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Archive for May, 2006

Legal Research Mash-Up in 3D

The Edmonton Law Libraries’ Association runs Headstart – an annual 2-day legal research bootcamp for articling students. The firms pay $70 per student (or the students can pay their own way) and the bench, bar, faculty, vendors, and Law Society Library support it.

We focus on the nuts and bolts of daily research tasks, such as locating regulations, and noting up cases. We are big on underlining the practicality of some paper resources. And the true beneficiaries are the librarians… they get intelligent, informed questions right from the start! . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Legal Research – the Heart of the Matter

Is it fair to assume that some of the “legal research” issues of past decades live on in 2006? Back in the 1980’s, when a small number of Canadian lawyers started to call themselves “research lawyers”, the debate was about whether a “research lawyer” could have the same profile and credibility as that accorded to a “line lawyer” (aka a lawyer with a traditional practice). Back then, there was a concern that legal research was something that juniors did until they were in a position to delegate the research assignments to the new “junior” on the team.

I decided to . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Five From Google

Google announced four new tools today at their press conference: - Google Co-op is a way for users to help us improve search.... Whether it's information about a hobby, a profession, or an unusual interest, everyone can contribute to making Google search more relevant and useful for the entire community.- Google Desktop 4 gives you another way to improve search, by personalizing your desktop. New “Google Gadgets” deliver an array of information--ranging from games and media players to weather updates and news--straight to your desktop.- Google Notebook is a personal browser tool that lets you clip text, images, and links from the pages you're searching, save clippings to an online notebook, and then share notebooks with others.- Google Trends builds on the idea behind the Google Zeitgeist, allowing you to sort through several years of Google search queries from around the world to get a general idea of everything from user preferences on ice-cream flavors to the relative popularity of politicians in their respective cities or countries.
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Research Skills: Law Schools and Law Firms

It’s that time of year when law students turn into lawyer-trainees, whether because of articling or summer jobs, and from everything I’ve heard most hiring law firms give their students a crash course in legal research. Brenda Johnson recently laid out for us the elements of her program at (the burgeoning) Bennet Jones LLP. This, and the fact that I too am in the process of hiring a research assistant for the summer, got me thinking about the relation between law schools and law firms.

Law schools have been known to bridle at suggestions from practice that they aren’t . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

End of the Video Store?

We’ve known for a long time that the end of the Video store was inevitable (interesting how they’ve kept that name, despite the fact that the number of actual video-cassettes in such a store is usually now very tiny; the bulk of the stock being DVDs). Today a small article in the Business Section of the New York Times brings it closer. Warner Brothers are going to start making movies and TV shows available over the Internet, starting this summer. Warner are doing this through BitTorent – the software most used for illegal downloading of movies. If you can’t beat’em, . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

What the Judge Actually Said

As Canadian readers of Slaw will likely know, there’s been a small contretemps in Ottawa over the last few days involving a Conservative MP and the Chief Justice. According to the CBC News report:

Saskatchewan MP Maurice Vellacott took a swipe at the Supreme Court on the weekend, prompting a swift response from the country’s top judge.

Maurice Vellacott attributed comments to the country’s top judge, but a spokesperson says she never said them…

“I don’t think it is the role of the judge, whether left or right or conservative or whatever stripe [he] happens to be, to actually

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Blogger Meetup in Edmonton

Well, we were a bit disjointed, but so was most of the evening. We loaded onto lovely city buses from the conference hotel, the Westin, and had a nice 1/2 hour ride to the West Edmonton Mall. We entered via the “Bourbon Street” entrance, and trailed behind our hosting vendor. It was quite amusing seeing the long trail of librarians walking through the mall, up the escalator, and into Red’s. And to make us even more conspicuous, we had been given Olympic-type medals saying “Committed to Excellence” to sport around our necks.

When we arrived we stood in line to . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Sobering Reality

Since it’s my “day” to blog, I’m indulging in a topic quite far removed from legal research and technology (but so have the rest of you from time to time!). This news story reminds me of the freedoms we generally take for granted:

I guess I hadn’t realized or had forgotten how religion trumps the state in countries like Iran. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

You Can Still Be Fired for Surfing the Web?

Despite the fact that Judge John Spooner, an administrative law judge, ruled that a New York City employee cannot be fired for surfing the Web at work in April, the employee has been fired anyway, reports Techdirt and a number of other news sites.

So, slackers beware. Despite the best protestations, it seems that goofing off – whether it be with your iPod, the phone, email or the Internet won’t go unpunished if most companies have their way. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous