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Archive for October, 2011

Confidentiality and Clients

I couldn’t help being struck by the contrast between two seemingly unrelated events last week: Eddie Greenspan attacking his former client Conrad Black in the Globe and Mail, and the B.C. Supreme Court striking down money laundering laws insofar as those laws apply to lawyers.

In Federation of Law Societies of Canada v. Canada 2011 BCSC 1270, Madam Justice Gerow found that federal money laundering laws violate section 7 of the Charter to the extent that they apply to legal counsel and law firms. She further found that the violations could not be justified under section 1. Justice . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

A Flurry of Innovation: An Update on Free Law

The past two months have seen a flurry of innovative activity in the corner of the legal technology world that concerns free access to law and open legal information. Here are some developments that seem noteworthy:

Open Legal Educational Resources

New, free, and open versions — in ePUB and .mobi formats — of U.S. federal court rules have been published, jointly by the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School and CALI, The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction. This is the latest addition to the ePUB-based open legal publishing endeavor that John Mayer describes in this recent post. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Table of Public Statutes Is Alive!

I just stumbled upon the fact that the decision to discontinue publication of the print version of the federal Table of Public Statutes was reversed.

An issue, up to date to Sept 30, 2011 is now available from:

Queen’s Printer

or from

Federal Publications Inc.

This is good news! . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing

Quicklaw iPhone App – a Short Update

Way back in March, LexisNexis Canada announced an app for Quicklaw on the iPhone. Ted Tjaden covered this new development with a review. The app was updated recently, and I thought it might be worthwhile checking out the new features, including an enhanced search interface and results list.

My personal test of the app found it a bit buggy: app shuts down if you go back to the app from the “view in browser link”, view in browser asks for a client id rather than transferring. This may have been due to settings on my device, or my internet connectivity. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Technology: Internet

Adam Dodek

We’re pleased to announce that Adam Dodek is joining Slaw.

Adam is an Associate Professor in the common law section of the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law. He teaches and writes about public law, legal ethics, the legal profession and the Supreme Court of Canada. He is a founding member of the Canadian Association for Legal Ethics (CALE). And at the moment he is writing a book about solicitor-client privilege. You might take a look at his recent work, “Courthouse Cancellations and Challenges to Self-Regulation: Correspondent’s Report from Canada” (Legal Ethics, Vol. 14, No. 1, . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

Rethinking the Civil Justice System Funding Paradigm: Cutting Costs by Improving Investment

In the various provincial election campaigns across the country, there is little attention being paid to the funding of the civil justice system. Among elected officials, the dominant paradigm is one that sees funding of the civil justice system as an obligatory expense for the government. The costs appear unlimited and ever increasing. The challenge within this paradigm is how to minimize this expensive item while still meeting their basic obligations. The results are evident in court delays, the ever increasing number of self-represented litigants, increasing restrictions on access to legal aid, and a myriad of unresolved civil disputes in . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

How Not to Fire People

Recently, the tech world has been buzzing with recent corporate blow-ups involving high level executives. Indeed, recently, Carol Bartz, the then-CEO of Yahoo, was fired over the phone and subsequently publicly denounced her boss as a “doofus”. As reported in Canadian Business magazine, Michael Arrington’s recent spat with his former employer, AOL, also went swimmingly. Both high-profile terminations had an effect on the employers.

Bartz mainly damaged her own career prospects, but her public outburst reflected poorly on the company. The incident almost certainly hurt employee morale, riled activist investors and added to Yahoo’s legal fees.

Less than a week

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Substantive Law

Silence From the Court

Recently, I had occasion to look at the speeches and presentations made by members of ultimate courts of appeal – the Supreme Court and its equivalents. And Canada ranks somewhat disgracefully last in terms of making the speeches publicly available.

Eugene Meehan has monitored the court too for speeches and presentations, but his pickings are similarly slim in recent years. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Publishing, Reading: Recommended, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Limited Scope Retainers

“Unbundling” is a name given to the provision of legal services for part, but not all, of a client’s legal matter, by agreement with the client. Another name is “limited scope retainers”.

The idea is that by providing Rules of Professional Conduct and guidelines on the issue to lawyers and paralegals, the public will have greater access to justice.

Unbundling raises all kinds of ethical and procedural issues. The OBA struck a task force to draft the OBA’s submissions on the subject to the Law Society’s Professional Regulation Committee. Here are the main issues identified in the OBA’s submissions : . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

The Claims Consequences of Lawyer Incivility

The following article by Nora Rock appears in the Fall 2011 issue of LAWPRO Magazine.

At LAWPRO, we’ve seen a growing proportion of incivility allegations cropping up in claims. For example, lawyers may find themselves personally liable to pay a party’s costs under Rule 57.07 (Rules of Civil Procedure) where the court has found that the lawyer’s actions contributed to running up the bill.

Incivility can also lead to other consequences. The client’s case may be prejudiced because the lawyer is unfavourably viewed by a jury; or a prospect of settlement may evaporate in the face of a lawyer’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Good Vibrations? Anonymous, Local, and Ephemeral Microblogging

There’s a new player in the flash mob market. Vibe is a Twitter-like app for the iPhone that lets you communicate with other Vibe users anonymously. There is no login, no sign-up, no registration: it’s strictly download and play. Moreover, you shape your “vibes” by the distance you’d like them to travel and the length of time you’d like them to live. If you “Whisper” your vibe travels no more than 50 metres from where you are, “Speak” and the radius is 500 metres, etc; and like the tapes on Mission Impossible, your vibes can self-destruct after 15 minutes, 1 . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet