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Archive for August, 2011

Use Wolfram-Alpha to Generate a Password

Here’s a quick tip from digital inspiration (via Lifehacker). If you don’t use a password generating/saving application, you may want to turn to the computational engine Wolfram-Alpha the next time you need to come up with a “random” password. Simply enter into the search box on that site [password of n characters] where ‘n’ is the number of characters you want. Wolfram Alpha returns this (for a 7 character request):

The phonetic form may help you memorize the new password. (I’d prefer the sort of thing we do with our postal codes; thus, for this, perhaps: “Why two? Ask . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Maritime Law Book Summaries Posted

Slaw news — for those who read Slaw only via RSS or email.

On the website now:

This week’s Maritime Law Book case summaries are up, precis on Slaw and full at

  • York Estate v. York et al. 2011 BCCA 316
  • Robinson Estate, Re 2011 ONCA 493
  • McNamee v. McNamee 2011 ONCA 533
  • Mathusz v. Carew 2011 NLTD(F) 28
  • R. v. Jones (D.C.) 2011 NSPC 47

Thus far, seventy-five summaries in total are available on . . . [more]

Posted in: Slaw RSS Site News

Academic Publishing Under Scrutiny at Last?

Publishers across the board, not just legal publishers, are under George Monbiot’s microscope in this very interesting article in The Guardian the other day. The title is enough to make you look twice — ‘Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist’.

It is a similar tale in legal publishing. We need to be aware of the added power we put into publisher hands every time we cancel a paper subscription…. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

Double Dipping

I never had the opportunity to take Law and Economics, and almost everything I remember from undergraduate economics courses I could have learned at Father Guido Sarducci’s Five Minute University. In spite of my lack of knowledge about the subject I’m beginning to suspect that whatever you’re thinking about, it’s important to follow the money.

I doubt that thinking most Aboriginal issues are about money, rather than constitutional law principles, international law principles, or human rights principles is any kind of insight. But I wonder, are there foundational legal principles about money? For example, is there a legal principle . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Canadian Companies and Social Media

The results of a recent survey conducted by Leger Marketing for SAS, a business analytics software and services provider, on the use of social media by companies have been published today: only 1 in 5 Canadian companies post on social media networks and monitor social media conversations on a regular basis. These two actions are considered the fundamental pillars of effectively using social media.

A lack of resources and a view that it is a waste of time and energy are cited as explanations as to why companies choose not to use social media or not to monitor mentions of . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology


Jureeka! is a browser extension for Firefox and Chrome built by Michael Poulshock now in collaboration with Cornell’s Legal Information Institute that turns legal citations into hyperlinks to open access versions of the material cited.

Somewhat surprisingly, it works with some citations to British materials and to Canadian materials, principally federal statutes and Supreme Court of Canada cases on CanLII, so far as I can judge. This is no substitute for the high-end commercial products and neither for CanLII material. But if you find yourself working with US material in HTML outside either of the biggies, you might find this . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management

Google+ Names

Who are you really. is reporting a bit of controversy about the Google Plus name policy.

The name policy opens with:

Google+ makes connecting with people on the web more like connecting with people in the real world. Because of this, it’s important to use your common name so that the people you want to connect with can find you. Your common name is the name your friends, family or co-workers usually call you. For example, if your legal name is Charles Jones Jr. but you normally use Chuck Jones or Junior Jones, any of these would be

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

Free Legal Information? Really?

When I was chatting with one of my American colleagues at this summer’s ACLEA conference, our talk turned to our competitors. We agreed that our biggest competition is the free material on the web, rather than legal resources published by any other legal publisher. (We both publish secondary legal material: practice manuals and the like.) This set me on a train of thought about the funding behind all that free legal information.

With my belief in access to justice and to legal information, I can’t help supporting initiatives to make primary legal material and legal scholarship freely available online. I . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Privacy Commissioner Launches Handbook to Help Lawyers Apply Privacy Law to Their Practices

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has announced the release of a handbook called PIPEDA and Your Practice — A Privacy Handbook for Lawyers.

According to the release, the handbook “describes best practices in managing the collection, use and disclosure of personal information, responding to requests for access to personal information, and the potential application of PIPEDA. The Handbook covers practical privacy issues that arise in the course of managing a law firm and conducting litigation”. . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Structuring Your Firm’s Marketing Function

Many of my client firms don’t have a marketing professional on staff. Instead, they have a group of lawyers who are doing their darndest to make the best marketing decisions for their firm. 

They want to know the best practices for marketing decision-making and work flow systems. There are many good models and I’ll offer a hybrid of what I’ve seen work well. This is not a one-size-fits-all approach, but should provide you with some foundational elements to build upon to suit your firm’s culture, size and needs. But for a mid-sized firm with established practice groups, or at least . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

The Importance of Real Time News and Information

I agree, this is not news. Our lives are getting faster and we expect to know what is happening right now in the world, not what happened five hours ago or yesterday. For those of us who work with information and live online, television and radio are often not fast enough. We expect to hear about things as they happen.

Lawyers need to stay on top of what is happening to clients so they can help respond in a timely manner. As librarians, the challenge is pulling information together so that those we serve are up to date. In the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Practice of Law: Marketing, Technology: Internet

Is a Carjacking an Automobile Accident?

There can be many causes of automobile injuries. Fortunately carjacking is not a common cause of injuries in Canada, but when it does happen how should insurance companies treat them? Justice John Murray of the Ontario Superior Court dealt with the issue of an assault while operating an automobile this week by in Downer v. Personal Insurance.

On Feb. 26, 2000, the plaintiff was filling his car with gas at a gas station in Scarborough on a Saturday evening. He was counting his money for payment in his car with his internal lights on when we was approached by . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions