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Signal to Noise?

It’s Family Day in Ontari-ari-o, and reading week in at least some of the faculties in some of the universities, so I’m sure that explains the lack of traffic or the decrease in the denominator in the signal to noise ratio. Or both. So, there’s room for me to add some noise.

For the geeks among us (or within us), you know that Vista SP1 is around the corner for the common folk. The tech gurus have been playing for some time. In that vein, here’s something from ZDNet

Vista SP1 vs. XP SP2 – Benchmarked

Looking at the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology

Law Library of Congress Adds RSS

This via Ken Varnum at RSS4Lib:

The Library of Congress’s Law Library of Congress now offers RSS Feeds on the following topics: News & Events, Research Reports, Webcasts, and Global Legal Monitor.

The “Research Reports” feed, for example, includes such topics as “How to Do Russian Legal Research” and “Children’s Rights: International Laws.”

These new feeds are also now part of the larger LOC RSS Feeds we talked about in Dec/06. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Whither Soft Tissue?

A recent ruling the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench merits mentioning, the ABQB has ruled that caps on rewards for soft tissue injuries in auto accidents is unconstitutional. The justice minister of Alberta has already promised that the decision will be appealed. And lawyers in New Brunswick who plan to mount a challenge to that jurisdiction’s soft tissue cap, have seen this ruling as boon to their ambitions. The long and the short of this case and this post is that if you are interested: stay tuned, the appellate roller coaster is just getting warmed up! . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Virtual Law: Gaining Ground in Both Real and Virtual Worlds

While researching articles discussing virtual worlds (including both Internet-based games and social networking spaces) I came across an upcoming conference on virtual law. The Virtual Law 2008 Conference is being held April 3 – 4, 2008 in New York City in conjunction with Virtual Worlds 2008 which is running concurrently.

You would think by now these things don’t surprise me, but I have to admit being a bit “gob-smacked” when I came across this conference. Are there really enough lawyers practising in this area to build a whole conference to address it?

Digging a bit further, I learn that the . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Substantive Law, Technology


Apart from a glancing mention by Ted Tjaden in his recent post, Ozmosys – An E-mail, Website and RSS aggregator, we haven’t talked about Lexology on Slaw. That may well be because everyone already knows about it. But just in case there are one or two of our readers who are unfamiliar with it, I’m going to give you a brief description.

Lexology is a free (upon registration) re-distribution mechanism for law firm publications on particular topics. Some hundreds of firms are shown as being involved. This in itself would be handy, but what makes it an even more . . . [more]

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

Judging Judges Judging Cases

I don’t generally pass on pointers to academic articles in the Social Science Research Network database, because there are plenty of others on the web who are doing that. But a recent paper (Guthrie, Chris, Rachlinski , Jeffrey J. and Wistrich, Andrew J., “Blinking on the Bench: How Judges Decide Cases” . Cornell Law Review, Forthcoming Available at SSRN [PDF here]) caught my eye and so I’m mentioning it here.

The authors tested a sample of U.S. trial judges, seeking to find out whether the judges used their intuition (making mistakes) or deliberated (getting things right) when solving . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Why You Should Take a Look at the Free / Open Source Software Movement

When talking about free / open source software, I am often surprised at the number of people today who still say to me – “if it is free it cannot be of any value”. Or those who ask – “what exactly is open source software?”. If you pardon the shameless use of the phrase, “long live free software” (or “vive le logiciel libre!”) ought to be the battle cry of the free software movement. Indeed, although not put that way by most proponents, that is the general sentiment.

What is free software? The Free Software Foundation maintains a definition of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Presentation Zen

My temporary return to teaching has got me using PowerPoint again, now de rigeur in today’s law school classroom, and it’s reminded me of my like-hate relationship with that tool. I’m certain that if anyone with serious presentation chops looked at our academic slides they’d be horrified, because we probably make every mistake in the book. But doing it right two or three times a week for hours at a stretch isn’t easy; it’s the rare bird who can combine personal passion with restrained verbiage on the big screen and get the timing right as well.

I’m sure our readers . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: Law Schools, Miscellaneous, Technology

The Friday Fillip

It’s show time! You bring the popcorn — and the willingness to look behind the silver screen, as it were. DigitalDomain is a special effects company that’s been part of a host of movies you’ve seen, and probably more ads than you wished. It works magic with bits and bytes and shows you how they’re integrated with the rest of the scene’s analog (i.e. real) actors and scenery. It’s all here — in movies, natch.

It probably makes most sense to start by viewing the “Company” reel, which contains a montage of what DD has done. And then you . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Do Wikis Belong in Law Firms?

Tuesday night I gave a presentation to Toronto Wiki Tuesdays about the use of wikis in law firms. On Monday, to get some additional ideas, I posted a message to Slaw asking for any new examples of wiki use in law firms since I wanted to present more than just wikis I had a hand in myself. The next day a very interesting discussion ensued on Slaw about whether wiki use is suitable for firms. This was a fantastic discussion, starting to really get at the heart of whether a firm should be using wikis and what really works. So . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law, Technology

Legal Vertical Search Tool Unveiled

The world’s largest legal vertical search engine launched yesterday according to a press release. The Public Library of Law (pLoL) has partnered with legal research provider Fastcase, Inc. It may be more of a directory than a search engine, even though Fastcase CEO Ed Walters claims it makes”first-time legal research as easy as using Google.”

What is available on PLoL?

* Cases from the U.S. Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals
* Cases from all 50 states back to 1997
* Federal statutory law and codes from all 50 states
* Regulations, court rules, constitutions.

“Unlike other free resources,

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