Canada’s online legal magazine.

More on Fraud Attempts on Lawyers…

♫ So if I’m being honest with you and it seems like I’m being cruel
At least you didn’t get a rip off, a rip off, a rip off…♫

Words and Music by Ryan Adams, Brad Pemberton, Bradley Smith.

With news this week that a BC law firm has been hit by the counterfeit cheque scam that is washing over Canadian law firms, D. Ross McGowan of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP sent me this Fraud Alert, which I am posting to with his permission:

Fraud Alert: Beware of “New Client” Cheque Scams

Every week the newspaper headlines name . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Wine Law, Again

An article in today’s Globe and Mail, “Wine drinkers are voters too,” by Beppi Crosariol, talked about a crackdown by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario and Manitoba Liquor Control Commission on the practice of direct importation of wine from British Columbia. The infraction, it seems, is of a 1928 statute, the Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. I-3 (considerably updated over the years). The kick in this act is in section 3 (1):

Notwithstanding any other Act or law, no person shall import, send, take or transport, or cause to be imported, sent, taken

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Welcoming a New Entry to the Blawgosphere

Students from the University of Ottawa have just launched a labour and employment law blawg. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this new project develops – congratulations to the Employment and Labour Law Student’s Society Blog.

Hat tip to Michael Fitzgibbon at Thoughts from a Management Lawyer . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Yet Another Attempt at DRM

There have been a few articles recently talking about a new proposed method of digital rights management called Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem. The idea is to control what we do with video purchased online, and allow us to use it on multiple devices. See this LATimes article, and this TechCrunch article.

One problem with DRM is that it never really works. Someone always finds a way around it, so it does nothing to stop pirating on a commercial scale. And it usually causes problems for the average consumer, and puts undue limitations on what we can do with . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Say What? Google Indexes Videos

Google Labs has created GAUDI, Google Audio Indexing, a technology that “uses speech technology to find spoken words inside videos and lets the user jump to the right portion of the video.” At this stage it seems that they’re only indexing speeches by politicians, but the interesting thing is that Canadian politicians are among the bunch (no separation of Birch and States?) as you can see from this graphic of Jack Layton talking of “health.”

Try running a search for “harper” and enjoy the results.

Given that law is a verbal profession, this technology has the capacity to be . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

A September Tune-Up

The most powerful and complex information-processing tool we have sits between our ears. But are we making the most of it? This September, instead of defragging the hard drive, give yourself a mental tune up to ensure you are making the most of your primary information processor.

I turned to three experts for their take on maximizing brain power: John Medina, neuroscientist and author of Brain Rules; David Allen, productivity coach and author of Getting Things Done; and Gina Trapini, lead editor of the blog Lifehacker.

Tip number one: Sleep to excess, I dare you!

Adults do . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

For Lawyers, Web 2.0 = Web NO

If you’re a lawyer and you’re reading this, you’re unusual. If, by chance, you’re reading this on an RSS feed reader, you’re extraordinary. The 2008 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report is out, with results that confirm most folks’ general impressions:

[W]ebsites and e-mail newsletters are still the digital way that most at­torneys stay current with the news. A small minority reports reading blogs; but actually creating a blog is something the geeky lawyer down the hall—or, more likely, across town—is into.

RSS feeds—a technology that displays headlines from many sites on a single webpage, which greatly speeds the consumption of

. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Practice of Law, Technology

Library of Congress Archives Slaw

The Library of Congress has chosen Slaw as one of the legal blogs it will archive as part of one of its four current web capture projects. Styled (somewhat redundantly?) “legal blawgs,” this project will produce:

A selective collection of authoritative blogs associated with American Bar Association approved law schools, research institutes, think tanks, and other expertise-based organizations, containing journal-style entries, articles and essays, discussions, and comments on emerging legal issues, national and international.

The LOC will make its collection of blawgs available to researchers at the library and, ultimately, via the library’s website. . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

Knowledge Management for Legal Professionals

If you are working in KM, or perhaps just interested, and looking to share notes with others on this subject, Patrick DiDomenico, KM Manager of Debevoise Plimpton LLP in NYC, has started a Knowledge Management for Legal Professionals group in a few different online places (free registration required to see some or all of these):

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management

Lawyer Type

Adobe Caslon “a”

Typography is one of my fascinations. Tiny adjustments to the height of ascenders, to the contours of the very thin lines, to the flares that finish off the ends of strokes — all can affect our reading in ways that are too subtle to be noticed by the ordinary eye. Ever since the invention of movable type, there have been people — typographers — who worried about how to make these minature (minuscule!) moves, how best, in effect, to make reading as effortless and as enjoyable an experience as possible.

But this subtlety has a price. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Practice of Law

Changing Our Health Care System

The CMAJ continued its final piece on fault/no fault medical insurance this past week.

They cite a number of reports by the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA), the body responsible for defending nearly all physicians in Canada:

People dispute why there is so little change in our health care tort system.

Some say that it’s because it works so well. Others cite special interests from legal and insurance industries, poor public awareness, and disempowerment of injured parties.

Because the provinces already provide . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Dershowitz on the Right to Silence

Alan M. Dershowitz, that prolific (some would say prolix) law prof, publicity hound and sometime proponent of torture, has published his third book this year: Is There A Right To Remain Silent? Coercive Interrogation and the Fifth Amendment After 9/11. It gets a good review in the New York Times from Johnathon Mahler, who finds the book for the mostpart accessible by lay readers and, where it becomes dense with constitutional law, worth pushing ahead even so.

The description on the Oxford University Press page says this of the book:

…Dershowitz puts forward a bold reinterpretation of the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Reading, Substantive Law