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Archive for December, 2011

Reaching and Retaining Customers

There was a time, not too long ago, when some in legal and professional publishing would refer to their sector as offering “a license to print money”. The highest quality publishers were renowned for the wonderful reputations of their products and services, their market knowledge and intimacy, their relationships and engagement with their customers and, even though prices were high, compared to other forms of information publishing, they were trusted and supported by their markets. Obviously, customer service was always pretty terrible but that was a quaint characteristic which was recognised and accommodated, partly on grounds that true value . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Heads Up for a Christmas Present From the Supremes

The Supreme Court of Canada announced today that judgment in the National Securities Regulator Reference will be delivered at 9:45 a.m. EDT on Thursday, December 22, 2011. That’s In the Matter of Section 53 of the Supreme Court Act, R.S.C. 1985, C. S-26 and in the Matter of a Reference by the Governor General in Council concerning the proposed Canadian Securities Act, as set out in Order in Council P.C. 2010-667, dated May 26, 2010 (33718)

We’ll link to it and commentary when it comes down.

Perhaps the word “Judgment” implies that it will be the decision of the Court, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Ode to the Trial

This was how David Sterns, one of the panel members at an OBA civil litigation session last week, described the Ontario Court of Appeal’s 5 December judgment interpreting the new summary judgment rule. (See Simon Chester’s post last week for a good description of the amendment and the decision.)

Despite all the energy and resources being devoted in our modern system of civil justice to mediation, alternative dispute resolution and most recently judicial dispute resolution, in its 111 page judgment in Combined Air and four other cases, the Court of Appeal reinforces the primordial elements of the trial in our . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Apple in Law Offices Survey Shows Clear Momentum for iPad, iPhone and “the Cloud”

The 2011 Apple in Law Offices Survey saw over 750 respondents provide insight on how Apple devices, ranging from the iPhone to the MacBook, are impacting the way they practice law.


Unsurprisingly, the iPad saw a huge jump in usage. In the 2010 survey, 26% of respondents used an iPad in their law office; in the 2011 survey, that figure jumped to 56%. The remaining 44% of lawyers without an iPad apparently don’t plan on going without one for long: 71% of respondents were considering purchasing iPads for their law office in the next year:


On the mobile . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Seasonal Disclaimers – and Copyright?

‘Tis the season for law firms (and no doubt others) to send out season’s greetings by email, most often accompanied by the usual wordy and sometimes bilingual notices that the content of the email may be confidential, privileged and subject to diverse prohibitions that we are more or less politely admonished to comply with.

Here’s a typical, though polite, version (French omitted):

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: The contents of this electronic mail message are confidential and strictly reserved for the sole use of its intended recipients. This message may contain information protected by the solicitor-client privilege. If you receive this message in

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Frauds Targeting Lawyers Continue at High Level: Don't Be Duped

[This is the text (updated for SLAW) of a Fraud Alert that LAWPRO sent to Ontario Lawyers December 15, 2011.]

LAWPRO continues to see high numbers of bad cheque frauds targeting lawyers across Canada and the U.S., as well as several other countries around the world. On a monthly basis, 250-300 lawyers advise us that have been targeted by bad cheque frauds. We are seeing the same types of scams over and over again, and on a weekly basis we are seeing two or three new fraudster client names. And these frauds are becoming more sophisticated. Very experienced lawyers have . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Web Law Predictions for 2012

Creating an annual roundup of legal web technology predictions was never on my personal “to do” list. Rather, it was an accidental offering started here at Slaw a few years ago. Now, much like repeated broadcasts of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” it’s somehow become a holiday tradition.

Some of these predictions pick up on current trends, and extend my own perspective of how that trend might play out in the legal market. Others ideas are clearly more “blue sky,” my honest attempts at swinging for the fences (or more accurately, my emulations of the Mighty Casey). Either way, this is . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Legal Language and N-Grams at SCOTUS

Words have meaning. The context, tone, and interplay give rise to nuances that is the basis for statutory and case law interpretation. But sometimes the iteration of words have meaning too. The frequency and repetitiveness of certain words can at times given insight into a culture or society.

At Jurix: The 24th International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems in Vienna, Austria earlier this week, Daniel Martin Katz, Michael J. Bommarito II, Julie Seaman, Adam Candeub & Eugene Agichtei proposed the idea of Legal N-Grams in conjunction with a beta pre-release of Legal Language Explorer, a new web . . . [more]

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

CanLII Launches New Hyperlinking Tool

CanLII has presented us with an early Christmas present. They are offering up their new hyperlinking tool. As the linking page (found under Tools) states:

This tool automatically adds hyperlinks in your document to legislative and case law citations corresponding to materials posted on the CanLII website. This functionality is powered by Lexum’s LexHub, the same technology that is used to add hyperlinks within CanLII’s decisions.

I know, this is just a new version of their Reflex API that Simon wrote about in 2008. I covered the previous source of the API, the CanLex site in 2009. CanLex . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

The Friday Fillip: Drawing Characters

What does the Byzantine musical symbol kai apothes look like? Unicode knows. Because we human beings do love to “scribble, scribble, scribble” that computer industry standard boasts “more than 109,000 characters covering 93 scripts,” according to the Wikipedia entry. Fear not, however: I’m not about to regale you with tens of thousands of squiggles. No, I’m going to let you do it yourself.

Actually, I’m pointing you to Shapecatcher, a modest little website that invites you to draw any shape you like and promises to find you the unicode character nearest in outline. So, for example, I gave . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous