Canada’s online legal magazine.


Some thoughts this morning on memory…

A Boston Globe article last week commented on the problems arising from the virtually limitless “memory” of our digital age, allowing all of our indiscretions and mis-steps to survive forever in cyberspace – and to be easily indexed and retrieved. As librarians and researchers, of course, this is great. But as “normal people” (I use this merely for lack of a better term :-) there are advantages to amnesia.

The article discusses the concept of “data ecology” where companies collecting and holding certain types of data would be required to delete it after . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management


If you’re interested in start pages, you might take a look at Webwag, a recent entry into the market from the former Google guy in France, Franck Poisson. I found it to be quickly responsive, when adding new feeds, easy to move things around in, and appealing enough to look at. One feature I like — which may be available on other start pages, too — is the ability to go to a web page, frame a portion, and from that portion alone create a widget in Webwag. See in the image here (click to enlarge), for example, the . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous


An interesting subject over at Slate: what can we learn from looking at the laws that are not enforced? Lawyer Tim Wu looks for patterns in how law is not applied (in the US).

Almost as much as the laws that we enact, the lawbreaking to which we shut our eyes reflects how tolerant U.S. society really is to individual or group difference. It forms a major part of our understanding of how the nation deals with what was once called “vice.” While messy, strange, hypocritical, and in a sense dishonest, widespread tolerance of lawbreaking forms a critical part

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

More on Plain Language

Thanks to my recent post on Mellinkoff and his book “The Language of the Law,” I’ve had a delighful exchange of emails with Mark Adler, a retired English solicitor and plain-legal-language consultant. He tells me that Mellinkoff’s book was the first law book he read from beginning to end and the first he ever enjoyed. The excerpt from it on “manifest” that was quoted in the Language Log entry reminded him of an incident when he was in practice:

Acting for the proposed tenant of a shop, I received a draft lease from the landlord’s solicitor. It provided (as

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Website Allows You to Reduce Environmental Footprint

My friends and I like to travel. And yet, we also like to reduce our footprint on the environment. And really, the two things are so contradictory. Every time we step onto an airplane, we are doing inestimable damage to the environment. What to do?

Back in May Air Canada announced a carbon off-set program called Zerofootprint. The program has a website where you can submit your flight information, and using information it has on record for Air Canada’s planes, it calculates how much it would cost to plant trees to off-set your carbon usage: Zerofootprint calculator. Now . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Vapourware, Vapour-Wear, and Vapour Where?

Vapourware [vaporware] is, according to “Computer Slang. a product, esp. software, that is promoted or marketed while it is still in development and that may never be produced.” We may just have seen the first reported instance of VR hardware vapourware. Legal Technology reports, under a posting captioned “Is That Your Phone or Your Imagination?” that

“Many mobile phone addicts and BlackBerry junkies report feeling vibrations as if they’re wearing a cell phone when they’re not.” also reports, in the same piece, that

 Dilbert” cartoonist Scott Adams wrote on his blog,, that he

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Thought Leadership – a Long Term Investment

The selling of ‘expertise’ has always been a crucial element to legal marketing. Why else would lawyers with heavy billable targets take months of their valuable time to write a book? Expertise, even more than having years of experience, is an important measure of qualification, and a tool used to grade the modern professional. So the question presents itself: does an Expert rise from the ranks and develop out of peer acknowledgment? -OR – is an Expert a created entity carefully crafted by profile building and marketing? It is my contention that the answer is likely found in that ‘grey . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

I Missed Mellinkoff

Somewhere along the way — probably back in high school (highschool? high-school?) ((Russell Smith, “Bye-bye (or is it byebye?) to 16,000 silly hyphens,” Globe and Mail)) when the rôles of jock and outlaw were foreclosed to me and I needed a way, any way, to get attention if I couldn’t get dates — I seem to have picked up the aim of becoming a polymath, a.k.a. knowitall. Some would tell you that I’m irritatingly close to my goal. Shows how much they know: I’m woefully short of the sort of omniscience I had hoped for, and I’ve . . . [more]

Posted in: Uncategorized

Lesson Learned in Knowledge Management

The annual combined meeting of the Toronto and New York Knowledge Management Lawyers group met this past Friday in New York (the group also included others, including some from Boston and one colleague from the United Kingdom). I learned a lot. In no particular order:

1) Never, ever fly into LaGuardia Airport again. A group of us from Toronto suffered a 12-hour trip to New York due to cancelled flights (apparently due to weather conditions at LaGuardia). On arrival, there was the longest lineup for taxis I have ever seen (likely 300 people or so in line).

2) I intentionally . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management

The Friday Fillip

Take a look at / listen to CBC’s Spark. Nora Young offers “a surprising and irreverent look at tech, trends, and fresh ideas” each week, broadcast twice on radio (Wednesdays at 11:30 a.m. and Saturdays at 4:00 p.m.) and available online (with requisite podcast and mp3 download).

The online version tells you what’s upcoming and gives you the show notes, with links, for the already aired shows. So, for example, on this week’s show:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Legal Post Docket Emerges

Announced yesterday, a new Canadian law blog is now available via the Financial Post blog community called Legal Post Docket. After blogging for a couple months behind closed doors, it *looks* like the wrapping was taken off yesterday morning (Oct. 10th). Not sure on that…. perhaps someone from LPD can chime in with an answer? Also a test to see if they’re following other Canadian legal blogs like Slaw. Timer starts now! ;-)

Most of the entries are from Jim Middlemiss, formerly connected with both Law Times and Canadian Lawyer, and two other notable Canadian legal writers . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Legal Outsourcing in Canada

Outsourcing slow to catch on in Canada” by Daryl-Lynn Carlson in yesterday’s National Post features Rob Hyndman and his view that when it comes to outsourcing and the associated savings, the big firms have “got their heads in the sand.” Rob, who is a noted blawger at, says:

he regularly achieves savings of as much as 50% for his clients outsourcing legal services to India. He sends mostly commercial contract work to an Indian law firm, the name which he guards as a “trade secret.”

The article goes on to quote a number of practitioners at . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law