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Archive for April, 2012

Understanding Google Drive’s Terms of Service

Last week saw the unveiling of the long-awaited Google Drive. I won’t discuss the technical details of what Google Drive delivers – others have done so in great detail – but instead focus on Google Drive’s controversial Terms of Service.

The following clause of the Google Drive Terms of Service immediately generated a firestorm of controversy:

When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we

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

Proposed Ontario Courthouse Security Legislation Questioned

The Toronto Lawyers Association (TLA) has raised an alarm over proposed Bill 34, Security for Courts, Electricity Generating Facilities and Nuclear Facilities Act, 2012 in Ontario. If passed as it is currently worded, Bill 34 will allow courthouse security to search all persons entering the court, including lawyers. The TLA maintains this is a potential exposure to lawyer-client privileged communications:

Under the proposed legislation, sections of the Police Services Act will allow for a search without warrant any person, vehicle or property in a person’s custody seeking access to a public courthouse. These search powers would include a person’s lawyer,

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

A Systematic Approach to Law Firm Risk Management

Risk is an inevitable reality of law practice. The only way to eliminate risk is to stop practising law – an option most readers of this article are not yet contemplating. A more realistic option is to actively mitigate risk through structured, systematic risk management. This approach is particularly helpful at the law firm level, where risk management can sometimes be seen to be contrary to the perceived self-interest of individual lawyers in the firm. A systematic approach – that begins with a risk analysis and includes strategies to mitigate identified sources of risk – not only helps overcome this . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Pro Bono Meets “Low Bono” at Big BC Law Firms

In the black and white world of organized pro bono legal services, something is either pro bono or it’s not. Legal services are provided for zero compensation, or they’re not considered pro bono. This absolutist perspective is crude and fully disconnected from the simple translation of pro bono from Latin as “for the good”, but necessary to give relevance and integrity to pro bono as a functional concept. If the concept is stretched to include contingency fees or unpaid bills or reduced rates, then it ceases to have reliable meaning for lawyers and their clients. So for pro bono . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Email Transactions in Land – in New Brunswick

The New Brunswick Court of Appeal has published a substantial review of the impact of using email to transfer real estate. Its decision in Druet v. Girouard 2012 NBCA 40 overturned the decision of the Court of Queen’s Bench, 2011 NB 204 (in French only on CanLII; the English text is at [2011] N.B.J. No. 260, and [2011] 260.)

In this case the parties exchanged a total of seven emails about the plaintiff Girouard’s possible purchase of the defendant Druet’s condominium apartment in Moncton. The final email was from Druet, withdrawing from the transaction. Girouard took the view . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology: Internet

Allure of Big Law Has Lost Its Lustre

The secret is out, and in a big way. Large law firms can no longer promise the job security and generous compensation of previous generations.

We were outed yesterday by Margaret Wente yesterday in The Globe & Mail, the newspaper considered to have the highest circulation among the economic elite and law firm partners on Bay Street. Wente laments the demise of all professionals as the sure route to a lush lifestyle, but has a particular bone to pick with a legal career,

Think twice before you encourage your daughter to go to law or med school, especially if

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Looming Access Copyright Win

Access Copyright appears to be on the verge of successfully cowing Canadian universities into paying for their own harassment, and is doing so with the full support of the AUCC. In fact, as Ariel Katz describes it, the particular steps the AUCC has taken in the matter virtually coerce individual Universities into accepting this very bad agreement, and in fact the AUCC paid for legal advice from sources inimical to the interests of their stakeholders.

If you get the feeling, as a student, a taxpayer, or an University employee with any residual sense of commitment to . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Technology: Internet

The Ambiguity of the Fish – Law Reform in Action

In a landmark decision just 24 days after April 1, the Canadian Trade-marks Office has clarified the definition of “fish”. Constitutional lawyers continue to wrangle over whether this stunning policy reversal will be given retroactive effect.

Subject: Mise à jour Manuel de marchandises et services – Wares and Services Manual Update

Dans le but d’éviter toute ambiguité que ‘poisson’ est un terme spécifique et en termes ordinaires du commerce, l’entrée ‘Poissons pour l’alimentation’ dans le Manuel de marchandises et services sera remplacée par ‘Poisson’ seul, avec la note suivante: Cette entrée fait référence à la définition la plus courante de

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law: Legislation

Behavioural Economics

What is behavioral economics?

Behaviorial economics studies the effects of insights from psychology on economic decisions.

Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist, was awarded the Nobel prize in economics in 2002, for his work in judgment and decision making. Kahneman’s work is the subject of his 2011 book, titled Thinking, Fast and Slow. He is the only non-economist to receive the Nobel prize in economics.

Kahneman in his book refers to intuition as operating automatically and quickly with little or no effort. In contrast, are effortful mental activities demanding attention, including complex computations. Two plus two requires no effort, but 17 . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

You Might Like … a Brief Acquaintance With Air Flanders, Fitting Starts, Tiiiik Toooock, Sushi Chefs, Private Networks 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: Miscellaneous, Reading: You might like...

The Friday Fillip: Words to Start With

There’s the old joke about how you recognize an intellectual: it’s someone who can hear Rossini’s William Tell Overture without thinking about the Lone Ranger. Putting aside the problem of whether anyone still knows about the Lone Ranger and his TV theme music, I’d say that the real intellectual is someone who knows that the William Tell Overture begins with a glorious four-minute slow movement featuring five solo cellos. (It occurs to me: might this not be a good time for a new Lone Ranger movie? But I digress . . . )

Such is the fate of introductions. They’re . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Guardian (UK) Series on the “Battle for the Internet”

The UK newspaper The Guardian has published a wonderful series on the future of the Internet called Battle for the Internet:

“The Guardian is taking stock of the new battlegrounds for the internet. From states stifling dissent to the new cyberwar front line, we look at the challenges facing the dream of an open internet”

Every day over a period of one week, the daily has tackled the major flashpoints relating to the future of cyberspace:

  • the new Cold War (state censorship)
  • militarization of cyberspace
  • the new walled gardens (app stores, social network sites like Facebook)
  • the IP wars
. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology: Internet