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RECAP: Crowdsourcing U.S. Federal Court Transparency

Back in July I talked about a petition urging to improve PACER, the online access service to U.S. court records and documents. Until improvements are made, the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard have stepped in to provide a tool to give open access to court documents that originate on PACER in cooperation with the Internet Archive. The video below is a presentation by Steve Schultze, fellow of the Berkman Center and new Associate Director at Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy at the September 8, 2009 conference Gov 2.0 Expo Showcase explaining how the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law, Technology

Prostitution and Tax Expenses

Running a call-girl business is an inherently risky venture. The lines frequently blur, and participants end up in what the law would describe as prostitution.

To sort out these complicated legal dilemmas operators frequently have to hire counsel. Should these expenses be reportable for tax purposes?

The now-defunct Exchequer Court examined the issue back in 1964, in Canada (Minister of National Revenue – M.N.R.) v. Eldridge, when several employees of the respondent were arrested on prostitution charges.

. . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

A Judge Named Sue

A month ago the Vancouver Sun picked up on study done by two South Carolina economists at Clemson University, Bentley Coffey and Patrick A. McLaughlin, entitled “Do Masculine Names Help Female Lawyers Become Judges? Evidence from South Carolina” (American Law and Economics Review, January 2009, 11 (1), pg. 112-133 — behind paywall). The gist of the article, if there can be such a thing in a heavily statistics-based study, is that in South Carolina a woman lawyer has a better chance of advancing in her career and of becoming a judge if she has a “masculine . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Google Ordered to Close Email Account

There’s something of a buzz in the blawgs about a recent decision from the California Northern District Court in which the court ordered Google to close the email account of a non-party. According to Online Daily Media, in Rocky Mountain Bank -v- Google, Inc. the bank explained that it had sent a file containing a wealth of sensitive information about clients by email to the wrong Gmail address. The bank tried to contact the addressee but received no response. It then got in touch with Google, which said that it would reveal the account information for the addressee if . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology: Internet

What’s the Economy Doing to the Model of the Business of Law?

This is the Second Live Blog Post From 2009 Legal Futures Conference.

The Second Plenary has Bruce MacEwen, who’s known in the blogosphere as the President of “Adam Smith, Esq.”, talking about the
Economic & Strategic Perspectives on The Current Environment . . . [more]

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

Socialnomics Video

At lunch today, Joe Altonji of Hildebrandt in Chicago screened a neat four minute viral video which is well worth a view.

Here it is

And Merrilyn Astin Tarlton suggests that this one if fun too, and this one too, for those of us who are typography buffs. Be patient while it loads.

Joe’s viral video is by the author of this book:

. . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Live Blogging From the 2009 Futures Conference

For the next day and a half, Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver is the venue for a programme focussing on the Future of Law. I’ll post about the highlights.

The keynote address was a talk on the Legal Transformation Study Update by Ward Bower of Altman Weil, Inc.
Ward was one of the leaders of the 2008 Legal Transformation Study which identified four scenarios for the legal marketplace of 2020. The study produced reports on global developments that suggest market movement toward one or more of the scenarios, and the latest projections of the probability of . . . [more]

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

The Friday Fillip

I’m a Saxon. Well, at least that’s what I tell my yoga instructor by way of explaining why I fall over backwards every time I attempt even a half lotus. The truth is that although I’ve got that chunky, big-boned morph-type I associate with Saxon heritage, I’ve got no real idea whether I’m related to Æthelred the Unready or, whether I’m Celt, Pict, Jute, Angle, Dane or, as is likely the case, a mix of all these tribes and more.

But I wouldn’t mind being an honorary Saxon, if it meant I could share some of the glory reflected from . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

David Whelan

If you look to your right — while this post is at the top of Slaw’s main page — you’ll see that we have a new columnist. David Whelan is getting his feet wet by subbing for Wendy Reynolds, our regular Extreme Lib columnist, who is busy this month wrestling a new job to the ground. David, as most of you might know, is the head librarian, or Manager of Legal Information, at the Great Library at Osgoode Hall, maintained by the Law Society of Upper Canada.

A lawyer and a librarian, David brings to us a great deal of . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

Whether We Wither

I always laugh when I see the seemingly inevitable use of “whither” in library-related publications. It just as inevitably suggests “wither” and reminds me that we are a profession at some risk. It might seem unfair to pick on word choice, but “whither” always strikes me as being out of touch.

Law libraries are at risk of becoming similarly out of touch. Recent research on behalf of the Special Libraries Association by Outsell, Inc. and Fleishman-Hillard suggests that special libraries may be out of step with their organizations. While SLA’s Alignment project is focused on positioning the association . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Firm Taglines List

I’d like to offer Slaw readers a quick pointer to a new mini-research project we’ve released over at Stem. For the past couple weeks Emma Durand-Wood has been assembling a list of law firm taglines from firms based in Canada, US and the UK.

That list is now live. Enjoy! . . . [more]

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

The $27-Million Lawsuit for Refusing Emergency Passport

Abousufian Abdelrasik, the Canadian citizen stranded in Sudan, is suing the government for $27-million.

The Statement of Claim asks for general and special damages of $20,000,000 for false imprisonment, torture negligence, intentional infliction of mental suffering, breach of fiduciary duty, and Charter breach of ss. 6, 7, and 12. Abdelrazik is also asking for punitive and aggravate damages $4,000,000, and an additional $3,000,000 for a similar basis against Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon.

Simon Chester previously linked Zinn J’s decision on the case.

The April 3, 2009 letter denying him an emergency passport can be found here. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law