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Archive for February, 2009

Two Law Publishing Announcements

1. Irwin Law has announced the development of its own online e-books platform. As of July 31, 2009, their current licensing agreement with LexisNexis Quicklaw will come to an end, and digital versions of all Irwin Law texts will be exclusively available on their proprietary platform as of the next day. Jeffrey Miller, Irwin publisher, makes it clear in his announcement to current authors that:

We respect the work of our authors and recognize our responsibility to publish in a manner that enhances their return and their reputation, while at the same time protecting their intellectual property rights. Finally, our

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing

Photographers Treated as Terrorists

There has been a disturbing trend towards authorities in various countries stopping, questioning, and even arresting people who are simply taking photographs of public places. Somehow taking a photo equates in some people’s minds to gathering information for terrorist purposes. Often the police or security guards in question insist that the photographer is breaking the law – which is usually not the case at all.

A recent example is where a photographer was detained and arrested for taking photos of an Amtrak train. His reason? He was taking photos to enter an Amtrak photo contest that called for people to . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Risk and Innovation in Law Firm Law Libraries

I will be speaking later this month on February 25, 2009, in New York at the Ark Group conference Best Practices & Management Strategies for Law Firm Library & Information Service Centers.

I chose to speak at the session entitled “Risk & Innovation: Aligning Technology with Explicit Business Goals” in part to give and receive ideas on some of the technology-related initiatives we are undertaking in my department (and I will not necessarily focus just on technology since such a focus can distort the importance of non-technological ideas).

From the 40,000 foot level, innovation with technology in law libraries . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Technology

When You Go to Heaven, Will Your Practice Go to Hell?

Nobody likes to think about their death or disability, but you’ve got family, employees and clients who rely on you. What will they do if you become disabled or pass away unexpectedly? Put a plan in place now to protect those you may leave behind. My friends and fellow practice management advisors Reid Trautz and Courtney Kennaday discuss these issues in a great article in this month’s ABA LPM Section’s Law Practice Today webzine: When You Go to Heaven, Will Your Practice Go to Hell?

If you want some practical help, notice precedents and checklists, see the Law Society of . . . [more]

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

Here Come the Petaflops

♫ Anything you can do,
I can do better.
I can do anything
Better than you…♫

Lyrics and music written by Irving Berlin, from Annie Get Your Gun.

The New York Times reported today that IBM is building the world’s mightiest supercomputer:

“I.B.M. remains intent on producing the biggest and baddest supercomputers on the planet.

In 2012, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory will fire up an I.B.M. BlueGene machine expected to reach 20 petaflops of performance. That means the system – dubbed Sequoia – will handle a quadrillion mathematical operations per second and run about 10 times faster than . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

A Technology Project for the LCO?

An explicit aspect of the Law Commission of Ontario’s mandate is to “consider technology as a means to enhance access to justice”. I see this aspect of our mandate as something we should incorporate into all our projects, although the odd one may not call for it (we did not consider it in our pensions project, for example, which was narrowly defined). But it is obviously an invitation to undertake a project specifically focused on technology and the justice system. As a group devoted to technology and the law, Slaw bloggers are a prime resource for project ideas for this . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Law Journals Lose Print Subscribers

Ross E. Davies, of George Mason University School of Law, has a brief piece called “Law Review Circulation” available on SSRN. The article has been summarized by Inside Higher Ed, and, simply, reveals a serious drop in the the paid circulation for the “top 15” U.S. law reviews, where the figures are available (as they are required by the U.S. Postal Service to be).

One example will suffice here: The Harvard Law Journal’s paid circulation over time was as follows:

1979-80: 8,760 \ 1987-88: 7325 \ 1997-98: 4367 \ 2007-08: 2,610

This is not surprising, perhaps, given the . . . [more]

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

Workplace Privacy and Social Networks: OBA Session on Privacy Law

As part of the Ontario Bar Association‘s 2009 OBA Institute (continuing today) the Privacy Law section held a program yesterday entitled “What Every Lawyer Needs to Know About Privacy”. Dan Michaluk has blogged about his session in which he was a panelist with Professor Avner Levin from Ryerson University; their focus was on workplace privacy issues that came out of the Ryerson study The Next Digital Divide: Online Social Network Privacy. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Substantive Law, Technology

What the Recession Will Bring

“Are we looking at a second Depression? I don’t think so,” said Paul Krugman, NewYork Times columnist and Nobel-Prize-winning economist, during his luncheon address to the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association’s World Summit [PDF] last week in Vancouver. Then he added: “A month ago, I would’ve said, ‘Absolutely not.’ But today, I’m going to say, ‘I don’t think so.'”

That was the standout quote for me from an economic assessment so pessimistic that at its end, Krugman admitted: “I wish I had some positive things to tell you.” But aside from, as he said, having “people in Washington I can now . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Outsourcing in Legal Publishing – Anything (And Possibly Everything) Goes

Just over three decades ago, the Canadian Law Information Council was established by the federal and provincial governments in order to create a framework for online access to legal information in Canada. The idea was that a national council of all of the interested parties could work together to ensure that any development was in the best interest of Canadians.

At the time, there was a serious concern that online databases of Canadian legal information would be built and controlled from the United States, with the result that Canadians would have to go offshore to access their own laws in . . . [more]

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

Not Enough Lawyers?

In one ear we hear the news that thanks to the recession firms are laying off lawyers and hiring fewer; and today in the other ear McLeans tells us that Canada needs more lawyers than its law schools can produce. According to the article, “Where’s a lawyer when you need one?” by Kate Lunau, Canada has fewer law schools for its population than any other Commonwealth country. Lunau explores some of the constraints — provincial refusal to fund new law schools being prime among them — and depends on Vern Krishna’s analysis to a large degree.

It might be that . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training