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Archive for February, 2009

Collaboration Through Wikis: Law Firm Case Study

The folks at the Toronto law firm Hicks Morley are leaps and bounds ahead of most other firms in their wiki use. They are using the wiki-based platform ThoughtFarmer as their whole intranet. This has had advantages, including being quick to set up and cost effective compared to other intranet or portal platforms.

In October Knowledge Management Specialist Heather Colman made a presentation to both the Toronto and New York Legal KM Groups, and we subsequently invited her to present at Toronto Wiki Tuesdays. These were her slides: . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology

Is E-Discovery Too Expensive?

Recently I’ve had discussions with several lawyers at big firms and at litigation boutiques, all of whom have a clear understanding of their obligations and their clients’ obligations to preserve, review and produce electronic documents, but all of whom seem to be stymied by the apparently uncontrollable, even irrational costs of ediscovery. They have a great deal of difficulty explaining even to sophisticated corporate clients the necessity of paying for electronic discovery, especially since clients number one instruction on document discovery seems to be, “we don’t want to spend any money.”

There’s no question that doing ediscovery properly from beginning . . . [more]

Posted in: e-Discovery

Taking Someone’s Picture Without Publication

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that taking someone’s picture without their consent (or in this case, taking a newborn baby’s picture without its parents’ consent) is a breach of fundamental human rights, whether or not the picture is ever published. The story is on [The judgment in Affaire Reklos et Davourlis c. Grèce is available only in French.]

“The Court reiterated that the concept of private life was a broad one which encompassed the right to identity,” said an ECHR press release about the ruling. “It stressed that a person’s image revealed his or

. . . [more]
Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Your License on Facebook

There’s been some discussion about Facebook and privacy, but less, perhaps, about the matter of who may use the material posted to it. Remember the fuss when Google Chrome’s EULA claimed rights in everything that passed through the browser? Well, if you’re a Facebook user, you might want to take a look at their “contractual” offer.

Facebook’s terms of use make it clear that in using the site you:

hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to

    (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan,
. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology


With the renovations progressing here at the DMP Law Library, most of our print has moved off site, and is harder to get. To compensate the students, I’ve been giving some instruction in electronic-only legal research, and even though I’m immersed in this topic every day, it is still surprising to me just how much can be accomplished online. Generally, of course, Legislation that has any historical aspect still requires the print for most jurisdictions, though CanLII’s new point-in-time functions are great, and some jurisdictions offer this sort of detail online.

For Canadian case law, just about anything you want . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

The Friday Fillip

Today we’re headed south — but only just. The U.S. Government is a prolific educator and propagandist, and until the internet came along film was perhaps the premier medium for reaching the public with your message. Now, in a more-or-less-happy marriage of the “tubes” and the flicks, internet liberator Carl Malamud has made a whole whack load (524 at last count) of U.S government movies available via’s channel on YouTube.

A visit to the site automatically starts one of my all-time faves, “Duck and Cover,” because I was there, ducking and covering exactly like the . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Where Are You? Google Knows.

This past week, Google introduced a snazzy new application for smartphones. It’s called Google Latitude and it’s a bit like a location-based Twitter. It uses the GPS in your blackberry so you can know where your friends are and they can track you, too. In an age when more and more people are voluntarily putting personal information online, this takes it a next step by creating a record of where you are at almost all times.

Google touts the privacy settings, so you can adjust who can see where you are and when. The introductory video (below) has some good . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology: Internet

Great Advice for Lawyers Who Are (Or Might Be) Looking for a Job

Lawyers that have been laid off or are facing a potential layoff some time this year need to plan for a new future. If you or someone you know is facing a job search, Resolve to Manage Your Job Search by Kathleen Brady is a great article that contains a step by step guide to seeking new employment. It appears in the January issue of the ABA LPM section’s webzine Law Practice Today ( LPT is free to all – subscribe here. . . . [more]

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

Continuing Education for Lawyers

The National Law Journal [sorry, subscription required] reported today there are fewer licensed lawyers in Illinois:

The Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission, an agency of the Illinois Supreme Court, booted 587 active attorneys from the state’s so-called “master roll” this year when they failed to file the paper work showing they had completed 20 hours of certified legal training between July 1, 2006, and June 30, 2008. The lawyers were officially removed from the roll after being sent three reminder letters late last year.

Illinois conceptualized mandatory CLE in 2005 with an initial scaled in requirement of 20 hours.


. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD

Ontario in the Creative Age

The report by Richard Florida and Roger Martin, Ontario in the Creative Age, is available in PDF on the site of the Martin Prosperity Institute (… hate these tendentious names… ). I’m never very stirred — or shaken — by this sort of institute report, but this time there’s real merit in the thing, I think: rather than scrape the rust off the Victorian cogs and shafts, we should invest in what we now know will be tomorrow’s “normal” technology and skill sets. The report acknowledges the social upheaval that must accompany the shift away from routine labour to . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

Every Librarian’s Dream Patron

This story will warm the heart of any law librarian (or any other kind of librarian).

Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the US Airways pilot who made a miraculous emergency landing on the Hudson River in New York on January 15, was worried about a book he had borrowed from the library at California State University.

The book happened to end up on the bottom of the river in the cargo hold of the aircraft.

But that did not stop our hero.

He contacted the library and asked for an extension. Pretty conscientious, eh?

The library, of course, waived the overdue . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law, Reading

How Lawyers Use Technology to Make Things Easier (Humor)

My good friend and fellow geek Catherine Sanders Reach, Director of the American Bar Association’s Legal Technology Resource Center (as an aside – there is tons of great info for lawyers on legal technology at the LTRC) sent me this hilarious cartoon by David Mills from Courtoons on How lawyers use technology to make things easier . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous