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Archive for July, 2010

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

This week, as Quebec moved towards paying for in vitro fertilization with the goal of reducing expensive and risky multiple births (which may or may not work), it was hard to find a singleton in the world of biotech.

Twin diagnostics projects were born this week as Warnex, the Montreal Heart Institute & CEPMED announced a project to develop a new test for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases; and CIHR and Genome Canada are funding applications of next-generation DNA sequencing technologies to combat childhood diseases.

Vancouver-based Forbes Medi-Tech found itself with twin suitors, as Pharmachem expressed interest in topping . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Access Copyright Wins in Federal Court

According to a press release issued by Access Copyright, “Canadian creators and educational publishers have won a six-year legal battle to receive reasonable compensation for the reproduction of copyright-protected teaching materials used in the classroom”. Access Copyright is the organization that collects and distributes revenue to authors and publishers from photocopy licenses negotiated with ministries of education, corporations and the like.

In 2009, the Copyright Board of Canada certified a tariff to compensate creators and publishers for the photocopying of their works in K – 12 Schools. The provincial Ministers of Education then asked the Federal Court to review the . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training

A Search for Habitable Planets (And Shooting Stars)

Every year at about this time I find myself looking up to the evening sky more often. In addition to the recent full moon, I’ve noticed a lot more news coming out of NASA about stars and planets. Forgive my jaunt away from law to see what is happening in this other field.

Today out of NASA’s Kepler Mission comes news of the discovery of possibly 700 more planets, 140 of which may be bodies similar to Earth. Kepler is a telescope that, unlike the Hubble telescope, is not meant for taking images of specific astronomical objects. Instead, . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Managing the Lines of Client Communication During an Outsourcing

In any outsourcing or other large contracting arrangements, one of the principal challenges is developing good lines of communication with the client. Whether one is acting as corporate counsel, or outside counsel, it can be a challenge sometimes to explain legal problems and manage expectations to deliver the best advice possible to the client. To manage this concern, I have adopted some strategies which have proven helpful. 

    Develop a process. Having a clear process in place for communicating and decision making on a deal is crucial. I have always been fortunate in that regard, as my clients are often

. . . [more]
Posted in: Outsourcing

Brands Don’t Matter. or Do They?

In my experience, lawyers as a whole are not overly enthused about talk of brands and branding. If you must focus time, thought, money or all of the foregoing on a marketing effort of some kind, most would prefer to spend it on something distinctly more tangible – hosting a seminar perhaps, or taking clients to lunch, or even organizing a client golf tournament. Anything but being locked in a boardroom with the consultant-du-jour talking incoherent marketing-speak as part of an abstract navel-gazing exercise, or being asked to foot an exorbitant bill for a designer squiggle to adorn the firm’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Wikileaks Gives Secret Afghan War Logs to Newspapers

In what will likely be the most startling news event this year, Wikileaks has obtained secret military files and given them to the New York Times, The Guardian, and Der Spiegel, who agreed to coordinate the release of their news stories. These thousands of United States military incident and intelligence reports detail a great many combat actions that have been hitherto unreported, telling a sorry tale of civilian deaths, armed conflict among allies, and mounting chaos in Afghanistan.

The Guardian calls it the biggest intelligence leak in military history.

From my initial examination of the news sites, . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Tab Candy for Firefox

As you’ll probably know, even if you’re imprisoned within your firm’s IT compound, the browser wars are back again, and the competition has been heating up. The latest major entrant into the lists is Google’s Chrome, which, now that it permits extensions, has moved from near zero to 7% of the market, pillaging mostly from IE’s share. Safari is holding its own, not gaining much of any ground outside the Mac OS world, while Firefox, once the white knight challenger, has begun to falter, weighed down perhaps by over use of extensions.

Now there comes what looks to be . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet


I went to Niagara-on-the-Lake this weekend to catch a few plays at the Shaw. Friday night, after getting back to the B&B, I found myself sitting on a bed, using my netbook and an external mouse rather than the touchpad. The bed’s surface wasn’t quite suitable. The solution was immediately obvious. The convex back wasn’t a problem at all. More proof of Job’s genius.

. . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Long-Term Strategies for the Long-Tail

An article by Michael Moyer in this month’s Scientific American reinforces that crowd-sourcing approaches towards rating sites are inaccurate, and do pose a risk to lawyer’s reputations. We’ve discussed lawyer rating sites on Slaw before, here and here.

Moyer cites Eric K. Clemons of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, who points out a couple of inherent biases in rating sites:

  1. people using a service have already made a choice, and are pre-disposed to liking it
  2. people do not tend to rate things they find satisfactory

What this means is that rating sites represent the extremes – . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Marketing

The Economist on Criminal Justice in the U.S.

Given the Conservative government’s program of “getting tough on crime,” the Economist’s piece from Thursday, “Rough Justice in America: Too many laws, too many prisoners“, might be of special interest up here in Canada. It’s not a new story: we’ve known about the high incarceration rate in the United States for many years now. But in my view it’s a story worth repeating.

Herewith a few of the more telling portions:

. . . Between 2.3m and 2.4m Americans are behind bars, roughly one in every 100 adults. If those on parole or probation are included, one adult

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous