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Archive for November, 2009

Three Strikes Proposal Not a Palatable Solution

There has been a lot of controversy lately over the concept of the “three strikes law”, where if a rights holder advises an ISP that a customer has downloaded copyrighted material, the ISP must send a notice. If that happens 3 times, then the ISP must cut off that person’s internet access. Its proposal in Britain is not being well received, and rightly so. See, for example,

My take on the subject is in my weekly newspaper article, which I can’t publish here (ironically) because of my agreement with the newspaper but you can read it on my . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Should Law Offices Go Paperless

At issue in the GasTOPS trial was the development and sale of a software program for the computerized maintain of jet engines and aircraft. The benefits of a Computerized Maintenance Management System are that it reduces maintenance mistakes while at the same time reducing labour costs.

When I fly on an airplane or ride on a train I am encouraged to buy my ticket online. I recently was at my family doctors office and instead of a thick file of handwritten notes covering 35 years of attendances, test results and prescriptions, she brought up my file on a monitor in . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law

A New Discovery…

♫ And gazing down from yonder,
On a world of blue and green,
He’ll say with eyes of wonder,
I have seen, i have seen,
My eyes have seen…♫

Lyrics, music and recorded by Chris de Burgh.

A lawyer friend of mine told me about his recent use of his new Sony Reader in Court. No, this wasn’t to read books while waiting to speak in Chambers! He is using it in direct and cross-examination in court and I thought it would be of interest to the readers on Slaw. So with no further ado, here it is in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Technology

Law Reform & Technology

I am taking advantage of the judicial posts to invite, on behalf of the Law Commission of Ontario, project proposals dealing with technology and the law.

Both Justices Turnball’s and Granger’s posts illustrate the advantages of using advanced technology in the courtroom. I am aware about how effectively technology has been used for all judges in the Court of Appeal in Calgary, as another example. I note John Gregory’s comment about the need for a more integrated electronic system as part of my inquiry.

I raise the following questions purely for consideration and by no means to suggest they exhaust . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

Diagnostic Imaging in Sentencing and Trials

Wired magazine is reporting what is probably the first instance of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) used in a courtroom. The brain scan of a Chicago man accused of raping and killing a 10-year-old girl was used to demonstrate that he was a psychopath and should not be given the death penalty.

Although we don’t have the death penalty in Canada, some would also argue relevance because we barely have MRIs here as well. As Forbes Magazine was fond of stating last year,

Pittsburgh has more MRI machines than Canada.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) points out that . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Social Mention

Kendra Ryan, Knowledge Management Coordinator at Stikeman Elliot in Calgary was kind enough to share a tip with me. Kendra and I connected through the CBA Research Lawyers South section meeting where I shared some tips on using social media sites for legal research. Slides, Handout.

This website searches social media tools across the world for whatever topic you’d like. It’s used commonly by people performing CI reports. It’s a neat way to bring back social media hits that may be overlooked on a larger search engine like Google. This site even tries to break down

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Technology

The Computerized World of a Circuit Judge

I have been a judge of the Superior Court of Justice for 4 1/2 years. In that capacity, I am asked to preside over a wide variety of cases and hearings which include criminal jury trials, criminal non jury cases, family law trials and motions, civil motions and trials, and a number of other issues.

From the outset, I decided to use my computer in all judicial proceedings where I was presiding for a number of reasons. First, I am left handed and do not write quickly. When I was a lawyer, note taking was always problematic for me because . . . [more]

Posted in: Firm Guest Blogger, Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Technology

Financial Management for Law Firms

Like many lawyers, I am not really a numbers person. Despite its fundamental importance, financial analysis of our growing firm is something that I have found challenging. Combined with a busy practice and demands from many places for precious time, it has been a project that has sat on the back burner for too long.

I have many articles printed out from the BC Law Society, Ontario’s practice PRO, CLE BC and Law Practice magazine – often written by Dave Bilinsky – on how to analyze and manage law firm finances effectively to maximize profit and reduce risk. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

Everybody wants their 15 minutes of fame, and this week there was plenty of recognition to go around — both in the biotech community and in the legal community.

The FDA, famous for restrictive rules on communications, is having a hard time adjusting to current internet trends, leading to some controversial decisions about Google search ads. Trying to do better, FDA held a two-day hearing about the use of the internet and social media for online drug marketing so it can calibrate its decisions for a new era. Rule-making will follow at the old era pace, though.

Simon Fodden . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Marketing, Substantive Law

Psst …. Want to Buy a Law Firm?

The prospect of Tesco or the Co-op owning a law firm or offering legal services had leader writers in the English legal press in a tizzy, but the Legal Services Board today produced a complex consultation document on Alternative Business Structures which sets out eligibility tests for significant equity investments in firms providing legal services. . . . [more]

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

The Economy Hits Legal Information

Doubtless there have been other stories like this, but multiple headlines on the same day start me wondering whether after the North American economic earthquake settles, we won’t have very different local and community outreach for legal services and legal information: . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law

Law Firms Recruiting Through Social Media?

It’s a law student’s dream – or maybe a nightmare. Law firm recruiters scouring social media networks to find an appropriate candidate for their firm.

The current recruitment process does little to reveal the personality, collegiality, drive and habits of applicants. It does nothing to demonstrate their business connections, an important quality for “finders,” or political involvement, for firms that engage in lobbying and government relations.

The majority of law students do spend hours on social media platforms, usually behind walled gardens that they think are impermeable, so why wouldn’t law firms go where they are? We’ve already . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law