Canada’s online legal magazine.

Say What? Google Indexes Videos

Google Labs has created GAUDI, Google Audio Indexing, a technology that “uses speech technology to find spoken words inside videos and lets the user jump to the right portion of the video.” At this stage it seems that they’re only indexing speeches by politicians, but the interesting thing is that Canadian politicians are among the bunch (no separation of Birch and States?) as you can see from this graphic of Jack Layton talking of “health.”

Try running a search for “harper” and enjoy the results.

Given that law is a verbal profession, this technology has the capacity to be . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

A September Tune-Up

The most powerful and complex information-processing tool we have sits between our ears. But are we making the most of it? This September, instead of defragging the hard drive, give yourself a mental tune up to ensure you are making the most of your primary information processor.

I turned to three experts for their take on maximizing brain power: John Medina, neuroscientist and author of Brain Rules; David Allen, productivity coach and author of Getting Things Done; and Gina Trapini, lead editor of the blog Lifehacker.

Tip number one: Sleep to excess, I dare you!

Adults do . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

For Lawyers, Web 2.0 = Web NO

If you’re a lawyer and you’re reading this, you’re unusual. If, by chance, you’re reading this on an RSS feed reader, you’re extraordinary. The 2008 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report is out, with results that confirm most folks’ general impressions:

[W]ebsites and e-mail newsletters are still the digital way that most at­torneys stay current with the news. A small minority reports reading blogs; but actually creating a blog is something the geeky lawyer down the hall—or, more likely, across town—is into.

RSS feeds—a technology that displays headlines from many sites on a single webpage, which greatly speeds the consumption of

. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Practice of Law, Technology

Library of Congress Archives Slaw

The Library of Congress has chosen Slaw as one of the legal blogs it will archive as part of one of its four current web capture projects. Styled (somewhat redundantly?) “legal blawgs,” this project will produce:

A selective collection of authoritative blogs associated with American Bar Association approved law schools, research institutes, think tanks, and other expertise-based organizations, containing journal-style entries, articles and essays, discussions, and comments on emerging legal issues, national and international.

The LOC will make its collection of blawgs available to researchers at the library and, ultimately, via the library’s website. . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

Knowledge Management for Legal Professionals


If you are working in KM, or perhaps just interested, and looking to share notes with others on this subject, Patrick DiDomenico, KM Manager of Debevoise Plimpton LLP in NYC, has started a Knowledge Management for Legal Professionals group in a few different online places (free registration required to see some or all of these):

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

Lawyer Type


Adobe Caslon “a”
Wikipedia

Typography is one of my fascinations. Tiny adjustments to the height of ascenders, to the contours of the very thin lines, to the flares that finish off the ends of strokes — all can affect our reading in ways that are too subtle to be noticed by the ordinary eye. Ever since the invention of movable type, there have been people — typographers — who worried about how to make these minature (minuscule!) moves, how best, in effect, to make reading as effortless and as enjoyable an experience as possible.

But this subtlety has a price. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Practice of Law

Changing Our Health Care System

The CMAJ continued its final piece on fault/no fault medical insurance this past week.

They cite a number of reports by the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA), the body responsible for defending nearly all physicians in Canada:

People dispute why there is so little change in our health care tort system.

Some say that it’s because it works so well. Others cite special interests from legal and insurance industries, poor public awareness, and disempowerment of injured parties.

Because the provinces already provide . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Dershowitz on the Right to Silence

Alan M. Dershowitz, that prolific (some would say prolix) law prof, publicity hound and sometime proponent of torture, has published his third book this year: Is There A Right To Remain Silent? Coercive Interrogation and the Fifth Amendment After 9/11. It gets a good review in the New York Times from Johnathon Mahler, who finds the book for the mostpart accessible by lay readers and, where it becomes dense with constitutional law, worth pushing ahead even so.

The description on the Oxford University Press page says this of the book:

…Dershowitz puts forward a bold reinterpretation of the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Reading, Substantive Law

Back to School…

It’s been a few months since I’ve posted to Slaw (tsk, tsk) so I thought I’d try and redeem myself and share two legal research wikis that I’ve created using PBWiki, for two courses I’m teaching this term. The first one is CML1101: Principles of Legal Research. It’s for all first-year students in the Common Law English program at uOttawa. I’m teaching the bulk of the sections (8) while my colleague teaches the rest (4) as well as the equivalent course for all first-year students in Common Law French. Another colleague is instructing all first-year Droit civil students in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

The Friday Fillip

I’m always amazed at what people don’t eat — or do eat. It’s fun to introduce your kids’ friends to artichokes, and mango — and even in one case lamb! It’s even more fun to find a food that’s new to you, something that can happen a fair bit if you live in a big city in this great immigrant country of ours.

Here’s a list of 100 eatables that “everyone should sample” — the Omnivore’s Hundred, according to Jill and Andrew of Very Good Taste — and the task is to tick off all of the items you’ve . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

New Info Tech Practice Guidelines

The development of technology and its extensive use in the legal field now requires technical competency for ethical practice.

The Ethics and Professional Issues Committee of the Canadian Bar Assocation (CBA) has developed a new Guidelines for Practicing Ethically with New Information Technologies.

These guidelines are intended to help lawyers take full advantage of technology while remaining in complaince with the CBA’s Code of Professional Conduct.

The marketing section mentions blogs starting on page 13, saying that marketing principles and advertising rules must also be abided by. I never thought until today that broken links could be unethical. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

Contra Proferens

The Register directs our attention to a recent case from England, Oxonica Energy Limited v. Neuftec Limited [2008] EWHC 2127 (Pat), in which a talented but testy Deputy Judge slowly removes strips of the skin of a person who drafted the contract under review. Peter Prescott, a highly respected litigator and someone with a masters degree in physics, opens his judgment with:

How do we interpret a formal commercial agreement if it is ambiguous and we have reason to believe that its draftsman did not have a deep understanding of the relevant law? I think that is what this case

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