Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for February, 2008

Closed Networks & the Problem With Facebook

This month’s edition of Web Law Connected could be seen as a bit of a rant, but the honest intent here is to explore the underlying marketing value offered to lawyers by what has become the 800-pound gorilla of social networks – Facebook.

It’s difficult to refute the fact that Facebook is the fastest growing entity on the web today, and the adoption rate within the legal community has been no different than that of any other group within the Facebook walls – it’s expanding, and fast. While some law firms are guarding business productivity by blocking access, we’ve also . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

The Friday Fillip

Kevin Kelly is one busy guy. An editor of Wired, he’s also the man behind the Cool Tools blog — and an author of books. But, as is so often the case on Fridays, I’m going to eschew (god I love that word!) books of unremitting text and point you to Kelly’s book of photographs. Asia Grace is a collection of photos taken by Kelly during a protracted ramble through large tracts of that continent, and he’s put the beautiful results on line for our weekend delight.

What you see above is merely one cluster of thumbnails out of a . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Order and Law: Rebuilding the Trust

The RCMP Task Force on Governance and Cultural Change has recently made its Final Report (pdf) available on the web. The Introduction to the report and other information can be found here. As part of its mandate the Task Force commissioned several other reports which can be found at the URL above. These include:

* Background paper prepared for the Task Force on Governance and Cultural Change in the RCMP
by: Gilles Paquet

* Report to the Task Force on Governance and Cultural Change in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police: Examination of Internal Management Structures of Police Forces
by: Police . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

SLA Toronto Chapter Program on Knowledge Management

Special Libraries Association Toronto Chapter’s recent newsletter has a summary of a great presentation held in November on knowledge management. Presented by Laura Knapp, Manager, Knowledge Services at the Ontario Securities Commission, Laura Purves from L. Purves Consulting, and Heather Ritchie, Knowledge Manager at McCarthy Tetrault, the discussion focused on the following:

  • What is KM?
  • Challenges to KM successes
  • Key KM skills
  • Importance of KM sponsors
  • Suggestions to ensure success
  • Knowledge managers vs. librarians
  • Measuring the success of KM projects
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management

Laptops and Cross-Border Security

An article in today’s Washington Post addresses a number of instances in which U.S. border security personnel have invaded the privacy of traveller’s laptops, requiring them in some cases to yield their ID’s and passwords and in some cases confiscating the equipment. The people whose computers have been the subject of American interference are described by the author of the article as typical business travellers.

I believe it would make sense for other Canadian law firms to do as Blaney McMurtry LLP has done and travel across the U.S. border with completely clean, i.e. empty, laptops. Lou Brzezinski of Blaney . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

Google Forms

Now this is useful: Google announced today that you can create forms using spreadsheets in Google Docs. You may find it easiest to open a new spreadsheet, save the blank document, and go immediately to “Share,” where you’ll find the share as a form option. Following that will offer you the chance to create a form using a wizard. All of which is cool. But the kicker is that you can then send this form out via email and your recipients can fill it in without having to log into Google or, indeed, have Google accounts. Their data, sent by . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Miscellaneous, Technology

Google Search Results Experiment

Back when it was sunny and warm, I posted about Google Labs’ experiment with displaying search results along a timeline. Now that experiment has moved one step further into the mainstream. A week or so ago Google announced that it was making three new search views available, still on an experimental basis, but now letting you join the trial (and presumably requiring you to have a Google account that you’re logged into).

If you opt to join the “alternate views for search results” experiment from the sign-up page your Google searches will thereafter display three new buttons at the top . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Technology

High-Tech Ballot Counting

The connection to our usual subject matter is tenuous, but in honour of the biggest day in this year’s US primary schedule, I thought I’d post a few links about the ongoing love-hate relationship the US has with electronic voting machines.

For now, I’ll avoid the conspiracy theories linking machine-maker Diebold to various groups and politicians. But there are many concerns about the technology. Here’s a few to look over while you wait for the results to start rolling in:

  • Technology Review writes that the biggest concern is not security but useability – people aren’t sure whether their vote is
. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

StatsCan on Legal Aid

Statistics Canada’s annual report, Legal Aid in Canada: Resource and Caseload Statistics, 2006/2007, is now available online [PDF]. There’s a summary available on The Daily, too.

For those of you interested in the bottom line, the takeaway quote is:

Canada’s legal aid plans spent $659 million on delivering legal aid services in 2006/2007, or the equivalent of $20 for every Canadian.

This seems quite modest to me, given the sorts of amounts we spend on health and education.

Just over 11,000 lawyers, from both the private sector and legal aid plans, provided legal aid assistance in 2006/2007, a 9%

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

Working From the Beach

The snow and cold here means it’s holiday season in the great white north. For some of us, that means leaving our regular life behind. For others, that means keeping tabs on your everyday life – both work-related and domestic – from a distance. For those unfortunate ones in the second category, here’s a list of some of the online tools you can use to stay in touch.

Online Tools for Working Abroad

One fantastic idea on that list that I hadn’t seen before is called Earth Class Mail. For $10 a month you can have all your snail . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology