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Archive for April, 2008

The Friday Fillip

…two days late.

And about a half important thing: the semicolon. It seems that there’s agony in some quarters again about the fate of the least celebrated member of the punctuation family this side of the interrobang. Semicolons (which seems an unfair name because it’s more than just half a colon: there’s a whole virgule in there too!) are either liked (can’t say loved) or hated (can say loathed). I’m solidly on the “like” side, finding them quite useful for joining two related thoughts that are somehow too hefty to be married by a mere comma but not sufficiently . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Ted Tells Us How – Updated

Ted Tjaden‘s excellent online guide on LLRX to doing legal research in Canada has been updated. The sub-heads are as follows:

Props to Ted. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

A Major-League Approach to New Lawyer Recruitment

Now that baseball season is (finally) with us again, I’d like you to meet Kevin Ahrens. He’s not a lawyer, judge or law professor – he’s a 19-year-old from Houston who has foregone college to start a career as a professional baseball player. Last June, the Toronto Blue Jays chose him with their first-round pick in major-league baseball’s annual amateur draft (he was the 16th overall selection).

Kevin plays shortstop and has been a very productive hitter throughout his amateur career, which consists of three all-district and two all-state selections during his time at high school. He stands 6’2″, . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Open Source Alternatives

I was searching for a free Visio-like product today and luckily came across this great website that lists open source software alternatives to commercial products:

The site allows you to browse through various software categories and compare pros and cons of both commercial products and open source software.

The editor of this site, Anders Ingeman Rasmussen, boldly states in a sort of fortune cookie way: If you want success, open source is the way to go.

Who knew the answer was so simple… . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

No April Fools

On April 1st, 2008, a couple of significant pieces of legislation came into effect in Nova Scotia, no foolin’. Firstly, Nova Scotia became the first jurisdiction in the country to ban smoking in vehicles when children are present. More specifically, by Chapter 54 of S.N.S. 2007 amending S.N.S. 2002, c.12

1. Section 5 of Chapter 12 of the Acts of 2002, the Smoke-free Places Act, as amended by Chapter 59 of the Acts of 2005, is further amended by adding immediately after subsection (2) the following subsection:
(2A) No person shall smoke in a motor vehicle when any person under

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Court of Appeal Videos… Writers’ Strike?

The Ontario Court of Appeal has gone off the air. Video coverage of certain appeals, which started last September (see Ontario Court of Appeal is Webcasting on Slaw) has apparently stopped and, more’s the pity, the archive of past hearings has gone. There’s nothing on the webcasting page now except the promises you have to make to get admitted to the screening room.

Watching a court of appeal in action is hardly up there with a viewing of the Sopranos or Six Feet Under, but it has its own attractions, and it would be a shame if the project was . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law

University of Toronto Symposium – Video Gaming: Technical, Social and Legal Dimensions

The first video gaming research symposium at the University of Toronto will be taking place as follows:

Tuesday May 13th 2008
8 am – 4 pm

40 St. George Street
Bahen Centre for Information and Technology
University of Toronto
Room 1190

Video gaming incorporates and impacts cutting edge research in the fields of computer science, engineering, sociology, management and law. We are delighted to present a broad array of research projects that are representative of the breadth of work underway at the University of Toronto.

The presentations will focus on the technical aspects of video game design and then consider

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

Creating an RSS Feed From CanLII Search Results

I’d like to thank Dominic Jaar for firing up this new screencast on tracking new decisions on CanLII using RSS. The website Dominic uses is called Feedity. A great tool BTW…

I wrote a post back in 1996 on how to scrape cases using Feedtier, the web-predecessor to Feedity. Same software, same technique. But this time you get a great full size movie on how to do it!

Nice work Dominic! . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Makes You Think

The case of Q. (P.) c. L. (A.), Quebec Superior Court, concerns a claim by a father for damages against his former wife and the mother of his children, based on the fact that she made unfounded allegations of improper sexual touching of their two young daughters against him. The catchlines in 52 C.C.L.T. (3d), 242, say in part, “… Mother’s vindictive behaviour and untimely fashion in which she launched infernal machine against father constituted civil faults for which she was liable”. I cannot find the phrase which was translated into “infernal ma-chine” in the reasons for judgment, though . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Practical Law

Times Online has a nice little piece from an interview of Rosemary Martin, the new chief executive of The Practical Law Company, in which Ms Martin argues that law firms will need to change the way they do business, and in particular move away from charging by the hour.

“The clients have been supine,” Martin says crisply. That may be about to change if she has her way. “For the past 25 years lawyers have largely resisted changes. My goal is not to make lawyers poorer but I do want to make law firms more productive and effective.” If

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