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Three Major Cases and the Media

The media often have a difficult relationship with the law. Complexity, ambiguity tedium – all combine to prevent readers from fully coming to terms with a case.

Within the last 48 hours, however, I’ve witnessed three contesting approaches.

The first is this week’s Macleans which is unprecedented in giving over 50% of its space to People v. Conrad Black, Baron Black of Crossharbour, the major criminal trial taking place this month in Chicago. Of course it’s factually a juicy case with larger than life protagonists.

For me one of the most interesting parts was the sharp contrasts drawn between . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Custom Google Search Engine to Search Major Canadian Law Firm Websites

I have created a rudimentary Custom Google Search Engine for searching major Canadian law firm websites. As many of you know, there are often excellent newsletters and other bulletins on the law firm websites, especially on new or recent areas of law or important court decisions.

Readers of SLAW are encouraged to try it and provide feedback (make it a “Favourite” or a “Bookmark”). If anyone is willing to work on improving it, let me know and I can “invite” you as a contributor. Ideally, one of our colleagues in an academic law library in Canada would take ownership . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

RSS and Lawyers – What’s Real and What’s Not

I try to read (or at least skim) SLAW postings daily, along with 3 other BLOGS whose daily updates arrive by an email in my Outlook in box. Although our firm uses an enterprise RSS aggregator (which allows us to either display RSS feeds in the context of our portal or to show the RSS feeds as folders in Outlook), I personally don’t seem to have the discipline to check either of these locations on a periodic (ie daily or twice daily) basis. I am forced to admit that without the daily emails, I would miss a lot of useful . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Bilingual Blogging – What Application?

This question came up in a recent meeting I attended, and now I am curious: for those tackling bilingual blogging, is anyone using bilingual software? That is, software that has the navigation available separately in both French and English.

Most popular blogging applications were created in the U.S. and are in English only. I have had a look at the Drupal website. Drupal is Open Source and is available in quite a number of languages now. Has anyone tried to use Drupal for more than one language simultaneously?

Inquiring mimes want to know. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Lossless… Maybe

For some reason the vulnerability of today’s documents came to mind repeatedly this week. It’s a serious and continuing problem for everyone — archivists, librarians, private citizens… and law firms. The email files, the CD-ROM’s (remember them?), WordPerfect files, PDF files, Polaroid photos, all have an uncertain life span, and all are produced with a proprietary technology that will almost certainly have an even shorter life span than the fruit it bears. The anxiety is that in some future we (or our children) will be looking at flaking, curling, crumbling, or unresponsive and cryptic physical objects, and at character strings . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Corporate Blogs

Always on the lookout for hints on how to successfully build and maintain a corporate blog, I stumbled across these 2 helpful articles:

“As blogging grows, so do its do’s and don’ts”,, February 20th
Focuses on what you should and shouldn’t do to ensure your corporate blog is legally compliant.
-monitor content regularly
-train employees on how to comply with relevant corporate blogging policies and laws
-establish clear objectives for the blog(s)
-allow employees to post corporate trade secrets or patentable information

“Five ways to improve your corporate blogs”, Special Libraries Association Information Outlook, January 2007 . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Supreme Court Advocacy Institute Launches Website

A new training organization called the Supreme Court Advocacy Institute has launched its website.

The Institute will “provide pro bono, non-partisan advocacy advice to parties appearing in an appeal before the Supreme Court of Canada”.

Litigants will be able to apply to appear in front of a panel of senior counsel, former Supreme Court law clerks, and professors of law who will critique their presentation and advocacy skills.

It will be a bit like a moot court session that will simulate the experience of appearing before the Supreme Court.

The National Advisory Committee is chaired by former Supreme Court . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Communities of Practice, Social Networks & Knowledge Networks: Get in the Game!

Joel Alleyne, whom we haven’t heard from in a while here at Slaw (busy man!), was the moderator at the Ark Conference I participated in last week. The conference had the unwieldy but search-engine friendly title Best Practices & Management Strategies for Legal Library & Information Service Centers. I heard Joel speak a few years back to the Toronto Association of Law Libraries on Communities of Practice so I was quite surprised at how much the discussion has changed. In a Web 2.0 world, social media has made it even easier for communities to come together.

Without giving . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Où en Est La Fraude?

En même temps, ou presque, qu’en France, une récente étude menée sous l’égide du projet Sentinel, dont la FTC est partie prenante, vient de présenter l’état des plaintes qui sont déposées auprès de leur organisme. En effet, alors que certaines projections, particulièrement de hausse de la fraude, m’apparaissent parfois quelque peu fantaisistes, et motivées parfois par un discours de la peur commercialement rentable, ces données incluses dans ce rapport s’intitulant «Consumer Fraud and Identity Theft Complaint Data – January – December 2006 » sont pour le moins tangibles. Certes, plus de plaintes ne veut pas dire plus . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Hein Online Usage at Toronto Law Firms; Hein’s Continued Content Expansion

It appears that the major law firms in Toronto are equally divided on subscribing to Hein Online based on my recent informal survey.

Nine law firm law libraries subscribe to at least the law journal module on Hein with nine law firm law libraries not subscribing. Some noted that their incoming law students are well aware of the product (from law school) and seem to expect the firm to have it. Those that subscribe seem to love it and cannot imagine life without it. Many of those who do not subscribe expressed cost and budgetary restraints as a factor.

Although . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Purple Numbers, Plinks, Cruft and the SCC

As many of you may know, I’ve been working at establishing The Court, a new weblog at Osgoode Hall Law School that focuses on the work of the Supreme Court. In the course of editing contributions I’ve come to realize how handy it would be to be able to link over to a designated paragraph in an SCC judgment, para numbers being the points of internal reference for online judgments since there are no page numbers, of course.

Unfortunately, in the official judgments available online, the paragraph numbers are not also html internal anchors in the way that . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous