Canada’s online legal magazine.

Slaw’s Scavenger Hunt

As Slaw approaches its fourth birthday, we thought it might be fun to challenge the research skills of our readers, contributors and lawyers and librarians around the world. Ten days ago, Simon F told us about the World Digital Library.

Paris, Washington D.C.—The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and 32 partner institutions today launched the World Digital Library, a website that features unique cultural materials from libraries and archives from around the world, including manuscripts, maps, rare books, films, sound recordings, prints and photographs.

Where it becomes interesting is when one examines the list of items that . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

The Friday Fillip

I like repetition. I enjoy multiples of things that are pretty much the same. Give me clusters of like objects.


Now if you take similar things in very great numbers and play with them, you can produce some pretty, well, pretty effects. Which is what this fillip will offer. I have two illustrations to show you. The first is an office trick that you should, perhaps, not try at the office, and it uses that most humble of office supplies, the sticky note. EepyBird (whoever/whatever that is) has massed masses of sticky notes and set them to falling in . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Novatel’s MiFi

Following on from Steve Matthews’ post about the new Kindle that he can’t get in Canada, I’m going to introduce you to the next thing you’ll likely want badly and won’t be able to get here in Canada, Novatel’s MiFi. The New York Times has the full story and a video of the thing in operation.

Despite the size of the photo above, the thing itself is about the side of a fat credit card. And what is it? It is a portable WiFi router that uses the 3G network. And unlike the cellular modems you can get now that . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Fake Journals From Purveyors of Quality

Well, if relying on commercial publishers to uphold scholarly standards was ever among your naivetes, consider yourself disillusioned. Starting three weeks ago in The Australian, and this week twice in The Scientist (free registration required), it has been uncovered that Elsevier produced a number of publications that had the look and feel of peer-reviewed publications, but were in fact marketing tools:

Elsevier is conducting an “internal review” of its publishing practices after allegations came to light that the company produced a pharmaceutical company-funded publication in the early 2000s without disclosing that the “journal” was corporate sponsored.

The allegations involve

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Is It OK to Use Deceit to Get Facebook Users’ Info?

The Philadelphia Bar Association has issued an advisory opinion (PDF) concluding that it is unethical for a lawyer to have a third party “friend” somoene on Facebook for the purposes of getting information about that Facebook user.

Facebook lets users fine tune their privacy settings, allowing a user to lock down all their info so it is only visible by friends or subsets of friends. I’m personally of the view that if a user has locked down their privacy settings, they are explicitly expressing an expectation of privacy in the material that is posted. But if someone voluntarily friends someone . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Technology

Link Rot in Court Decisions

There is an article available through SSRN that discusses link rot in court decisions by Tina Ching (Reference Librarian, Seattle Univ. Law Library) in The Next Generation of Legal Citations: A Survey of Internet Citations in the Opinions of the Washington Supreme Court and Washington Appellate Courts, 1999-2005 [SSRN], 9 J. App. Prac. & Process 387 (2007).

As more legal research is conducted online, it is reasonable to conclude that there will be a corresponding increase in citations to the Internet by judges in their opinions. With the widespread public use of the Internet to access information along with the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

“Knowingly” in the U.S. Supreme Court

Fans of adverbs — and of statutory interpretation — might be interested in the case of Flores-Figueroa v. United States, a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court released this Monday. The court had to decide the correct interpretation of a statutory provision, 18 U.S.C. sec. 1028A(a)(1), which states that:

Whoever … knowingly transfers, possesses, or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person shall … be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 2 years.

Particularly, the issue was whether the defendant had to know that the means of identification belonged to another person. Earlier this . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Email Survival Tips for the Busy Professional

Lately I have been imagining what it was like to work in those halcyon PMS (Pre Microsoft) days before we were subject to the tyranny of the Outlook chirp – the modern day equivalent of the Mash “incoming” call. What was it like when news arrived in the paper and work came in via in-person meetings, fax, letters and telephone calls?

The Harvard Business Blog in April featured an email-related post from David Silverman “How to Revise an Email So That People Will Read It” that attracted a global outpouring of kudos and an exchange of best email . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

All Women (Nearly) Law Firm Launches in U.K.

In February of this year the U.K. firm of Allen & Overy laid off of 450 people, including 47 partners and its whole private client practice. Two months later twenty-three of the lawyers and support staff from their private practice have formed their own firm, Maurice Turnor Gardner, specializing in “private wealth, philanthropy, and partnerships and LLPs.” Another law firm for the rich wouldn’t be particularly interesting but for the fact that five of the six partners and all but four of the employees are women, as reported in the Times.

It’s likely the size of the firm . . . [more]

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

Canadian Tech-Poverty Means No Kindle

I would really love to have a Kindle. really. And this story from the Silicon Alley Insider isn’t making things any better. See Dan Frommer’s live note that “Kindle sales are now 35% of book sales when Kindle editions are available.

You would think this kind of statement would jump start some action! For publishers, for consumers, and especially for Amazon to expand their offering… to say… north of the border? I’m also not fussy about the screen size. I’d take a hand-me-down for that matter.

What I am losing my patience with, is waiting years . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Nominations Open for 10th Annual Justicia Journalism Awards

Nominations are open for the 10th annual Justicia Awards for Excellence in Journalism.

The Awards, which are sponsored by the Canadian Bar Association and the Department of Justice Canada, celebrate outstanding journalism that fosters public awareness and understanding of the Canadian justice system.

Awards are given for French or English stories in two categories: print and broadcast media. They will be presented at a special ceremony in Ottawa in November 2009.

Winners receive a bronze statuette that is based on the Justicia statue that stands outside the Supreme Court building in Ottawa.

The deadline for nominations is June 12, . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Twitter Venn

Now that Twitter is reliably producing a large volume of verbiage on just about all topics imaginable, the task becomes one of extracting the desired fish from the flood — just as it was, and still is, with the larger web itself. The find and filter tools for Twitter are still in the making, and I thought it might be interesting for our Twitter users to take a look at one unusual tool, Twitter Venn.

We all remember our teachers or profs introducing us to Venn diagrams, those intersecting circular universes — well, Twitter Venn takes two or three . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology