Canada’s online legal magazine.

U.S. Searches of Laptops at Border Questioned

We’ve talked half a dozen times on Slaw about the United States Border Services’ practice of instituting suspicionless searches of travellers’ laptops, recommending basically that lawyers take nothing but a clean machine across the border.

Now the American Civil Liberties Union has made a formal request under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act for records setting out or touching upon policies establishing and governing this practice, as well as data as to the number of searches, the characteristics of persons whose devices were searched, and so forth. The official request adumbrates the ACLU argument that these searches may infringe the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

Furlong: It’s Not the End of Lawyers

Issue 12 of the News & Views on Civil Justice Reform, from the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice, released a few days ago, has a piece by Jordan Furlong, “This is Not the End of Lawyers …but this is the End of the Traditional Legal Business Model” [PDF], responding to an excerpt from Richard Susskind’s book, The End of Laywers?, in the same issue.

Furlong wisely would have lawyers construe their coming (already here?) loss of control of the marketplace for their services as an opportunity to transform the practice of law. As always, he writes . . . [more]

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

Nip and Tuck Wars Using Courts

Robert Cribb has a story this morning about the high-profile charges against some Canadian plastic surgeons.

But it also reveals that at least one of the initial complaints against Dr. Behnaz Yazdanfar of the Toronto Cosmetic Clinic were allegedly initiated by the fiancee of a competing surgeon,

Using the name Abby Nash, Hodgson allegedly posed as a patient “for the purpose of filing a spurious claim with the College of Physicians and Surgeons.”

…After her visit to Yazdanfar’s clinic, Hodgson filed a “slanderous” complaint with the college alleging that Yazdanfar “misrepresented her medical accreditation and medical training on the Cosmetic

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

The Winds of Change: Law Firms & LPO

Few would argue that the outsourcing of legal services by law departments to LPO companies offers the law departments a number of benefits — the most notable of which are significant cost savings, productivity and efficiencies. The big question however that is yet to be definitively answered is how does outsourcing of legal services by law firms benefit the law firms? Until this question is settled, I think it’s safe to assume that law firms are going to drag their heels on implementing a LPO strategy.

Let’s face it, law firms are businesses. It’s that simple. Law firms, like any . . . [more]

Posted in: Outsourcing

Digital Humanities Summer Institute

I’ve been attending classes this week at the University of Victoria’s DHSI. From the website:

The Digital Humanities Summer Institute provides an environment ideal to discuss, to learn about, and to advance skills in new computing technologies influencing the work of those in the Arts, Humanities and Library communities.

Perhaps the only institute of its kind, attendees come from all over the world (in my class there are people from Europe, the US, and Thailand as well as Canadians from all parts). We have grad students, professors and librarians.

To get an idea of the content, have a look . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Reading, Technology

The Friday Fillip

When I was young and lived for a while in Washington D.C. I had a revelation about penguins. The zoo there had — may still have — a glass-walled penguin area: you saw the comic creatures shuffle like hobbled waiters, and watched as they dived into the pool — where you saw them magically turn into bullets, streamlined torpedoes of muscle that could dart and swerve and race with astonishing grace. I suspect that someone from Festo, the source of today’s fillip, must have had a similar early experience, because that company is all about understanding and reproducing the . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Trade-Mark Owners Can Prevent Their Marks From Being Registered as Usernames on Facebook

I’m borrowing (or plagiarizing) this piece from my partner Mark Edward Davis

On Tuesday, June 9, 2009, Facebook, an extremely popular social networking website based in the United States, announced that beginning Saturday, June 13th at 12:01 a.m. EDT, users of the Facebook website will be allowed to create personalized URLs for their Facebook pages in the format ( Currently, a Facebook user’s webpages are identified by an id number. While this change allows users to personalize their URL, it also creates the potential for Facebook users to misappropriate a trade-mark as their username ( To prevent the unauthorized . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

Return of the Swine

…flu, that is.

The WHO has declared a pandemic. Most of the increasing numbers of sufferers are to be found in the UK, Australia, Japan and Chile. (See the BBC story, which has a video of WHO’s Dr. Chan making the declaration.)

It is the first time in 40 years that a flu pandemic has been declared. Unlike the one in 1968, however, which killed over a million people, this outbreak seems to result mostly in mild illness. A pandemic is a description of the widespread nature of an illness and not an indication, necessarily, of the severity of . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Gender and Judging

Slate ran a story yesterday on what research says about how gender — or sex — influences judging, “In a ‘Different’ Voice” by Deborah Rhode. This interest was sparked, of course, by the fuss over Judge Sotomayor’s remark in a speech eight years ago about how a “wise Latina woman” might judge. If the effort is to see whether a judge’s nature affects how that person would decide certain issues, it’s surely wasted effort: you don’t have to be of the “what the judge had for breakfast” school to know that judges are not fungible automatons. But drawing . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

CIO Canada’s ‘Quick Hits’ to Trim Legal Costs

A view from outside the legal industry, IT World Canada’s CIO Canada blog offers a couple of “Quick Hits” to help technology companies trim their legal costs. That section clipped here:

Legal Services: 1) Does your policy or are your relationships with Law Firms segregated according to the type of work and risk? Mid-tier firms charge up to 25% less than the large, national firms 2) Do you negotiate fixed professional fees for routine work? 3) Do you negotiate and cap administrative and incidental rates and fees?

Some interesting insights, on fixed fees, commoditization, market prices for routine work, and . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

LawTop Trouble

Google News search has changed the way it reports the results of a search, with the consequence that LawTop is misfiring, bringing down photos, though none is asked for, and linking back to Google instead of two the website that originated the story.

I’m taking LawTop down for repairs and reconsideration. I’ll let its users know when it’s up again by posting about it on Slaw. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Digital Division

In California, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is calling for an end to print textbooks in schools. Thanks to Josette McEachern for posting about this Quill & Quire article on the Edmonton Law Libraries Association blog. There are various spins to this attempt at budget efficiency activism.

A couple of items from the various articles caught my eye:

On average, California schools have just one computer for every four children — a situation that prompted Education Week to give the state a D-minus this year for its use of education technology compared with other states.

From Associated Press

‘A world of

. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training, Technology