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Archive for February, 2009

NB: Make a Note

There are some people — well, there used to be — who keep their notes in a notebook and keep their notebooks. (Some even pass them on to posterity.) But that was then, and, Moleskine notwithstanding, this is now. Paper may be passé, the urge to note, however, is still with us; and because the brain is no larger than it once was, despite all the pushing this way and that from importunate data, notes must be recorded externally somehow. I use scraps of paper left strategically in key places, post-its glued at eye level, Stickies on my . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology

Advance Notice: LCO’s New Project

We will be posting news of our new project on our website shortly, but let me give Slawyers advance notice. The Board of Governors recently approved a project on joint and several liability, primarily considering whether the Ontario Business Corporations Act should be amended to eliminate or restrict the joint and several liability imposed on professionals. For example, auditors may be liable if there are misrepresentations or omissions in the financial materials and statements they prepare for their clients and if the other defendants are unable to pay damages awarded for their wrongdoing in the same case, the auditors may . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Securing Your DNA From Prying Corporate Eyes

I’ve always had a fascination with DNA, simply because it tells the hidden story of our species that should put to rest many of the controversial debates on the issue.

I have already spent a small fortune investigating my Y-chromosome and mitochondral DNA. Given our very mixed ancestry, I was curious to see what I came up with.

Apparently I’m haplogroup R1a1a from my father’s side, not that exciting because it’s the largest group in the world. But I can also cross-reference my markers with samples of human populations around the world, and I seem to have an remarkable . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

How Corporate Clients Are Using Technology

While it’s mainly an American based survey there’s much of interest in the latest ILTA Survey of Corporate Law Departments.

I was surprised that

Word 2003 still dominates word processing

Sharepoint hasn’t been widely deployed

Most corporate law departments have had experience coping with electronic discovery

Knowledge management doesn’t seem to be of interest to most corporate law departments

There appears to be ample opportunity for creative technological exchange between law firms and their clients . . . [more]

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

TechShow Is Coming

Slaw is unusual in that three of the four non-American chairs of ABA TECHSHOW are contributors to a collective blog.

For those who haven’t heard, TechShow is the world’s premier legal technology CLE conference & expo. It’s also the longest lasting – since it started in Dallas back in 1984. The three-day CLE conference is attended by more than 1,500 professionals each year and features more than 50 legal technology CLE programmes and training sessions in fifteen topical tracks. . . . [more]

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

NY Times Article Skimmer

The New York Times has introduced a trial way of reading the paper on line. The “article skimmer,” supposedly based on the way that people spread out the paper on a Sunday brunch table, displays thumbnails of articles in a grid formation, allowing you to skim over the material easily. The image below shows a portion of the Technology section, and can be enlarged by clicking on it.

. . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Internet BlackOut NZ

Have you noticed any blanked out avatars or websites in your travels lately? February 16 – 23, 2009 thousands of New Zealanders are protesting “Guilt Upon Accusation” pending new section 92A of their Copyright Act being brought in by Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Act 2008 No. 27 that they say

assumes Guilt Upon Accusation and forces the termination of internet connections and websites without evidence, without a fair trial, and without punishment for any false accusations of copyright infringement.

This legislation reportedly puts the emphasis on internet service providers (ISPs) having to police who is using their services and, according . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Harper’s Index Free Online

As of today, Harper’s Index is free online. For those of you who might not know, Harper’s Index is a collection of information set out in single lines as if it were statistical data and in a way that is meant to surprise and interest you. In the online Index you’re presented with a search box — which will return helpful suggestions as you type, guiding you to those terms that do in fact appear within the index.

For example, a search for “law” produces over half a dozen screenfuls of items, the first of which is:

1/85 Number of . . . [more]

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

Legal Sources Part One: Law Reform Materials

My legal research career has taken me to several different settings in different cities or jurisdictions, and one thing I have found interesting is that there has always been a stronger emphasis on some tools in each of my workplaces. For this reason, I decided to write a series of columns that will address particular research materials or sources of law or legal information that, for one reason or another, I found myself using more in some settings than in others and that generally might be otherwise overlooked as excellent resources. This month, the column addresses law reform bodies and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Privacy Expectations of Unionized Employees in the Workplace

After doing online writing for about a year and a half now, one of my most read pieces is Employee Privacy in Canada. I also get plenty of legal inquiries by e-mail on it, and of course have to respond that I cannot provide legal advice.

It’s also a topic of interest to in-house counsel, who increasingly have to respond to managers about the checks and monitors they are allowed to use for their staff.

Perhaps then it’s no surprise that the subject was also prominently featured at the OBA 2009 Institute of Continuing Legal Education on Feb. 3, . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Science, Pseudoscience, and the Law

Following up on Simon’s vaccines post from earlier this week comes the encouraging news that on Thursday (happy 200, Charles Darwin) the U.S. Court of Federal Claims issued decisions in three vaccine-related test cases rejecting any causal link between vaccines and autism.

Yet, much like with the Pennsylvania victory in the battle over teaching evolution, I can only manage a half-hearted cheer at this latest triumph of science over superstition and ignorance. That it is even necessary to take this to trial – to say nothing of the refusal of so many to accept the correctness of . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation