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Archive for November, 2010

The Top Things You Can Do to Avoid a Legal Malpractice Claim

In most areas of law practice, lawyer/client communication problems are the number one cause of claims, followed closely by deadline and time management issues. Together they typically account for more than half the malpractice claims LAWPRO sees. Failures to know or apply substantive law typically account for about 10% of claims. See The Biggest Claims Risks article for more detail about the most common malpractice errors.

So, while knowing substantive law is important, from a claims prevention point of view you get more for your risk management efforts by focusing on improving client communications and focusing on getting things done . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Chief Justice of B.C. Speaks on High Cost of Legal Services

The Chief Justice of British Columbia, Lance S.G. Finch, addressed a meeting of the B.C. Branch of the Canadian Bar Association recently on the subject of access to justice, singling out the high cost of legal services as a prominent, if not new, obstacle to that goal. He said:

…I would call [the high cost of legal services ]the elephant in the room. Everyone knows it’s there, but no one wants to talk about it. I think it is time to open the conversation.

… I respectfully suggest it is time for the bar to address this question openly. It

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Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Keeping Up With Technology

Graphene. If you said graphene to me yesterday, I would have nodded and smiled, secretly hiding my complete lack of knowledge. Graphene is a two dimensional derivative of carbon that is the topic of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Nanodots. Again, I say, “What?” Shame on me, since there was news in April about a library on a chip thanks to nanodots.

Rather than letting Slawyers know about my shameful lack of knowledge on general scientific topics, I have a suggestion. Check out MIT’s Technology Review. Follow them on twitter if short snippets of article titles are . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

This Week’s Biotech Highlights

This week in biotech was all about the wisdom of the crowds:

The crowd comprising Canada’s Natural Resources Committee, including Conservative MPs, say Canada should consider a new reactor to replace the Chalk River facility in order to maintain our domestic capability to produce isotopes for medical imaging and treatment.

The crowd of VenGrowth investors spoke clearly in favour of the funds’ deal with Covington, approving the transaction by a wide margin on 4 of the 5 votes, according to the Financial Post.

The crowd of recent biotech IPOs, however, is telling us that we are still in a . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

“Location. Location. Location.”

Location-based tools and offerings have been a growing trend on the web. We haven’t yet felt the full impact of this movement in the legal world, but recent developments by Google, Facebook and others will likely accelerate the process. Here are a few examples of location services and their potential impact in the legal context: 

Google Places 

In late October 2010, Google introduced “Place Search”, a new kind of search result that places more emphasis on local businesses with a “bricks and mortar” presence. The change alters the results web users see when they perform a Google search for the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

The Best Free on-Line Clip Art, Animations, Photos and Sounds

There are thousands of sites on the Internet that offer free and for-pay clip art, but many force you to deal with loads of pop-ups and advertising. Don’t bother with them! Your first and only stop—and the absolute best online source for free clip art, photos, animations and sounds—should be the Microsoft Office Online Clip Art and Media page. It has thousands of free images and media files, all easily searchable by keyword and topics. Many of the photos are of professional quality.

Don’t forget to visit the Microsoft Office Online Clip Art and Media page the next time you . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Donna Jodhan Succeeds in Accessibility Challenge to Federal Websites

Today Justice Michael Kelen of the Federal Court handed down a significant decision in DONNA JODHAN v. ATTORNEY GENERAL OF CANADA. Ms Jodhan sought a declaration under section 18.1 of the Federal Courts Act that the standards implemented by the federal government for providing visually impaired Canadians with access to government information and services on the Internet, and the way in which those standards are implemented, denied her equal access to government information and services, and thereby violated her rights under section 15(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology: Internet

10 Gift Ideas for the Geeky Lawyer

Need gift ideas for a geeky lawyer? Or, perhaps, are you a geeky lawyer looking to subtly pass on suggestions for a gift via, say, a pointer to a blog post? Look no further: here’s a tech-inspired list that any geek (lawyer or not) would be happy to receive:

BookArc for iPad. The BookArc for iPad provides the perfect stand for your iPad. Four positions let you position the iPad in exactly the position you want, and the device makes a perfect combo with the Bluetooth keyboard for the iPad.

StealthArmor for the iPhone 4. Add a bit of . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Office Technology

Reasons for Renegotiating 

In his July 30, 2010 posting, Plus Ça Change, Dan Logan of Torys talked about the difficulty of addressing the implications of change as part of a long term outsourcing arrangement. Dan referred to the results of a recent Gartner Group survey that indicated:

  • 55% of organizations have renegotiated their outsourcing agreement terms within the lifetime of the contract;
  • 15% of the renegotiations occurred within the first year;
  • 23% of the organizations did not expect to enter into the renegotiations; and
  • nearly 8 in 10 outsourcings will go through renegotiations.

The Gartner Group survey identified one of the major . . . [more]

Posted in: Outsourcing

Adopt a Federal Reporter? Yes We Scan

U.S. attorneys are being invited to adopt volumes of the Federal Reporter in a current digitization project from The adoption campaign is being called Yes We Scan. is a non-profit organization that received the Project 10^100 Award from Google and is digitizing the Federal Reporter by “double keying” all text. Double keying involves the entire text being manually typed in twice with discrepancies being checked, and then the full text being reviewed by law students and legal professionals before being certified. The project is meant to make U.S. primary legal materials more available.

From . . . [more]

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

Black Sheep Out – Switzerland and Direct Democracy

In another act of direct democracy, 52.9% of the Swiss voting public yesterday approved a referendum proposal to automatically expel foreigners convicted of various crimes. The Swiss Federal Department of Justice and Police press release reads, in part, as follows:

The people and the cantons have today adopted the popular initiative on the expulsion of foreign criminals. In future, foreign nationals who have committed one of the criminal offences named in the text of the initiative should automatically lose their right of residence and be deported to their country of origin. Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga will set to work on

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law

Knowledge = Power, Right?

Toronto’s first Webcom was held on November 3rd. The conference, in its ninth iteration in Montréal, brought together a diverse group from various information professions – communications and technology folk rubbed shoulders with librarians, consultants and marketing executives. We were treated to an equally diverse range of speakers. The program looked at social networking, collaboration and a wealth of case studies in the application of social media in the enterprise. Connie Crosby did us proud with a lightning presentation of social media tools in the enterprise. 

Shel Holtz started the day with Tactical Transparency : the Value of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information