Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for January, 2010

The Friday Fillip, the baby of a couple of IBM scientists, Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg (who are actually a couple) [UPDATE: actually NOT a couple; my mistake; see the comments], is a website about visualizing data. As we’ve talked about many times on Slaw, one method of trying to understand the current surges of information involves using data to construct visual Gestalts that our minds might ingest in a gulp. The fact that a picture is worth 103 words is nothing new, of course; charts and graphs and diagrams have been around since before Babylonian geometry. What is . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Invasion of the Body Scanners – the Secret Truth

wherein (because it is a Friday) we peel the layers of the onion (in attempted homage to that Onion) and reveal the secret behind the recent prorugation of the Canadian Parliament. 

Is there also some connection to this and from appearances this?. You’ll have to decide for yourself.

Our story begins a number of years ago (not necessarily on Friday the 13th or otherwise). . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

“Blasphemer” They’ll Say!

Amongst the many pieces of legislation to come into force on January 1, 2010 is the Defamation Act 2009 in Ireland. The Irish Constitution at article 40.6.1 calls for blasphemy to be a crime “The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law.” Conveniently enough; however, until January 1, 2010 there has not been a legal definition of what constitutes blasphemy in Ireland. So blasphemers in Ireland have been gotten off until now, kind of like how I’ve never had to shovel the highways here in Nova Scotia. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

Hein OnLine’s Reprise of Google’s Indexing

In a Nov. blog post, Hein addressed deficiencies in Google’s indexing of their content.

We provided the metadata for and allowed Google Scholar to crawl more than 1 million documents from HeinOnline’s Law Journal Library. … Of these … they opted to only include about 50% of the content in the Google Scholar index.


While it is hard to pinpoint exactly what Google Scholar’s methodology is for adding documents to their index, we do know that they have left out some key documents from HeinOnline’s Law Journal Library.

Then in Dec., Hein addressed improvements to the indexing . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Legal Information, Technology

A Real Debate About Privacy and Security

I often wonder why it appears that only a small handful of people are regularly engaged in real discussions about what is happening with privacy in Canada. These discussions typically — at least in my experience — take place on blogs, tweets flying around the ‘net and regular submissions to parliament by organizations like the Canadian Bar Association. Security breaches regularly get coverage in the media but the creeping erosion of privacy in pursuit of crime-free neighbourhoods and safe travelling seldom gets much attention.

The proposed implementation of body scanners in Canadian airports is a major exception to this and . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

Distracted Driving From Ford Motor Co

The Financial Post shared that Ford is planning to enable many of its new vehicles with web browsing capability. Oh, and a bunch of Touch like tools as well. There is a nod to safety:

The automaker also is incorporating the Twitter social network’s Open Beak application into Sync and is adding Pandora and Stitcher Internet radio and’s online mapping information. Ford developed its own Web browser, which can be operated only while the car is parked, Mr. Kuzak said.

(emphasis mine)

The US Transportation Secretary is quoted in the article:

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood testified Oct.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

Ethics and the on-Line Storage of Client Documents

♫ What makes you think that you are invincible
I can see it in your eyes that you’re so sure
please don’t tell me that I am the only one that’s vulnerable

Lyrics, music and recorded by John Vesely, under the pseudonym Secondhand Serenade.

The State Bar of Arizona has issued one of the first Ethics Opinions on preserving client confidentiality when placing client documents for access over the Internet. Arizona stated:

“Lawyers providing an online file storage and retrieval system for client access of documents must take reasonable precautions to protect the security and confidentiality of . . . [more]

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

David Maister Retires

News that author & professional services consultant David Maister is retiring likely doesn’t shock many of us here at Slaw. It seems, however, that this is a moment for reflection.

David’s writing has influenced so many in this industry, including the group of bloggers here at Slaw. The fact that we’ve referenced his name 26 times over our short life certainly says something. I also know few managing partners that haven’t invested their time to read David’s body of work.

For myself, I distinctly remember reading David’s Managing the Professional Service Firm soon after I started working for law firms . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Trial of California Prop. 8 Challenge to Be on YouTube

As everyone will know, California’s Proposition 8, passed in November of 2008, added this section to the state constitution: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” On January 11, the constitutionality of that law will be challenged in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (USDCCAND) in a case styled Perry v. Schwarzenegger. The case has elicited such public interest — see, e.g., the nifty media guide [PDF] issued by the court — that the judge in the matter has ruled that it be broadcast on YouTube.

At . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law

Canadian Authors Launch Petititon Against Google Book Settlement

A group of Canadian authors has launched an online petition to protest the proposed settlement intended to put an end to a class action copyright lawsuit by U.S.-based author and publisher groups over Google’s plans to make and sell digital copies of millions of books.

In November 2009, the settlement was amended so that it would now apply only to books registered with the U.S. Copyright office or published in the U.K., Australia, or Canada.

The Book Rights Registry board, the entity that will be responsible for paying authors and publishers from revenues earned by the digitization project, would also . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Reading, Substantive Law, Technology: Internet

Three Minutes for a Video on Legal Trends

Beaton Consulting, which is “Australia’s leading B2B services research and consulting firm, providing insights to drive business performance” has released this short video on trends in the legal profession over the next thirty years. It’s well done and provocative.

Beaton’s own description is that

it highlights the rise and rise of the legal profession, and what the future holds in a global commoditised market. Featuring fascinating statistics on the past, present and future of law, it’s a wake-up call to law firms everywhere.

I have my doubts about whether all these trees will grow endless to the sky. But something . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology