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Archive for March, 2010

Please Deposit My Bogus Cheque So I Can Give the Money to an Orphanage

I continue to get daily emails and phone calls from Ontario lawyers that are finding themselves the targets of attempted frauds. The fraud attempts I am seeing are definitely getting more polished and sophisticated. In this post I want to highlight some of the changes in tactics the fraudsters are using so lawyers can better recognize the red flags of a problem deal.

A good example comes from call I got early last week from an Ontario lawyer that was in the middle of dealing with a matter that was clearly an attempt to dupe him with a bad cheque. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Free Access to Legislation: How Do They Do It?

The Toronto Association of Law Libraries (TALL) hosted a Publishers’ Forum at the University of Toronto Law School last week entitled “Free Access to Legislation: How Do They Do It?”

The meeting was well attended by TALL members.

Publishers making presentations to the forum included representatives for the Department of Justice Laws website, CanLII, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario website, and Ontario e-Laws.

All four of these sites and their developers are to be applauded. Although not necessarily the intent of the session, I came away with a better sense of appreciation for their hard work . . . [more]

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

Removing Content From Google

Putting it out there can get you into trouble. Not only is there “publisher’s remorse” but also the more serious take-down notice that may crash into your client’s inbox from time to time claiming that the content of their web page has infringed one of the sender’s rights. It’s easy enough if the client owns the site to eliminate the offending material or whole pages; that’s why delete buttons were made. But Google is not so easily deterred. Having indexed material it may continue to serve up links to that material, if only in its cache; and its bots may . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Digital Content, Paywalls, Newspapers, and the Practice of Law

Tom Jenkins of Open Text spoke at the London TechAlliance “Gearing Up For Growth” conference yesterday about digital media in Canada. He likened the current position of traditional media (TV, newspapers) to town criers at the advent of the printing press. Here’s one of his slides.

Many are predicting the end of the newspaper. Newspapers are struggling trying to find a business model they can use in the digital world. It’s not uncommon for newspapers to try to erect paywalls, which require a paid subscription or a pay per view to read their content.

But that’s not going to work. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Privacy Commissioner of Canada Releases Consultation Paper on Cloud Computing

The Officer of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has released a consultation paper on cloud computing.

Cloud computing “describes any system where information and/or applications are stored online, allowing access to be achieved by the user via a device.”

For example, cloud computing includes:

  • storing photos online on Flickr
  • uploading videos to YouTube
  • using online applications such as Google’s Docs or Google Reader
  • Facebook or Twitter
  • using webmail like Gmail or Hotmail
  • backing up files online

The Privacy Commissioner is interested in issues such as who has jurisdiction over cloud computing, security, data intrusions, lawful access, processing and misuse . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Lord Justice Jackson’s Final Report on Civil Costs

♫ Strike with the strongest hand
Search from the sharpest eye
Pull from the greater
Side of your mind
Tear down the wall that’s stuck
In between soul and mind
Watch as the worlds collide…♫

Lyrics, music and recorded by Broken Iris.

The forward of Lord Justice Jackson’s final report on his Review of Civil Litigation Costs in the UK states as follows:

In some areas of civil litigation costs are disproportionate and impede access to
justice. I therefore propose a coherent package of interlocking reforms, designed to control costs and promote access to justice.

So begins a comprehensive . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Neuroeconomics, Neuromancy… and Law

Well, not yet neuromancy, William Gibson notwithstanding: we can’t yet hack our heads enough to predict the future. But neuroeconomics, yes, apparently.

I’m no big fan of economists and have long wondered why law, and legal academics in particular, give them and their theories such (or, indeed, any) credit. I’m convinced that it’ll turn out to be one of the great mysteries as to why in this era we all allowed economics to be mistaken for what is most important in society — but that’s verging on neuromancy.

Vox, a European site, offers “Research-based policy analysis and commentary from . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Discussions on Records Management and Work Opportunities in Law Librarianship for New Library School Graduates

Last night I had the pleasure of speaking to the INF 2133 Legal Literature and Librarianship class at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto on the topic of knowledge management (KM) in law firms.

The course is taught by law librarians John Papadopoulos and Sooin Kim. There was, I think, some interest in the topic of KM since many of the students were aware of the importance of KM and some had taken Professor Choo’s courses, some of which discuss KM.

Two things arose that I thought I would mention here:

Records management

In basing my talk on . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information: Information Management

How to Take Your Law Firm Paperless

Luigi Benetton gives some tips on how to properly go paperless at The Lawyers Weekly,

If a clean desk is a clean mind, what do the papers on your desk say about your mind?

Increasingly, lawyers answer that question by replacing piles of paper with that most prominent of paperless-office machines, the scanner.

While critics argue that you’ll find paperless offices when you find paperless restrooms, the misnomer hasn’t prevented people from reducing the amount of paper they use, nor from sharing their experiences and lessons learned along the way.

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

Review of Electronic Evidence in Canada

Electronic Evidence in Canada 
by Graham Underwood and Jonathan Penner
published by Carswell 2010-1-30
price: $120.00
ISBN: 978-0-7798-2263-8

“A helpful reference for those dealing with issues arising from the production and use of ESI in litigation process.”

In the preface to the book, Penner and Underwood point out that guidance about the admissibility of electronic evidence is currently lacking in Canada and set out to remedy this situation with an commendable textbook on the nature of electronically stored information (ESI), its management both before litigation and once litigation commences, and its admissibility as real, documentary and demonstrative evidence.

 Government lawyers . . . [more]

Posted in: Book Review

Human Gene Patent Rejected by NY Court

A New York court has struck the patents held by Myriad Genetics Inc. for BRCA1 and BRCA2 which have been linked to breast and ovarian cancer in Association for Molecular Pathology, et al. v. United States Patent and Trademark Office, et al.

Parties including The American Civil Liberties Union, Public Patent Foundation, and Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law argued that the patents were unconstitutional. The decision challenges the famous quote about patentable subject matter from Diamond v. Chakrabarty, 447 U.S. 303 (1980),

…a person may have invented a machine or a manufacture, which may include anything

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions