Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for January, 2010

Slaw Retweets 10-24/01/10

Here’s a selection from the last week or so of tweets that I and others think might interest those who don’t use Twitter or who don’t follow the authors of these tweets.

If you are on Twitter and read or publish something that you think we should re-broadcast here, simply include the hash tag #slawca in the tweet or retweet. If you’ve published something on Slaw, there’s no need to use that hashtag on Twitter: all it does is bring to our attention things we might not otherwise have seen.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Slaw Retweets

Do the Number of Hours Billed a Year Determine Whether Someone Is a Good Lawyer?

I was a presenter to the CBA BC Branch Work Life Balance Section meeting on January 21, 2010, entitled “The Lawyer Management Challenge: Attracting and Keeping Great Talent.”

The content of my presentation was largely based on my earlier post on Slaw on “How Virtual Law Firms Attract and Retain Great Legal Talent.”

The key three slides of my presentation set out a side by side comparison of the schedule and compensation of an associate working for a traditional law firm versus a contract lawyer working for Heritage Law:

A Day in the Life

View more documents from Nicole Garton-Jones

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

Ivan Rand: First Rate Mind, Third Rate Temperament

From Volume III, Issue II of Amicus Curiae, Western Law’s Student Paper

Canada was a different place before Trudeaumania swept the nation, and the man we know as Ivan Rand, founding Dean of this law school and former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, was a product of his times. It would be easy to dismiss Dean Rand as an intolerant bigot, but as William Kaplan explained to an audience at Western Law on Nov. 11, [2009,] Rand was complicated character.

“Canadian judicial biography has been, with a few exceptions, mostly uncritical and largely celebratory, written by . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Legal Information, Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Security Insecurity

A recent entry in the ongoing conversation about air travel security is this German TV show that demonstrates an utterly ineffectual body scanner. Some of the comments here and here provide useful links and partial translations of the proceedings (though some others tend to get ranty and off-colour).

One in particular caught my eye at the first link, posted by paul on January 22, 2010 9:03 AM:

It seems we’re back to the classic sensitivity/specificity tradeoff. If an operator passes every scan that look potentially dangerous to the body-search people, you find stuff, but you don’t have the capacity to

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Friday Fillip

“. . . along came a spider and sat down beside her. . .” Which might give anyone pause, not only arachnophobes. These arthropods, which have two legs up on insects, don’t fuss me much — I was taught as a child never to harm a spider — something about bad luck — and so those that do cosy up to me usually get taken outside with some care. Even so, I can’t imagine doing what seventy people in Madagascar did not too long ago.

The intrepid Madagascarians (?) collected golden orb spiders (click to see – arachnophobe warning) . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Oh How the Mighty Have Fallen

For many years now my firm, Adler Bytensky Prutschi, has enjoyed the opportunity to host a student placement for Osgoode Hall Law School’s Criminal Intensive Program (CIP). This week, for the first time in the history of our involvement with the program, we were informed that “due to low enrolment in the course this year” a student would not be assigned to us.

While I am only hypothesizing, I fear that this storied program’s current enrolment woes are tied directly to the continuing erosion of our legal aid system. Barely a decade ago when I was a student in . . . [more]

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

Mirror, Mirror

What is it about lawyers and librarians that we spend so much time thinking, talking and trying to change the way our professions are perceived? A search through the literature of both disciplines reveals what amounts to an obsession. I suppose that I shouldn’t be surprised, given that “client-focused” is a key characteristic of both groups. We worry about how we are perceived because otherwise we run the risk of losing business. If we don’t articulate our value, we’re expendable. 

SLAWyer Jordan Furlong has taken on the task of articulating the value of the legal profession in his Law 21 . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Google Wonder Wheel – Everybody’s a Critic

In a moment of boredom, or curiosity, I decided to play with Google’s “Wonder Wheel” gadget, which Google introduced in May 2009. Simon F mentioned it at the time. The gadget (feature?) is available by clicking on “show options” wherever that appears on one’s search screen.

On the basis of familiarity, if nothing more, I decided I’d run some searches based on my surname. “Smythe” spelled with a “y” isn’t that common.

In any event, the “standard view” search on “Cheifetz” lists my sister, Dr. Rona Cheifetz, first, and me second. I wouldn’t quibble about that ordering. It  . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Guidelines for Canadian Court Web Sites

When Dominic Jaar became the CEO of the Canadian Centre for Court Technology, he immediately set out to constitute several “IntellAction” working groups. One of these groups had the mandate to promote the modernization of court web sites in Canada by way of producing guidelines on topic.

Dominic knew this was an area of strong interest to me, so he asked me to lead the group. We built the membership last September to include fair representation from the judiciary, lawyers in private and public sector practice, the Courts Administration Service, a few other areas and a journalist to represent . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Lawyer Type (4): Ragged Is Right

In legal documents it’s the job of print to deliver the message smoothly and then get out of the way as fast as possible. Lots of things go into making this possible, as any book or magazine publisher will tell you, including the choice of typeface, point size, space between lines (leading) and colour of paper. Yet, when it comes to the preparation of legal documents the profession seems to be willfully ignorant about what makes for persuasive print, favouring remnants of the typewriter age combined with bad aspects of word processing technology.

I want to focus now on only . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Reading, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Lawyers Without Borders

A colleague was asking me recently about volunteer or work opportunities for lawyers abroad and I immediately thought of the work of the International Development Committee (IDC) of the Canadian Bar Association (I was fortunate to be on the committee for 6 years and participate in several missions to Africa). Most of their work is funded through the Canadian International Development Agency or other external funders (i.e., the cost of their overseas work does not come from CBA member dues) and is intended to support the rule of law in developing countries (among other things). Recent IDC projects have included . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

CanLII Search Bookmarklets

This might have been better as a comment responding to Omar’s post just prior to this one, in which he lamented the lack of a Canadian Citer, but since it involves Javascript, I was afraid it might not survive intact as a comment.

I know it’s not quite what Omar wanted — that’s way beyond my ability — but faute de mieux I’ve refreshed a tool I put together a couple of years ago: Javascript bookmarklets that search CanLII. As I’m sure most of you know, the idea behind a bookmarklet is to make these little patches of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Publishing, Technology