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Archive for February, 2012

A Checklist for Avoiding Conflicts on Lateral Lawyer Transfers

The following article appears in the January 2012 issue of LAWPRO Magazine.

Lateral hiring of partners or associates occurs at firms of every size, and is becoming far more common. In addition to reviewing the transferring lawyer’s credentials and suitability, the transferring lawyer and firm will need to identify and deal with potential conflicts of interest that may arise with respect to clients at the transferring lawyer’s previous firm, and in particular, clients for whom the transferring lawyer worked.

This critical task is not as easy as it might seem on first thought. The hiring firm must have sufficient information . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

New Social Media Darling Pinterest and Copyright Law

This weekend I participated in PodCamp Toronto, an unconference about social media with hundreds of participants. We had close to 80 sessions over the weekend, and a good number of them talked about or mentioned the newest social media darling, Pinterest. As a long-time blogger, I think of Pinterest as a photo blog with some advanced functionality, but the rest of the world sees it more like an online scrap book or bulletin board. With Pinterest, users “pin” images they have found around the Internet that inspire them to a “pin board”. Individuals can have many different pin . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology: Internet

“Scholarfy” Bookmarklet

Google keeps revising its menu structure, and one of the recently demoted links was Scholar: you now have to do three clicks to call it up from the Google search page—More, Even More, & finally Scholar. Johan Ugander, a grad student at Cornell, has come up with a bookmarklet, Scholarfy, that will take you with one click from the main Search page right to results in Scholar. (You have to go to Google Search to begin with. You can then either enter your search term and hit the bookmarklet, or do it in the reverse order.)

Readers . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates

I don’t think this idea would go down well in Ontario.

Under the new QASA , UK judges in criminal matters will now rate the levels of advocates appearing before them.

Cases are assigned levels and advocates will only be permitted to appear in cases assigned to their levels and below.

Advocates are assessed judicially , and by an approved assessment organization. The advocate must ask judges for an assessment prior to the hearing, and must be assessed 5 times over a 5 year period. The advocate can choose the best three scores.

Over time advocates can move up the . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

How Words With Friends Is Killing Scrabble… and Why It Matters to Lawyers

Everyone is playing Words With Friends on their smartphones these days.

When even my 11-year old son and my 16-year-old daughter (and my no-way-will-I-reveal-her-age wife) became addicted, I thought it time to look into the phenomenon – that, and the fact that my son whispered to his Scrabble-loving father that he needed help in a game against his mom.

Let me lay out a fact pattern:

  1. Words With Friends is similar to Scrabble – seven tiles at a time, points assigned to letters in inverse relation to their frequency in English words, a board with double- and triple-letter and double-
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law

Thomson Reuters Class Action Approved

Simon Chester first mentioned the class-action proceeding launched by Lorne Waldman against Thomson Reuters for alleged breaches of copyright for providing original documents created by lawyers without their permission or compensation through their “Litigator” service. The resulting discussion highlighted much of the controversy and tensions around the issue.

Last Tuesday, Justice Perell certified the class action. The plaintiff introduced evidence that at least some of the factums used had been registered with Canadian Intellectual Property Office for copyright, whereas the defendant introduced evidence by Ronald G. Slaght on how these documents are created, using juniors and other precedents, and . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Digital Consequences of Death (Or Disability)


No one lives in cyberspace, they say. A lot of people spend a lot of time visiting, though. They leave a lot of traces there, and they interact with the non-cyberspace (some prefer the term ‘real’) world from there. The border is more porous than most national borders, these days.

What happens when people with a presence in cyberspace (really) die? Does the presence continue indefinitely, but unrefreshed? What do their survivors do about their activities in cyberspace? How do they deal with online assets, or even discover real-world assets that may be locatable only online? How do estate . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

CALL 2012 – Wait ’Til You See What We Have to Show You!

The Conference Planning Committee for CALL 2012 is fully immersed in the final details – making sure that the little things are under control, so that the big event looks effortless and professional. It’s nice to take a step back every now and again, and look at the big picture. And what a picture it is!

 We have dazzling venues, from the Royal York (our conference hotel), to the Ontario Legislature at Queen’s Park (the home of the opening reception), to the Liberty Grand (where we’ll be kicking off our 50th anniversary year). You’ll be learning more about the . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

The Friday Fillip: What Colour Is Your Hue?

I have a friend who seems incapable of learning what colour puce is. It’s not one of those things where we look at turquoise and you see blueish but I see greenish. No, she always comes up with something chartreuse instead. It’s a naming problem. And when you get right down to it, names don’t cut it when it comes to colour, though we keep on trying.

Of course, there’s the whole marketing schtick, where you’re selling the sizzle as much as the steak. It’s not “beige.” Never “beige.” It’s “paper lantern” or “lemon meringue.” “Orange”? Oh no, you’re looking . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

You Might Like… a Few Divagations Into Tottenham, Sheepdogs, Siberia, Libraries, Languages 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.

. . . [more]
Posted in: Reading: You might like...

Innovation and Case Law Reporting

 Matt Ridley wrote a book titled The Rational Optimist that was published in 2010.

Ridley is an English journalist with an education in science. In his book he is concerned with the origins of the prosperity that exists in the world, arguing that the road to prosperity began with exchanges that resulted in a benefit to both parties, including barter, a method of exchange that can be done without money. In many exchanges both parties may feel that the other is overpaying. Over time increases in exchanges resulted in specialization followed by innovation. Ridley states that the ever-increasing exchange of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

New Australian Parliamentary Website

Parliamentary websites are too often overlooked as sources for legal research. And that’s a shame because the best ones tend to offer access to an amazingly broad range of material.

The new website of the Australian Parliament, launched last week, is a case in point. There is a ton of stuff there. Most interesting, from my researcher point of view, are the research publications written by the Parliamentary Library, the bill digests (summaries) and the committee pages.

The Library of Congress blog, In Custodia Legis, has a description and evaluation of many of the site’s new features. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Substantive Law: Legislation