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Archive for April, 2009

Owed to the West Wind, Er, Blackberry…

♫Thy magic reunites those
Whom stern custom has parted;
All men will become brothers
Under thy gentle wing…♫

Lyrics by Friedrich von Schiller, music by L. van Beethoven, “Ode to Joy“.

When my trusty but basic cell phone died, it was time to look for a replacement. I knew that it was time to stop my resistance as one of the last holdouts against the western phenomenon that has blown thru the business world, namely the Blackberry. It was a difficult decision but ultimately driven by the need to carry my calendar around with me without . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Listen to the ABA TECHSHOW Keynote by Dr Richard Susskind: Is It the End of Lawyers?

The attendees at ABA TECHSHOW 2009 where treated to a fantastic keynote presentation by Dr Richard Susskind. He spoke about the hypothesis of his new book, The End of Lawyers?

Now the good news for all those that couldn’t attend TECHSHOW: an audio recording of Dr Susskind’s keynote is now available on the TECHSHOW site. It is most definitely worth a listen.

The title and theme of Dr. Susskind’s book – the end of lawyers – appears on first blush to be rather ominous. And while it is, most people miss is the question mark, and its implication. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

StatsCan’s Crime Severity Index

Statistics Canada has introduced a new measure of police-reported crime, the crime severity index, in which more serious crimes are weighted more heavily, by comparison with the usual crime rate in which all crimes affect the outcome equally. The Daily has a summary of the current index data and the chart reproduced below. For a detailed description of how the index is calculated see “Measuring Crime in Canada: Introducing the Crime Severity Index and Improvements to the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey.”

. . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

Copyright and Defamation Issues With Social Media and Politics

I gave a talk earlier today on the use of social media in politics, focusing on the Canadian scene, at the Miles S. Nadal Management Centre.

Issues of copyright, including the use of YouTube, are discussed, as well as social media alternatives to defamation actions.

Social Media And Politics in Canada (4/21/09)

Audio of the talk available here until a Slide Cast can be set up. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology, Technology: Internet

Has Online ADR Got a Future?

Every few years there is a wave of enthusiasm for online alternative dispute resolution. One can see one starting in the mid-1990s, and another in 1999-2000, and maybe a wavelet in 2004 or so. Some international bodies are thinking about it again, according to discussion at the ABA’s Business Law spring meeting over the past weekend.

Osgoode Hall Law School has just got a major gift to set up an online ADR centre, the largest in the world, according to the press story.

Can this be made to work? I know that pure numbers-based saw-offs can be automated, but . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list

World Digital Library

The UNESCO supported World Digital Library launches today. Shaped in concept and realization largely by the U.S. Library of Congress, the WDL aims to enable the sharing of important cultural “objects” within and across cultures. Sensibly, perhaps, given the fate of the European equivalent, Europeana, the WDL is starting out small: there are at launch just over a thousand items in the library, some from every region of the globe. There are, for example, 13 items from Canada (and 6 from Mexico) among the 133 items from North America. One of the reasons for the paucity of Canadian objects . . . [more]

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

Recession and the Criminal Law Practice

The first question always posed to me seconds after learning that I am a criminal defence lawyer is “How can you defend those people?” or some variation of that classic accusatory inquiry. Recently however, this query is finding tight competition at the edges of inquiring lips with the question, “How’s the recession treating your criminal law practice, Ed?”

The answer to the first question, while nuanced and important, is one I would hope readers of a mature legal blog such as this one, would already know and respect. The answer to the second question is somewhat more difficult to articulate . . . [more]

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

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

Here’s a biotech countdown from the past week:

Six blog reactions were collected to In re Kubin, a U.S. patent case that invalidated one of Amgen’s DNA patent.

Five firsts appeared in this week’s science review collecting Canadian science developments, including stem cell news in cancer and blood.

Four billion dollars of economic activity was attributed to the Life Sciences sector in Delaware, and Arizona published some new data as well.

Three kinds of tech – biotech, cleantech and high-tech – got together in Illinois to strengthen support for a $25 million grant and tax break initiative . . . [more]

Posted in: Uncategorized

The Results Are in and the Winner Is…..

Over the past few years, various pundits and critics have raised all sorts of issues with legal process outsourcing (LPO). One way or another, these issues have largely been put to rest to the satisfaction of the legal industry and LPO clients.

So is quality the next issue? Is the quality of LPO work comparable to the quality of the same type of work being done onshore (i.e. in Canada)?

In February this year the American Conference Institute (ACI) held an India LPO Summit in New York. On the second day of the proceedings, Maria McMahon from Baker McKenzie reportedly . . . [more]

Posted in: Outsourcing

“One Generation Abroad” Rule for Citizenship Is Now Law

Canadian expatriates are up in arms about the recent amendment to the Citizenship Act, which came into effect on Friday, implementing a “one generation” rule limiting transmission of citizenship by Canadians born or adopted from outside Canada (section 3(3)).

Is this amendment really so terrible? Let’s consider a few examples.

Jane Canuck is born in the U.S. of Canadian parents, while her family is living there briefly. When she is a month old, her family returns to Canada, where she grows up and lives.

Under which of the following circumstances will Jane’s child be born a Canadian . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Law Journals – Forcing the Shift to Online Only Access

Some recent posts have advocated the idea that law school publishers should “stop publishing” law journals in print. Instead, the posts say, the publishers should direct their energy to “creating definitive versions of their journals in digital formats and making the law review articles readily accessible in online repositories”.

I agree with the conventional wisdom that the demise of print formats for law journals and law reports is an inevitability and that it will happen in the not too distant future. Acceptance by the legal community of “digital only law journals” combined with economic realities will ultimately produce that result. . . . [more]

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