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This Week’s Biotech Highlights

Everybody wants their 15 minutes of fame, and this week there was plenty of recognition to go around — both in the biotech community and in the legal community.

The FDA, famous for restrictive rules on communications, is having a hard time adjusting to current internet trends, leading to some controversial decisions about Google search ads. Trying to do better, FDA held a two-day hearing about the use of the internet and social media for online drug marketing so it can calibrate its decisions for a new era. Rule-making will follow at the old era pace, though.

Simon Fodden . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Marketing, Substantive Law

Psst …. Want to Buy a Law Firm?

The prospect of Tesco or the Co-op owning a law firm or offering legal services had leader writers in the English legal press in a tizzy, but the Legal Services Board today produced a complex consultation document on Alternative Business Structures which sets out eligibility tests for significant equity investments in firms providing legal services. . . . [more]

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

The Economy Hits Legal Information

Doubtless there have been other stories like this, but multiple headlines on the same day start me wondering whether after the North American economic earthquake settles, we won’t have very different local and community outreach for legal services and legal information: . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law

Law Firms Recruiting Through Social Media?

It’s a law student’s dream – or maybe a nightmare. Law firm recruiters scouring social media networks to find an appropriate candidate for their firm.

The current recruitment process does little to reveal the personality, collegiality, drive and habits of applicants. It does nothing to demonstrate their business connections, an important quality for “finders,” or political involvement, for firms that engage in lobbying and government relations.

The majority of law students do spend hours on social media platforms, usually behind walled gardens that they think are impermeable, so why wouldn’t law firms go where they are? We’ve already . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law

The Creative Commons Toque

Last week Leslie Ellen Harris correctly pointed out in her Slaw post Using Flickr Photos that we should not assume content available on the web is freely available without copyright. She gave photos on Flickr as the example.

One thing I love about Flickr, however, is that it allows those of us who upload photos to designate Creative Commons licensing as an alternative. When I am looking for images for blog posts or presentations, I will often use the advanced search on Flickr to look for images available under Creative Commons (especially for commercial use)–scroll down on the advanced search . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Substantive Law

Deputizing the Online Industry?

The Vancouver Sun is reporting that the current government plans to introduce a Bill in Parliament tomorrow that will require internet service providers to report suspected child pornography on sites they host or that are linked from sites they host: Ottawa aims to strengthen Internet child porn laws.

The text is not available, but when considered along with Bill C-47, the government appears to be singling out the telecommunications industry to take on additional law enforcement duties. We’ve generally been technology neutral in our criminal laws, but there seems to be a trend emerging to focus on what’s online . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Technology and Its Effect on Access to Justice, Advocacy, and the Judiciary

On the 22nd of October 2002 the evidentiary phase of GasTOPS v. MxI commenced in a regular courtroom in Ottawa Ontario. On March 23, 2006 after approximately 300 days of hearing and after approximately 2800 exhibits (70,000 pages) were entered into the record I reserved my decision. Over the next 20 months counsel submitted their written submissions (3500 pages). On September 25, 2009 I released my Reasons for judgment wherein I granted the plaintiff judgment against the defendants in the amount of approximately $11.1 million dollars.

The trial was conducted in a paperless environment and the trial record consists of . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Practice of Law, Substantive Law

When Scholarly Publishers Reduce Author Rights in the Face of Open Access Initiatives

It is bound to happen. In trying to move an idea like open access (to research and scholarship) forward, you can reach a point where it seems that such efforts are contributing to the problem, rather than being part of the solution. It would be overstating it to observe that when Moses demanded, “Let my people go,” in ancient Egypt, the Pharaoh’s heart only hardened. Let me just say that at times just before the dawn, there can appear to be little hope of light.

Or so it seemed to me, when the editor at Educational Theory emailed me with . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Judges Guest Blogging

This month our guest blogging institution isn’t a firm, but a group of judges from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. As always, when we have an institutional guest blogger, we’ll identify the guest posts with a banner. You’ll see the one below starting tomorrow, Monday:

We hope you’ll join in and give our guest the benefit of you opinions. . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Firm Guest Blogger

The Benefits of Facebook, or Lack Thereof, When Depressed

Nathalie Blanchard of Bromont, Quebec, has been on sick leave for a year and a half for long-term chronic depression.

The 29-year-old woman had her benefits cut by IBM after she posted pictures on Facebook at a male stripper show, her own birthday party and on holidays. Her Manulife representative told her that,

I’m available to work, because of Facebook.

Ironically, most of these events were recommended by her physician as part of her treatment.

Depression is not like other disabilities where Facebook has been used to demonstrate lack of impairment. The complex parameters of a psychosocial condition like depression . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law


Notwithstanding the fine weather that many parts of the country are experiencing as November moves towards December, late November in Canada is usually a dark time for those of us with the golf bug. Into that dark, a little bit of legal light shines with the knowledge that a Happy Gilmore shot has been judicially defined.

In 2008 NSSC 280 para. 7, the Happy Gilmore shot has been defined as, “…running from five to ten feet behind the ball and hitting it on the run.” In finding that the Happy Gilmore shot breached the standard of care owed to other . . . [more]

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

The Friday Fillip 2

As a counterpart to Simon’s post below on applying modern technology to 16th century information, I thought I would offer Pranav Mistry’s SixthSense Technology described as “a wearable gestural interface that augments the physical world around us with digital information and lets us use natural hand gestures to interact with that information.”

Doesn’t sound like much?

Watch the video of his explanations here from the TED Conferences page. I mean watch it now (a colleague just made me aware of it). It is one of the most breathtaking things I have seen and was completely shocked that I was not . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous