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Archive for February, 2010

Gift Card Judge Censured

Last year a California class action suit resulted in a settlement where each class member received a $10 gift card from the defendant store. The settlement called for the plaintiff’s lawyer to get $175,000 125,000 (sorry -typo)

The judge who approved the settlement didn’t like it, and ordered the lawyer to also take payment in $10 gift cards from the store.

Boing Boing refers to a post on the Lowering the Bar blog that says that judge has been disciplined for that by the state Commission on Judicial Performance.

No word on the fate of the lawyer’s gift cards. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Mid-Winter Blues? C’mon… Go Country!

We’re all working so hard on legal work right now in mid-winter cold and darkness that I thought it’d be fun to write something subversive. Maybe you’re at your breaking point and need a little musical inspiration to convince you to permanently log off of Quicklaw, hand in your security pass and make a break for truth and enlightenment? Here is a list of songs about getting back to the roots or “going country.”

Think nice thoughts for the rest of us eh!

Honk, High in the Middle

This song is from the soundtrack to the 1972 surf movie “Five . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

Tell Me Why…

♫ I am lonely but you can free me
All in the way that you smile
Tell me why, tell me why..♫

Lyrics, music and recorded by Neil Young.

This is a post of a different colour (or color). It is really a series of questions wrapped up in a post with the hope and expectation that it can generate a bit of discussion. Call it an experiment of sorts in social blogging, community and dialogue in using a specific example to explore the topic of the adoption of technology by lawyers.

This blog post originated with a long discussion . . . [more]

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

HeinOnline Webinar on Using U.N. Law Collection

For about nine months now, HeinOnline has been running webinars, aiming to host at least one per month. The upcoming webinar, on Wednesday, February 24, is on “Using and Searching the United Nations Law Collection” and will run for 30 minutes. There’s an excellent list of points that will be covered on the relevant Hein wiki page, along with instructions as to how to participate.

All of the previous webinars are archived and available for viewing online or for downloading. Most are concerned with U.S. resources, naturally; but a number are of general interest — “Getting Started” in HeinOnline . . . [more]

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

Adele McAlear on Death and Digital Legacy

Back in November John Gregory wrote about Dealing with Digital Assets After Death and a New York Times article quoting Montreal marketing consultant Adele McAlear. Adele happens to be a friend, so I took the opportunity to speak with her in detail about the topic on behalf of Slaw readers. Our full interview (held in December) is below. Since that time, she has launched her new website to better track this wide-ranging subject. Adele will also be speaking on “Death and Digital Legacy in Social Media” at the upcoming PodCamp Toronto 2010 (of which I am . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Substantive Law, Technology

When Will Ontario Courts Assume Jurisdiction Over Out-of-Province Defendants?

A 5-member panel of the Ontario Court of Appeal released a significant, 150-paragraph reasoned decision this morning involving conflicts of laws and when Ontario should take jurisdiction over out-of-province defendants – see:

Van Breda v. Village Resorts Limited, 2010 ONCA 84

At issue were claims for personal injury damages occasioned as a result of accidents suffered by Canadian tourists at resorts in Cuba and whether the plaintiffs could sue in Ontario.

In paragraph 109 (pasted below) the Court has “re-formulated” their own test in Muscutt from 2002.

[109] To summarize the preceding discussion, in my view, the Muscutt

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

Should People Commenting on an Election Have to Use Their Real Names?

The government of South Australia has recently adopted a law that requires people commenting on the forthcoming state election to use their real names, and media will have to retain the names and addresses for six months. The requirement appears to apply to bloggers and comments on blogs etc.

Unsurprisingly, not everyone likes this.

Is it fair to say that requiring people to give their real names is a “gag” on debate?

Would the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms prevent such a law in this country? In other words, does the freedom of expression protect anonymous speech? . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Substantive Law, ulc_ecomm_list Your Own Homepage

I’ve been playing with lately, a web tool that allows you to easily create your own custom homepage. You can fill your homepage with links to your favorite websites, and you can customize the way your page looks. Useful features include:

  • You can choose to be notified when a site you have included has new content.
  • You can create groups and add links to each group.
  • You can pick from themes to customize the way your page looks.
. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology

Depression in the Legal Profession

Susan Cartier Liebel has written a thoughtful blog post on the high prevalence of depression in the legal profession.

The ABA reports that “about 19 percent of lawyers experience depression at any given time, compared with 6.7 percent of the general population. About 20 percent of lawyers have drinking problems, twice the rate of the general population.”

The Lawyers Assistance Program of BC states that “research shows law to be the occupation most susceptible to clinical depression. Legal professionals are now three times more likely to be diagnosed with depression than the general population.” Further, “substance abuse among lawyers is . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

One of the reasons I started the Cross-Border Biotech Blog a year ago was that the industry in Canada was in terrible shape. In the face of a global financial crisis, biotech as an industry was attracting some attention and some bailout funding, but by July last year, 70% of Canadian biotech companies reported having under 6 months of cash remaining.

This year has started with some new, and better, data. Equicom’s year-end review shows that although several Canadian biotechs did go under, the surviving companies overall outperformed market indices. BIOTECanada updated the July survey recently as well, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Blawg Review #249


The Legality of an American Slavery


February 1 is known as National Freedom Day in the U.S. It’s also the start of Black History Month, the annual celebration and triumph of the descendants of African-Americans. This year, President Obama has also indicated that National Freedom Day will also be the first ever National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. For this reason, Blawg Review #249 will follow the theme of African slavery in America, using the model of Alex Haley’s Roots: The Saga of an American Family.

Haley’s novel traces his family roots back six generations to . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous