Canada’s online legal magazine.

The Benefits of Facebook, or Lack Thereof, When Depressed

Nathalie Blanchard of Bromont, Quebec, has been on sick leave for a year and a half for long-term chronic depression.

The 29-year-old woman had her benefits cut by IBM after she posted pictures on Facebook at a male stripper show, her own birthday party and on holidays. Her Manulife representative told her that,

I’m available to work, because of Facebook.

Ironically, most of these events were recommended by her physician as part of her treatment.

Depression is not like other disabilities where Facebook has been used to demonstrate lack of impairment. The complex parameters of a psychosocial condition like depression . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law


Notwithstanding the fine weather that many parts of the country are experiencing as November moves towards December, late November in Canada is usually a dark time for those of us with the golf bug. Into that dark, a little bit of legal light shines with the knowledge that a Happy Gilmore shot has been judicially defined.

In 2008 NSSC 280 para. 7, the Happy Gilmore shot has been defined as, “…running from five to ten feet behind the ball and hitting it on the run.” In finding that the Happy Gilmore shot breached the standard of care owed to other . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Friday Fillip 2

As a counterpart to Simon’s post below on applying modern technology to 16th century information, I thought I would offer Pranav Mistry’s SixthSense Technology described as “a wearable gestural interface that augments the physical world around us with digital information and lets us use natural hand gestures to interact with that information.”

Doesn’t sound like much?

Watch the video of his explanations here from the TED Conferences page. I mean watch it now (a colleague just made me aware of it). It is one of the most breathtaking things I have seen and was completely shocked that I was not . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Friday Fillip

One of the glories of the internet and the digital era is their ability to bring the past to us in a lively fashion. And the latest gift from the ages is the Shakespeare Quartos — the early, perhaps the earliest, published volumes of the Bard’s plays. (A quarto is a book size, coming from the fact that the large page on which the text was printed got folded four times before binding. Wikipedia is good on the topic.)

The British Library has teamed up with other institutions holding quartos to make all of them available for your perusal online. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Clearing the Ice

As good as November has been to us here in Toronto, things will inevitably take a turn for the worse (I don’t ski), usually in the forms of snow and ice. And that, in turn, has us soon thinking of another aspect of Winter Law: the matter of slippery stuff on the sidewalk and the potential it creates for slips and falls.

In Toronto, if you occupy a house, you’re required under a by-law [PDF] to clear the snow and ice from the sidewalks beside the house “within 12 hours after any fall of snow, rain or hail has . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Interview With Cory Doctorow

The Globe and Mail had an interview with author Cory Doctorow in the weekend edition. After talking to an audience in Toronto on the topic of “How to destroy the book”, he sat down to talk about the future of publishing.

There’s one great line in the interview that will strike a chord with most lawyers: “I don’t think people write 26,000-word licence agreements in order to give you more rights,” [Doctorow] said. “They only do it to take away your rights.”

And for our recent Kindle purchasers, he has some words of warning as well:

“They gave everybody back

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing

‘Unfriend’ Selected as Oxford Dictionary Word of the Year

The New Oxford American Dictionary has chosen the word ‘unfriend’ as its 2009 Word of the Year:

“unfriend – verb – To remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook. ”

“As in, ‘I decided to unfriend my roommate on Facebook after we had a fight’.”

” ‘It has both currency and potential longevity,’ notes Christine Lindberg, Senior Lexicographer for Oxford’s US dictionary program. ‘In the online social networking context, its meaning is understood, so its adoption as a modern verb form makes this an interesting choice for Word of the Year’.”

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information

Slaw Gets a Mention in Lexpert

I’m pleased to say that Slaw got a great mention in a recent piece in Lexpert Magazine’s Globe and Mail web articles, “Law Firms Test Potential for Social Media,” by Marzena Czarnecka. Yours truly made a couple of cautious comments that got reported; and blogger and Slawyer Jeremy Grushcow got to impart a few words of wisdom. . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

Twits, Tweets and the Political World

While the BBC reported this weekend on Pods and Blogs on the extraordinary growth of Tweetminster, the place where real life and politics tweet, in Ottawa it’s a different story. NDP member Charlie Angus wants Canadian MPs to declare Twitter off-limits, because of some personal abuse in the House last night. Here’s the Globe’s commentary and yesterday’s story.

As someone who has sat through enough late night House sittings, at which not all Honourable Members were entirely sober, I can report that abuse that doesn’t quite get reported in Hansard is not unknown within Canadian democracy. I’m not . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Miscellaneous

Between the Eyes…

♫ To face the friends of Mr. Cairo
From Chicago to Hong Kong
Via Istanbul the Talking Tong

Dirty rats thru’ prohibition
Money flowed thru gangsterism

Or Edward ‘G’ and all those guys
Who always shoot between the eyes
Between the eyes
Between the eyes…♫

Music by Vangelis, lyrics by Jon Anderson, “The Friends of Mr. Cairo”.

Bradford Bleier, unit chief with the FBI’s cyber division along with other ‘cyber-officials’ stated at an American Bar Association conference on Friday that:

“Hackers are increasingly targeting law firms and public relations companies with a sophisticated e-mail scheme that breaks into their . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology

Holiday Law Firm Challenge: Toronto Daily Bread Food Bank

Each year at this time, the Toronto office of Blakes sends out a challenge to other Bay Street firms to organize food drives/fundraising on behalf of the Daily Bread Food Bank. Last year’s challenge raised an incredible $271,645. Can the firms do even better this year? Who will get bragging rights for the most food and dollars raised?

The law firm challenge runs Monday, November 23 to Friday, December 11.

From the Blakes memo that went to firms:

Daily Bread supplies 13 million pounds of emergency food. Last year, there was over 1 million food bank

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Are the 7 Faces of Legal KM Simply Enterprise Content Management?

I gained lots of insight from Day 1 at the LawTech Canada conference earlier this week.

Deloitte, one of the sponsors, had two good sessions on enterprise content management and on preventing information leakage. On the topic of enterprise content management, I realized that my paper on “The 7 Faces of Legal Knowledge Management” (here in PDF) was, in part, discussing enterprise content management without using that phrase (to the extent that most knowledge managers in the legal environment manage a wide variety of information across the organization).

There are, however, I think 2 main reasons knowledge managers . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management