Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for July, 2012

Facebook Comments by Juror Causes Mistrial

A Facebook comment by a juror made before a trial has resulted in a mistrial. CBC news reports that on the first day of a Moncton murder trial of Fred Prosser, the victim’s family brought to the judge’s attention the fact that one of the jurors was a member of a Facebook group against the accused, and had posted comments on it. The judge declared a mistrial to avoid the possibility that this juror had already tainted the rest of the jury.

You can hear David Fraser’s comments in this CBC interview. David comments that many people don’t appreciate . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law: Legislation

Trend Spotting or Why I Hired a CI Librarian

Co-authored by Anh Huynh, the Competitive Intelligence Manager at Davis LLP

There are fads and good ideas: distinguishing between the two is not easy, but that does not mean we should not be willing to try something new. By informing ourselves, reading the pulse of our institution and using our own good judgement, we are more than prepared to identify an unmet need in our information services and how to fill it.

A number of years ago I kept hearing about CI (Competitive Intelligence). I read articles, went to sessions at conferences and was generally finding that CI was moving . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Expanded Paralegal Powers Coming to BC

♫ Break down the walls
Yes, we’ll break down the walls…♫

Lyrics, music and recorded by Youth of Today.


In June, the Benchers of the Law Society of British Columbia adopted new rules and took some important steps towards expanding the role of paralegals in the province.

A lawyer will be able to designate two paralegals who will be entitled to perform a number of additional legal services. These services will include the giving of legal advice and appearing in court on certain matters.

Specifically there are discussions on holding a pilot project to allow paralegals to appear . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation


Some colleagues and I are toying with Chatter. Chatter is enterprise social collaboration. We are testing it to see if we have a need for instant message like communication. Chatter is an interesting to use for this experiment because it has some features that could fit with our culture.

  • mobile apps for Blackberry AND Android AND iPhone and iPad
  • a desktop app
  • a web tool
  • domain based grouping

The domain based grouping means that:

A company’s individual, private Chatter network is created based on email domain name. To protect your company’s private and sensitive business information, all participants in

. . . [more]
Posted in: Technology

5 Reasons Law Firm Advertising Fails

A few months back, Jordan Furlong penned one of his annoyingly insightful articles (“The Problem With Lawyer Advertising”) in which he noted the lack of client focus in most legal advertising, and suggested that marketing is one area where the coming wave of competition from “non-lawyer” entities will soon have them eating your lunch. It is a provocative thesis, and Furlong buttresses it with a link to an extremely compelling 90-second TV spot for British legal franchise Quality Solicitors.

I thought it would be worthwhile to dig a little deeper into WHY legal advertising isn’t consistently better . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Interesting Insights on Which Legal Technology Products Medium/large Firm Are Using

My friend Mike Seto came a across an interesting survey that lists the main functional technology products that the 200 largest UK firms are using. Many familiar names there – but some news one too.

I am not aware of a survey that specifically lists the technologies used by the the largest North American firms, but (thanks to Catherine Reach), can mention these two surveys that provide global technology use and trend information for North American firms: the ILTA survey (free content) and the Am Law Tech Survey (free and paid content). . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology, Technology: Office Technology

Fastcase 50 Innovators and Leaders Announced for 2012

The Fastcase 50 for 2012 was announced on Thursday, earlier than last year presumably to coincide with AALL 2012, the American Association of Law Libraries conference currently taking place in Boston.

According to the press release, the Fastcase 50 “recognizes the smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries, and leaders in the law” and were nominated by legal and legal technology industry leaders, law firm managers and other individuals.

From Ed Walters, CEO of Fastcase: “We get to recognize our heroes, the great thinkers, creators, and risk-takers who make this such an interesting time to work in legal tech. . . . [more]

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

Juries and the Internet

The judge presiding over the UK trial of a police officer charged with manslaughter of a man at the London G20 protests in 2009, made a request that certain newspapers purge their online archived reports of the accused’s involvement in a 2001 road rage incident. The judge had ruled the jury should not hear evidence of this incident at the trial. The purpose of his request to the newspapers – with which they complied voluntarily – was to remove the risk that the jurors might read them.

The stories had been run by the papers legitimately, prior to any charges . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Immovable Object, Meet Irresistible Force

For over 30 years, every Canadian law student has read these words:

Mr. Pettkus and Miss Becker came to Canada from central Europe, separately, as immigrants, in 1954. He had $17 upon arrival. They met in Montreal in 1955. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Pettkus moved in with Miss Becker, on her invitation. She was thirty years old and he was twenty-five. He was earning $75 per week; she was earning $25 to $28 per week, later increased to $67 per week.

To protect their privacy interests, is it too late to re-style the case P (L) v. B (R)?

I . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Dealing With the High Conflict Personality in Practice

We’ve all come across them. Difficult people can be found everywhere, including co-workers, clients, and lawyers on the other side. Sometimes these difficult people are actually manifesting what could be considered a personality disorder, and it looks like the prevalence of them are increasing.

At the Federation of Law Societies conference in Halifax this week Bill Eddy of the High Conflict Institute closed the session by looking at the changing population and the implications for the courts. Eddy indicated that there is a clear trend that clients have fewer conflict resolution skills, more high‐conflict behaviour, and more personality disorders. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

The Friday Fillip: Figures of Speech

It irks me a little each time I hear someone announce that this or that phrase is an oxymoron — “efficient government,” for example, or “civil service”. It’s the prescriptivist in me, of course, wanting to say that what they almost always mean is a “contradiction in terms,” because an “oxymoron” is a deliberately conceived figure of speech and not an accidental collision. But let’s face it, nowadays that stuff is all Greek to most of us, and “oxymoron” in the strict sense is the day before yesterday, along with the nearly 160 other technical terms used to describe the . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous