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Archive for July, 2009

Technology and Drafting Contracts

There’s a piece in the current Lawyers Weekly, “Commodification of contract drafting,” about some of the work that U.S. lawyer Ken Adams does. (The whole piece is on Adams’ site, page 1 and page 2, or here in a single page.) Much of the article deals with the obvious, such as the need for precision in expression and the dangers of using old-fashioned boilerplate. But three things caught my eye as being interesting.

First, Adams suggests that firms need rules when it comes to drafting contracts. The thought is that a firm style should be imposed where, presumably, certain . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

U.K. Set to Abolish Ancient Hate Crimes

According to a report in the Times, the U.K. Justice Minister has agreed to move to abolish the crimes of sedition and criminal libel.

An act of sedition is one that incites hatred or contempt for the king, government or constitution…

Criminal libel is rare but similarly oppressive. Even though the vast majority of libel actions are brought through the civil courts, crown prosecutors can press charges for criminal libel if it is thought to be in the public interest. The penalty is up to two years in jail and an unlimited fine.

Something is considered defamatory if calculated

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law

How to Succeed in the Practice of Law When You Are “Suddenly Solo”

The latest issue of Law Practice Today (, the ABA Law Practice Management’s webzine was published today. This blockbuster issue has all sorts of great articles for the “suddenly solo” lawyer. This is new lawyer starting out as a solo because they didn’t get a job at a firm, or someone leaving a firm to continue a practice on their own. Many of the top names in law practice management have contributed articles to this issue: Dennis Kennedy, Jim Calloway, Andy Atkins and Mark Robertson.

Read the Law Practice Today “Suddenly solo” issue here.

Law Practice Today is the . . . [more]

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

Supreme Court of Canada Live Webcasts: Preliminary Comments

The Osgoode Hall Law School blog The Court today published a commentary on live webcasts by the Supreme Court of Canada.

Since February 2009, the Supreme Court has provided live streaming of oral arguments and judges’ questions in authorized cases. The webcasts are archived.

On The Court, Daniel Del Gobbo writes favourably of the experience:

“Observers may be emboldened by the transparency of the Supreme Court’s new initiative, the comprehensibility of oral arguments, or the sensitivity of justices in asking questions. Further, observers may better understand that the process by which the court’s decisions are made involves an

. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology

CRTC Tries Compliance With Violating Telemarketers

Last week the CRTC announced that in two cases it has issued notices of violation with fines to two telemarketers who called numbers on the “do not call” list. These are the first two such notices since the DNC list became effective, on June 30, 2006, pursuant to CRTC “unsolicited telecommunications rules.”

The CRTC released no information about the identities of the telemarketers or the size of the fines proposed in the notices.

This reluctance concerning publicity is in line with stated CRTC policy, according to which enforcement of the rules proceeds in stages, the first of . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

LCO More Adventurous With Technology!

We recently tried something new with our consultation process and we’ll likely do it again. Lauren Bates, head of our project on developing a coherent approach to the law as it affects persons with disabilities, participated in a web based consultation with the assistance of Citizens with Disabilities – Ontario. Citizens with Disabilities provides on-line conference rooms that can accommodate various size groups for meetings, courses and interviews, among other uses, through their on-line Conference Centre. Apart from the convenience of format, there is the obvious advantage of accessibility. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

Gain Customers by Turning Them Away

Author and marketing guru Seth Godin has a post today on his blog that rings true for anyone selling anything – including lawyers.

He talks about products where a buyer’s perception of them may not be the reality – leading to frustration after the product is purchased.

His conclusion:

“There are lots of things you can do to make the sale. They often are precisely the opposite of what you should do to generate word of mouth. I know, you can’t have word of mouth unless you have a sale, but a sale that leads to pain is hardly worth . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Citation by Shortened URL

What do the experts do in order to cite long URLs, especially in printed publications where the reader will be seriously challenged to type out into a browser the line-long (or more) address?

Is it acceptable to use services like or to provide a short, typable URL for one’s sources? The former at least says that the links one creates do not expire (probably as good a promise as one would get for the original site/cite).

The McGill guide says that one could cite an article just by the top level of the domain where it appears, e.g. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Online Rebranding – Too Important to Be Left to the Professionals

Recent announcements timed for the annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries included the usual update from the major publishers on recently rebranded businesses and products.

This time, Thomson Carswell became “Carswell, a Thomson Reuters Business” and “Westlaw-ecarswell” became “WestlawCanada”. Both name changes are undoubted improvements over what was there before and make sense in the long term, but they are really just the latest in a long series of changes that have taken place since The Carswell Company was acquired by the The Thomson Corporation. On the plus side, the print products continue to be associated . . . [more]

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

CRTC Hearings Continue

The CRTC hearings we reported on previously were supposed to have finished yesterday, but according to the CBC actually continued today. See: Internet throttling benefits customers: Rogers, Shaw (, July 13, 2009). The CRTC apparently postponed Bell Alliant’s appearance at the hearing until this morning.

Additional sources are listed on my previous post here. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

Tin Foil Hat Time in B.C.

As you may have read in various news reports, one David Jonathan Ross is suing the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General of British Columbia and the Attorney General of Canada because, he claims, the R.C.M.P.

attended at his residence near Hope, British Columbia. He alleges that he (and possibly others) was under investigation and was subjected to surveillance techniques that included “neurophone, advanced neurophone and subliminal messaging”. He says that, as a consequence, he suffers from headaches, sleeplessness, loss of normal brain function and related consequences.
Ross v. British Columbia (Public Safety), 2009 BCSC 930

Not surprisingly, . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law

Ontario Privacy Commissioner on SSL and Gmail

The office of the Ontario Privacy Commissioner has released a document praising Gmail for making connection via SSL available for all communications through their website. “If You Want To Protect Your Privacy, Secure Your Gmail” [PDF] points out that when you communicate with your email server over a public wifi network, your communications are vulnerable to interception unless you encrypt them. SSL, or “secure socket layer,” is a cryptographic protocol in fairly common use — you’ll have seen it in operation if you do internet banking or make payments over the internet, and you can recognize . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Technology