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Archive for December, 2011

The Friday Fillip: Meta

I’m feeling lazy this Friday — something to do with too much holiday merriment, I’m certain. So today’s fillip is pretty much a do-it-yourself flip to the week’s end. All I’ll do is point you to a site that gathers sites, some of which in turn gather sites. . . .

My target website is Open Culture, and, as you might suspect from the name, it’s a place where you can find free access to a lot of interesting stuff. As Dan Colman, site founder (and incidentally Director & Associate Dean of Stanford’s Continuing Studies Program), says:

Open Culture

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Posted in: Miscellaneous

CPD and the Presumption of Competence

I visited my local Service Ontario office recently to do something the government requires of me every five years: renew my driver’s license. Fifteen minutes, a few signatures and a couple of photographs later, the deed was done, and I received my new license by registered mail a couple of weeks afterward. Couldn’t have been easier.

I did have to prove a number of things before I could get my new license, mind you. I had to bring in my passport and birth certificate, attest in good faith that I was a citizen of Canada, that sort of thing. Interestingly . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Coursekit and Lawyers

Teaching and learning are pretty constant activities for legal professionals. Some of the learning — most, perhaps — takes place when you’re alone, and the teaching when you’re with one other person; and at the other end of the scale, a lot is now managed by professional societies, responsible for providing CPD to large groups. But there are also times when a course of instruction is needed for a group that falls somewhere in between the very small and the very large. It’s with that middle-sized, ad hoc occasion that Coursekit might be helpful.

Post-secondary education makes fairly consistent use . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training

Speak Your Mind

Voice recognition has been getting lots of press recently, thanks to the release of the Siri software with the latest Apple iPhones. It has been a mainstay of discussions around legal technology for more than a decade and yet continues to be a point of uncertainty for lawyers. In particular, how do they use voice recognition in their practices. Ben Schorr discussed some of the challenges of using voice recognition earlier this year. I also received a question at a recent seminar about voice recognition so I thought I would take another look at it.

Speech to Text Conversion Software . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Android vs. iOS vs. Windows Phone 7: A Mobile Showdown and Buyer’s Guide

If you’re a first-time smartphone shopper or a current smartphone shopper approaching an upgrade, you may be curious about the mobile platforms that are available. Everyone knows about the iPhone and iPad, and everyone knows about “Droids” (Android is the platform, Droid is one specific brand on Verizon). Often overlooked is the newcomer, Windows Phone. (Interesting that BlackBerry didn’t make the list, but that is a topic for another day…)

So how do these three mobile operating systems stack up?

This article from, Android vs. iOS vs. Windows Phone 7: A mobile showdown, looks at these three platforms . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Researching Careers in Foreign, Comparative, and International Law (FCIL) Librarianship, Or, It’s a Wonderful Life!

I stumbled into this career and it has been a blast! I did not plan to specialize in foreign, comparative, and international law (FCIL) librarianship. I just wanted to be the world’s greatest general legal reference librarian (ah, youth!). But, here I am, enjoying doing work I never imagined.

Because I’ve been in the profession for a while, I get asked from time to time – how does one become an FCIL librarian? Here’s what I would have done to research career opportunities as an FCIL librarian (besides reviewing job postings to see what current employers are expecting from FCIL . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Can Your Boss Make You Work on New Years Day? Yes.. in Québec, at Least

As I am in the holiday spirit, I thought it would be good to post a quick reminder about how statutory holidays work in La Belle Province. I’d also be curious to know how this might differ from other provinces or countries altogether.

According to the Québec Labour Standards Act, employers can require that employees work on statutory holidays. However, if they are required to work, employees must be paid an indemnity equal to 1/20 of the four weeks’ wages preceding the holiday, in addition to your regular salary. If the employee makes commission, the indemnity would be . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Library Candy

My parenting partner and our progeny were creative with their gifts this holiday season. I thought I would share some photos of their labour. Since many Slaw readers are library folk, you might enjoy seeing “The Coffee Book Table”.

The Coffee Book Table is a storage cabinet with a drawer. The Mireaus have been brainstorming on titles to add to the books. So far we have come up with:

  • A Table of Two Cities
  • Aesop’s Tables
  • A Tall Table
  • Tables from the Crypt

Any other title ideas? . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Law and the Cultural Commons

What is the Cultural Commons?

The cultural commons is a vast store of ideas, inventions, and works of art that we have inherited from the past. A commons is a kind of property in which more than one person has rights. A commons is a social regime for managing a collectively owned resource.

In writing about art and ideas, Lewis Hyde, in his book titled, Common as Air (2010) states at page 214 “art and ideas, unlike land and houses, belong by nature to a cultural commons, open to all”.

In Imperial China, 900 to 1800, to copy the work . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Statutory Interpretation in Kusnierz v. the Economical Mutual

When the Ontario Superior Court of Justice released the decision in Kusnierz v. The Economical Mutual, the Law Times described it as raising the “ire of plaintiffs’ bar.” Justice Lauwers’ holding directly contradicted the practice in place since Desbiens v. Mordini of allowing motor vehicle accident victims to combine physical and psychological ratings to get a Whole Person Impairment (WPI) rating of 55% or higher to achieve a catastrophic designation under s. 2(1.1)(f) of the Statutory Accidents Benefits Schedule (SABS).

Although some defence counsel were confident that the decision would be upheld on appeal, the Ontario Court of Appeal . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Friday Fillip: WolframTones

Much of the time when I enter WolfamAlpha I feel the way archeologists must have felt confronting Egyptian hieroglyphics before the deciphering of the Rosetta Stone or—to cast things the other way and into the future—the way the scientists in 2001, A Space Odyssey felt in the presence of the monolith. I know it’s magnificent but I don’t know how to work it—not properly, at least.

The latest instance of my admiring frustration has been caused by WolframTones, which, as the tagline has it, is “an experiment in a new kind of music.” It’s a sonic working out of . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

You Might Like… Some Samples of Stimuli on Volcanoes, Security, Dickens, Eco, Russia, Percolators and More

This is a post in a series appearing each Friday, setting out some articles, videos, podcasts and the like that contributors at Slaw are enjoying and that you might find interesting. The articles tend to be longer than blog posts and shorter than books, just right for that stolen half hour on the weekend. It’s also likely that most of them won’t be about law — just right for etc.

Please let us have your recommendations for what we and our readers might like.

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Posted in: Reading: You might like...