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Scooter Libby Gets a Break

The White House Commutation of Sentence makes the news. Here for Slaw aficionados is the commutation itself, triggered by the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit‘s rejection of Scooter Libby’s request to remain free on bail while pursuing his appeals and here the justification, setting aside a jury’s decision.

Let the firestorm commence. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Back to 1977

Today’s Australian IT News reminds us that we are approaching a significant Antipodean anniversary. Just thirty years ago – when some Slaw readers were not even born – the then Attorney General Bob Ellicott – whose smiling visage is caricatured below – announced Australia’s first computer-based legal information retrieval system. It was to cover statute law. And at the 4800 baud transfer rate then available, the PDF of the Constitution would take a minute to download. Progress indeed.
. . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Australian Lawyers Stealing Bagels

Is there a funding crunch at Austlii?
When the history of public access to legal information comes to be written, high honours must be given to Graham Greenleaf, Andrew Mowbray and Philip Chung, whose vision has inspired Canlii and Bailii too.

But the latest Annual Report shows that while AustLII’s funding position has improved steadily during 2007, to the extent that it is certain that AustLII will continue to operate in 2008 and beyond, the position has not yet improved sufficiently to enable employment of all core staff needed, or to guarantee equipment maintenance and replacement. The shortfall may . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Comment Form Fix

Thanks to some helpful suggestions by readers, I’ve changed the form you use to comment on posts. You’ll now see a small button bar above the text entry field that will let you make modest formatting choices. As well, you can now “embed” a hyperlink in link text and no longer must use the actual link URL (although that is still possible, if you prefer it).

Please let me know whether the brief instructions above the comment entry form are in any way unclear.

You may also notice that I’ve increased the text size used within the comment entry form. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Fabulous Forum

Not everyone who reads Slaw will be able to take advantage of this; but for those of you who are members of CALL/ACBD, I wanted to make you aware of the Forum feature on the CALL/ACBD Website. If you are a member, once you login with your username and password (click here if you don’t know it) you are able to post messages to the CALL/ACBD online forum. First select Members Only, then Forum in the left sidebar: image. From there you will see one of the 5 broad threads: image. Select one of . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Canadian Podcasting and Law

As Michel-Adrien has pointed out, I had the privilege of attending the Podcasters Across Borders conference held in Kingston, Ontario this past weekend. Participants ranged from hobbyists to business people, but the whole weekend had a collegial community feel to it. I was surprised as to how much law-related content I found.

First, a simple explanation of what podcasting is: it is like a radio show, but based on the Internet. Episodes are portable–they can be played from one’s computer, or can be down-loaded from the Web to an MP3 player such as an iPod. The name is a . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Role of Law Firm Culture in Knowledge Management

My goal was to post this prior to Simon Fodden’s “Canada Day” Friday Filip below. Unfortunately, the screed that follows has nothing to do with colorful flags or the Maple Leaf Rag (however, to see colorful covers of ragtime sheet music, see my recent updates at Classic Ragtime Piano).

In a recent speech I gave in Toronto at an Ark Group presentation on Knowledge Management in Law Firms I spoke on how a firm’s culture affects knowledge management. I addressed 3 broad aspects of this topic:

1) The 8 “Settled Truths” About KM, Culture and Law Firms

2) . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Friday Fillip

This fillip goes all red and white For Canada Day… But lots of places do the red and white thing, it turns out. Humph!

Designer Shahee Ilyas has analysed the world’s flags and has represented them all as pie charts of colour, with the wedges accurately describing the area of the flag so coloured. Below you’ll see the flags of sixteen countries rounded out, so to speak, that I’ve pulled from Ilyas’s work. Canada is in there somewhere. Can you spot it by colour or proportion? This is the true patriot challenge. (And no peeking at the source code.)

1. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous


Powerset is — or will be in September — among other things a natural language search engine. Relying on Xerox Parc’s natural language technology, over $12 million in financing and a staff of more than 40, Powerset hopes to beat the odds that have downed just about every single challenger to Google after the intitial flurry of interest — “the dead cat bounce.” (Parc has reproduced a NY Times piece on Powerset on its site.)

Powerset also plans to rely on community involvement to both train the engine and develop a sustained buzz.

ZDNet has a long piece on . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Judges and Electronic Searches

In Denis v Truemner (2007), 84 OR (3d) 260 (Ont. S.C.J.), in dealing with the costs claimed in the action, Spies J. said:

[26] The disbursements claimed by the defendant are significant. They include airfare in the amount of $398.00 and online electronic legal research in the amount of $606.00. On its face, the amount for research is excessive as the defendant only referred to six cases. Airfare for counsel is not dealt with in the Tariff, although I have the power to award it if I find that this disbursement was reasonably necessary. I note the plaintiff claimed for

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous


Zotero, the cross-platform Firefox note-taking and biblio plugin, now “does” legal research. That is, there’s a format for logging cases and statutes; and the site works “automatically” with CanLII and Lexis/Nexis. So, for example, if I go to the CanLII report of the Johnson v. Johnson case from the Alberta Court of Appeal –

. . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Radio Listening in Canada

For those of you interested in the debate around old media vs. new media, this is very interesting: Statistics Canada released data demonstrating Canadians spent less time listening to radio in 2006 than in previous years. The data shows that much of the decline occurred among teens aged 12 to 17 and young adults aged 18 to 24. Statistics Canada also goes on to say that the popularity of digital music players and online music services have the biggest impact on this decline.

Surprise, surprise. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous