Canada’s online legal magazine.
CBA Futures
LexisNexis Legal Products

Facebook and Publication Bans

Howard Elliott of the Hamilton Spectator, in today’s editorial, says “Facebook … is threatening to render some Canadian laws irrelevant.” Noting that two youths had been charged with first degree murder in the case of Stefanie Rengel, Elliott complained that the two accused were “still legally anonymous. Except on Facebook, where they’ve been identified repeatedly by name and photograph.” Elliott calls for an end to the double standard, “in the name of civil society in cyberspace.” . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Wikia Search Engine Online

The alpha version is out of Wikia, the search engine from Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia fame. Note the clean uncluttered Google-look. And note, too, that it quite correctly brings up Slaw first when searching on “slaw.” Apart from that, though, the Wikia team confesses that: “We are aware that the quality of the search results is low…” But they hope to improve them over the next little while.

You can get an account and help out, if you want, in true Wikipedia fashion. Jimmy says:

Right now, the most important thing you can do is help with the “miniarticles”

. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology

08 Predictions

As this is my first post of ot8, I thought I would plant my tongue firmly in cheek and make some semi-serious, law-technology-Slaw predictions:

Over the next year…

  • Online/Technology Privacy will become a much bigger issue in the mainstream.
  • Someone or thing makes a small dent in Google’s search monopoly owing to privacy concerns (see Ask Eraser).
  • The settlement of the Hollywood writer’s strike will have implications for the online distribution of content that are not yet anticipated.
  • Google, MS or another larger fish will make an astronomical offer for Facebook.
  • There will be a Federal election.
  • There will
. . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Practice Imperfect

At the Chicago office of Perkins Coie, partners recently unveiled a “happiness committee,” offering candy apples and milkshakes to brighten the long and wearying days of its lawyers.

No this is not a joke. According to Alex Williams, “The Falling-Down Professions” in Sunday’s New York Times, other firms are trying to retain associates with means that appeal not simply to a sweet tooth, means such as money, for example, while others use a simple, dignified “Thank you.”

This is all part of a broader examination in the article of the unhappiness of some lawyers and doctors under the . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Malaysian Edict

The Malaysian government has told a Christian publication, Herald, that it may not use the word Allah to refer to the Christian God. The story is carried by the BBC and, later, the New York Times, though I first heard about it on the sterling Language Log.

I’ve not been able to get my hands on the wording of the prohibition. It’s been put variously by the news sources, which typically say that the rule is that non-Muslims may not use the word Allah; but this, as Language Log pointed out, doesn’t seem right: the Herald would likely . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

The Friday Fillip

There are times when a challenge is what’s wanted and then there are other times. For me, at least, this is one of those. Other times, I mean. Gimme victories, lots of victories: too much snow, I think, too much cold, too much work piling up…

So, for those of you who, like me, don’t mind the occasional success no matter how easily arrived at, I present a couple of fun but winnable online games.

The Four Colour Problem offers you a small map of make-believe countries and four colours; you and the computer are to colour each land in . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Readable Laws

There’s a U.S. wiki called Readable Laws that attempts to make American legislation come closer to plain speech than it does when leaving Congress. Because it’s an open wiki, this is a collaborative effort among those interested enough to join — which will make legal specialists shudder, no doubt.

Let me give you something of the flavour of the work being done. Here’s a passage from the Free Flow of Information Act of 2007 (which seems sort of appropriate), a bill that has passed the House:

§2 (c) Limitations on Content of Information- The content of any testimony or document

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Ditch the Resolutions

Welcome to January, the stern sister to December. While December is about gift giving and celebration, January arrives like the dreaded morning after bearing with it bill payments, back-to-work anxiety and of course the latest batch of New Year’s resolutions: “I will lose weight, build up my Linked-In network, post to my blog twice a week, go to the gym, and meet my billable hours target.”

There has got to be a better way to herald the New Year then marching to the orders of our inner drill sergeant.

I’m a professional business coach, goals and resolutions are the heart . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

What “extinct” Research Tools Do You Miss?

The American Asssociation of Law Libraries sent an email to members today asking the following question: What “extinct” book, research tool, database, etc., do you miss from an earlier time (include the year) and why?

They will publish the results in their Spectrum magazine and I will report back here on their results. Since I assume most of their responses will be based on American law-related resources, I thought I would throw the question out here specifically for any Canadian responses. What “extinct” book, research tool, database, etc., do you miss from an earlier time (include the year) and why? . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Top Business Technology Trends to Watch

The McKinsey Quarterly’s “Eight Business Technology Trends to Watch” discusses eight emerging technologies with the potential to transform companies and markets. They include:

  • Using consumers as innovators: Involving customers in the design, testing and marketing of new products and services.
  • Distributing cocreation: Make better use of the skills and ideas of workers located outside corporate boundaries, such as suppliers and independent contractors.

Also see the blog Portals and KM for a brief discussion of this article. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD

Videos of Columbia Conference on Human Rights Archives and Documentation

The site Resourceshelf mentioned yesterday that the Columbia University website has posted videos of the presentations from an October 2007 international conference on Human Rights Archives and Documentation: Meeting the Needs of Research, Teaching, Advocacy, and Justice.

Scholars, human rights activists, legal advocates, librarians, and archivists from all over the world attended the conference to explore issues around how documentation of human rights situations is created, archived, preserved, accessed, and utilized.

The conference marked the formal opening of the Center for Human Rights Documentation and Research at Columbia University Libraries. The Center is the official repository for the archives . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

Facebook and Toronto

A link in the Slaw Linkblog points to a Star story that claims Facebook has over a 1,000,000 subscribers in Toronto:

More than a million Torontonians made friends with Facebook in 2007, contributing to the “phenomenal growth” in Canadian users last year.

Toronto was the first city in North America to break 1 million subscribers, a recent study shows.

…The study also found that most Canadians who logged on to Facebook are between the ages of 18 to 34

Can this number of users be remotely right?

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that Toronto embraces the entire GTA, . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology