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Archive for April, 2011

Lawyers’ Self Governance Under Threat?

I was surprised to learn, browsing through Bencher election material, that in the UK solicitors have lost the right of exclusive self-governance.

According to candidate Graeme Mew in the UK, self-governance of the profession has been “severely limited”. Solicitors in England & Wales, who used to be regulated by their Law Society, are now regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (“SRA”) which is overseen by a Legal Services Board (“LSB”). It is appointed by the government. According to Mew, “The obvious concern is that the governance of the profession will be influenced by government objectives which, in the UK, currently . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Law Might Be Code

Larry Lessig is famous for, among many other things, his dictum that “Code is law,” meaning that code in both legal and computer senses is a means of social control. Turns out, unsurprisingly, that people at his former home of Stanford University are working to see if they can actually make laws into computer code.

The wonderfully named Hammurabi Project from Stanford’s Center for Computers and Law is converting a few patches of U.S. legislation into machine readable C# in an attempt to express the logic and relationships of those provisions in a way that might allow facts . . . [more]

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

Convergence of Software-as-a-Service and Services Outsourcings

Services outsourcings and software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings lie on nearly opposite ends of a spectrum of managed services that a service provider can provide a customer. Traditionally, they serve the customer in quite different ways and are considered to be separate services, but some service providers are offering “customized” SaaS services, which in essence lie in the middle of this spectrum of managed services. Only certain services can be offered both as a SaaS Service and through an outsourcing, but the breadth and complexity of SaaS Services, particular cloud-based SaaS Services, grows constantly.

Outsourcings are generally used to transfer responsibility for . . . [more]

Posted in: Outsourcing

LinkedIn Tips and Tricks

The features on professional networking site LinkedIn change frequently, so it is worth spending some time periodically to update your profile.

Earlier this month I attended the AIIP (Association of Independent Information Professionals) annual conference. I took a bit of extra time to attend one of the pre-conference workshops put on by Scott Brown, owner of Social Information Group, on using LinkedIn. It was good to have a current, detailed look at the network and its current features.

Allow me to share a few things I learned:

  • some of the formatting options are hidden under unrelated sections in
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Marketing, Technology: Internet

Public Safety Canada: Networking With Risk

Public Safety Canada released an information paper, Social Media / Webmail / Smartphones: Networking with Risk,

The purpose of this Information Note is to raise awareness of some threats and vulnerabilities that have recently affected users of various social networking sites, webmail services and smartphones. These widely used communication technologies have taken on a significant role not only for individuals, but also for organizational communications and outreach initiatives. This document is aimed at providing organizations with an overview of some of the risks that are associated with using these technologies with the intent of promoting the use of applicable

. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology: Internet

Citing Blogs in Law Journals

In late 2008 I proposed that eventually someone would use a legal blog post as an authority in their factum. Here’s to one step closer to that goal.

I just noticed that a blog post of mine on Slaw about Ron Livingston was cited in an article by Rebecca Phillips in the Fall 2010 issue of the Campbell Law Review, Constitutional Protection for Nonmedia Defendants: Should There be a Distinction Between You and Larry King?

Phillips discusses statements made by social media users used in defamation cases and its conflict with First Amendment rights. In her conclusion she mentions . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology: Internet

Does Sugar Cause Cancer?

In this New York Times article, Gary Taubes joins two apparently well established medical facts:

  • sugar causes liver fat, and consequently insulin resistance, resulting in elevated insulin levels
  • insulin encourages the growth of cancerous tumours

Would this relationship be a basis for legal action? The Canadian sugar industry ships $800 million worth annually. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

Gowlings Adds to Law Firm Delivered CPD

The number of Canadian law firms delivering CPD courses expanded today with the launch of Gowlings U.

Full disclosure that Gowlings is a client of ours at Stem, but the general trend of law firms teaching their expertise to other lawyers, corporate counsel, notaries and other professionals seems worth noting. That a number of these courses also comply with law society requirements for CPD credit is also significant.

It’s a role that I’ve long thought that law firms could fill. Especially when firms are widely recognized to have strength in certain practice areas, or regional knowledge that other firms . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD

The BlackBerry Playbook: A Sneak Preview From ABA TECHSHOW

On April 19 the new BlackBerry PlayBook will hit the shelves at 20,000 stores and couriers will be busy delivering the pre-orders. Thanks to my old technology friend John Olah (He had a great contact at RIM!), I had the opportunity to spend some time with a pre-release version of the PlayBook at ABA TECHSHOW this week. I was generally impressed with this device, but have some hesitations as well.

The PlayBook felt very solid in my hand. It is 1cm thick and the rubberized back and sides let you keep a good grip on it. I always feel I . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

BC Judge’s Reasons for Judgment: “What He Said.”

The British Columbia Court of Appeal (Cojocaru v. British Columbia Women’s Hospital and Health Center 2011 BCCA 192) has overturned — 2-1 –the ruling of a judge whose written reasons for judgment:

. . .cannot be considered to represent his reasons, do not meet the functional requirement of public accountability, and do not allow for meaningful appellate review.

The judge in question adopted 321 paragraphs of his 368 paragraph judgment “almost word-for-word” from the respondent’s written closing submissions and did not acknowledge the borrowing.

It’s by no means unheard of for judges to adopt counsel’s written submissions as . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Friday Fillip: Sound Travels

In the Globe and Mail this morning, I learn that researchers have found that the songs of male humpback whales change from year to year and, indeed, propagate throughout the world community of humpbacks, rather in the way that pop tunes spread among human beings — or the way that negative advertising infects ever larger portions of the polity. It seemed like a day to go with the whales, rather than the pols, so I hunted up these travelling humpback songs for you, finding them in the Wired story on this cetacean phenom.

A travelling sound more… melodious to our . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous