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Archive for August, 2008

Passwords Passé

An article in yesterday’s New York Times, “Goodbye, Passwords. You Aren’t a Good Defense,” by Randall Stross, talks about the need for a new way of authenticating users at sites that require a login. Passwords, as we all know, can be cracked, stolen or simply guessed. The coming prodedure, it seems, involves “identity selectors.” These are applications that live on your computer and manage your “identity cards,” which in turn are, so far as I can tell, bits of code that “talk” to paired bits of code on sites you want to log in . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Beating (Or at Least Dodging) the Unnamed Force

Last week, in my first posting on Slaw, I wrote about what appears to be some sort of unnamed force that draws certain people into law school and then into law firms with little conscious agency on the part of the individual. Years after this process has pushed the lawyer onto a certain path, the lawyer will look up from his or her desk and wonder how they got there and why they are miserable in their chosen career.

I also suggested in my last posting that I have an answer to this problem. “Answer” may be too strong a . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Organic Law

You might have read the title of this post and supposed that it was going to be about fundamental legal principles, but as so often is the case, the title is misleading. (I confess to having fun with the creation of titles to posts.) But actually this is about food, the organic kind. You might have noticed the organic section of your local grocery store seems to claim more and more space every time you visit and you may also have noticed all the different claims being made and attached to food: organically grown, made with organic ingredients, organic . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Anonymity and Torts

[Slaw editor’s note: John Gregory is, among many other things, a Slaw member and also the manager of a highly successful and interesting private email list, ULC_ECOMM, on e-commerce and related matters. He is kind enough to allow Slaw to republish his provocative contributions to that list. We hope that, as they do on his list, they will stir up some discussion here on Slaw.]

Internet Law News today tells us this:

Two female students at Yale Law School who say anonymous, defamatory comments were made about

. . . [more]
Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

The Friday Fillip

First, two confessions: I’m not a fan of the Olympics. And the problem raised in today’s fillip had never once occurred to me before today. I know which of the two is the more shameful as far as I’m concerned.

I find the nationalism in the Olympics more than I can handle. If I were Kronos or Zeus — or even just the Dactyl Heracles (the daemon who founded the games) — I’d have everyone compete wearing orange jumpsuits, or perhaps nothing at all, and punish any mention of a country with one of those great olympian spells that . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Settlement Is Good

A piece in yesterday’s New York Times talks about the results of a soon-to-be-published study which finds that in most cases (61%) where plaintiffs refuse to settle and go to trial they wind up with less than the proposed settlement would have given them. That settlement is good is hardly news: according to the authors of the study somewhere between 80 and 90 percent of cases in fact settle; but the study hopes to raise questions about the reasons for going to trial in the 2054 disputes studied. The study, “Let’s Not Make a Deal: An Empirical Analysis of Decision . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law


Although EISIL (Electronic Information System for International Law) has received a glancing mention here on Slaw, we haven’t pointed at it directly until now. From the “About” page:

EISIL offers the international law expert the depth of resources for sophisticated legal research. At the same time, EISIL can provide the novice researcher with the information needed to undertake a successful search. The comprehensive scope of EISIL enhances its potential as a research and teaching tool.

The search page is organized into the following main topic heads, each of which offers links to “basis sources” in the area and appropriate sub-topics . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law

12 Seconds of Frame

12 Seconds is an online app in “public alpha” that lets you record a video of just that length, in deliberate imitation of Twitter’s 147 character limit. The idea is, I suppose, that people will feel more comfortable recording themselves if the exposure is very very brief. You can arrange the settings such that links to your — what will be the equivalent of Twitter’s tweets? “dozens”? — vids automatically get posted to your Twitter account.

I dunno. Maybe.

At any rate, should anyone want an invitation, let me know and I’ll arrange it.

introducing 12″ on . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

French in the English-Speaking Canadian Legal Profession

First, many thanks to Simon F. and the rest of the Slaw team for asking me to join. I’ve been an enthusiastic reader and occasional commenter on Slaw for the last couple of years, and I am looking forward to the opportunity to contribute more regularly to our exchanges of ideas.

As a topic for discussion, I’d like to propose the following hypothetical scenario. Let’s suppose that tomorrow you are presented with a legal problem requiring a bit of digging. You go to the library, and find, much to your surprise, that every fourth book is filled with empty pages. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Legal Information

O’Brien New U.N. Legal Counsel

Patricia O’Brien, newly appointed to the post of Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and U.N. Legal Counsel, is the first woman to hold that office. O’Brien, who is Irish, has served the Irish government in a number of capacities, including Senior Legal Adviser to the Attorney General and Legal Adviser to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Ms. O’Brien obtained a B.A. and an M.A. from Trinity College, Dublin, and she holds an LL.B. from the University of Ottawa. Sadly, though the U.N. press release announces (link above) this last fact, the Irish Times omits it, saying simply “Ms O’Brien was educated . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Legal Opinion Resource Centre

This is an important (though admittedly recherché) area of corporate practice, which has a great resource of background materials maintained by the ABA Business Law Section Committee on Legal Opinions.

The Canadian equivalents are (hélas) maintained behind firewalls. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law, Substantive Law