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Archive for January, 2008

Readable Laws

There’s a U.S. wiki called Readable Laws that attempts to make American legislation come closer to plain speech than it does when leaving Congress. Because it’s an open wiki, this is a collaborative effort among those interested enough to join — which will make legal specialists shudder, no doubt.

Let me give you something of the flavour of the work being done. Here’s a passage from the Free Flow of Information Act of 2007 (which seems sort of appropriate), a bill that has passed the House:

§2 (c) Limitations on Content of Information- The content of any testimony or document

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

Ditch the Resolutions

Welcome to January, the stern sister to December. While December is about gift giving and celebration, January arrives like the dreaded morning after bearing with it bill payments, back-to-work anxiety and of course the latest batch of New Year’s resolutions: “I will lose weight, build up my Linked-In network, post to my blog twice a week, go to the gym, and meet my billable hours target.”

There has got to be a better way to herald the New Year then marching to the orders of our inner drill sergeant.

I’m a professional business coach, goals and resolutions are the heart . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

What “extinct” Research Tools Do You Miss?

The American Asssociation of Law Libraries sent an email to members today asking the following question: What “extinct” book, research tool, database, etc., do you miss from an earlier time (include the year) and why?

They will publish the results in their Spectrum magazine and I will report back here on their results. Since I assume most of their responses will be based on American law-related resources, I thought I would throw the question out here specifically for any Canadian responses. What “extinct” book, research tool, database, etc., do you miss from an earlier time (include the year) and why? . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Top Business Technology Trends to Watch

The McKinsey Quarterly’s “Eight Business Technology Trends to Watch” discusses eight emerging technologies with the potential to transform companies and markets. They include:

  • Using consumers as innovators: Involving customers in the design, testing and marketing of new products and services.
  • Distributing cocreation: Make better use of the skills and ideas of workers located outside corporate boundaries, such as suppliers and independent contractors.

Also see the blog Portals and KM for a brief discussion of this article. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD

Videos of Columbia Conference on Human Rights Archives and Documentation

The site Resourceshelf mentioned yesterday that the Columbia University website has posted videos of the presentations from an October 2007 international conference on Human Rights Archives and Documentation: Meeting the Needs of Research, Teaching, Advocacy, and Justice.

Scholars, human rights activists, legal advocates, librarians, and archivists from all over the world attended the conference to explore issues around how documentation of human rights situations is created, archived, preserved, accessed, and utilized.

The conference marked the formal opening of the Center for Human Rights Documentation and Research at Columbia University Libraries. The Center is the official repository for the archives . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

Facebook and Toronto

A link in the Slaw Linkblog points to a Star story that claims Facebook has over a 1,000,000 subscribers in Toronto:

More than a million Torontonians made friends with Facebook in 2007, contributing to the “phenomenal growth” in Canadian users last year.

Toronto was the first city in North America to break 1 million subscribers, a recent study shows.

…The study also found that most Canadians who logged on to Facebook are between the ages of 18 to 34

Can this number of users be remotely right?

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that Toronto embraces the entire GTA, . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

1275 and the Business of Law

A piece in the TimesOnline got me thinking in that rambling, associative sort of way appropriate to the second day of the year. Patrick Hosking’s “The law is now an asset class” introduced me to the notion of litigation “as a separate asset class.” According to Hosking, some investors are financing European lawsuits that look like promising sources of profit. Indeed, a new company, (sadly) called Juridica has raised £80 million for such investments.

As you might expect, the article goes on to mention champerty ((, which, together with the other ancient wrongs of maintenance and . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Online Adjournments in Calgary

I just received a notice to the profession about an interesting innovation at the Calgary Courthouse of the Court of Queen’s Bench in Alberta. Online adjournments are now available for routine consent applications and applications not yet served:

Calgary Chambers Adjournments

Please be advised that a new online procedure is available in Calgary for consent adjournments and adjournments required where service has not been effected, for all morning Justice and/or Masters Chambers applications. The new procedure is effective January 1, 2008.

Online adjournments are not available for special applications.

The online adjournments are accessed through the Alberta Courts website at

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

2007 CLawBies Have Been Announced!

In the same tradition of Dennis Kennedy’s Blawggies, Steve Matthews has just announced his 2007 CLawBies – Canadian Law Blog Awards.

Big winners this year are Rob Hyndman who won the Non-Legal Audience Award and tied for the Best Canadian Law Blog (or Blogger) Award and to Slaw for the Best Legal Technology Blog and runner-up for the Best Canadian Law Blog (or Blogger) Award.

Full disclosure: Steve Matthews is a co-contributor and friend here on Slaw, and he also awarded me runner up for Law Librarian Blog Award, which deservedly went to both Michel-Adrien Sheppard’s Library . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2008! Here’s to another great year for the Slaw community!!

I’m wondering if we can start this new year by sharing a recommendation or experience that would benefit others? Something that has made your life easier, or something that you wished you’d done a long time ago?

Let me start:

And I hate to admit it took me this long! … I installed my first Wi-Fi network at home in 2007. It was easily the best tech-lifestyle improvement change I could make. Laptops connecting, easier backups, the ability to watch the kids while working — it’s just easier. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous