Canada’s online legal magazine.

Doctors Fight Back Against Reputations on RateMDs

Tony Wilson, of Boughton in Vancouver, wrote in this week’s issue of Lawyer’s Weekly,

Reputation matters… But it’s not just companies and trade-mark owners who have reputations to protect. We all do, and these days, much of our personal reputation is on the web for all the world to see.

Like many professionals, physicians in Canada operate by word-of-mouth referrals, largely based on the personal experiences of patients or other referring physicians. RateMDs has become an increasingly popular site for patients to share experiences about their physician.

It’s become enough of a concern to physicians that Sam Solomon provides . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Substantive Law

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

Much to be thankful for this week in the world of biotech:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Special Libraries Association Getting Ready for Name Change

Many readers of are members of or are familiar with the Special Libraries Association (SLA). SLA was founded in New York in 1909, and now includes thousands of information professionals from eighty countries. It covers a range of interests and professionals in a range of positions and organizations, and includes a Legal Division.

Over the past two years SLA has been working on its Alignment Project, to better strategically align the Association with the needs of its members and the organizations the members represent. Part of this work has included a new name for the Association. The . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

The Ombudsman as “Architect of Better Governance”

Ombudsmen are a rather strange breed of public official –- we have very robust investigative powers, such as the ability to examine witnesses under oath and to gain entry into government premises. But we have no powers of enforcement. We cannot impose a solution or make our recommendations binding.

Nevertheless, we can recommend resolutions, not only to address individual grievances, but also to promote broad policy changes. In this way, we have the potential to positively affect thousands -– even millions –- of citizens.

Our key to success is the use of moral suasion -– persuading our governments to do . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Substantive Law

Panel on Pension Plan Reform at Western Law

Western Law hosted a forum on pension reform this past Thursday, featuring community leaders, legal academics, and practitioners.

Pension Plan Basics

Prof. Robert Brown of the University of Waterloo explained some of the basics behind pensions.

There are two kinds of pension plans, defined benefit and defined contribution plans. A defined benefit plan provides flat benefits at a specified amount per year of work. They can present a pretty good idea of what to expect in terms of benefits, but if investments are hit hard it can decrease amount of funds, and they are often open to the vagaries of . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Proposed Olympic Sign Legislation in B.C.

As reported by the CBC, the British Columbia government has introduced legislation that would empower Richmond, Vancouver and Whistler, for the months of February and March in 2010, to act swiftly to remove graffiti or signs that contravene their bylaws. Critics are worried that the law would catch anti-Olympics protesters and infringe their right to free speech.

The provisions causing concern are part of Bill 13 — 2009: Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 2009. S.77 of the bill would amend the Municipalities Enabling and Validating Act (No. 3), S.B.C. 2001, c. 44, by adding four sections that . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Firm Guest Blogger: Ombudsmen

As our guest this month we have not a firm but the Ombudsmen from the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Saskatchewan.

Also, we are inviting our guests to join us a week earlier than usual this month because the Canadian Council of Parliamentary Ombudsman chose this week to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the modern parliamentary ombudsman — the first one was established in Sweden in 1809 — and to raise awareness of the important work that ombudsmen do today.

Speaking of “ombudsmen,” I should record here that the plural of “ombudsman” is a somewhat . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Firm Guest Blogger

Nicole Garton-Jones

We are very pleased indeed to announce that Nicole Garton-Jones is joining Slaw as a regular contributor. Nicole is the principal of Heritage Law, a Vancouver law firm, and practices in the areas of wills and estates, family law and mediation. She is a graduate of U.B.C., Leadership Vancouver and the Womens’ Campaign School and is on the board of Continuing Legal Education BC and the Pacific Legal Technology Conference.

Among the things that are interesting about Heritage Law is the fact that it is a “virtual” law firm — or an “e-lawyering” practice, as some prefer. Nicole, her . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

More Content for Kindle

Robert Ambrogi at just posted on West’s decision to make 29 law books available on the Kindle. As earlier SLAW posts have noted, we Canadians continue to miss out on new technology.

Do I really need a Kindle to keep my Ipod Touch and Blackberry Storm company? Do these gadgets really improve efficiency? Will I find time to read books on a screen when I can’t find the time to read the paper versions? Insights from those who have figured this out are welcomed! . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Size and the Legal Media

If you happen to subscribe to my Twitter feed, you’ll notice that I regularly post links to stories of interest in the legal press. If you look closely, you’ll notice that a great many of those stories pertain to developments in very large law firms. That’s not because I’m fascinated by BigLaw or because I think my subscriber base is either. It’s because that’s what gets published. The legal press pays a disproportionate amount of attention to large law firms — as do we all.

The best-known legal periodical, The American Lawyer, is so tightly intertwined with large . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

The Friday Fillip

When I was a kid we had a blue Bakelite radio made, I recall, by Western Electric. No TV. Just a radio. And that was okay because, for one thing I didn’t know about TV, and for another, every so often during the week I got to listen to some great radio programs. The Lone Ranger, Sgt. Preston of the Yukon, Hopalong Cassidy, the Shadow and others kick-started my imagination and taught me the power of a narrative.

Thanks to the marvellous Internet Archive, you can now listen to some of these “Old Time Radio” shows. The basic start . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

FTC Revises Guides on Endorsements and Testimonials

This week, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission announced its approval of revisions to its Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. The revisions affect testimonial advertisements (including those by consumers and those advertising atypical results), blogger reviews or endorsements, and celebrity endorsements, updating the Guides since their last revision in 1980.

Of particular note: the discussion of consumer-generated media, and how to distinguish between communications that are “endorsements” and those that are not. The FTC focused on determination on a case-by-case basis of whether the relationship between the speaker is such that the speaker’s statement can be . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law