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Archive for December, 2008

Who Does Legal Research?

Sorry if you thought I am writing a “Who does legal research anymore, anyway?” column this time. What I mean by the title, and what I mean to ask in the column, is in what settings and by whom is legal research done today, and whether the answers to these questions call for any action by legal research professionals. Those of us who carry out legal research or provide legal research instruction as a regular part of our livelihoods or occupations often think of legal research in what I think of as a more traditional context: the private law firms, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Next Time Cite Slaw in Your Factum

Kevin O’Keefe recently discussed Digital Darwinism as it related to legal researchers, publishers and advertisers. The economic downturn, coupled with technological advances, has resulted in the demise of many major industries that have been the backbone of corporate America.

But O’Keefe also suggests another slightly troubling proposition,

Blogs will be widely cited in briefs and court decisions.

What better way to provide compelling arguments and establish binding precedent than sourcing articles with a milisecond publishing turnaround time?

There is obviously a broad variety of quality and depth in the legal blogosphere.

The credibility and authority of both the author and . . . [more]

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

Canada Loves Computers

According to the Economist’s Pocket World in Figures, Canada had more computers per capita than any other country but one in 2006. Israel beat us out for the top spot. Apparently there were 87.6 computers for every 100 people in the peaceable kingdom — and a whopping 122.1 in Israel. Here’s a shot of the first ten spots:

It’s good, I think, to be suspicious of this sort of data. I say this because the Pocket World table for 2005, the prior year, published in May of this year, shows a considerable difference:

That’s a lot of computers for . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

The Friday Fillip

Chances are you got one for Christmas, if you’re into exchanging gifts at this time of year. And chances are pretty good that, if you did, you cracked it today if only for a look and a fondle. I’m talking about a book, of course, the favourite object of those of us in law who work the internet.

Now, some of you may want to mark the book as yours, if there isn’t already an inscriptions saying “to Hortense from Uncle Toby on the occasion of Christmas 2008,” or some such, on the flyleaf ((which, I’m only slightly . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Halsbury and Canada

This is a response to Gary P. Rodrigues’ post, “Recognized as an authority.”

I think it has been a safe bet since its inception that Halsbury’s laws of Canada would be frequently cited in Canada. In fact, a simple Quicklaw-LexisNexis search of the phrase,”Halsbury’s Laws of Canada,” already (as of today) turns up four hits, including one decision of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal.

But why Halsbury’s Laws of Canada? The obvious answer is that the good people of LexisNexis believed that Halsbury’s was a valuable trade-name in Canada. But apart from editing a great . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

“Recognized as an Authority”

When can it be said that a new print publication is in fact “recognized as an authority” by the Canadian legal research community?

This question came to mind when I asked a law librarian attending the annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries if she had added Halsburys Laws of Canada to her law library collection. Her answer was that she would do so as soon as Halsburys was “recognized” by the legal research community and not before.

The ultimate form of recognition

Identifying the ultimate form of recognition as an authority is an easy task. It is . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Reading

A Financial Plan for Christmas

Merry Christmas, seasons greetings, happy holidays. These can be empty words for those struggling to cope with challenging financial times. Even in economiclly stable Alberta, recession planning has become the topic of the day. My gift on this day of celebration are some tips for financial stability from those who know far more than me.

From Slaw:

From the ABA Law Practice Managment Section:

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

5 Things I’d Like to See Change…

♫ Looking forward,
All that I can see,
Is good things happening
to you and to me…♫

Words and Music by Neil Young, recorded by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

In these trying and troubling times, perhaps the hardest thing to imagine in looking forward is things getting better. Yet, the coaches out there continually emphasize that, in order for something to come true, you have to imagine it in your mind – first – before executing the necessary action. This holds true whether you are practicing a golf swing, a ski turn or a business plan. In . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Pro Bono Project for the Season

I tried posting this as a comment to David’s last post, but it wouldn’t go through because of its length and number of links. Due to the pressing and important nature of the issue I decided to re-post it here.

Mr. Santa Claus is wanted for questioning for tax evasion, and nobody is quite sure why there are no export tariffs on his goods. Canada, the U.S., Russia, Denmark and Norway are all laying jurisdictional claim to Santa’s home, and sorting out the conflicting legal systems have proven to be a mess.

Human rights groups have protested that . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

5 Legal Reasons Santa Answers to No Geo-Political Authority

1. Border crossings would delay his delivery. Imagine Santa explaining himself to a border guard/customs agent.

2. Reduces product liability risk for any defective toys.

3. Avoids scrutiny of privacy issues of the naughty/nice list.

4. Avoids pressure by toy lobbyists and sympathetic legislators.

5. Makes it easier to protect his trade-secrets for sleigh innovations, home entry techniques, and apparent mastery of space and time. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

LCO Gears Up for New Year

The elves at the Law Commission of Ontario have been furiously pecking away at their keyboards to produce our next crop of consultation papers. John Hill has been putting the finishing touches to the Executive Summary for the pension division on marital breakdown final report (the text is in translation now), making it all shiny and bright.

Lauren Bates completed the next consultation paper for our older adults project and once translated, it will be distributed and appear on our website in the new year. We are experimenting with on-line comments for this consultation, along with the traditional submission format. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Mitch Kowalski, Man to Watch in Tough Legal Times

Last week I met with Mitch Kowalski of the Legal Post. He mentioned our conversation earlier today on the site, which is the kick in the butt I needed to do my own write-up on it during our break from school.

Mitch is an alumn from my school, Western Law, but has chosen a career path unique from most. After practicing for many years on Bay St. he decided to open a writing center, first at Yorkville, and then moving to a more central location on Bloor West.

And just like those television infomercials, Mitch . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management