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Archive for January, 2010

Teaching by Showing – Using Image Editors to Explain Yourself

I realize we are not likely supposed to promote products here on SLAW but I really, really like both IrfanView and the Microsoft Snipping Tool as revolutionizing the ability to visually explain things in an HTML email (and I realize I am likely behind the curve on this one).

I am a visual learner and like to see things in a picture. Since there is often insufficient time for in-person training, it helps to be able to visually explain to someone in an email where to click on a program or what words to input into the database. Both of . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Digitized Legal Materials From

I learned recently that the University of Alberta has been digitizing microfilm or microfiche from the collection of and placing the scans on the Internet Archive. (There’s a PowerPoint presentation online that will give you some sense of U of A’s digitization projects.) At present a search for [contributor:(] turns up over 22,000 items. Of these, just under 800 are tagged “law” in some respect.

There is no attempt to catalog these items in any useful way, which means a researcher must rely on searching — not the easiest thing on the Internet Archive. (For example, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Reading, Substantive Law

A New Blog on the New Ontario Rules?

While doing my monthly domain name shopping, I stumbled upon what might be an interesting blog: It was created only 3 days ago and has no content, except the logo of the law firm behind it: Fraser Milsner Casgrain. Can someone tell me what is the big red square on top of their logo?
Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Technology: Internet

Privacy Poked & Pwnd Part IV: Facebook, Again

The Hollywood Reporter writes: Facebook is back in the Canadian Privacy Commissioner’s doghouse. According to the Privacy Commissioner’s news release of January 27, 2010, another investigation of Facebook has been launched in response to a new complaint – filed over changes made by Facebook in mid-December 2009, which required users to review their privacy settings. (See my previous posts part I, II and III looking at these changes.)

The complainant alleges that the new default settings would have made his information more readily available than the settings he had previously put in place. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

2009 Track Record of Supreme Court of Canada Justices

The most recent issue of The Lawyers Weekly provides a snapshot of the quantative output of the justices of the Supreme Court of Canada in 2009:

“Looking at the opinions the individual judges wrote last year (as distinct from judgments they simply signed on to without comment) Chief Justice McLachlin and Justice Charron were the most solid majoritarians in the sense that they did the least concurring and dissenting, both wrote a total of nine majority or unanimous opinions, and Justice Charron wrote more unanimous judgments than anyone else — five.”

“Justice Charron and Justice Morris Fish spoke most

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Apple’s iPad

Simon beat me to the punch mentioning the iPad. I’ve been watching a live-blog of the event. These are my first impressions.

It’s meant for things like “Browsing the web. Doing email. Enjoying and sharing pics. Watching videos. Enjoying music. Playing games. Reading ebooks”. Jobs says it has to be better than either a phone or a laptop at these,or its not worthwhile.

It certainly looks good in his demo — works like the iPhone — indeed, iPhone apps work on it.

Pricing: $499 for 16GB. 32GB is $599, 64GB is $799. 3G models cost an extra $130. $629, 729, . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

65 Years of Change in What the Supreme Court Cites

John Morden and I have been discussing the extent to which Canadian courts look at cases from other courts, and I referred him to the excellent work of Professor Peter McCormick on the Supreme Court of Canada in a series of articles and a book Supreme at Last. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Standing Out From the Crowd

Most law firms are telling the same story, according to this article, which makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish one from the other.

Developing a unique, identifiable and distinct voice is not easy, but it begins and ends with your ability to conceive and communicate a credible story that resonates at some level with your audience. Unless you can do that, you’ll never be heard above the din of the crowd.

So why can’t most law firms do this?

No reason at all. But when it comes to law firms, there is a negative assumption that

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Marketing

Selecting Cases for Print Case Law Reporters

There has been much discussion on SLAW on the state of print case law reporters in the age of online judgments (click here for some of these posts).

For other research I am conducting, I obtained a photocopy of an article by Paul Perell (now a judge) from 1991 in the Legal Research Update quarterly newsletter (circa 1986 to 1996, RIP) called “Selecting Cases for the Ontario Reports.” In that article, (the now Mr. Justice) Perell lists out the six criteria for case selection as suggested by a Butterworths editor in England:

A case will be reported if:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

New RCMP Commitment to Enforcement of Background Check Policies Squeezing Canadian Employers

Late last year the Royal Canadian Mounted Police issued a directive to the agencies that facilitate national criminal background checks that has caused significant concern to employers. This lengthy post describes this important development.

Background on CPIC and background checks

The Canadian Police Information Centre or “CPIC” is a national database administered by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It contains a range of information useful to law enforcement, including records about hybrid and indictable offences. CPIC is maintained primarily for law enforcement purposes, and is both populated and queried by “CPIC agencies” (local police forces and other government agencies) who . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

practicePRO’s Top Claims Prevention Downloads of 2009

practicePRO’s claims prevention and law practice management resources continue to grow in popularity with lawyers. In 2009 almost 150,000 copies of our articles, checklists and precedents were downloaded.

We’ve compiled the list of the forty most popular downloads for 2009. Many of them are consistently popular year to year, such as Peg Duncan’s e-discovery reading list, limitation periods charts, retainer precedents and various technology articles. There were a few interesting developments though:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law