Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for May, 2012

Redefining the Career Plan, Part 1

I have recently had the opportunity to take up a sessional teaching position at the University of Victoria Faculty of Law. Anyone who engages in this type of sessional or adjunct teaching in Canada knows that it is not done for the money (of which there is very little) but for the love of teaching and the opportunity to engage with bright young minds. As I have managed to navigate a successful transition away from the strict practice of law an additional benefit I receive from teaching is a steady stream of students who seek my thoughts on career planning . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Disappearing Legislation Watch Tool

I am spoiled. I admit it. My brothers used to call me Precious – I am sure they were being facetious. This character flaw leads to severe disappointment when tools that I like to use are delayed or disappear.

One of my favourite, and hopefully to reappear soon, tools is the Daily Bill Activity Reports of the Alberta Legislature. Following this link, you may think, “There is a 2012 document at the site, why is she complaining?”

The daily activity report doesn’t include the 28th Legislature. We started the 1st Session of this legislature on May 23, 2012, and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Legislation

OpenParliament Adds Committees — “This is not a government site. Not even sort of,” says the tagline at the very bottom of the page. And one way you know it’s true is that it’s easy to use. We introduced back in 2010, a successful volunteer effort by Michael Mulley to make access to data about the doings of MPs as easy as possible.

Now Mulley has added access to the work of parliamentary committees. As you’d expect, everything’s laid out clearly. You pick the committee that interests you, then go to the meeting by date (unless it was in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Publishing

Digitisation – Free Online?

This time I thought I would talk a bit about digitisation being done by libraries, specifically the Bodleian. This is not exactly related to law or legal materials, but it is about using technology to release manuscripts, books and documents that once were the exclusive preserve of specialist scholars and making them available to the world. The Bodleian has been digitising some of its earliest treasures for many years now, and as always, these projects go ahead when funding is available.

In recent weeks a great deal of coverage was given to the announcement that the Bodleian Libraries and the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Making the Most of Meetings

Meetings are a fact of life for all lawyers as they are a necessary part of dealing with clients and operating a law firm. Unfortunately, meetings are often an unproductive use of time, as too often nothing of substance happens or gets decided. People go to meetings solely because they feel obliged to go, not because they get anything from attending.

Before you call a meeting, ask yourself: Is there really merit in getting all these people together? If the meeting is only for informational purposes – as are many regularly scheduled management or departmental meetings – ask yourself if . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Adult Criminal Court Statistics

Statistics Canada has released the latest batch of stats from the criminal courts (2010/2011). As usual, The Daily has a handy overview; those who are interested in the finer details will find them in the corresponding Juristat publication.

Some points of note:

  • The caseload has remained pretty much the same as it was the previous year, at 403,000 cases.
  • The great majority of cases involved non-violent offences (77%).
  • The most commonly-occurring offence was impaired driving (12%).
  • Young adults (18-24) are greatly over-represented: 30% of all accused vs. 12% of the population.
  • Two-thirds of cases resulted in a finding
. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law

iPad Advice and My Most-Frequently Used iPad Apps

I was asked to present this week at a special lunch session of the Toronto Association of Law Libraries as one of several speakers to discuss tablets and their apps. In my case, I will discuss the new iPad (or iPad3, as it is sometimes called).

If interested, set out below are my general comments on iPads along with a list of apps I most frequently use. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology

ODR and the (BC) Courts

We were recently asked to contribute a chapter on ODR and the Courts to an International treatise on ODR edited by Mohamed S. Abdel Wahab, Ethan Katsh and Daniel Rainey. In researching how Courts could and should use ODR, we were pleasantly surprised to see how many court-run ODR projects are currently being implemented or tested around the World. From the United Kingdom’s Money Claim Online and Possession Claim Online, to Australia’s eCourt to the seemingly defunct Subordinate Courts of Singapore’s eAlternative Dispute Resolution (e@dr) project (the website is no longer online), ODR practices and processes are seeping into the . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

The Cloud and the PATRIOT Act

As a lawyer setting up a sole practice after many years with a Firm, I have had to read about technology recently. A lot. One topic on which so much has been written is Cloud computing and concerns for Canadian lawyers raised by the PATRIOT Act. A simple search of SLAW alone lists 53 articles touching on this topic.

This is the situation as far as I have been able to cobble it together.

The PATRIOT Act is intended to simplify the US government’s access to business records for intelligence gathering permitting quicker, easier access to otherwise confidential records and . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Senior Toronto Officer Facing G20 Discipline

The investigation into the G20 continues, and approximately 15 police officers have been identified to date for discipline hearings. The Toronto Star recently obtained non-publicized documents from the The Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) revealing the nature of discipline against Insp. Gary Meissner of 51 Division.

Police attempted to track down some of the violent protesters following some of the vandalism during the G20, including the “black bloc.” Early morning on June 27, 2010, Toronto police entered the Graduate Students Union’s (GSU) pub and gymnasium in the Koffler Student Centre at the University of Toronto in . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

The Paper Form

A frequent topic of posts here at Slaw and elsewhere in recent times has been the nature of print v. electronic publishing and what the future holds. It is a worthy topic that affects us all and fuels much discussion. In the midst of that I simply want to point out a publication that I find interesting in this information world, I’m not attaching special significance to it beyond the fact that it is interesting to point out. Grantland has been mentioned here at Slaw previously in the context of the Slaw feature You Might Like. Named for Grantland Rice . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information: Publishing, Miscellaneous