.

Read the Law Practice Today “Wellness and Balance” issue here.

All sort of great articles on how you can find balance and wellness in our very busy world, including:

  • Achieving Life/Work Balance Through Effective Time Management by Kathleen Brady
  • How to Take a Vacation from Your Law Practice by Sheila M. Blackford
  • A Lawyer’s Tale: Recovering from Depression by Keith Anderson
  • Job Satisfaction: Little Things Lawyers Can Do to Make a Big Difference by Dan Millman
  • Putting Up With Nothing—How To Do
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management

The Friday Fillip

One of the most important figures in popular music died this week, and I’m going to join the crowd eulogizing him. I’m talking about Lester Polsfuss, orse. Polfuss, a.k.a. Red Hot Red, Rhubarb Red — and Les Paul.

Les Paul, along with Leo Fender and Adolph Rickenbacher, was one of the inventors of the solid body electric guitar — that’s a recent version of Gibson’s Les Paul Standard model you see to your left — the idea being that hollow body electric guitars could be played only so loud because of feedback from the body’s resonance. And though he . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous