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Slaw Wins Blawggie – Again

I’m more than proud to be able to say that Dennis Kennedy, that powerhouse of American law blogging, has awarded the 2009 Blawggie for Best Overall Law-Related Blog to Slaw. This is the second year in a row we’ve been favoured with the award — and we’re chuffed, to say the least.

Kennedy sets out the criteria by which he measures the blawgs he reads on a regular basis: They should offer “(1) consistently useful content, (2) a generous and helpful approach, and (3) a combination of commitment and talent, with an emphasis on good writing.”

Of Slaw, he says: . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

Family Law Reform

Let me open by wishing everyone the best of the season!

We at the Law Commission of Ontario were delighted this week to hear the Attorney General announce the government’s plan to reform the family law system. The plan is to use the concept of “four pillars” to establish the fundamental changes that will allow the evolution of the system as time goes on. These are necessary reforms: increased information, greater access to legal services, more use in appropriate cases of different forms of dispute resolution and triage (ensuring that families are sent in the right direction in the system). . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Bad-Cheque Scams on Family Law Matters Targeting Ontario Lawyers

Family law matters seem to be the new flavour of the month when it comes to bad-cheque scams. In the past few weeks Ontario lawyers have sent me almost 20 different emails from fraudsters seeking help on matters involving the collection spousal and/or child support.

One message in particular is making the rounds as I have had at least a dozen lawyers send me a copy of it in the last week alone. A copy of that message follows: . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

This week in biotech was all about action at a distance. Not the quantum entanglement kind, just the plain old mucking with things indirectly kind.

In a post on recent developments in electronic medical records, two items highlighted a role for remote access: a pilot program by the American Telemedicine Association that is using phone, email and videoconferencing to resolve over 55% of issues without an office visit; and a new pacemaker that transmits data to the doctor and the patient to allow proactive monitoring and planning.

Another phenomenon one step removed — BioMS, having had to abandon . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law, Technology

National: Canada’s Best Law Firm Websites

The December issue of the CBA’s National magazine has been released, and includes the article “Canada’s best law firm websites” [pdf] by Luigi Benetton. Nine “legal technology professionals” were asked to rank and comment on law firm websites in a number of categories (including yours truly).

I encourage you to read the full article for the analysis, discussion and quotes, but here is the run-down of winners and honourable mentions with links in the various categories:

Big Firm (multi-jurisdictional)

Winner: Ogilvy Renault LLP
Honourable mentions: Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP

Small Firm/Solo

Co-winners: . . . [more]

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

Slaw in the Holidays

The shortest day of the year is perhaps a fitting day to remind you that we’re going to be taking it a bit easier at Slaw for the next couple of weeks. Posting will likely be less frequent, and probably nil on some days. The holidays also mean that there won’t be a guest firm blogger this month — we couldn’t get Claus and Co. to agree — and everyone else seems to have plans to be off enjoying themselves.

When we come back in the new year, we’ll be starting on an extended process of improving Slaw in a . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Don’t Go Ahead and Jump

…with all due apologies to Van Halen. What would a Winter Olympics in Canada be without ski jumping controversy? In Calgary in 1988 the world watched as Eddie Edwards flew like an eagle. In response to that the IOC instituted minimum requirements for competitors to take part in Olympics and placed more severe restrictions on competitors qualifying for Olympic competition. In 2010, the ski jumping controversy for Vancouver is the IOC’s refusal to allow women’s ski jumping as an event in the Olympics. In a sense the restrictions that came out of the Calgary Olympiad of 1988 indirectly led . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

The Splendid Legacy of Miss Emma Hamlyn

Readers of Slaw may have come across the small volumes that have been published annually for over sixty years – the Hamlyn Lectures. They resulted from an application for directions before Mr. Justice Wynn-Parry of a Trust resulting from the Last Will and Testament of Miss Emma Hamlyn. They’re delightfully accessible general talks on various aspects of English and comparative law.

And the older volumes of the series are now available from the University of Exeter Law School website. CUP is publishing the current volumes.

Miss Hamlyn bequeathed the residue of her estate to her executors as . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Miscellaneous, Reading

iPhone Already Revealing Security Risks

If you check out Steve Matthews‘ great post today, Web Law Predictions for 2010, there is one that is already starting to stand out:

I’ll go out on a limb, and predict that 2010 will be the year a law firm somewhere will declare smart phones to be a security risk, jamming transmission internally or banning usage from inside the firm.

The ABA Journal recently noted concerns raised by Sharon Nelson and John Simek of Sensei Enterprises about the use of iPhones by lawyers. The major issue is that handheld device takes screenshots of documents in order to . . . [more]

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

Web Law Predictions for 2010

At the end of each year, I try to find some time to consider growing trends and how each might play out the following year. I’m just beginning that process now, and honestly, I’m not even close to a complete list. For those items I do have, however, I thought it might be interesting to present them in the form of predictions. And then with any luck, others here at Slaw might consider adding an item or two of their own!

So here we go:

More Social in our Enterprise Software: We know some of these features are in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

SCC Judges Demonstrate (Not)

A number of people in Quebec were annoyed that the Supreme Court of Canada struck down a provincial law that prohibited people from getting their kids into English-stream public education by sending them first to an English-language private school. The form of protest was unusual – dressing up as SCC judges and demonstrating in the metro.

If the judges do ride the underground in real life, one suspects they leave their red gowns with ermine flashing at the courthouse. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The More Things Change / Plus Ça Change

[Warning: The following missive contains attempts at humour. Reader discretion is advised.]

In the early part of the last century, one could find judges railing about “scholastic theories” of this and that. What this and that was doesn’t matter. “Scholastic” was not used as a compliment. In the mid part and last part of the century, the denigration of choice became “abstract metaphysical theories”.

The SCC has now introduced a new species of metaphysics applicable to, at least, insurance policy interpretation, and eventually , we should assume, contract interpretation generally …. DRUM ROLL PLEASE:

“law office metaphysics”.

 See Co‑operators . . . [more]

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