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Archive for August, 2010

Nostalgia and the Internet

The current spate of stories concerning nations trying to limit the use of Blackberries, when combined with the recently floated ‘net neutrality’ agreement between Verizon and Google, is emblematic of the continuing invasion of the world of telecommunication by the world of governmental and corporate power. Almost two decades ago, I was on a panel with Professor Marge Shultz of the Berkeley Law School faculty, who made a remark that I have never forgotten. Professor Shultz opined that,

Our ability to make advances in technology is outpacing our ability to understand how such progress fits in with law and politics

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information

Bootstrap Website Advice

For those lawyers or small business owners just starting out, setting down roots online can be a daunting process. Not everyone has the budget to hire out a new website construction project, and on the other side, there are numerous sources that will encourage you to DIY – “do it yourself”. What frequently happens though, is the new entrepreneur gets stuck. Do you cobble it together? Or, do you bite the bullet and find the budget?

The following advice won’t be for everyone, but for the soon-to-be business owner, or anyone who’s jumped into business over the past five years, . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Google’s New Real Time Search

Google has just released a new search page dedicated to real-time results — those posts that come in typically from Twitter. They’re rolling it out, as they do with all innovations. But if you’re keen, you can get to it via When it’s otherwise available to you, it will be reachable at

One nice feature is the ability to restrict your results by geography. Thus, for example, I was able to see what people in Canada were saying about the floods in Pakistan. And, as Google suggests, it might be handy to find out what’s going on . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Google the Great Risk Taker

Safety is an illusion in today’s workplace. The current economy coupled with rapidly advancing technologies allows opportunities, or makes it necessary, for organizations to change the way they work. For individuals in many organizations, it could mean that risks (suggesting change, launching a new product, revamping a process) are not taken in an effort to maintain some kind of status quo (continued employment for example). The obvious downside for not taking a risk is that sometimes maintaining the status quo is equivalent to stagnation and failure.

I have always been a glass half full, change equals opportunity, bring on the . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Update on Ongoing Collaborative Family Law Agreement Frauds

The following is the text of the August 26 e-blast sent to Ontario lawyers reminding them of the ongoing collaborative family law cheque scam.

Almost every day LAWPRO® hears from lawyers who find themselves the targets of various kinds of frauds. While this message is not a full fraud alert, we felt we should advise lawyers to be on guard, as there has been a significant increase in the number of collaborative family law agreement frauds reported to LAWPRO over the last week. Almost 20 firms have been targeted in the last four business days. We also urge lawyers to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

iPhone Spy Phone

Legal Watch blog recently reported that Apple has applied for a patent on technology that, among other things, would allow Apple to identify and punish users who “jailbreak” or unlock their iPhones or who otherwise tamper with their devices against Apple policy.
Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology

Lectures by Llewellyn

I was delighted to learn from a tweet by Lyonette Louis-Jacques, the International Law Librarian at the University of Chicago (and a Slaw columnist), that two of Karl Llewellyn’s lectures are available in audio on the U of Chicago website. Llewellyn was an adherent of the U.S. “legal realism” movement and, perhaps most famously, the force behind the drafting of the Uniform Commercial Code.

One of his duties at Columbia, and later at the University of Chicago, was to deliver introductory lectures to first year students. His book The Bramble Bush, still read with pleasure today, came out of . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools

The Disappointment of Data

Driving the other day, I saw the following electronic highway sign:

Rte. I-90 19 mins
Rte. 520 14 mins

There are only two bridges from Bellevue to Seattle, so I had to choose one of these routes. No-brainer, right? Take Rte. 520 and save five minutes.

Not so fast, so to speak. Seattle’s not a small town. Both these routes lead there, but they leave drivers in very different places. Does “Seattle” refer to where each road enters the city, or to a specific spot? If the latter, where? Depending on where I want to go in Seattle, I-90 . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Should Municipalities (Or Other Public Bodies) Have Facebook Pages?

A California town has decided not to have a Facebook page after being advised by its lawyer of the legal risks.

The ABA Journal has the story.


The legal issues include:

  • May city officials remove vulgar posts and misinformation, or are the comments protected by the First Amendment?
  • If a quorum of city council members comment on a Facebook post, is it a violation of the open meetings law? Such laws require advance notice of meetings and an opportunity to attend, blogger Robert Ambrogi writes at the Media Law blog.
  • Is the city obligated to retain user comments
. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology: Internet

Quality, Process Versus Outcome, Commodification and the Business of Litigation Today

This is the second part to a post from a week ago in which I made a note to the CBA legal project management panel and issued a three-question survey.

To follow up, I’ll use the survey to identify issues relating the current pressures how we litigate on behalf of our clients. I have not yet developed strong views on this subject matter, so will simply present the survey results and some thoughts about each question.

As I did last week, I use the term “litigation” in the broad sense, to refer to any form of representation in an adjudicative . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Feds Investigating Wikipedia Editing

We all know that editing a Wikipedia entry is fairly straightforward – and that the Wikiguardians keep a vigilant eye over entries and edits that stray from the norms of objectivity and verifiability.

So the announcement that the Correctional Service’s internal operations arm is investigating an edit made to the Wikipedia entry on Canada’s Official Languages Act, which appears to have been made from a government computer connected to the Corrections Canada server at the department’s offices on Laurier Street in Ottawa, is arousing the interest of the mainstream media. Denis Coderre appears to have noticed the edit a . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Reading: Recommended

A Counter-Swing?

Let the pendulum swing.
Let the old guard surrender
It is a new day, a new world…

Lyrics and music by Steve Wood and Julia Loggins, recorded by Kenny Loggins.

The ABA Journal on Aug 23, 2010 released an article entitled: A Law Prof Explains Why He is a Cell Phone Luddite.

The article starts with this statement:

Some high-profile professionals are ditching their cell phones, giving them more power over their time and eliminating distractions that interrupt their work and their relationships.

Having experienced a period of time this summer effectively ‘off the grid’ where . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet