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Archive for February, 2011

Importance of Technical Counsel in Outsourcings

The typical outsourcing involves the outsourcing of not only a business function, but also the technological infrastructure to support it. When preparing an outsourcing agreement, the hardware, software and systems of each party to the outsourcing need to be carefully considered and well understood. It should be part of the due diligence of embarking on the outsourcing process.

Most companies that are looking to outsource will already have in-house technical expertise. This in-house expertise should be relied upon to map out a company’s technical capabilities and limitations. This will set the stage for properly mapping the technical requirements for the . . . [more]

Posted in: Outsourcing

Zotero Releases Standalone Alpha

Zotero, that great note-taking research tool from the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, has just been released in a standalone version for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Until this point, Zotero had been a plugin for the Firefox browser. The standalone version has “connectors” available to link it to Chrome and Safari browsers (IE is coming); and plugins for MSWord and OpenOffice are bundled with it.

If you’ve been hesitating to try out Zotero because of the necessary linkage to Firefox, you should give it a whirl now. There’s an online Quick Start Guide to get . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management

Are We to Live With Useless Periods Forever?

One of the skills that legal researchers and authors quickly have to master does not have anything to do with substantive law, but with how to refer to legal materials. This is true in many other areas of specialized knowledge, but citation standards in the legal realm seem to be particularly cluttered with minute details and exceptions, especially in Canada and the United States. Some of us eventually become quite skilled at knowing how to use square brackets, abbreviations and acronyms of legal authorities. The rest of us rely on proofreaders to make sure that every rule in the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Jaime Laskis Discrimination Suit

The Toronto Star is running a front-page story today about Jaime Laskis, a former associate at the New York offices of Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt, alleging discrimination. The Statement of Claim, filed in the District Court of New York by Liddle & Robinson LLP, can be viewed here.

Laskis complained about the allegedly discriminatory behaviour, and the individual responsible was eventually removed from the position of Legal Professional Committee (LPC) representative, and internal review committee within the firm. However, Laskis claims that she continued to be underpaid and treated unfairly even after this removal.

She was eventually . . . [more]

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

Long Form Census Cases

I came across R. v. Finley, 2011 SKPC 16 (CanLII) and it struck me as extemely interesting given the brouhaha over the long form census.

On January 13 , 2011 Whelan, J. of the Provincial Court of Saskatchewan decided:

[1] Ms. Finley, the Defendant/Applicant, was charged pursuant to s. 31(b) of the Statistics Act for failing to complete and submit the 2006 Long Form Population Census. Section 31 imposes, upon conviction, maximum penalties of a fine, not exceeding five hundred dollars, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or both. She did not dispute the factual underpinnings of

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Choosing a Marketing Consultant

In a previous column, I talked about managing expectations when you hire a marketing consultant or agency. Being clear about why you’re hiring a consultant and ensuring that everyone in your firm understands those expectations will get the relationship off to a good start. 

But how do you go about choosing the right marketing consultant for your needs? First, Beware the Brother-in-Law! So many law firms find their suppliers through their families. In-house marketing staff cringe when they hear the words, “My brother-in-law can do that.” That choice is being made not because of what is best for the firm, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

LSUC Bencher Elections Off to the Races

Nominations for the Law Society of Upper Canada’s 2011 Bencher Elections closed on February 11, 2011. A complete list of candidates can be found here.

Although there was some discussion about having this election entirely paperless, the law society has opted to have both Internet and mail-based voting in place.

We’re already starting to see some heavy campaigning online. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Marketing, Technology: Internet

Federation of Law Societies Approves Programs of Two New Law School Hopefuls

The Federation of Law Societies announced today that the Ad Hoc Committee on Approval of New Canadian Law Degree Programs had lived up to its name and approved the programs proposed by Lakehead University in Ontario and Thompson Rivers University in British Columbia. This national hurdle was established by agreement among the provincial law societies in 2009 as a logical outgrowth of the Federation’s decision in 2007 to establish Canada-wide academic requirements for all Canadian law degrees, a process culminating in the approval by member societies of a set of National Requirements in 2010.

Lakehead University must still gain the . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools

The Bar’s Turn

At a legal function last week I heard the often quoted lines from King Henry VI “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” Lawyers are quick to point out that this is a speech by a villain. The plan is that once the lawyers are gone, there will be no impediment to villanry: there will be no one to assert rights.

I warmed to my theme: the unintended consequences of promoting mediation at the expense of the traditional civil trial system.

If mediation supplants rights-based dispute resolution, this does not mean villanry, but it does mean that . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Communication-Related Errors Are the Most Common Cause of Real Estate Claims

Real estate law accounts for the second highest number of legal malpractice claims in Ontario, after civil litigation. But real estate law is responsible for a higher percentage of claims costs than litigation – and the trends are up for both the count and cost of real estate claims.

For the years 1999-2009, real estate-related claims averaged 29 per cent of LAWPRO ’s claims count (612 claims per year), and 30 per cent of our claims costs ($19.7 million per year). On average, resolving a real estate claim cost LAWPRO $43,325 over that period.

And the big surprise to most . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Valentine’s Day 2011

Well unlike 2007’s dubious image, Google and Robert Indiana have combined with a lovely image for the chosen day:

The Law Society of England and Wales asks us today:

Tweet for justice

Justice for All is calling for supporters to assist in tweeting their love for legal aid on Valentine’s day. Please retweet I love #legalaid @MoJGovUK @JusticeAll. You can also send justice secretary Kenneth Clarke an electronic Valentine’s card.
Send a Valentine’s e-card

Since I did a composite post on Law and Love – An Eclectic Research Nosegay for Valentine’s Day five year’s ago, here it is . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

A Recipe for Law Firm Innovation in 2011

The next and most important area for innovation in law firms is not in the way we bill time, structure compensation or in the technology we employ. It is in turning our attention to maximising the output of – in the words of Hercule Poirot – our little grey cells.

Achieving and sustaining excellence takes strategic and practiced use of our biological resources. Work life in the modern law firm is a marathon not a sprint. Developing practices to sustain our energy and maximise our mental effectiveness means we will get more value out of every hour at the office . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law