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Laundry Law: Stringing a Line

credit: martcatnoc – flickr

A recent opinion piece in the New Scientist, “‘Right to dry’ could wean Americans off consumption,” by Alexander Lee, talks about how much energy could be saved if we dried our clothes on a line rather than in a tumble dryer, and about the various property rules and regs that restrict or outright forbid clotheslines. Lee runs Project Laundry List, which estimates that dryers are responsible for 10 to 15 per cent of the energy consumed by U.S. households.

This reminded me that we reported on Ontario’s ban of clothesline banning about a . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Two Toronto Events

For folks in or around Toronto, a couple of Osgoode Hall Law School events are coming up that might be of interest.

Tomorrow, Friday, October 30, 12.30 – 2.00 p.m., Supreme Court Justice Marshall Rothstein will be speaking on intellectual property, in particular on patentable subject matter and business method patents. The talk will be in Room 102, Osgoode Hall Law School. (Anyone attending who would like to blog or live blog the talk, let me know.) RSVP to

Friday, November 6, 10.00 a.m. – 3.00 p.m., IP Osgoode and the Institute for Feminist Legal Studies will joint . . . [more]

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

Is There a Research Analysis Problem?

One of my favourite tasks as a firm librarian is to provide training (formal) and mentoring (informal) to articling students on gathering materials to answer legal research problems. Another favourite task is identifying trends (industry trends, process trends, changes in the use of language, emerging technologies) that will affect legal practice at my firm. I have noticed some interesting crossover lately.

  • The Legal Education Society of Alberta is hosting an Advanced Legal Research and Writing seminar on December 3 in Calgary and they recently offered a basic Legal Research session
  • A DVD on Advanced Legal Research by Bonnie Fish is
. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: CLE/PD, Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Los Angeles Adopts Gmail

Yesterday, Los Angeles city council voted to become the largest city in the United States to rely entirely on Google’s gmail to run its e-mail system. The city’s 30,000 employees will now have their e-mail managed and stored by Google.

There are certainly concerns with handing over this type of function to a third party. Any gmail user will know that it sees its downtime, like any other service. I would guess, though, it’s probably no more often than any other employer-provided e-mail I’ve ever had.

Naturally, security is a huge concern. After all, it was just weeks ago . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

UK Law Reports Get Their Own YouTube Channel

The Incorporated Council of Law Reporting (ICLR) in the United Kingdom, the people who bring us the authoritative and official Law Reports, have their very own YouTube video channel.

Videos include interviews with the Law Report editors, a history of the ICLR, a video on the process of how a case goes from trial to official report, and a brief introduction to case law research using both online databases and hard copy reference works.

And check out their wonderfully produced video A Tale of Two Citations:

“This short featurette featuring two barristers. One of them serenely competent

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Draft Text of the Copenhagen Convention

Since I suspect that this is something that Slaw readers may be hunting for, here is a copy of the working text of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action on Climate Change for a shared vision for long-term cooperative action.

The Copenhagen website is here .

The Report of the Global Environment Facility is here.

Thirty nine days to go.

. . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

USA Border Searches of Laptops..

♫ Everyone has a secret
But can they keep it
Oh no they can’t…♫

Lyrics and music by: Adam Levine, Jesse Carmichael, recorded by Maroon 5.

The CBA has released: Laptop Searches at the Border: What the Revised U.S. Guidelines Say on their PracticeLink web page.

As they state:

For the frequent business traveller, it bears repeating: U.S. Customs officers have the authority to search and detain any device capable of storing electronic information for any reason; they can examine the electronic device without the traveller present; they can copy from the device or “detain” the device; . . . [more]

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

Open Access Law Program

Science Commons, a subset of the U.S. Creative Commons movement, has an Open Access Law Program. (There doesn’t appear to be a Humanities Commons project; it’s kind of nostalgic to see law as a science.) Essentially the program asks journals to subscribe to a set of principles, to wit:

that a journal 1) take only a limited term license, 2) provide a citable copy of the final version of the article, and 3) provide public access to the journal’s standard publishing contract. In return, the author promises to attribute first publication to the journal.

As of now some . . . [more]

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

Lexis-Nexis Shares Rise 3.3% in a Day

The FT market indexes yesterday were moved by a report from analysts Exane BNP Paribas that suggested that growth in the North American legal information market had resumed. EBP raised its rating on the publishing group to “outperform”, saying that its industry contracts suggested that sales growth had resumed in the American legal information market.

Reuters summarized the report:

Target prices for Reed Elsevier are reckoned to be up by 36 percent, to 600 pence for the UK-listed shares and to 10 euros for the Dutch-listed stock after 16 percent relative underperformance in the year-to-date.

The broker says concerns . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing

Greg Richards on Grace Under Pressure

Weir Foulds’ litigator (and my former colleague) J. Gregory Richards published a wonderfully thoughtful piece originally prepared for the Advocates’ Society called “Grace Under Pressure”, ZEN AND THE ART OF THE LITIGATION PRACTITIONER: Some Strategies for Dealing with the Unexpected and the Uncivil that bears reading for all litigators, and that firms should insist be read by young litigators. Greg’s thirty years of experience distilled to twenty points.

It’s all worth reading but I’ll quote a couple of paragraphs:

3. Great Lawyers Are Good Listeners
When someone speaks, listen carefully. A good talker can sometimes be a good

. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Miscellaneous

Brand Names Face the Ire of the Internet

That’s the title of my newspaper column for this week. It starts off:

CUSTOMER SATISFACTION: It’s a lot harder to manage online when reputations can be made or smeared by campaigns that may or may not be fair

An old customer service axiom says a dissatisfied consumer will tell eight other people about their experience.

Perhaps that axiom should now say 800, 8,000 or more, given that the Internet has made sharing dissatisfaction easier than ever.

My agreement with the newspaper prevents me from reproducing it here this soon after initial publication, but you can read the full article on . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Interview Tips for Summer Students

Next Monday begins another three-day recruiting blitz for summer students applying for positions in Toronto firms. I’ve sat on Hicks Morley’s committee for a number of years now and have relished the experience each and every time.

If you’re participating as a candidate, here are three tips on making a good pitch.

  1. Don’t sell table stakes. You’ll surely get the question, “So what distinguishes you from our other candidates?” We’re being pretty lazy by asking this question, but don’t mess up your answer by selling the attributes that every student must have – “table stakes.” “I’m hard working” is a
. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training