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Archive for November, 2008

Avoiding Conflicts of Interest Claims

Hi everyone. I’m very pleased to become a member of the SLAW community.

For my first post I want to talk about conflicts of interests claims. They are a key area of risk as I detailed in an article I recently penned on The Biggest Malpractice Claims Risks for LAWPRO Magazine. LAWPRO provides legal malpractice coverage for the 21,800 lawyers in private practice in Ontario. Over the last eleven years in the LAWPRO claims portfolio, conflicts of interest claims ranked fifth by both count (1,322 claims) and cost ($6.0 million), accounting for 6.4 per cent of claims reported and . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Amsterdam Law Forum: A New Journal

The Amsterdam Law Forum, an online law journal from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, has just released its first volume, which focuses on the theme, “Inclusion and Exclusion in Western Immigration.”

The A.L.F. strives to offer an online platform for legal and policy commentary articles, with an academic character, yet accessible to a broader public , and furthermore serve as a forum for academic publications by young legal scholars…

The student-managed journal is not peer-reviewed at the moment, though they plan to become so in the future.

Not only is the ALF open access, but it’s also published using open source . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Legal Information: Publishing

U.S. Elections: Video Your Vote

In the Video Your Vote project, YouTube and PBS are asking U.S. citizens to video their polling stations today. They are hoping for citizen journalism-style updates as well as recording of problems at polling stations.

From the Video Your Vote website:

“Wait – are you really allowed to take video at the polls??”

Most states do allow you to film at your polling place. However, some states expressly prohibit videotaping and others have strict rules about how close you can tape near a polling place. For information on your area, visit

In any location, basic rules of decency apply

. . . [more]
Posted in: Uncategorized

Dan Pinnington

I’m pleased to be able to report that Dan Pinnington has joined Slaw as a regular contributor. Dan is the Director of practicePRO at the Lawyers’ Professional Indemnity Company (LAWPRO) in Toronto, an important initiative to give lawyers the tools and resources to avoid malpractice claims. Dan practiced as a litigation lawyer for a number of years and has extensive experience with legal technologies, having been Manager of Information Systems at his firm.

Dan writes and speaks on risk management, technology and law practice management issues, and is currently editor-in-chief of the ABA’s Law Practice Magazine. As well he . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

Words and Phrases Compared

The recent announcement by Carswell that its multi-volume print work “Words and Phrases Judicially Defined in Canadian Courts and Tribunals” is available online means that both Westlawecarswell and LexisNexis Quicklaw now offer access to edited extracts of of the meaning of words and phrases as discussed in judicial decisions.

“Plugged in” legal researchers should note however that this does not mean that the same information is now available on both services. Each database is a unique compilation of words and phrases, with different operating guidelines and scope, and different sources of content. Depending upon your need, both services may have . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Reading

Some McGill Guide Available Online

I stumbled across part of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition website, where I found a good swathe of the 6th edition of the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation available online in PDF. The parts that are up are, of course, those that deal with “international materials.” Still, you’ll find nearly 75 pages, all in all. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Reading

Webinar on Screencasting & Podcasting for Training in the Law Library

I noticed this webinar from the American Association of Law Libraries and thought others might be interested:

How to Train Without Showing Up

Date: Wednesday, November 12, 2008 – register by November 5th.
Time: 12:00 – 1:15 p.m. Central Time

Find out how screencasts and podcasts can be created and used for educational purposes. Our speakers will share how they use screencasts and podcasts in their libraries and will offer you suggestions on how you can use them for training purposes in your own library.

In this webinar you will:

  • Get introduced to how screencasts and podcasts are created
  • Receive
. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: CLE/PD, Technology

Riding the Alpha Waves

I’ve been away for a bit, but I’ve been busy studenting (a new word in honour of the impending replacement of W). I expected somewhat of a challenge from the shift to being a full-time student but I will freely admit that it has been a bigger challenge than I first anticipated. It has been more of a mindset question more than any other factor (and perhaps this has been exacerbated by the fact that I am accustomed to being at the front of the room standing and doling out information rather than sitting down and absorbing). But I have . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: CLE/PD

SCOTUS to Hear Argument on Indecent Words

On Tuesday of this week, while the rest of the United States is going to the polls, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear argument in Federal Communications Commission v. Fox Television Stations, et al.. (The docket # is 07-582 but the link generated by the U.S.S.C. site is currently giving a 404 error.) This case has its recent origins in the reaction to a few television broadcasts in which performers used profanity, particularly, variations on the word “fuck.” The F.C.C. had a rule permitting “fleeting expletives,” which rule was changed in 2003 to forbid any use of certain words . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Is Obama a Mixed Blessing for Canada?

There might be a downside for Canada if Obama wins, according to some experts.

The Rideau Institute released a report, How the next US president could affect our country, where Rideau president, Steven Staples had some harsh words for both major political parties,

By virtue of conjoined geography, history, economies and political cultures, Canada and the United States are inextricably linked, and it is only a matter of time before the shifts in U.S. politics realign Canada’s politics as well.

One need look no further than the dramatic rise of the U.S. national-security state in the wake of the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

It’s Not the Tool! It’s YOU!

I sometimes get asked silly questions like “which social network is the best?” or “which is better for law firms, content marketing or email newsletters?”

I find these questions silly, not because lawyers shouldn’t make value judgments on where to invest their time and money, but rather, that questions like these can inspire thinking in exclusionary terms. That one web tactic or service is vastly superior to its competitors, or that personal experimentation should be abandoned. Here’s the simple truth: it can’t.

Most law firms wouldn’t purchase a software package without a trial test period, and by the same . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing