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Lawyers Without Borders

A colleague was asking me recently about volunteer or work opportunities for lawyers abroad and I immediately thought of the work of the International Development Committee (IDC) of the Canadian Bar Association (I was fortunate to be on the committee for 6 years and participate in several missions to Africa). Most of their work is funded through the Canadian International Development Agency or other external funders (i.e., the cost of their overseas work does not come from CBA member dues) and is intended to support the rule of law in developing countries (among other things). Recent IDC projects have included . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

CanLII Search Bookmarklets

This might have been better as a comment responding to Omar’s post just prior to this one, in which he lamented the lack of a Canadian Citer, but since it involves Javascript, I was afraid it might not survive intact as a comment.

I know it’s not quite what Omar wanted — that’s way beyond my ability — but faute de mieux I’ve refreshed a tool I put together a couple of years ago: Javascript bookmarklets that search CanLII. As I’m sure most of you know, the idea behind a bookmarklet is to make these little patches of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Technology

Waiting for a Canadian Citer

Michael Lines previously mentioned Jureeka, the web browser extension that links to legal material online, which can only be used with Firefox and Chrome.

Cornell law has launched a similar extension called Citer, but allows integration with IE, Safari, and Opera as well.

Bonnie Shucha explains how it works,

With Citer, you select an area of text on a web site that contains the cite you would like to look up, click a button in the browser bookmark linkbar, and Citer will attempt to transfer you to a page containing the content.

Jureeka is a

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

Data.gov.uk Gets It

And who wouldn’t — get it, that is — with Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee and AI prof Nigel Shadbolt advising? Data.gov.uk is HMGovernment’s open access data site, containing three thousand data sets. The public is invited to take the data, manipulate and mix it how they please, and let data.gov.uk know if they develop an interesting application as a result.

As they say on the front page:

We’re very aware that there are more people like you outside of government who have the skills and abilities to make wonderful things out of public data. These are our first steps in

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

Musings of Frank Work, Alberta Privacy Commissioner

I just listened to an IT.Can seminar where Frank Work spoke about the current privacy landscape from his perspective. Some of his thoughts:

We are awash in data that we can’t seem to turn into anything useful. For example, the data that was available on the attempted airplane bomber. Comments were made by the US government that they had intelligence about this individual. Frank’s point is that they really only had data – they were unable to turn it into intelligence.

He sees a trend for organizations to collect huge amounts of data, and try to turn it into intelligence . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

United Nations Information on Haiti

The United Nations’s Dag Hammarskjöld Library in New York has developed a new page with links to information on Haiti. It includes reports, statistics and other resources about the country.

As well, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and ReliefWeb continue to issue updated information on the Haiti Earthquake disaster.

The CBC site has information on how to help. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Search Engines

In updating a list of Internet search engines, I realize how so many have “dropped off”, presumably given the dominance of Google.

I checked Wikipedia’s entry for web search engines and like their chronological listing of search engines from 1993 to current (the history of web browsers is also good).

Mosaic and Magellan anyone?

I was fortunate to be in information studies at the University of Toronto between 1995 and 1997 when web browsing was just starting to take off (and yes, prior to that I gophered on a ‘486 computer on an extremely slow telephone modem).

However, given the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology

Supporting Our Troops by Supporting Their Employers

Yesterday’s National Post contained an interesting story regarding government programs around the world targeted at employers of military reservists. In an effort to support troops overseas legislators in the U.K. and Australia have enhanced job protection laws while simultaneously creating compensation programs that pay employers of reservists a stipend to help offset the loss of an employee during his or her tour of duty.

Here in Canada, federal laws protect the jobs of deployed reservists while recent amendments to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act explicitly permit unpaid leaves of absence for reservists deploying overseas. The C.D. Howe Institute is recommending Canada . . . [more]

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

How Virtual Law Firms Attract and Keep Great Legal Talent

The Demographic Landscape of Law

The recent Law Society of BC Report on the Retention of Women in Law Task Force notes as follows:
• Women have been entering the legal profession in BC in numbers equal to or greater than men for more than a decade, yet represent only about 34% of all practicing lawyers in the province and only about 29% of lawyers in full-time private practice; and
• the legal profession in BC is aging and there will be a net reduction in the number of practicing lawyers – a looming shortage – as older lawyers retire . . . [more]

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

The Common Law Lives

I hope that all members of Slaw are as pleased as I am to note that the British Columbia Supreme Court has recently applied the law of distress damage feasant in upholding (at least partly) the claims of the University of British Columbia to be able to charge those who illegally park on the campus. See Barbour v. University of British Columbia (2009), 310 D.L.R. (4th) 130. The battles between students and the parking police and towing company in my time at UBC were legendary. The cry was “Buck Fusters!”; the towing company being called “Busters”!

There was story that . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Copyright, Melody, and Permutations

I’ve long wondered how song-writers manage it — avoiding tunes that have already been written, that is. The easy answer, of course, is that they don’t, at least not always, as we know most famously from George Harrison’s trouble with “My Sweet Lord” (who turned out both to be and not to be “So Fine”). Putting aside deliberate sampling, which is a recent and overt pushing of legal and conventional limits, the real worry, I suppose, is unconscious plagiarism. What protections against unwitting trespass does the poor composer have?

Three practical “bulwarks” come to mind. The first is pure mathematics . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Human Rights, Google and Internet Explorer…

♫ A moment of despair
That forces you to say that life’s unfair
It makes you scared of what tomorrow may bring
But don’t go giving into fear ..♫

Lyrics and music by: Stone, Greenberg, Daniel Pierre, recorded by Joss Stone.

You may wonder what human rights has to do with Internet Explorer. Prior to the earthquake in Haiti, the news was filled with the cyber-attacks on Google. The latest attacks on Google’s network appear to have originated in China, reported ComputerWorld in a post dated Jan 12, 2010 and were directed at the Google accounts of human . . . [more]

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