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Archive for June, 2011

The Friday Fillip – Two Women

This is a tale of two women separated in time by just about a century and in age by more than three decades — unlikely companions, you may think.

The first woman I might have come to know if I’d ever entertained 10,000 Maniacs, but for some reason, likely having to do with the badness of the eighties and maniacs of other sorts, I missed that group — and Natalie Merchant, the lead singer and, of course, the woman I’m on about. I’ve just now come across the latest albumn in her solo career, Leave Your Sleep (thank you, CBC) . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Developing Resiliency: The Key to Law Firm Success

Research on the high degree of lawyer burnout, depression, substance abuse, divorce and suicide make for discouraging reading. Lawyers consistently score much higher than either the general population or other professions when it comes to managing the impact of stress on our lives. (Susan Daicoff “Lawyer Know Thyself: A Psychological Analysis of Personal Strengths and Weaknesses”.) It is one of the reasons that so many younger lawyers entering the profession are pushing back against what they experience as a highly stressful work environment that is dangerous to their health. It is not just the long hours that are . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

A Bloomsday Post

No law here. Just a post to honour the fact that it’s Bloomsday, the anniversary of the day on which Leopold Bloom perambulated in Dublin. And I’m glad to say that it gets easier and easier to come to grips with Joyce’s Ulysses, something of a difficult beast for more than a few. So whether or not you’ve read the great novel, you might like to hear Irishman Frank Delaney (whom NPR has called “the most eloquent man in the world”) devote five minutes to each chapter of the first book. He’s just now finishing his first year of podcasts . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

New Study of Key Canadian Elder Abuse and Neglect Cases

The Canadian Centre for Elder Law marked World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (June 15) by publishing a discussion paper entitled Moving From Scrutiny to Strategy: An Analysis of Key Canadian Elder Abuse and Neglect Cases.

The Centre is affiliated with the British Columbia Law Institute.

The discussion paper “reviews a number of recent elder abuse and neglect cases that have been recorded in Canadian court decisions – largely criminal cases. The cases serve as a backdrop for highlighting social dynamics at play in elder abuse cases, comparing relevant legislation across the country, clarifying legal obligations to respond to elder . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

The Revolution Will Be Televised (On Smartphones)

In the wake of the 2011 edition of the Vancouver riots, a new website called was quickly assembled to publish scraped photos from social media. Users are encouraged to identify individuals, log into their Facebook accounts, identify the person in question, and then relay the assembled information back the the VPD. It’s also worth noting that this is a citizen led effort, and not a production of the VPD. It will be interesting to see how effective it is.

Unlike the ’94 edition of the riots, things have changed dramatically in how digitally inclined our society has become. Being . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Managing Multi-Jurisdictional Class Proceedings – Proposals for Reform

Most Canadian jurisdictions (except PEI and the Territories) have Class Actions statutes and our courts are increasingly having to deal with the complex issues that class litigation presents. One of the most difficult issues is the co-ordination of litigation that involves class members in multiple jurisdictions. Because our federal courts (with a statutory jurisdiction) have not the sort of diversity jurisdiction that facilitates the consolidation of multi-state proceedings) our courts must fashion solutions within the structure of provincial superior court primacy over civil litigation.

The defects of the current system have been described as follows:

Overlapping, multijurisdictional class actions

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

Lex and Lex – Using Dictionaries in Judgments

A New York Times article from Monday has been prompting some comment on the blogs and blawgs. In “Justices Turning More Frequently to Dictionary, and Not Just for Big Words,” Adam Liptak wrote about the considerable frequency with which U.S. Supreme Court Justices refer to dictionary definitions in their opinions, much to the concern — not to say derision — of linguists and lexicologists. This should come as only a mild surprise to lawyers, perhaps, who are used to the various and contestable ways meaning in statutes is determined and justified by judges.

As the linguists point out, . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

PUNY LAWYERS. PUNY LIBRARIANS. HULK SMASH! a Brief Comment on Fighting Words & Legal Publishers

You can’t swing a dead cat [Fn. 1] on the Internet these days without hitting a lawyer or law librarian complaining about the never ending escalation of prices for legal content (print or digital), the unscrupulous business practices of certain legal publishers, and the ineptitude of member associations to address these problems (and more). [Fn. 2] And while all of this may seem new, it isn’t.

I don’t know when the distrust between lawyers and law librarians and legal publishers actually began, but the late Professor Roy Mersky once stated that lawyers’ displeasure with the tools . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Updates to My Legal Research and Writing Website

I have made some updates to my legal research and writing website:

1) Knowledge Management

I have added on my website a page devoted to Knowledge Management that provides some basic information on knowledge management in the legal profession, along with links to various resources. When I wrote the third edition of my book last year, I added what was a brand-new chapter to the book on knowledge management. It was only during my presentation last week at the New Law Librarians’ Institute (see my previous post) did it dawn on me that the accompanying website lacked information . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Miscellaneous

Outsourcing in the Cloud

In my last column, I discussed the convergence between the SaaS contracting model and the outsourcing contracting model. In this column, I wish to explore a strongly related topic: the increasing trend of using cloud elements in outsourcings.

There is some overlap between software-as-a-service (SaaS) services and cloud services. Before the cloud became the marketing buzzword we know and love today, a SaaS service referred to a contracting model where software features were provided over the Internet. From a legal perspective, there was not much of a difference between SaaS and the application service provider (ASP) model that preceded . . . [more]

Posted in: Outsourcing

The SEO Periodic Table: Best Ever Article on SEO Ranking Factors – a Must Read

Loads of people writing, speaking, blogging and consulting on search engine optimization or SEO. Some of them even have good advice, but often in snippets. They just don’t give the big picture on all the things that go into SEO.

Thanks to Bob Ambrogi who tweeted about the Periodic Table of SEO Ranking Factors. As a one-time student of chemistry, I think using a periodic table layout is a brilliant way of grouping very different but related things in a logical way. And don’t be scared off if the last time you saw a periodic table was when you . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet