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Archive for December, 2008

Small Firms Have a Tech Advantage

Speaking of “Shouldn’t it just work“, I have been thinking that a sole practitioner or small firm actually is now at an advantage over larger firms regarding technology.

Software required to run law firms – such as accounting and document management – has typically been created specifically for law firms. That means it is not cheap, and is rarely cutting edge.

But tools are now available that give essentially the same functionality (or at least the 80% that one actually needs) that are low cost and easy to use. Online accounting services for example, or OneNote and search . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Shouldn’t It Just Work?

♬It’s work, the most important thing is work..♬

Words and Music by Lou Reed and John Cale, recorded by John Cale.

I was part of an online email dialogue today on Tablet PC’s. I have long been an admirer of these devices that are closer to a pad of paper than any other computing platform. I liked the idea that you could take out a stylus and start drawing, writing, clicking – rather than being limited to using a keyboard. I felt that this was a positive step in the development of the portable computer. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Ontario’s eLaws Are Now Official Copies of the Law

The Legislation Act, 2006 provided (in section 35) that a copy of a source law or consolidated law is an official copy of the law if accessed from the eLaws website in a prescribed form or format.

The regulation prescribing the form or format has now been filed and published and is effective as of November 30, 2008. A press release from the Ministry of the Attorney General is here.

Section 39 of the Act provides that an official copy is an accurate statement of the law, unless the contrary is proved. For official copies taken from the eLaws . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Rate Your Firm’s Professional Service

It’s report card time (in Ontario primary schools at least), so why don’t we talk about some client service report cards for you and your firm.

My SLAW post last week was about the importance of keeping your clients happy, and how a post matter client survey (a sample survey is here) is one of the best ways to collect information about what clients thought about the services you provided.

Building on what I said last week, a look in the mirror can help as well. The Managing a Better Professional Services Firm Booklet I mentioned last week . . . [more]

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

U.S. Federal Rule of Evidence 502

The Federal Rules of Evidence have now been amended to include a new Rule 502 [PDF], which should represent a sea change in the law of waiver in the United States. Rule 502 is intended to introduce uniformity in the law of waiver of attorney-client privilege and work production protection throughout the United States courts and, through operation of the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, among State courts.

The problem that led to the enactment of the Rule is the sheer volume and expense that arises from the review of perhaps millions of documents that are “electronic” in . . . [more]

Posted in: e-Discovery

Riches for Constitutional Aficionados

After the excitement of the American primaries and election, we political addicts thought we were going to have to go through withdrawal (or enjoy a respite – a “reassurance” that we really weren’t addicted). But just as we needed a fix, our own constitutional “crisis” comes along. How I wish I were still teaching constitutional law (or Canadian politics, but that was long, long ago in another galaxy). I would tell my students that I put “crisis” in quotation marks for a reason and then I would seize the opportunity to tell them that, recent developments notwithstanding, we still operate . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

English Reports 1220-1873 Available Free Online

CommonLII has just announced that, thanks to Australian High Court Justice Michael Kirby, it is now making the English Reports from 1220-1873 available online. (Well, from 1457, really; the 1220 cases, of which there are a great many, are nonetheless outliers: the dates leap from 1220 straight to 1457. The data were provided by Justis.

The cases are in PDF and not searchable, so far as I can tell. OCR of that old type would be a nightmare anyway.

I have to say it is an impressive sight to look at the four centuries of links to this great . . . [more]

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

La Mort Imminente du Gouvernement Harper?

We edge close to a political crisis and constitutional history. Today the Opposition Parties agreed on an Accord on a Cooperative Government to Address the Present Economic Crisis, which should be read together with the Policy Accord to Address the Present Economic Crisis.

Mr. Dion’s letter to Her Excellency is an essential component since together with Mr. Layton’s parallel letter it makes clear that the Prime Minister may have difficulty maintaining the confidence of the House. I liked La Presse’s line: Les partis de l’opposition ont signé la mort imminente du gouvernement Harper.

And while there isn’t . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Vote for Slaw

Those who read us by RSS and don’t get the RSS comments feed might not know that an important aspect of the ABA Blawg100 feature is the chance to vote for your favourite blog in each category. Naturally, we’d be overjoyed if you’d vote for Slaw in the Technology category. It’s easy to do: either go to and scroll down to Slaw, or go to Slaw’s home page and click on the ruddy great VOTE FOR SLAW button at the top right. . . . [more]

Posted in: Slaw RSS Site News

Michael’s Great Film Adventure

Tip of the hat to Ian Kerr, who points us to Michael Giest’s latest project:

Why Copyright? Canadian Voices on Copyright Law

It’s a film on the significance of copyright as an issue in Canada. It features a wide range of Canadian voices – artists like Gordon Duggan of Appropriation Art; writers like award winning science fiction author Karl Schroeder; musicians like Wide Mouth Mason’s Safwan Javed; business people like Nettwerk Record’s Terry McBride,’s Bob Young, and Skylink Technologies’ Philip Tsui; government appointees like Privacy Commissioner of Canada Jennifer Stoddart and Ian . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information: Publishing, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Technology

Slaw Makes the ABA’s Top 100 List

At this moment in time I’m delighted to report an honour that’s fairly unique: Slaw made the ABA’s list. With all due respect to Simon and my other friends,
at the end of the day, it’s absolutely not rocket science what Slaw does.
It’s a 24/7 nightmare but we shouldn’t of underestimated the readership.


Moderated by Simon Fodden, professor emeritus at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Slaw was start­ed largely for the legal research and IT community in Canada, but it may soon transcend its tech designa­tion. The name Slaw was chosen in deference to Salon

. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology: Internet

Litigation & Bankruptcy Services From

While on Twitter I recently came across Mari Moreshead who does “client services and community management” for I had never heard of CourtCanada and so checked their website and asked if I might interview her for the purpose of reporting back to Slaw readers.

CourtCanada was started in 2006 by former bankruptcy lawyer Gregory Azeff who is the company’s President and Chairman of the Board of Directors. CourtCanada is currently comprised of two services:

InSolve – a bankruptcy case management system, first beta tested in February 2007 and released in final version January 2008. For cases in the . . . [more]

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