Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for June, 2009

The Lawford Legacy

The 2009 Hugh Lawford Award for Excellence in Legal Publishing awarded to is well deserved recognition of the innovative and substantive contribution that Slaw is making to Canadian legal literature. Wendy Reynold’s comment that “A Blog winning a legal publishing award shows that this model is mainstream now” is very telling.

Online legal research was pioneered by Hugh Lawford who not only launched one of the first online legal research services anywhere, but also built a commercial enterprise from a university research project that dominated the Canadian online market for two decades. Through his genius, drive and determination, Hugh . . . [more]

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

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

Spring was still in the air this week as Ontario’s Ministry of Research and Innovation sought a special someone to help it evaluate co-investors and investment applications for its Emerging Technologies Fund.

MaRS Innovation and its new CEO Rafi Hofstein were a match, with Hofstein bringing expertise from his previous gigs as President and CEO of Hadasit Ltd., the technology transfer company of the Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem, Chair of Hadasit BioHolding Ltd., and Vice President Business Development for Ecogen, Inc., among other accomplishments.

Birds do it, bees do it, and now companies are doing it in all . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Ontology, Law and the Semantic Web

Peg Duncan on Twitter points to an article on by an English academic, Adam Wyner, “Legal Ontologies Spin a Semantic Web.” (By the way, if you’re not following Peg on Twitter, you should be.) I was curious because of my interest in legal research and because of the the flirtation with the semantic web that Google Squared and Wolfram/Alpha seem to represent.

Obviously — to me, at least — if computers are going to be able to respond in a sophisticated, i.e. more helpful, way to our queries about law, there needs to be an agreed-upon set . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

More on Twitter in the Courtroom

Are you sick of us talking about Twitter yet? It seems the possibilities are only just starting to be explored. Lawyers Weekly reporter Luigi Benetton recently interviewed a few of us (including Michael Geist and Darryl Cruz of McCarthy Tétrault LLP in Toronto) for his article “Twitter in the courtroom: a fad, or here to stay?” (June 12, 2009 edition).

Some of the points discussed:

  • this area is evolving quickly
  • reporters “tweeting” from a trial is akin to reporters taking notes on behalf of the public
  • messages on Twitter (or “tweets”) may not adequately characterize the full shape
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology

EFF Launches TOSBack

To follow on from Carol Lynn Schafer’s post, “Do TOS Have the Final Word on our Fundamental Rights and Freedoms?“, readers might like to know that the Electronic Frontier Foundation has launched TOSBAck, a site that tracks the terms of service of 44 significant websites and notes when changes occur. Of course, there’s an RSS feed, which might be the most sensible way to keep track of what’s happening on the site. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law

The Canary in Our Coal Mine

The legal profession is on the verge of an extremely serious problem. If you want to see what it looks like, check out what Chicago-based firm Mayer Brown has just done. According to the Chicago Tribune, the firm has offered its new associates a deal: take a $100,000 pay cut (to $60,000) and go work in-house for one of the firm’s large clients like Kraft or United Airlines. The job is guaranteed for one year and not a day more — after that, if the company doesn’t keep the associate, she’s on her own.

It tells you something about . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Confidentiality Clauses in License Agreements

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is encouraging its members not to sign confidentiality clauses/agreements that prevent them from sharing information in their digital licenses. The press release states that openness in agreements will result in better terms and conditions for libraries.

See the ARL press release at . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Structured Search Results

Wolfram Alpha is truly amazing, especially in the demo. Google also recently released a search engine that generates structured responses: Google Squared. It is less impressive, but then the examples provided don’t cover engineering calculations that generate snazzy graphics. Anyhow, both fail miserably for the law topics I tried… . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Surfers Got Rights Too!

You gotta hand it to the Australians. While we’re talking privacy or IP rights, they’re talking about surfers rights! In a bit of a Friday fun link, see Surfing on a sick day is fine, Australian court rules.

Pretty funny story. He obviously had a better defense than the ‘sick leave, schmick leave‘ I came up with. :)

(HT: QuizLaw) . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Are Libraries Dead?

I had a chance this afternoon to pop into the collection of speaker presentations from the CALL conference, making me regret even more that I was not in attendance this year (thanks to Cynthia Simpson for the long e-mail, detailing everything I missed).

The one that really caught my eye was the presentation by Judith Seiss, Embedded Librarians : Our Future or Our Fear? (the link goes to her paper, but there is also a powerpoint deck on the CALL website). At the risk of spoiling the surprise, the paper muses on the future of libraries and librarians, and supports . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Critical Update for Adobe Reader and Acrobat Versions 7-9 Coming June 9

From the Adobe Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) blog.

Adobe expects to deliver security updates for Adobe Reader and Acrobat versions 7.x, 8.x, and 9.x for Windows and Macintosh on Tuesday, June 9. This is the first quarterly security update for Adobe Reader. Adobe considers this a critical update and recommends users be prepared to apply the update for their product installations. Details of where to download updates will be posted to Adobe’s Security Bulletins and Advisories support page on June 9. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology