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Archive for August, 2012

Busy Month for Law Reform Commissions

Law reform commission reports can be great sources for legal research. Many of the reports provide historical background and you can often find comparative information about how other jurisdictions have responded to an issue.

And August 2012 has been a very busy month for law reform commissions, with many of them bringing out publications on a range of topics. Here are a few examples:

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

TED Talks – Most Popular to Date

We have talked about TED Talks before–a series of talks that get us thinking in new directions. They are usually both informative and highly interesting. TED has released a list of 20 most-watched talks to date on its blog:

  1. Sir Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity (2006): 13,409,417 views
  2. Jill Bolte Taylor‘s stroke of insight (2008): 10,409,851
  3. Pranav Mistry on the thrilling potential of SixthSense (2009): 9,223,263
  4. David Gallo‘s underwater astonishments (2007): 7,879,541
  5. Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry demo SixthSense (2009): 7,467,580
  6. Tony Robbins asks Why we do what we do (2006): 6,879,488
  7. Simon Sinek on how great
. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training, Miscellaneous

Voice Signatures

Has anyone had any experience with the use of the voice as a legal signature (presumably by way of a recording)? Is there any case law on the topic, one way or the other?

When we did the UECA in 1999, we had in mind that a voice mail message might be an electronic document and the association of the content with the speaker could well constitute a signature.

There is some law that a signature must be an intentional act, and whether just saying ‘Hello, it’s John, I accept your offer to sell me your house’ would constitute an . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Time for Re-Formulation of the Patent Sound Prediction Test From Apotex Inc. v Wellcome Foundation Ltd., 2002 SCC 77 (“AZT”)

Part 3 of the three part test for sound prediction from AZT (“The Test”) should be added to part 1. This would better reflect the practical application of the sound prediction test and avoid unnecessary judicial scrutiny into ultimately irrelevant factual and evidential areas.

It has been 10 years since the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) established The Test (in Apotex Inc. v. Wellcome Foundation Ltd., 2002 SCC 77). The Test has invalidated many pharmaceutical patents (and more recently, non-pharmaceutical patents). As we await another SCC decision on utility and sufficiency, this may be an appropriate time to . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Legal Research and Information Literacy

Via a post on the Legal Writing Prof blog, I’m reading an interesting paper, “Say Goodbye to the Books: Information Literacy as the New Legal Research Paradigm,” by Professors Ellie Margolis and Kristen Murray of Temple University. The paper is available for download in the SSRN Working Paper Series.

Purely coincidentally, a similar thought arose this morning in an internal planning meeting about our legal research and writing instruction this fall. It was expressed that to introduce online research resources by reference to or comparison with their print counterparts is likely no longer a suitable approach. The argument is not . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information, Reading: Recommended

Almost $80,000 Removed From Toronto Lawyer’s Trust Account by Fake Cheques

A Toronto lawyer has reported to LAWPRO that almost $80,000 was removed from his trust account over the last four days by a series of 10 fake cheques. The fraud was discovered when a bank reconciliation was done this morning (Wednesday). All was fine when a bank reconciliation was done last Friday. The cheques were obvious copies of the firm’s trust cheques (cheque numbers were not in sequence and different). The cheques were used to pay off credit cards and 2 were payable to a specific individual. It is not known how the fraudster obtained information about the lawyer’s trust . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Perspective Is Everything

Jordan Furlong published a good piece today about the importance of fact checking for blogging lawyers, and “…the enormous damage you could do to your reputation by producing inaccurate or insufficiently credited material.”

He says in part:

But you need to be careful about exaggerations: overstating what a case means or what a lawyer said, overemphasizing a warning or a guideline for dramatic effect, that sort of thing. If you get called out by a commenter or another blogger for exaggeration, it will make readers doubt the veracity of everything else you’ve said. The sexy headline or sound bite just . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Slaw’s Canadian Case Commentary

I’ve set up a new site to collect commentary on judicial opinions: commentary.slaw.ca

At the moment — and for the near future, certainly — it contains only commentary on Supreme Court of Canada cases, starting with 2011. (It goes only a small way into 2012 in order to give commentary time to appear and me time to collect it; generally it’ll run somewhere between four and six months behind the present date.) The commentary is that which is available free online, essentially from Canadian law blogs and law firm web publications. And by “commentary” I mean material that offers some . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Legal Information: Publishing

Admissibility of Social Media Evidence: A Case Study

In the Internet age, people still have the same interests and passions as they had before electronic communications became pervasive, but they have different methods of expressing them. It may be a challenge to apply traditional rules of law to those methods. This note reviews one example of such a challenge, with respect to the use of evidence from Facebook and the reliance on Wikipedia to inform the tribunal of relevant facts.

In Landry c. Provigo Québec Inc (Maxi & Cie), 2011 QCCLP 1802 (CanLII), Madame Landry complained about harassment at her workplace at Provigo, the Quebec grocery chain. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

In Praise of Public Libraries

We renewed the family public library card on the weekend. This morning I used my public library membership to search for news articles using a database that the library makes available. I love public libraries.

Consider, I can walk into any of the more than 300 libraries in Alberta, I can consult with a search expert, access services and a vast collection of material, including newspaper databases. All for $20.00 a year for my entire family – a fantastic value. Some of the P. Mireaus have eReaders, so we are also able to borrow eBooks from our library without even . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Mandatory Retirement of Partners in Law Firms

One of the interesting developments during the summer slowdown we failed to note here on Slaw was the BC Court of Appeal decision in John McCormick’s case against Fasken Martineau. McCormick is an equity partner in Fasken’s Vancouver office who resisted the mandatory retirement at age 65 required by the partnership agreement, arguing that it contravened the BC Human Rights Code’s prohibition on age discrimination with respect to employees. The critical hinge to his action is whether an equity partner in a law firm should be regarded as an “employee” for the purposes of the Code, thus giving the Human . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Legal Business Development: Do You Really Know Who You Are?

Do you really know who you are? Maybe… maybe not. When I work with lawyers to articulate their personal brand it is generally clear… that it is not clear. What is the solution? We need outside perspective. So, I have them ask a few people who know them very well, to answer a few questions. Such as… How would you describe me? What do you see as my strengths? The answers are often times extremely enlightening. We just don’t see ourselves as other do.

Why is this so? Heidi Grant Halvorson, a contributor to Forbes Magazine has some answers . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing