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Archive for August, 2010

X-Ray Vans Challenge Privacy

Forbes published a story online yesterday about the use of “backscatter x-ray vision” in mobile vans. This scanning technology is the same as that employed at some airports, enabling authorities to see through clothing and luggage. The article features the product being advertized and sold by American Science and Engineering, which has sold more than 500 of the scanners. Their (in my view, creepy) promotional video is embedded below:

The backscatter technology and safety are discussed in the Wikipedia article on the subject.

The use of this technology creates obvious privacy problems, particularly when wielded by or on behalf of . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

Court Web Site Guidelines – Principles 7, 8 and 9 (Bilinguism, Accessibility, Interactivity)

Earlier last week, I presented the CCCT IntellAction Working Group selection of principles that should guide the design and organization of court web sites and further explained, in a later post, principles 4, 5 and 6 on notification, content organization & search and security. In this post, I further explain the next three principles:

  • Principle #7: Bilinguism
  • Principle #8: Accessibility
  • Principle #9: Interactivity

Comments and suggestions are welcome! . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Technology: Internet

Outsourcing: An Interview With Clients

I recently had the opportunity to ask some of my clients a few questions about their outsourcing deals. The following is based on those discussions…

1. What is one of the biggest challenges you faced at the procurement stage of an outsourcing and how did you manage that challenge?

Procurement of long-term, high-value outsourcing contracts is complex. You need to be able to negotiate appropriate risk transfer, service levels and pricing, while maintaining competitive tension between vendors bidding for the work. It is not as simple as firing off an RFP with pre-defined services and waiting for a crate of . . . [more]

Posted in: Outsourcing

Canadian Clinical Legal Education Conference

We all have our grievances about law school, as remote as it may or may not have been for us personally. Maybe what’s needed is greater academic discourse about the pedagogue of legal education.

The University of Western Ontario Law School is hosting Canadian Clinical Legal Education Conference on October 22-23, 2010. The program features a sitting Supreme Court Justice, legal academics, and legal administrators. Law societies should also be interested because John Campion, President of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada (FLSC) will also be speaking.

Speaker bios can be found here, and a draft agenda . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools

Outsourcing Legal Information

I tend to live in the future. I think about what it will be like when I’ve paid off all my debts, how I’m going to celebrate a significant event coming up next year, and what my next job will look like. So last December, when the legal outsourcing firm Integreon announced the first “Shared Information Service”, or outsourced law library services, I was very intrigued. At the time, I remember thinking, “how are they going to do this?” I can understand outsourcing research (be it legal, business development or competitive intelligence), but how do you outsource the physical . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Question-Able Marketing

At the top of my list of things that should never be uttered in a marketing meeting is “because we’ve always done it this way” and “we’ll be the first in our industry to do it.” These are simply not acceptable answers to the most important marketing questions that you should ask yourself before you incur any marketing expense. 

Think of marketing as a type of investment. While rates of return and maturation periods vary, a sound investment plan should ultimately help you meet financial goals. Likewise each marketing dollar spent should net you returns if marketing expenses are carefully . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

The Evolution of Conflicts Reform

We’ve posted before about the work that the Canadian Bar Association has been doing on conflicts of interest and the development of tools for the profession to manage conflicts of interest. Two Slawers were closely involved, here and here, with a fine italic hand evident.

Today’s Lawyers’ Weekly front page reports on the CBA’s response to a report of an Advisory Committee to the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. The Advisory Committee had released a report in June which had departed radically from the analysis of the CBA Task Force on the key issue of current . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Reading: Recommended

U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Corporate Political Spending

Back in January, the United States Supreme Court released its judgment in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission 558 U.S. 50 (2010) [PDF], a challenge by a “non-profit corporation” to §441b of the U.S. Code limiting election spending by corporations. In the words of the judgment’s syllabus (i.e. headnote):

[This] federal law prohibits corporations and unions from using their general treasury funds to make independent expenditures for speech that is an “electioneering communication” or for speech that expressly advocates the election or defeat of a candidate.

The court decided 5-4 that the law could not stand, that it was an . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Slaw Referrers

Because URLs are often clumsy and hard to remember, we use bookmarks. Right? If you’re like me, you’ve got certain critical ones strung across your personal bookmarks toolbar, more stacked in folders there, and perhaps hundreds buried in the entrails of your browser’s file system.

But sometimes you’re away from your own machines. Or you can’t quickly come up with one of your hidden bookmarks. It’s good, then, to be able simply to type in the URL and go to your destination. This, of course, depends on whether a URL is memorable. Some are — I have no trouble remembering . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Substantive Law

Outlook – the Personal Productivity Tool

Most law firms use Microsoft Outlook and most people only think of it as an e-mail client that happens to have a calendar stuck on it. In reality though, Outlook, especially Outlook 2007 or newer, is quite a bit more than that.

Outlook 2007 introduced the “To Do Bar” – a panel on the right side of the screen when you’re looking at the Inbox – that shows you the next couple of appointments on your calendar as well as any tasks or flagged e-mails that you may have. It’s the ability to flag e-mails for follow-up that I want . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

3 Geeks and an Elephant

The folks over at 3 Geeks and a Law Blog have come up with a novel idea for a regular blog feature, what they are calling the Elephant Series. The 3 Geeks are using these posts to explore the idea of culture in law firms. They are inviting people from different roles in firms to answer the question of the week, revealing their various perspectives on the question.

The name comes from the story of the blind men and the elephant, in which a number of blind men feel different parts of an elephant and come away with . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

The Anatomy of a Headnote

After a judicial decision is completed by a judge and filed with a court, a legal editor may add a headnote to the decision. A headnote is normally prepared by an editor employed by a publisher. 

The main purpose of a caselaw headnote is to save a searcher time in finding a point of law. A headnote should be an index to a judicial decision. For example, a headnote can serve a searcher so that only a portion of long decision has to be read.

Comment and opinion should not be part of a headnote.

What are the elements of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing