Canada’s online legal magazine.

The Obsolescence Audit

Just 20 short years ago, if you wanted to buy a book, you had to go to a bookstore. If you wanted music, you had to visit a record store, and if you wanted to read the news, you had to buy a newspaper. Then Amazon.com debuted in 1994, Google was incorporated in 1998 and Napster emerged in 1999. Soon enough, people stopped buying newspapers because news articles were accessible online at no charge, stopped buying records because they could get music from each other freely, and stopped walking into bookstores because they could buy books with one mouse click . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Microsoft SharePoint in Law Firms

Many North American law firms have developed their intranet portals using Microsoft SharePoint 2007 software (soon to be released in a new 2010 version).

There have been numerous posts on SLAW discussing SharePoint; in addition, Microsoft has an industry page for law firms that provides some useful links to case studies.

There are several reasons why many law firms are using SharePoint:

Content aggregator/organizer: SharePoint can be used to create a true intranet portal, being the interface – via a web browser – between the user an a variety of data sources such as your document,

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Technology

Canadian Courts Tell Those Tempted by Spoliation Claims to “Deal With It”

In late October, Master Ronna Brott of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice issued a highly pointed decision that encapsulates Canadian courts’ unwillingness to entertain spoliation disputes before trial and, to some extent, to tolerate the increasingly common problem of lost records and things.

In Cerkownyk v. Ontario Place, Master Brott denied a request for production of a personal computer that a plaintiff in a personal injury claim said she had thrown out because it had broken down after litigation commenced. In dismissing the motion, Master Brott admonished the defendant for proceeding with its production request despite the plaintiff’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Next Generation Connectivity: Berkman on How Countries Measure Up

Harvard’s Berkman Center has released the draft of a report, “Next Generation Connectivity: A review of broadband Internet transitions and policy from around the world” [PDF], which examines the position of the United States in relation to various other countries with respect to salient aspects of broadband connectivity. The report takes into consideration a country’s regulatory scheme and the economic model used to provide broadband services, in addition to the more usual measures by which countries are ranked.

The report has a lot to say about Canada, none of it very flattering. (The table of contents doesn’t adequately . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

After Free Olympic Tickets, What Next?

The treatment of First Nation Chiefs as “heads of state” at the Olympics will have real significance if this status is accorded First Nations beyond the Olympics. Apparently, it results from an agreement signed prior to the Vancouver bid for the Games to which all political actors who would be involved in the Games were parties, including the First Nations Chiefs on whose traditional territories the Games will take place. Protocol usually follows political status, but is this a case when protocol might lead to a more firmly grounded recognition of the First Nations as sovereign nations? The media story . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

2009 ABA Blawg List Posted

It’s awards season – we’ve already seen the GG’s and the Giller announced. The list for Canada Reads is coming out today, and the ABA Journal has released its third list of the top 100 law blogs.

Congratulations to Jordan Furlong. Law 21 was nominated (again), with the following commentary:

Jordan Furlong has a knack for looking at trees and seeing a forest. He doesn’t blog legal news as it breaks, but looks for trends and provides skeptical analyses of what all of the yay-sayers are spouting about the present and future of the practice of law.

You can find . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Canadian Searchers Are Different

That’s according to Google in a statement made this afternoon. Jonathan Lister who heads up Google’s Canadian operations made the following comments to CP in relation to a spate of job vacancy adverts that Google is placing to recruit new staff:

Google is now looking for a new head of industry, software engineers, administrative assistants and other staff to help take advantage of Canada’s base of extraordinarily plugged-in Internet users

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Miscellaneous, Technology, Technology: Internet

Free Access Is Here to Stay

Free access to legal information in Canada is here to stay. Of that fact, there can be no doubt.

Bob Berring, the man who has triggered the recent Slaw debate on the future viability of free services, sounds like a man from the past, nurtured on West and Lexis and very happy with the services that they provide. Like him, I visited the West editorial offices early in my career and was equally impressed by West’s ability to gather free content, add editorial value, and sell and resell public records to the legal profession. I was also impressed on my . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

With our friends south of the border still reeling from a turkey-induced hangover, it was a quiet week. Still, there was plenty to be thankful for.

Proponents of personalized medicine were thankful for several developments that show this trend is picking up speed: CVS followed Medco’s example in expanding pharmacogenomic testing, while biotech and pharma companies, as well as the National Cancer Institute, stepped up their investment in the field.

I am thankful to be following a new trend for 2010: synthetic biology, i.e. attempts to create novel organisms. This week, I weighed in on the search for . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Introducing Magma, Video Site With a Difference

I have been thinking a lot lately about video and how it might be of use in law. I blogged about Law Marketing: YouTube Milestones and the launch of law video site LegalTube earlier this month. Now allow me to introduce you to my new favourite video site, Magma.

Magma is the brainchild of Andrew Baron in New York, and developed by his team at Rocketboom, known as Internet video blogging pioneers. Not meant to replace YouTube, Google Video, Vimeo and the like, this site is a place to discover and aggregate videos from those other sites. I . . . [more]

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

Increase Your Productivity on the Go

Kohjinsha dual screen laptop

We’re all increasingly dependent on technology. And as much as we love our portable Blackberrys and iPods, for serious work we usually need an actual computer – a laptop at the least.

The new Kohjinsha Dual Screen DZ Series is now available in Japan for ¥95,800, about $1,170 Canadian. Yes, that’s a dual-screen laptop computer with two 10.1″ LED displays, Athlon Neo 1.6 GHz MV-40 CPU, 1 (exp to 4) GB RAM, ATI Radeon HD 3200, and 160 GB of storage. There’s even a 1.3 megapixel web camera.

In some industries like health information management (one . . . [more]

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

Switzerland Bans Minarets

Just as we were thinking the Texas ban on unions “identical…to marriage” and the Ugandan proposal to severely punish homosexuals were the loony tunes of the moment, here comes a Swiss miss: A right wing proposal to ban minarets in Switzerland, put to the people in a referendum, was a few minutes ago approved by “a majority of the Swiss people and the cantons . . .”

According to an announcement on the Federal Chancellery website:

The Federal Council respects this decision. Consequently the construction of new minarets in Switzerland is no longer permitted. The four existing minarets will remain.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Foreign Law