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Archive for September, 2008

Global Legal Monitor Revamped Again

The Global Legal Monitor, a publication of the Law Library of Congress, has been posted about on Slaw here and here and other posts as well. Today, the Law Librarian Blog reports that this useful service is no longer a monthly pdf, but rather a continually updated website with an RSS feed. Thanks Law Library of Congress! Hat tip to Ron Jones. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Beer Law

We talk occasionally on Slaw of wine law — and that’s as it should be. But beer is also a tipple close to my heart, and so I was pleased to learn that a brew I like will be available for sale in Ontario’s Liquor Control Board stores, and not just on draught at pubs that are hard to find. The beer in question comes from the remarkable Scotch Irish Brewing Company of eastern Ontario, makers of the wonderfully bitter Sgt. Major IPA (here I forbear from going into a digression on the history India pale ales and their need . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

CBA on Securing Laptops to Cross U.S. Border

The Canadian Bar Assocation’s Practice Link has a substantial and practical article by Luigi Benetton, “How to Secure Your Laptop Before Crossing the Border.” Benetton sets out ten steps you can and should take if you’re planning to travel to the U.S. with a laptop used in your practice:

  1. Be Anonymous [… which is not a sure thing, hence… ]
  2. Travel with a “Bare” Computer
  3. Turn Off Your Computer, Early
  4. Back Up Your Data
  5. Use a Different User Account to Hold Sensitive Information
  6. Partition and Encrypt Your Entire Hard Drive
  7. Protect FireWire Ports
  8. Store Data on Small Devices
. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Technology

Shirky on Filters Over Information Overload

Joe Hodnicki over at the Law Librarian Blog shared this Clay Shirky presentation last week. The title of the talk was “It’s Not Information Overload, It’s Filter Failure“.

I’m with Joe here. This kind of thinking works on so many different levels. And perhaps someone, someday, will use a Guinness with Shirky as their contest prize. Would hook me in, anyway. :)


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Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Internet and Proof of Foreign Law

Has the Internet changed our practices on the proof of foreign law?

Canadian lawyers and judges are, almost by definition, comparativists. We take for granted from the start of our careers that we may have to look to English law, or American or Australian. Civilistes look at French doctrine, to Planiol, Tunc or the Encyclopedie Galloz.

One doesn’t need to spend much time in Michel-Adrien Sheppard’s wonderful collection at the Supreme Court of Canada to recognize the importance of comparative law to that court. Homage to Claire L’Heureux-Dube.

Our judges would regard as odd the debate between Justices Tony Kennedy . . . [more]

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

Canada’s Do-Not-Call System Starts

As the Ottawa Citizen reminds us, the new national do-not-call system goes into effect this Tuesday:

Canadians fed up with unsolicited telemarketers will be able to register Tuesday on a national do-not-call list established by Canada’s telecommunications regulator and operated by Bell Canada… Residents can register their home and cellphone numbers to block unwanted telemarketers…

The number to call is 1-866-580-3625. The CRTC sign-up page for the do-not-call list is here. It will take up to a month for the telemarketers to comply.

Note that, as the CRTC acknowledges, this will only “reduce the number” of calls, because the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

Zotero Must Be Doing Something Right…

Some updates on the progress of Zotero: positive reactions here and here, and a big fat corporate ‘welcome to the big leagues’ here.

I’ve been wrestling with XML to try to get a Canadian legal style in place for Zotero. Caron Rollins and others at the Diana M. Priestly Law Library at UVic already devoted considerable energies to creating such a style for Endnote gratis. Zotero’s import feature for Endnote styles (currently disabled in the beta download) would save me considerable time and trouble. I wonder where the user-generated contributions to Endnote are in this dispute. Any thoughts . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Ron Friedmann on the State of Legal Outsourcing

Ron Friedmann of Prism Legal Consulting Inc. has surveyed the current state of legal outsourcing in his fantastic article Why and What Lawyers Should Consider Outsourcing on (September 1, 2008).

In the article, he discusses the evolution of outsourcing in law firms and talks about outsourcing in terms of overall law firm management and cost efficiency. He summarizes the benefits, and has put together an excellent table outlining administrative and legal functions that might be outsourced by a firm. He discusses challenges HR departments face, especially with regard to maintaining the right amount of secretarial staffing, and he also . . . [more]

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

Chilling Effects

I’ve just come across an interesting cooperative enterprise uniting clinical work from seven U.S. law schools ((Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, University of San Francisco, University of Maine, George Washington, and Santa Clara University)) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Chilling Effects Clearinghouse has created a searchable database of cease and desist letters, a significant proportion of which are designed to bring a halt to legitimate online activity. You are invited to submit a C&D letter to the database; and the Chilling Effects team will annotate the letter, translating some of the legalese into intelligible prose. There is also a form to fill . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Social Network on Jurafide for American Clients

Those connected to me on various social networks know that I’m tapped into pretty much every one, largely to familiarize myself and review them for their personal utility for client development.

Jurafide stands out and is of particular interest because it is designed for non-American lawyers marketing to American clients. Doesn’t seem to get more niche than that.

The site is intended to provided a competitive advantage to American businesses searching for lower costs, emerging markets, or other international opportunities.

They also seek to promote collaboration in international trade issues, and provide a global reach to smaller firms that . . . [more]

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

How to Institute an Open Access Policy? Stand Up.

On June 10th, my colleagues in the Stanford University School of Education listened patiently as I stood before them explaining how the Harvard Law School had passed an “open access” motion which was going to lead to free online access to all of the scholarly articles that they published. We were on a faculty retreat, at a hotel by the ocean near Monterey, California, with the waves rolling in not far from where we were sitting. An opening had appeared in the program, and I jumped in, asking for the time to explain what such a policy could mean for . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

A Google Vision of Wireless

CNET News had an article on Friday about a patent that Google has applied for in which it describes an attractive vision of how wireless services might be managed in some… ideal future (“Does not apply in Canada”). The essence of the notion, which hardly seems to be a patentable idea, is that your wireless device would seek out among competing signals that which was the strongest or cheapest or some combination of each and use that signal for the immediate instance of communication. Wireless devices would not be bound in any way to particular service providers, and there would . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, Technology: Internet