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Archive for October, 2012

Add a VPN to Your Mobile Lawyer Toolkit

Mobile devices provide lawyers with increased opportunities to unwittingly share confidential or private client information. One of the more common scenarios is when a lawyer or law firm staff has left the office and is using a wireless network connection. It is common to focus our hand-wringing on coffee shop wireless networks, but a home network or one in an airport, public library, courthouse, or opposing counsel’s office poses the same issues.

You can secure your activity outside the office by using a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your activity. If your practice is entirely cloud-based, working through an . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Imminent SCC Decision on Leave Application for Sex Work Challenge

The Supreme Court of Canada is expected to release its decision tomorrow on the leave for appeal and cross-appeal filed in Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford, 212 ONCA 186.

At issue in the Bedford application are three Criminal Code provisions: s. 210, which prohibits the operation of common bawdy-houses (any place that is used regularly for the purpose of prostitution); s. 212(1)(j), which prohibits living on the avails of prostitution (preventing anyone from profiting from another’s sex work); and s. 213(1)(c), which prohibits communicating for the purpose of prostitution in public. The applicants challenge these provisions as a violation . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Promulgation, Access, and Linguistic Diversity

Sensibly, everyone’s presumed to know the law: to have it otherwise would encourage willful ignorance or claims of ignorance as means of evading legal consequences. And with equal sense, laws have to be promulgated for their application to be fundamentally fair or even instrumentally useful. So much for theory. Practice, as always, is rather more of a messy struggle, as you’ll know.

There’s the basic matter of getting the text of laws out to the people. We’re doing a decent job of that in Canada as our various jurisdictions make their legislation and judicial opinions increasingly available in digitized formats . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law

Legal Publications Distribution: A Humble Proposal

The most recent Humble Bundle DRM-free distribution offer, the Humble eBook Bundle, closed a day or so after a two-week run. Here is some background:

What is the Humble Bundle? It is our take on digital distribution, where anyone can pay any amount of money they like for great DRM-free cross-platform products. (Previous Humble Bundles distributed music and video games.)

The result of the two-week ebook bundle distribution: 84,219 downloads of a DRM-free cross-platform bundle of ebooks, worth $1,202,871.71, with an average contribution of $14.28. Some of the proceeds will go to the authors, some will be directed to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Technology: Internet

Gadget Nirvana

Apple announced a new iPad mini yesterday as expected, along with upgrades to several other products. Surprisingly, an iPad 4 is now available, just a few short months after the iPad 3 was introduced. Apple is a master of innovation and marketing, and somehow manages to make evolutionary changes to its products seem revolutionary.

But they are not the only game in town. 

Microsoft has an event on Oct 25 to launch its Surface tablet, on Oct 26 to launch Windows 8, and on Oct 29 to launch Windows Phone 8. Early reviews show they are solid products. I find . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Happy Open Access Week

This year’s Open Access Week (Oct 22-28, 2012) offers much to celebrate, whether with Directory of Open Access Journals, surpassing 8,000 journals or ROARMAP now listing close to 250 open access mandates among universities, departments and institutes. The mega-journals, from Public Library of Science, with PLoS One, the Nature Publishing Group, with Scientific Reports, or the Royal Society, with Open Biology, link open access to the first new principle of digital scholarly communication, namely, that there is room in any given journal for all of its peer-reviewed-and-approved articles, and the world is richer by the appearance . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Interpretation of a Language

The Charter of the French Language (“French Charter“) has been making headlines these past few weeks, with proposals to extend it to Quebec’s daycare services and recently made campaign promises. This, however, will not be the last we hear of it.

Indeed, six large retailers (Best Buy Canada, Gap Canada, Costco Wholesale Canada, Old Navy, Guess Canada and Wal-mart Canada), the majority of which are represented by the Quebec division of the Retail Council of Canada, will be asking the Superior Court of Quebec to declare whether or not the Office de la langue française (“Office”) has the . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law

US Trade Commission Publishes Guidelines on Facial Recognition

The American Federal Trade Commission has published a staff report entitled Best Practices for Common Uses of Facial Recognition Technologies [PDF]. The FTC has the jurisdiction under 15 USC § 45 (m) to make rules “respecting unfair or deceptive acts or practices” in commerce. As I’m sure you’ll know, facial recognition technology is fast advancing and has already found its way into software such as that used to organize photographs by the identity of the people in them (and, presumably, into the various operations of the authorities concerned with security — something left untouched by the report, of course).

The . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Technology

Read This Now

“Having spent the better part of my life trying either to relive the past or experience the future before it arrives, I have come to believe that in between these two extremes is peace.” – Author Unknown.

If your legal practice or life are anything like mine, you have too many things you need to do and too little time to get them done. I often wake in the morning and think of what I need to get done at work that day. Frequently, at the end of the day I realize that I only accomplished a portion of what . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Justice Brown Continues Quest to Free Up Judicial Resources

In September I wrote a post about a case in which Justice Brown voiced the need for Superior Court Judges to respond to the challenges and stresses confronting our civil litigation system. The major challenge being, according to Justice Brown, that demand for judicial time exceeds available supply.

In a decision released this month, Justice Brown decided to lead by example.

Justice Brown had scheduled a refusals motion for one hour. Once he received two factums totaling 56 pages, he emailed counsel and told them that if he determined that the materials were more reflective of a 3 hour . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Time for Change in the Courts?

♫ Change
Now it’s time for change
Nothing stays the same
No it’s time for change… 

Lyrics and Music by Nikki Sixx, Donna McDaniel, recorded by Mötley Crüe.

On Oct 24-25, the second Canadian Forum on Court Technology will be held in Montreal. The challenge that this forum will be facing is how to bring about meaningful change to a dispute resolution process that has been resistant to change. Of course, the voices demanding increased access to justice and responsiveness to the needs of society are only getting louder. The factors for the courts to consider are . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Participate in the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Future of Articling Webcast and Live Discussion

The Law Society of Upper Canada just released the final report of the Articling Task Force, Pathways to the Profession: A Roadmap for the Reform of Lawyer Licensing in Ontario. This Task Force was formed to address concerns about the articling program, and in particular relating to the growing number of unplaced licensing candidates. The report outlines a various options for adapting or changing the articling process, including ending the articling requirement as we otherwise know it today. Needless to say, this report and the future of articling have generated a lot of discussion and debate.
On October 25, . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Practice of Law