Canada’s online legal magazine.

Google Does It Again

Google introduced a really clever website over the last few days. Although they’re always getting flak for all the personal info they gather from you, there really are some pretty interesting things they can do with all that information. Like make the Centre for Disease Control obsolete.

OK, maybe that’s a bit too hyperbolic, but their new program has managed to closely approximate the CDC’s tracking of flu bugs, simply through aggregating all the web searches people do on the topic. Apparently the number of people who google “Neo Citran” or other similar terms gives you a great idea . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management

Quicklaw’s Auto Link and WestlaweCARSWELL’s CiteLinkCanada

Although both of the Canadian tools below have been available for some time now, I have only recently started to experiment with them.

Both products – which are free but which each require subscriptions/passwords – will “auto-populate” your research memos with hypertext links to the cases cited in your memo.

The Quicklaw product is Auto Link which will add hypertext links to the Quicklaw version of cases cited in your memo (it allows you to do this in bulk, that is, with more than one memo at a time). Related to this product on the same page is downloadable software . . . [more]

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

Interesting New Documents From the UN

I have a thing for government documents. “GovDocs” was my best class in library school.

I have a particular thing for UN documents because the UN deals with just about anything and everything.

Here are a few recent ones:

  • Our World 2.0: the United Nations University (yes, they have their own university) launched a webzine this past summer about solutions for the planet’s climate, oil and food security messes
  • Toolkit to Combat Human Trafficking: the UN Office on Drugs and Crime has developed a “toolkit” that provides guidance to policymakers, law enforcers, judges, prosecutors, and victim service providers
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information

New Canadian Legal Blogs

I just put up a new post over on Stem’s blog about the latest Canadian legal blog additions to… and thought the relay here might help our newly minted bloggers.

On average, we’re still seeing 1-2 new blogs each month, including Canadian lawyers, students, librarians, and other legal pros. And for your surfing pleasure, those latest blogs are:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Economics of Spam

Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley and UC, San Diego have published a paper on a study they did on spam.

They actually took over part of an existing spam botnet, and sent their own spam to test the response. We all wonder why anyone would actually fall for the scam, and know that the uptake must be low – but how low?

In their case, 350 million emails sent resulted in 28 “sales” – a response rate of 0.00001%.

Commentary ranges from the thought that the rewards for spammers are decreasing to math showing how lucrative it can . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Time for Wireless…or Wireless for Time

♬To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose..♬

Words and Music by Ecclesiastes/Seeger, recorded by The Byrds.

The one thing that none of us can bank is time. So how do we best make use of our time – especially these days – given that we have to spend a certain amount of it waiting or on trains or in transit somewhere? How can we check our email, read (and edit) attachments, check our appointments, refer to . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Payment Trends for Digital Licenses

Any thoughts on whether you think any sort of trend has emerged re how libraries are paying for licensed content/databases/periodicals? In other words, are libraries paying on a per use basis, or as annual, quarterly, etc., subscription fees, or otherwise?

Please post your comments here or at: . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

LCO Issues First Full Report

The “new” Law Commission of Ontario has released its first full report, just over a year after we began operations. Our report on Fees for Cashing Government Cheques is a response to the reality that a disproportionate number of low income individuals cash their government cheques at cheque cashing businesses. This issue is consistent with the government “poverty initiative” and the recommendations are complementary to the pay day loan legislation enacted by the Ontario Legislature. The LCO’s recommendations acknowledge that some people prefer cash chequing business to banks; thus their focus in on ensuring informed choice and options that address . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Pomegranate, Smartest of Smart Phones

This is simply brilliant.

I don’t know whom Nova Scotia employed to come up with this Flash presentation, but in my opinion it’s worth every penny they paid for it. Every single aspect of the website is worth visiting, from the Pomegranate holder to the use of the Pomegranate as a harmonica. And what’s more, the damn thing is stylish as hell. (Clearly someone’s taking cues from Apple.)

When you’ve seen enough and want the secret let out of the bag, click on the “release date” button at the top right.

Oh, and if the music loop gets too much . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Googling Your Legal Research

Lawyers often pride themselves as being the gatekeepers to legal information. But with the proliferation of free legal citations and commentary online, some are turning to Google.

Devin Johnston, a law student at UofM and contributor at Law is Cool, has an excellent piece today, GoogleLII: Using Google to Research Case Law.

He outlines some basic techniques like advance searches, and the quality of information found on the net.

Devin does say that Googling is not appropriate for traditional legal practice. But Prof. Moin Yahya of the University of Alberta also noted earlier this year that the failure . . . [more]

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

Fraud: How to Avoid Being a Victim

Over the last several months there has been an epidemic of frauds targeting lawyers, both in Ontario and in other provinces right across Canada. LAWPRO has seen a significant number of very costly fraud related claims. YTD in 2008 we have seen 89 claims that have cost us $5.7 millon. We are also aware of many lawyers that have narrowly avoided being victims. Sometimes due their own diligence, sometimes only by good luck.

No doubt many of you have read about these frauds, and some of you may even have been a victim or intended victim. Firms of all sizes . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Closing Gitmo

Yesterday’s widely-reported story that the Obama administration-in-waiting is already drawing up plans to close the facility at close the facility at Guantánamo Bay and try the remaining suspects in the U.S. has generated a lot of buzz. In fact, the Obama team appears to be trying to temper expectations, as last night saw further stories emphasizing that no decisions have yet been made.

One should probably be skeptical about such reports in any event, given the incentive for anonymous “advisors” to the incoming administration to try to steer the agenda. But no reasonable person, in my view, should be . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law