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Archive for July, 2010

2 Billion Dollars and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt 

(or, how I used the G20 to my advantage)

The G20 was probably the biggest news story in Canada for at least a couple of days in June, and certainly for a longer period in Toronto. The preparations by the organizers of the summit were echoed by those of us living and working in the downtown. As we drew closer to the arrival of the world’s leaders, it became increasingly clear that Business As Usual was not an option. The clear message from the organizers was to stay clear of the downtown core if you possibly could. Hatches were battened, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Who Are You Marketing To?

To market successfully, you need to speak the language of your target audience. To do that, you first need to identify who you’re targeting. Many lawyers make the mistake of trying to target too broad an audience. The result is a watered down message that doesn’t really speak to anyone.

The first step in creating a marketing strategy is to explore your current client base and identify the clients with whom you work best and bring the most value to your firm. Next, you’ll identify those clients with whom you do not enjoy working, and ascertain the characteristics of ‘undesirable’ . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Nobel’s Will and the Peace Prize

Norwegian lawyer Fredrik Heffermehl, who holds an LLM from NYU, argued in his book, Nobels vilje published in 2008, that half the awards of the Peace Prize have not conformed to Alfred Nobel’s 1895 testamentary intentions. Now his book is about to be published in translation as The Nobel Peace Prize: What Nobel Really Wanted and the issue is being mooted in the English-speaking press.

Heffermehl’s interpretation is that “Nobel did not establish a prize for ‘peace’ in whatever guise, but a prize for work for peace in certain ways and certain fields” [emphasis in the original]; . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law

The Paperless or Virtual Office – It’s a Mindset

There has been much written on Slaw and other places about the paperless office, or the virtual office. 

My personal view is that for the most part, we either already have the tools to accomplish it, or if we don’t have them, they can be acquired at low cost. The barrier is mostly our will to do it. Some people don’t see the need, or have a hard time giving up paper, or just find it hard to change.

Technolawyer points to an article that’s worth a read by New York lawyer Jay Fleishman entitled Being a Virtual Lawyer is . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology: Office Technology

2 Txt or Not 2 Txt

About a month ago, I gave up my private practice to accept a position as in-house counsel. It posed an interesting challenge, both logistically and professionally. Logistically in the sense that I now had an office full of furniture, files, equipment and knick-knacks that had to be either dispersed or stored, and professionally in that my new employer’s industry (mining services) was almost completely foreign to me. 

It turns out that both the logistic and professional challenges are proving a bit easier to manage than I had initially thought (which is certainly a relief). However, some new issues are arising . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

A Chat With Chris Berzins on Administrative Tribunals, Privacy and the Practical Obscurity of Information

Chris Berzins is a long-time member of the Canadian administrative tribunal community and someone whose writings I’ve followed for some time. When he recently forwarded a copy of his most recent article – called “Administrative Transparency and the Protection of Privacy in a Digital Era,” now published in the May 2010 supplement of The Advocates’ Quarterly – I jumped on the opportunity to invite him to an interview.

We talked last week, and had a wide-ranging conversation that led me to conclude that Chris is a guy who has a very honourable commitment to seeing that administrative tribunals do things . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology: Internet

Copyright and Licensing Positions for Librarians and Other Non-Lawyers

The recent issue of The Copyright & New Media Law Newsletter is a special issue focussing on jobs and positions for non-lawyers including librarians, educators, communications coordinators and others. You can obtain a free copy of the Newsletter, subject to a creative commons license at

Lesley . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements, Reading

Ontario Law Society Report on Gender and Racialization in Profession

The Law Society of Upper Canada commissioned a study by Michael Ornstein at York University’s Institute for Social Research, resulting in a report, Racialization and Gender of Lawyers in Ontario [PDF], presented to Convocation in April of this year. As expected — and, in my view, hoped — membership in the profession by visible minorities, Aboriginal people, and women is in fact growing. This growth has been dramatic in the case of women: in 1971 women accounted for 5% of the profession, whereas in 2006 they constituted almost 60%, as revealed in the chart below.

Click image to enlarge . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law

Silly Season

I ran across this today while on a search for something else. At first, I just found it amusing. Now I’m thinking it’s a brilliant bit of viral marketing for Paul Pearson’s firm, Mulligan Tam Pearson.

In addition to the 4,000+ views, Pearson has been featured in a Victoria Times-Colonist article. And now a mention here. Who could ask for anything more? :) . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Marketing

Retroactive Injustice

One of the most wrenching questions in environmental law is who should pay for historic contamination which was legal at the time. There is no moral difficulty in holding today’s polluters responsible for the consequence of their acts. But historic contamination, the unintended result of perfectly lawful conduct, is different. Inco has been ordered to pay $36 million in damages for lost property value, after 2000, due to nickel emissions before 1984 that were legal at the time: Smith v. Inco 2010 ONSC 3790

Is this just?

The rule of law is an essential part of the fundamental bargain that . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Modernizing BC Family Law

On July 19, 2010, the BC Attorney General released a white paper
containing draft legislation and policy proposals to significantly amend legislation in BC related to family law.

The suggested changes include the following:

– Enabling parenting coordination by agreement or court order;
– Amending the Commercial Arbitration Act to address family arbitrations;
– integrating reproductive technologies into determining a child’s legal parents;
– Replacing the terms “custody” and “access” with “guardianship” and “parenting time”;
– Defining “guardianship” through a list of “parental responsibilities” that can be allocated to allow for more customized parenting arrangements;
– Extending the legislative property . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law