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Archive for June, 2010

Avoiding Confusion and Claims When Making Charitable Bequests

This post comes from the Practice Tip column in the most recent issue of LAWPRO Magazine (which will hit the desks of Ontario lawyers in a few weeks). A hat tip to LAWPRO claims counsel Pauline Sheps for suggesting this great tip – unfortunately it is a malpractice claim scenario she sees all too often.

Many wills include one or more bequests to charitable or religious institutions. In spite of the testator’s good intentions, these bequests often lead to claims when there is confusion over which institution was to receive the bequest. These mistakes often come to light only when . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

IBM’s Visual Bill Explorer

I’ve talked on Slaw before about IBM’s Many Eyes, the project from their research lab that lets you upload data and turn it into visualizations of various kinds. Now they’ve developed a version called Many Bills, a way of searching through the bills presented to the U.S. Congress (during 2009) to find and present topics buried within these lengthy documents.

A search for [copyright] for example yields 61 bills and 106 sections within them that touch on copyright. Each bill is presented as a narrow stripe (50 to a very wide page, in this case), with the sections . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology

Archival Canadian and Australian Statutes on HeinOnline

HeinOnline is now offering an add-on subscription for archival Canadian and Australian legislation with the following scope:

Acts of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia, 1901-2008

Acts of the Parliament of Canada, 1792-2007

We are in the process of subscribing so I have not been able to test the feature of being able to search across the full text of all Acts or to narrow the search to a specific year or just the Tables or Tables of Contents. Presumably it is also browsable.

With this content, and with the likely future content of other Canadian legislative material being . . . [more]

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

Copyright Bill Expected Today

The new copyright bill is expected today. There has been much anticipation about what it might contain. That is understandable given that several failed and controversial attempts have been made to pass a reform bill over the last few years. And that there were extensive hearings around the prior bill last summer that attracted a significant amount of commentary. And that digital media is considered by many (e.g. the Canada 3.0 initiative) to be a crucial part of the economic future of Canada.

The anti-spam and privacy bills introduced last week are important bills that have effect on business and . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology

Inventory of Civil Justice Reforms

This is my first column for Slaw, and I have been trying to decide where to begin. I’d like to tell you a bit about the story of the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice, but also want to share some of our resources and projects. Since Simon has promised that there will be more columns to follow, I‘ll keep this one focused on just one of our online resources — the Inventory of Reforms.

First though, a bit about the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice. The Forum was created in 1998 to foster knowledge and understanding of civil . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Beware the Common Law Duty to Retain a Record

Last weekend I finally got down to perusing David Wotherspoon and Alex Cameron’s Electronic Evidence and E-Discovery, recently published by LexisNexis. It looks like a great book, but thanks to David and Alex I’m just writing to pass on some useful case citations that deal with the extent to which a court will examine the reasonableness of a record retention rule.

First, in Ontario v. Johnson Controls Ltd., 2002 CanLII 14053 (ON S.C.), Cameron J. of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice said:

There is no evidence of any document retention or destruction policy. A policy with

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

Infomercials and Legal Writing

One of Oscar Wilde’s aphorisms is “There is only one thing worse than being talked about and that is NOT being talked about.” This is sometimes paraphrased as “there is no such thing as bad publicity.” The “I don’t care what they say about me as long as they spell my name right” statement is apocryphally attributed to P.T. Barnum.

Writing for law and other professional magazines, and law tabloids such as The Lawyers Weekly or the Law Times, is a not-expensive (at least to the writer) way of getting publicity and, perhaps, of educating the readership. I have no . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: Law Schools, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Marketing

New Consolidation of BC Rules With May 5th OICs

With the new BC Supreme Court Family and Civil Rules scheduled to come into force on July 1st, many firms are now scrambling to ensure they have the most up-to-date versions available. On May 5th an Order in Council came into effect which introduced a series of new amendments to the new rules. A number of local colleagues have said that getting a consolidated version of the rules that included the May 5th OIC has been difficult.

Speaking with our legislative friends at Quickscribe, they do have a fully consolidated version. Given the demand out here in the . . . [more]

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


In the last couple of days there’s been quite a buzz among bloggers about Nicholas Carr’s proposal that web content creators experiment with taking hyperlinks out of their texts and gathering them instead at the end. He calls it delinkification. Now that the thoughtful Jason Wilson, who is, among other things, a columnist here at Slaw, has joined the experiment, I thought it might be interesting to bring it to the attention of our readers to see what they think about it.

Carr’s basic concern about visible links within the text has to do with his claim that they distract . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

NewsGator’s Free Webinars

A colleague alerted me to this resource: NewsGator offers free one-hour educational webinars. You can register for upcoming webinars or watch previously recorded ones. The upcoming webinar on June 3rd focuses on the benefits of Government 2.0. Previously recorded webinars have discussed the following topics:

  • Next Gen Learning with Web 2.0
  • Enterprise Social Networking. Is Your Company Falling Behind?
  • Web 2.0 Bridges Gap for Information and Knowledge Management
. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology: Internet

Are We Big Enough to Need a Marketing Department?

The title, “Are We Big Enough to Need a Marketing Department?,” is a question I’m often asked by smaller and mid-sized firms. Larger firms will ask, “How many people do we need in our marketing department?” Neither is the right question to be asking.

The “right answer” to your marketing staffing needs is in fact two more questions: what do you want to achieve and how quickly do you want to see results? 

If you’re a large, recently merged firm that needs to promote its new name widely and quickly, you need a lot of creative horsepower—for a short period . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing