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Archive for June, 2011

Dropbox Drops the Ball

Last week I asked if Apple’s forthcoming iCloud service spells doom for Dropbox. My conclusion was no, iCloud does not pose a critical threat to Dropbox, but this week I’m worried about a new threat to Dropbox’s viability: Dropbox themselves.

Yesterday Dropbox disclosed a “bug” they’d introduced that allowed users to log into any Dropbox account using an arbitrary password. That is, if you have a Dropbox account, all a potential hacker would have to know was your e-mail address, and he would have unfettered access to your entire Dropbox.

Although the impact of the bug on users was . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Mandatory Recalls Now Possible

A new law came into effect yesterday: the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, S.C. 2010, c. 21 (the “Act”).

While the definition of a consumer product is quite broad (according to s. 2 of the Act, it is “a product, including its components, parts or accessories, that may reasonably be expected to be obtained by an individual to be used for non-commercial purposes, including for domestic, recreational and sports purposes, and includes its packaging”), a number of goods are already excluded from this legislation under Schedule 1, products which are already covered by another piece of legislation. Such consumer . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Google’s Solstice Doodle(s)

We’ve once again reached a remarkable point as the world wobbles on. Today — at 1.16 p.m. to be precise — is the solstice. Up here in the Northern Hemisphere it’s the summer solstice; for the folks South of the equator, it’s the winter solstice, of course: the longest and the shortest day of the year, respectively. And because we often remark on Google Doodles here on Slaw, I thought I might point out that today it’s a Google Twoodle, the particular one depending on where you find yourself, both being the work of Japanese artist Takashi Murakami:

The . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Cats, Horses, and “Legal” Project Management

There’s been recent discussion about whether Legal Project Management is different from just regular plain ol’ project management.

It depends on how deep you want to look. Are a cat and a horse the same? They’re both mammals, right? Hair, four legs, warm-blooded…. But imagine if your sweet pet cat were the size of a horse. Her name for you would be “dinner.”

Likewise, at a superficial level Legal Project Management and traditional project management are the same. They have the same principles. They both seek to deliver work efficiently and effectively. They both are based on a combination of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Dictionaries in Our Court

Last week Simon linked to the piece in the New York Times which described the remarkable trend in the USSC towards resorting to dictionaries to determine legal meaning.

The US doctrinal literature has quite a history in a trilogy of articles by Judge Samuel A. Thumma & Jeffrey L. Kirchmeier, The Lexicon Has Become a Fortress: The United States Supreme Court’s Use of Dictionaries, 47 Buff. L. Rev. 227 (1999); Appendix A, Appendix B, The Lexicon Remains a Fortress: An Update, 5 Green Bag 51 (2001), and Scaling the Lexicon Fortress: The United States Supreme . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Surviving Self-Represented Litigants

This article by Carole Cochrane originally appeared in the Winter 2006 issue of LAWPRO Magazine. The advice given is just as relevant today.

Why do we all shudder on learning that our client’s adversary is self-represented on a litigation file? So often we fail to appreciate opposing counsel – until we hear those dreaded words from our client: “You know, the other side won’t be getting a lawyer.” It is only then that we realize and appreciate the benefit of there being opposing counsel on a file.

On a litigation file, opposing counsel can serve a number of important . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Is an Auto-Pen Signature a Signature at Law?

A group of US politicians are concerned that the President has not properly signed a law, a step described in the US Constitution, if his signature is applied to the relevant piece of paper by an auto-pen — whether or not the President authorized the application of the pen (being out of the country when the bill came up for signature, and things being rather urgent.)

Do you think this is right? I think it’s ludicrous, myself. My signature can be made by anyone I authorize to make it — or by a machine. Signatures made for me by other . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

European Cookies

What do Estonia and Denmark have in common that sets them apart from the rest of Europe?

They’re the only two of the 27 countries in the European Union that have complied with a directive on privacy that came into force on May 26. [The Register has the story.] The directive — a 2009 amendment to the broader directive on privacy — concerns cookies, those tiny bits of script that web servers can lodge on your computer in order to record your preferences, report back on your choices, or perform other relatively simple acts of communication between your machine . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Technology: Internet

Three Myths of Working With IT Consultants

We IT consultants are sort of a mystical bunch. People don’t seem to really understand what we do or how and in many cases we get called when people are desperate because all else has failed. Not many people call me when everything is working great. I want to take this opportunity to clear up three misconceptions people have about working with consultants:

1. We usually don’t need your passwords…and just as often don’t want them.

It amazes me how often I’ll show up at a site and the client will just hand me a sheet listing everybody’s account name . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

It’s the End of Judges, Not the Lawyers

At yesterday’s inaugeral Law Tech Camp in Toronto, Prof. Daniel Katz of Michigan State University College of Law spoke on “Computing and the Law.” The topic was covered in The Globe earlier this week,

The crucial question for anyone heading into a court battle – whether a mighty corporation or a mere slip-and-fall victim – is the same, every time: “What are my chances?”

Depending on the answer, a client will decide to settle, or to stand and fight. The answer generally comes from across the oak-panelled desk of a lawyer, who draws on wisdom gained from years of

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Facebook Hacked: Change Your Password to Protect Yourself

CBC is reporting that Facebook was hacked again. While it doesn’t look like huge numbers of accounts were compromised, it is worth changing your password to protect yourself.

And regardless of whether your account was compromised or not, changing your passwords regularly is one of the best things you can do to protect your online identities and accounts. You can learn about other password best practices in this article from Law Practice magazine. . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream…

…For Ice Cream or more properly “Iced” Cream, (this is one of those words that we have slang-ed much like Web Log to Blog). As we approach the Summer Solstice, the first day of summer, on Tuesday of next week, it’s time to celebrate our (all-too-brief) summer, notwithstanding that many of us have not experienced much summer-like weather yet. Nonetheless, I have already experienced more than one ice cream headache aka. brain freeze, cold stimulus headache or more accurately sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia (say that 3 times fast). It is generally agreed that the feeling of someone driving an ice pick into . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation