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Archive for March, 2011

Google Doodle Does Bunsen

Remember the flame things in chemistry lab in highschool or university? Bunsen burners, right? Turns out that chemist Robert Wilhelm Eberhard Bunsen did a bit more than start fires. Google is celebrating his birthday, which was either today or yesterday in 1811. If you hurry, you can catch their fun animated doodle:

. . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

AODA Era Part IV: Employment Standard

The employment standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) is found under part III in the Proposed Integrated Accessibility Regulation (PIAR), which is slated to become law around July 2011 (not confirmed). This standard requires an organization that is an employer to engage in the proactive identification, removal and prevention of barriers hindering the full participation in employment of persons with disabilities. It also requires that organization to have policies and procedures for establishing individual accommodation plans where barriers cannot be removed proactively, shifting the onus from the individual who needs the accommodation to the person who . . . [more]

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

PowerPoint: Evidence Presentation

There should be a point to using a PowerPoint for evidence presentation.

Don’t just launch into using PowerPoint because it’s great fun and easy to use. Decide to use it only after reflecting on how it would enhance your case. Don’t just reach for technology for technology’s sake. 

There will be times when a simple story told by a witness unadorned by technology is better. Think of a lawsuit based on a person recounting the story of being sexually abused as a child. Courtroom technology in such a case could distract and may even be perceived as trivializing the emotion . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

CanLII Announces RSS Feeds for Searches

CanLII has just announced that now you can get an RSS feed for a caselaw search. The feed will give you “recently added decisions that match your current query.” As you see in the image below, an RSS icon appears above and to the right of your search results:

Click on image to enlarge.

This will be a great boon to researchers, giving their current awareness a serious cost-free boost. But it’s not the only improvement announced today. Searches are now speedier, thanks to improvements in indexing. (I’m informed that since last summer CanLII has been made faster by a . . . [more]

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

New CEO at Canadian Centre for Court Technology

You have to like those network update emails that come from LinkedIn. I particularly enjoy when you find out someone you know has altered their position title — likely indicating a new job.

Take this morning for example. I opened the email to find our Slaw colleague Patrick Cormier has a great new role! See:

I’m sure a more formal announcement is coming, as the CCCT/CCTJ website is still showing the position as “TBD”. But for now, let me say an early “Congratulations Patrick!“. From everything I’ve seen, your commitment and hard work make this appointment a natural . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Mobile Phone Companies and Data About Our Lives

That thing in your pocket can talk, and it tells the tale of your life.

Mobile phone companies have data on your use of your mobile phone — where you were when you used it, whether you texted or spoke to someone, whom you called, and how long you spoke — and when those data are assembled and analysed a remarkably clear picture of your life emerges.

German politician Malte Spitz, a member of the Green Party, is concerned about phone company data retention, a hot topic in Germany now as the government is about to decide on new rules . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

E-Books From LexisNexis Canada

Two weeks ago in my post on indexes in law-related e-books I made mention of the 3 new e-book offerings from LexisNexis Canada that are included for free for purchasers of the hard copy.

I have now tested those e-books on my iPad and thought I would pass on my comments.

The three titles are:

The Practitioner’s Criminal Code, 2011 Edition
Ontario Superior Court Practice, 2011 Edition
LegisPratique – Code de procédure civile annoté, édition 2010

The books are in EPUB format and were easy to download and transfer on to my PDA by . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Common Branding / Trade-Mark Mistakes

It can be frustrating when a client comes for trade-mark advice, but has already started down a less than optimal path with their branding from a trade-mark perspective. If they have already used the brand and built up some goodwill, or have invested emotional energy into the brand, it can be difficult to change. Here are a couple of common issues that arise.

The most common mistake is adopting brands that are descriptive of the product or service. The thought behind that is “how else is anyone going to know what my product or service is?”

That is wrong for . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Zoning, Parking, Clotheslines, Alcohol Consumption and Fireworks

Although most of us may not be concerned with rules governing alcohol consumption and fireworks or a combination thereof on a daily basis, municipal law impacts our lives quite frequently. 

Unfortunately, this is one area of law where efficient, free and public access is far from secured. The presence of municipalities on the web has significantly expanded and improved over the past several years, but publication of municipal by-laws seems to remain low on the priority list. When it is made available, municipal legal information is scattered, often out-of-date and is not easily searchable.

When driving on the Montreal roads . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Leading Geeks

Thank CERN for the Internet. One of the topics I read widely about is leadership. My personal interest, along with developing my own leadership skills, is law firm leadership. There is a great selection of writing on law firm managment and leadership here at Slaw and around the web.

In my opinion, it is important to read outside your specific niche. I can’t remember now what turned me on to the Leading Geeks blog. It may have been a retweet by Greg Lambert, or a reference from Jay Sheperd, but what ever it was, I quickly plugged . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

What Makes a Good Testimonial for a Law Firm Website?

Many lawyers don’t think about testimonials until it’s time to create or update their website. Only then do they contact clients or send them a recommendation request on LinkedIn. The best clients are perfectly willing to provide a testimonial. Unfortunately, asking clients for a testimonial or a recommendation without providing any guidelines is likely to lead to bad testimonials.

By “bad testimonials,” I don’t mean testimonials that disparage the lawyer – indeed many bad testimonials are just the opposite – they praise the lawyer in glowing terms. Unfortunately, those glowing terms are often vague, which can lead to the impression . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Ten Things You May Not Have Known About the Canada Elections Act

Whatever you may think of the current election, the law regulating it is a significant piece of legislation, comprising some 22 parts, three schedules, and 577 sections. The Canada Elections Act sets out the ground rules — who may vote, how they must do it, how one becomes a candidate, and who counts the ballots, etc. Much of this is almost routine for us, particularly given the fact that we’ve had four federal elections in six years. But some of what’s in the act is not the stuff of news chat, and so I thought it might be amusing to . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation