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Archive for March, 2009


I find collaborative writing hard — too much of a control freak, I guess — which means it’s probably a really good thing I didn’t go into practice, where the art of collaborative writing is an important skill. When I must marry your words with mine — and hers and his — I find the commenting features of Word essential but confusing at times. Now TextFlow offers a new way to display, compare and accommodate the variety of edits that can result when you all give me feedback on my draft. TextFlow is an application built on Adobe’s AIR platform . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Leadership Is an Action, Not a Position

As we move deeper into 2009 one thing I know for sure is that many lawyers, law firm staff members and clients are facing deep uncertainty. So many of us feel we have lost control; that larger forces are at work. At this time more then ever it is important to come to grips with what we can influence and impact.

We all have a leadership role to play in our organizations. When we catch ourselves complaining about the system, about how decisions are made and how things are done it is a good time to come to grips with . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

New London England Anti-Terror Posters

Cory Doctorow writes on Boing Boing about the latest anti-terrorist campaign in England.

His entire post is a worthwhile read – but to get a flavour of it:

The London police have bested their own impressive record for insane and stupid anti-terrorism posters with a new range of signs advising Londoners to go through each others’ trash-bins looking for “suspicious” chemical bottles, and to report on one another for “studying CCTV cameras.”

Essentially, this redefines “suspicious” as anything outside of the direct experience of the most frightened, ignorant and foolish people in any neighborhood.

So in addition to being . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Must Supreme Court Judges Be Bilingual?

James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, appeared before the Standing Committee on Official Languages yesterday to address Bill C-232, a private members bill introduced by NDP caucus whip Yvon Godin, the simple aim of which is to require that all Supreme Court judges be fluent in both official languages.

Bill C-232 reads in English as follows:

1. Section 5 of the Supreme Court Act is renumbered as subsection 5(1) and is amended by adding the following:

(2) In addition, any person referred to in subsection (1) may be appointed a judge who understands French and English without

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

Discussions With Faculty of Information Students in Law Librarianship Course

I had the pleasure again to guest lecture in FIS 2133 – Legal Literature and Librarianship at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, being taught by John Papadopoulos and Sooin Kim. The topic was knowledge management (KM) in law firms.

Two broad themes emerged (albeit slightly unrelated): (i) their concern over the job market for future law librarians / knowledge managers, and (ii) my continued proselytizing for an integrated approach to information in law firms by merging library functions with KM and continued “convergence” with library and KM and other administrative functions in law firms, including training, marketing and . . . [more]

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

University of Ottawa’s JuriGlobe – World Legal Systems

While updating some international law research resources, I came across the University of Ottawa’s JuriGlobe – World Legal Systems website. I have not had time to explore it in depth but it appears to be a vary ambitious site with lots of research, links and statistical information. The “About JuriGlobe” link describes the site in these terms:

JuriGlobe is a research group formed by professors from the Faculty of Law of the University of Ottawa, which focuses on the development of a multilingual information data bank, accessible to all on the internet, containing general information relating to the different

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

The Dawn of a New Decade?

♫ A new decade
A new decade
The radio plays the sounds we made
The radio plays the sounds we made
And everything seems to feel just right
And everything seems to feel just right…♫

Lyrics, music and recorded by The Verve, “A New Decade”

An interesting article by Mel Beckman appeared in InfoWorld on March 23: “Why even IT Pros are Demanding Macs

Mel Beckman writes: “A mid-2008 Yankee Group survey of 750 senior IT executives found nearly 80 percent have Macs onboard, up from 47 percent in 2006.” This is not the 20% or so . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Communication on the Periphery

At different ends of the continuum, the texting between M.T. and her paramour D.B., on the one hand, and President Obama, friend to and of both new and old media (so far, anyway, although there seems to have been some resiling from free and easy use of social/new media – if only that had been the case with M.T. And D.B.), on the other, are reminders of how peripheral I feel – am – to how one interacts with society. This last sentence is proof that I’m not a natural for Twitter, but I’m pretty well out of the game . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Is It OK for Regulators to Make a Mirror Copy of Files?

Lawyers’ Weekly reports that the Law Society of BC is considering whether it should be able to insist on doing a complete copy of a member’s computer in the course of an investigation. Pros and cons are discussed in the article, along with the proposed policy.

Concerns raised have included the lawyer/member’s privacy, and solicitor-client privilege.

Could not however the Law Society have sent in an investigator who would have had physical access to all the same files? Is the concern that once the mirror image is made, it is accessible to more people, with unknown controls?

In Ontario, the . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Many Eyes and a Legal Judgment

IBM’s ManyEyes [Slaw posts] has introduced a new visualization tool, Phrase Net, that graphically presents pairs of words in a text depending on the term that links them. Thus, if the linking term “a” is chosen, Phrase Net would find in the prior sentence “introduced | new” and “in | text”. The visualization comes with a menu of ready-made linkage terms, such as “and” “is” “‘s” etc. as well as a text box that lets you put in a linkage term of your choosing. (And for the sophisticates, there’s the ability to use regular expressions.)

I’ve uploaded . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Ada Lovelace Day 2009

Today is Ada Lovelace Day, honouring women in technology. From the website:

Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging to draw attention to women excelling in technology.

Women’s contributions often go unacknowledged, their innovations seldom mentioned, their faces rarely recognised. We want you to tell the world about these unsung heroines. Entrepreneurs, innovators, sysadmins, programmers, designers, games developers, hardware experts, tech journalists, tech consultants. The list of tech-related careers is endless.

Recent research by psychologist Penelope Lockwood discovered that women need to see female role models more than men need to see male ones. That’s a relatively

. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information, Miscellaneous, Technology, Technology: Internet

Electronically Manufactured Law – Made in Canada

In a recent post, Simon Chester drew attention to an article entitled “Electronically Manufactured Law – Why the shift to electronic research merits attention” that was published in the Fall Issue of the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology. In the article, the author discusses changes that may be expected in legal research resulting from the shift in legal research from print based case research to electronic sources.

The article is thought provoking with regard to the possible changes that may result from such a shift but incidentally highlights the significant differences that exist in legal research methodology and resources . . . [more]

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