Canada’s online legal magazine.

Lawyer Twitter Practices: 29 Do’s and Don’ts

Twitter is undeniably the social media darling of 2009. From celebrity stalking to Oprah coverage, the monopoly of micro-blogging is now pushing 10 million active users. The legal profession is equally aboard this bandwagon, with adoption numbers rising fast. Where tools such as LinkedIn and Facebook have traditionally helped to create value from existing relationships, Twitter is fast gaining its reputation as a tool to help generate new relationships. 

So Twitter gets your foot in the door? A great tool for business development, right? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is a very lawyeresque ‘it depends’. While deriving business value . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Wolfram Meets Berkman

Book off an hour or so at 3 p.m. ET this coming Tuesday, April 28, to join, via webcast, the “sneak preview” of the grandly named Wolfram/Alpha Computational Knowledge Engine at Harvard’s Berkman Center. As we told you last month in One to Watch?, Wolfram, a mathematician, has kept wraps around his project while talking up its potential in general terms. Will it be a search engine? Will it be an answering tool? Will it be so much more? Now you can tune in as Stephen Wolfram and Jonathan Zittrain, law prof at Harvard expose some of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information, Technology

Facebook Surfing Cost Swiss Woman Her Job

A woman in Switzerland working for Nationale Suisse told her employer she couldn’t work at the computer, and had to stay home in the dark.

A fellow employee supposedly noticed her surfing on Facebook and reported her. And yes, it cost her the job.

The employee’s quite plausible position was that she was surfing Facebook on her iPhone in bed. She also accused them of spying on her.

Most workers are becoming aware that privacy controls should be used to protect personal information, even from employers. And persons added as “friends” probably shouldn’t include those that will try to get . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

First Day of Summer? Time for a Spam Bill

We’ve blogged recently on studies showing the colossal waste of time and energy that spam causes. But fret not, the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, today announced that the Government of Canada is delivering on its commitment to protect consumers and businesses from the most dangerous and damaging forms of spam. The proposed Electronic Commerce Protection Act (Bill C-27) will deter the most dangerous forms of spam, such as identity theft, phishing and spyware, from occurring in Canada and will help drive spammers out of Canada.

“Our government knows how damaging spam can be to Canadians and Canadian . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law, Technology

Green Notes From LibraryLand

Here are a few interesting projects, ideas, and initiatives highlighted on library blogs over the last couple of days. First, from Instructibles, how to build a high-speed book scanner from spare parts, trash, and cheap cameras, for about $300. According to the author, this is for a “greener future with more books rather than fewer books.”

Next, Free Green, a place to get free building plans that are energy efficient and green in other ways. Each one comes with detailed stats on energy consumption, materials, etc. They also offer advice customization, and finding builders. The site is a . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Federal Court Decision on Khadr

Yesterday’s Federal Court decision of Mr. Justice O’Reilly, Omar Ahmed Khadr v. The Prime Minister Of Canada, The Minister of Foreign Affairs, The Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and The Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police 2009 FC 405, is available in PDF.

[3] I am satisfied, in the special circumstances of this case, that Mr. Khadr’s rights under s. 7 of the Charter have been infringed. I will grant his request for an order requiring the respondents to seek his repatriation from the United States. Given my conclusion regarding s. 7, it is unnecessary for

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Friday Fillip

It’s hard for some of us to read a book without feeling compelled to comment as the author’s argument unfolds. It may be that you scoff or cheer out loud. Or you may be one of those who read a book with a pencil or pen at the ready, leaving your remarks on the page to persist beside the printed marks, in which case you create what are known as marginalia.

It seems that this urge to annotate has existed for as long as Gutenberg’s gifts have been around — longer, indeed, as you see in the picture below, where . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Project to Digitize Ontario Legislation “Going Like Gangbusters”

The notice from Quicklaw about legislation that Shaunna just mentioned has been causing a fair bit of discussion in TALL‘s listserv. As a result, Louis Mirando, Chief Law Librarian at Osgoode Hall Law School has described the Ontario historical legislation digitizing project that is currently underway. With a slight bit of editing, here is Louis’ message, reprinted with permission:

most recent efforts have been undertaken as part of, and are funded by, the “Ontario Digitization Initiative” (ODI) of the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL). As its pilot ODI project, OCUL is digitizing Ontario legislative materials from the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Technology

Bills Source Notice

This notice is making the rounds:

Notice to Quicklaw Customers:

Please be advised that the bills sources will no longer be available on the Quicklaw™ service starting in May.

However, customers can still access a full annual statutes service for Canada (English and French), Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario on the Quicklaw service. Full-text versions of the annual statutes are made available on Quicklaw upon receipt of royal assent. The annual statutes sources contain the commencement information for each annual statute, as well as a list of the acts amended by any particular statute.

Hopefully someone will fill the void . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Alberta’s Taking Names

Or will be, if Bill 42 [PDF], introduced into the Alberta Legislature two days ago, is passed into law. The bill would amend the Gaming and Liquor Act to permit licensees, i.e. bar owners and their employees, to take down the names of any patrons they suspect of being gang members and to share these names with other licensees and the police. Specifically:

69.2 (1) A licensee may, before allowing a person to enter licensed premises, collect the person’s name, age and photograph.

(2) If a licensee has personal knowledge or reasonably believes that a person referred to in subsection

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Ratifying the Electronic Communications Convention

I would like to raise again whether Canada should ratify the UNCITRAL Electronic Communications Convention (ECC). The ECC sets out in treaty form some of the basic rules of the 1996 Model Law on Electronic Commerce about how legal requirements that appear to need paper writings can be satisfied by electronic communications. The Convention operates only for international contracts, though it can be used as well to interpret other conventions to which the ratifying country is a party.

Thus the Convention says that information shall not be denied legal effect solely because it is in electronic form; that a legal . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Wikipedia as Evidence

A NJ Appellate Division court says that Wikipedia is too malleable to be used as evidence in Palisades Collection v. Graubard, A-1338-07.

Mary Pat Gallagher of the New Jersey Law Journal reported yesterday,

“[I]t is entirely possible for a party in litigation to alter a Wikipedia article, print the article and thereafter offer it in support of any given position,” an appeals court held. “Such a malleable source of information is inherently unreliable and clearly not one ‘whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned,'” such as would support judicial notice under New Jersey Evidence Rule 201(b)(3).

The decision reversed an . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology