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Archive for July, 2011

Survey Says Three Strikes Law Won’t Deter Piracy

A survey by British ISP BE Broadband shows that if the three strikes proposal in the UK Digital Economy Act becomes law, it won’t significantly deter behaviour. Only 5% of those surveyed said they would reduce or stop using filesharing software. 47% said they would simply take steps to conceal their IP address. 

This article at TorrentFreak.com talks about some of the concerns about three strikes laws, such as putting innocent users at risk, and a UN report that says such laws breach human rights.

Three-strikes laws are a controversial proposal to address download infringement concerns of creators and publishers . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

I Am Canadian

In light of the recent “birthdays” of each of Canada and the United States this past week, I am somewhat re-assured of my Canadianness in noting the differences in media reporting over the relatively notorious jury verdicts on different trials released in the past few days.

Both cases are tragic since they both involved the killing of young children.

In both trials, the accused parents were found not guilty, albeit for different reasons, perhaps surpringsly so based on media accounts (but not apparently too surprising for the respective jurors who sat through weeks of testimony hearing all of the evidence). . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

Articling: Back to Basics

You might have read last month that the Law Society of Upper Canada is worried about the newest articling crisis in Ontario. So worried, in fact, that it’s going to set up a working group to examine the problem. 

I don’t mean to belittle this effort, which is surely well-intentioned. But few subjects have been studied, task-forced and working-grouped more than articling (Ontario’s last kick at this can was in 2008), so it’s difficult to believe this new version will deliver different results.

What’s the nature of the latest crisis? According to Law Times:

  • The number of registrants
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law

Consumer Reports Magazine Archives Public Today!

When it comes to purchasing things, I research things to death. One of my favourite resources is Consumer Reports magazine. It provides independent information, advice and reviews on just about any and every product or service you can purchase (televisions, cameras, cell phones, small and large appliances, cars, food products, hotels etc.).

The articles review the features you should know about in so far as selecting between different models and they have helpful charts that rate and compare the top-rated options. They provide information on pricing and other tips to save money. There is also great reliability and repair info . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Law Firm Librarians on Firmer Ground

On Firmer Ground is a brand new blog site by and for law firm librarians. It is a collaborative effort of the Legal Division of the Special Libraries Association, the Private Law Libraries Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries, the Canadian Association of Law Libraries/L’Association canadienne des bibliothèques de droit and the British and Irish Association of Law Librarians.

OFG is an ongoing discussion about the challenges law firm librarians face and strategies for surmounting them. We are not here to merely talk about the state of our industry. We are here to discuss proactive solutions

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Class Action Against Noise Pollution

It is being reported in the news that yesterday, the Quebec Court of Appeal overturned a decision rendered by the Superior Court of Quebec refusing to authorize a class action filed by three residents of a suburb of Quebec City against the Quebec Minister of Transport due to the alleged noise pollution caused by the nearby A-73 highway (see a French article in La Presse).

In 2009, three residents filed a motion requesting authorization to institute a class action in the name of approximately 1000 residents living in proximity to the highway. According to studies, the noise level caused . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Don’t Brick Your Law Practice

The term “brick” in computer parlance means to turn an otherwise usable computer into a useless piece of silicon and plastic. As a careful lawyer, you are already planning for disaster by performing regular backups, protecting your online and personal computer accounts with strong passwords, and so on. There are places in where your law practice software and hardware overlaps with your meatspace, where you become the cause of your law practice becoming a brick.

I liked how a panel on business continuity at the recent Law Society Solo and Small Firm Conference emphasized the mundane over the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Email Charter

TED Curator Chris Anderson suggests that we help curb the proliferation of emails by subscribing to a Charter that he and fellow TEDer Jane Wulf have devised. He argues that in some sense we have all joined spammers in contributing to the modern “tragedy of the Commons” that our summed-up bad behaviours have produced. You’ll get a much better idea of what he means by reading the actual Charter, set out below. (It’s available as plain text and as a PDF, also, in case you want to pass it around the office — not by email.) . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology: Office Technology

Is ‘Humble” in Your Marketing Repertoire?

Occasionally, we hear about celebrities or athletes whose oversized egos tripped them up in public, and we blame their downfall on “reading their own press clippings.” A similar danger lurks for lawyers who are simply trying to promote themselves online.

When it comes to marketing, lawyers are commonly encouraged to focus on the concept of expertise. Specifically, they’re advised to become the “go-to expert” in their chosen field, or even to become (a term I’ve used myself in the past) a “thought leader.” It’s a fine idea, but there’s a problem: some lawyers have taken this advice literally . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Are You Covered for Legal Work Involving Foreign Law or Lawyers?

Lawyers and their clients are more mobile than ever before. With the Internet, easy international travel and a global economy, relationships and business transactions – and legal matters and disputes – frequently cross international borders. Handling matters that involve foreign law can increase the risk that you will face a malpractice claim, and can have important malpractice insurance implications that you should keep in mind.

This article highlights activities and situations involving dealings with foreign lawyers and foreign law that can lead to situations that will likely not be covered under your E&O policy. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

New Metasearch Engine – Fastoise

The latest in metasearch engines appears to be Fastoise (presumably rhymes with “tortoise” if the graphic is any indication). Fastoise searches across search engines Yahoo! and Bing (both of which use Bing’s search tool), YouTube and Twitter.

Results are separated into four columns, with images from the search across the top. I could not see any related RSS feed or alert service, but results can be shared across Twitter, Facebook and Google+ (the newest social network).

. . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Shrinking the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Champion

The UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) was established by the Equality Act 2006 with the ambition of creating an equal society which respects human rights. The government in its consultation, Building a Fairer Britain: Reform of the Equality and Human Rights Commission is now proposing that the equality and human rights champion has its wings clipped and turned into a mere regulator through the repealing and amending of certain sections of the Equality Act 2006. Under the proposals, the EHRC would in effect no longer be a champion of equality and human rights, but instead an isolated . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues