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Archive for May, 2011

Learning Objectives for Law Firm Research Training

With the annual Edmonton Law Libraries Association Head Start program coming up in a few of weeks, and the start date of our incoming articling students just around the corner, I have been spending a lot of time thinking about learning objectives.

For Head Start, the two day legal research seminar that local law librarian volunteers have been offering in Edmonton since 2002, the learning objectives are pretty clear. By the end of the two day session students should be able to:

  • Identify whether legislation on a topic exists provicially or federally using primary and secondary sources
  • Identify in force
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Insurance Purchases Most People Should Avoid

It’s my opinion that too many people buy insurance policies that should be avoided. I’m not talking about auto, home, health, life and long-term disability insurance policies. Ignore these at your peril. I’m talking about insurance policies that offer questionable value for most people because they are over-priced or offer unnecessary protection.

Here are five examples of insurance policies that I believe most people should avoid.

Mortgage Life Insurance

Banks love to offer life insurance policies that pay off the mortgage if you kick the bucket. But before you sign up, ask yourself, “Who do I want my money to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Employer and Legal Support for the Canadian Forces

My last post (on the minimum wage vs. a “living wage”) garnered a good amount of discussion. A comment was made to me that it was surprising given that this is a “legal blog” and my post was mostly about a social issue. I see it from a different perspective. I think that our laws are meant to be a reflection of society – after all, they are passed by a duly elected parliament that is supposed to express the “will of the people”. As we all know, this is not always the case. Our parliament does not always express . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Women’s Law Association of Ontario – 2011 Annual Dinner

May 31st update: the registration deadline has been extended to June 2nd.

The Women’s Law Association of Ontario 2011 Annual Dinner will be Tuesday, June 7th. Deadline for registering is today. Some of the details from the WLAO website:

The Women’s Law Association of Ontario is very proud to announce that the

2011 President’s Award will be presented to

Laurie Pawlitza
Treasurer, The Law Society of Upper Canada
Partner, Torkin Manes Barristers and Solicitors

In recognition of her extraordinary contribution to the legal profession and, in particular, for her significant role in promoting the interests of women lawyers

. . . [more]
Posted in: Announcements

Updated Model E-Discovery and E-Trial Precedents

The Ontario E-Discovery Implementation Committee (EIC) released in February revised versions of all of its e-discovery and e-trial model documents and guidance materials. Links to all of these documents are provided below.

Annotations are included throughout the EIC’s model documents and the EIC’s other e-discovery guidance documents. Many of the annotations refer to The Sedona Canada Principles Addressing Electronic Discovery (the “Sedona Canada Principles”). The Sedona Canada Principles are a set of national guidelines for e-discovery in Canada, which reflect both existing legal principles and a set of identified best practices. The Sedona Canada Principles are intended to be . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

A Society Devoted to the Art of Legal Writing

Scribes is an American society whose goals include the creation of an interest in writing about the law, and above all, the promotion of a clear, succinct and forceful style in legal writing.

A few years ago some Bay St law firms subjected their associates to compulsory viewing of videos of interviews of US Supreme court Judges on the subject of persuasive writing. These interviews have now been transcribed and can be accessed in PDF form at Scribes Journal of Legal Writing.

In what the New York Times described as a “trove” of interviews conducted in 2008, eight justices . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Reading, Reading: Recommended

Digital Evidence in Criminal Law – a New Tool for Understanding Courtroom Technology

Digital Evidence in Criminal Law is hot off the presses — the first in Canada to deal with digital evidence in a criminal law context. The book is so recent that I had to review a digital copy — rather fitting under the circumstances.

Released in late April 2011 it is destined to become the bible of digital evidence for criminal law litigators. Civil lawyers will also find it helpful reading even in their watered-down-rules-of-evidence world.

A wee caveat before I launch into the review: author Dan Scanlan has been my colleague in the Victoria Crown Counsel Office for the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The Tyson Tattoo Turmoil

A couple of days ago I was taken by friends to see Hangover II (please don’t hate me). On the off-chance that you have thoughtful friends like mine, I should warn you that there are certain… infelicities in the film, most of which might make you laugh despite your best, or even modestly fair, judgment (don’t hate yourself), but one of which is legal in nature and might be no laughing matter. It goes like this (the New York Times has the full version):

Mike Tyson went to S. Victor Whitmill to obtain a tattoo and left with a . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

ABA Celebrates Memorial Day With Pro Bono Projects

Tomorrow is Memorial Day in the United States, and the American Bar Association is commemorating the holiday this year by calling on members to support veterans.

ABA President Stephen N. Zack wrote to members on Friday saying,

Veterans face a wide array of legal issues created by their unique circumstances, including challenges in obtaining medical care, disability benefits, reemployment rights, as well as help with consumer, housing, criminal and family law matters, but often are unable to afford legal counsel.

By partnering with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the ABA has . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Crimes of (Unconscious) Passion

Today’s release from the Supreme Court of Canada, R. v. J.A., 2011 SCC 28 is a real head-scratcher. The facts are both titillating and fascinating.

J.A. and his long time partner, K.D. were a sexually explorative adult couple. On several prior occasions they had experimented with the delicate art of erotic asphyxiation — in which one partner chokes the breath out of the other to heighten the sexual pleasure associated with a lack of oxygen to the brain. Now, during my recent trip to Ecuador’s Cotopaxi Glacier 5000 metres above sea level I don’t recall any sexual stirrings as my . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Marquee Rules

On the last day of April the UFC or Ultimate Fighting Championship held an event at Rogers Centre (nee Skydome) in Toronto. Personally, I’m not a fan but I find aspects of the MMA odyssey, that could be said to have culminated on April 29th in Toronto, to have interesting legal aspects. What does a combat sport have to do with law? Quite a bit; until 2010 mixed martial arts was illegal in Ontario; however, a regulatory change announced last August and commented on here at Slaw at the time was implemented last Autumn and allowed for this multi-million dollar . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law: Legislation

The Friday Fillip: Lifemaker

Two drawings from crazymen… the first of a flying machine by artist Da Vinci, the second of a strandbeest by artist Theo Jansen.

So far as I know, Da Vinci never gave his drawings corporeal form. Jansen, however, turns his into beach animals constructed of of PVC piping and plastic bottles. He’s been at it for over twenty years and talks of this obsession as creating life forms, a race of creatures he hopes will survive him and roam the sands of Netherlands for a long time. Crazy, right?

At first impression — see the video below — you have . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous