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Archive for November, 2012

What’s Hot on CanLII This Week

Here are the three most-consulted English-language cases on CanLII for the week of November 20 – 27.

1. R. v. Tremblay 2012 BCPC 410

[1] Mr. Tremblay has entered guilty pleas to two charges: (i) wounding an animal, contrary to section 445(1)(a) of the Criminal Code; (ii) mischief in relation to property, the value of which did not exceed $5000, contrary to section 430(4) of the Criminal Code. It is my duty to impose a fit sentence for each offence.

2. Honda Canada Inc. v. Keays 2008 SCC 39

[1] On March 29, 2000, after 14 years of

. . . [more]
Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Six Factors That Can Impede Effective Firm Leader-COO Relationships

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to participate in presenting at a Webinar entitled The Firm Leader-COO Team: A Sensitive Balancing Act in Shared Responsibility. One of the questions that was asked by the registrants was this one:

What are the danger signs and which factors greatly impede the development of an effective Firm Leader-COO working relationship?

Here was my response.

One needs to keep in mind that the Firm Leader-COO team, in a sense, is two people who have been forced to work together – rather than having chosen the arrangement voluntarily. That is not intended to be . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Evernote as a Meeting Binder

I was a bit surprised at s statistic that was reported by Jack Newton here at Slaw last week. Though a top 5 desktop app, Evernote showed a usage rate of only 16% in Clio’s annual survey.

There has been plenty of discussion about Evernote here at Slaw, and David Whelan recently discussed Evernote Updates for iOS. An easy link for Evernote clipping was even added to Slaw a couple of years ago.

I used Evernote (the iPad app) last weekend as a ‘meeting binder’ for the background information that I would have otherwise carried to the fall . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management

Fines Against Lawyers for Delay?

♫ But I know I had it comin’,
I know I can’t be free,
And I ain’t seen the sunshine,
Since, I don’t know when,
I’m stuck in Folsom Prison,
And time keeps draggin’ on…♫

Lyrics, music and recorded by Johnny Cash.


Delays in the courts is not news…unless, that is, where the Judges have decided that they will issue fines against lawyers for failing to keep the cases on schedule. In this case it is the judges in Cowlitz County Superior Court in Washington State, USA who will be issuing the fines.

There the Superior Court . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

Law Journal Rankings

In a country as large as the United States and one boasting as many law schools as it has, the attraction of ranking is almost irresistible. How else to make sense of the profusion? A sensitive and nuanced differentiation and description would tax critics’ creative powers to bankruptcy. Not only, then, are law schools ranked, but law journals also. And here, too, it’s the simple numbers that get used because . . . they’re there, the most important measure being the frequency with which articles from the journal are cited by others (though whether the “others” must be published in . . . [more]

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

A Canadian A2J Technology Deficit?

With all the excitement of a cosplay buff just ahead of Comic-Con, I anxiously awaited the Law via the Internet conference held in early October at Cornell University in picturesque Ithaca, NY. The 3 day event included the annual get together of the Free Access to Law Movement, CanLII’s peer group from around the world, as well as 30+ papers, presentations and panel discussions from a highly varied cross-section of legal information innovators. Sporting attire appropriate to the occasion (I went with a look that screamed I’d-prefer-to-dress-like-I-have-tenure-but-I-just-came-from-a-grant-request-meeting) I took it all in with a mix of delight and dissatisfaction.

On . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

The New Librarians: AALL/ILTA Joint White Paper

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) and the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) which many law firms belong to jointly produced a white paper in October 2012 entitled The New Librarian. 

According to Steven Lastres via the On Firmer Ground blog:

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) and the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) recently released a joint white paper that acknowledges the strategic alliance that has developed between law librarians and technologists in driving efficient and effective legal information management.

Kate Hagan, Executive Director of AALL says, “As legal professionals retool and reskill through innovation and

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Information: Information Management, Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Technology, Technology: Office Technology

Twitter Lawsuit Story From Britain Shows the Risks of Repeating Gossip on Social Media

This story out of the UK highlights the dangers of repeating libelous content on social media.

In the midst of an ongoing sexual abuse scandal revolving around senior figures in the media and accusations of coverups at the BBC, the news program Newsnight claimed a “senior Conservative politician” was involved in the abuse of children at an orphanage. Another program claimed to have a list of names. Soon those names leaked onto Twitter, and Lord McAlpine (a member of Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet) found himself wrongfully identified as one of the abusers. The accusation was retweeted over and over.

Lord McAlpine . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Mayor Ford Removal Decision

The decision in the Rob Ford conflict of interest case is available here; as soon as the CanLII version becomes available I’ll update this post.

Notable excerpts, on a first skimming:

Section 5 of the MCIA clearly and broadly states that where a member, “has any pecuniary interest … in any matter,” and is present at a meeting of council, he or she is to disclose his or her interest and must neither take part in the discussion of nor vote on the matter. There is no basis on which the court can restrict or read down the meaning

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous

Mandatory Mediation (Reprise)

My post here on 12 November “The Reasonable Refusal to Mediate” prompted a number of spirited comments in support of mandatory mediation, for which I am grateful.

One commentator cited an impressive study that shows lawyers tend to be over confident about their positions in litigation and as a result clients can make poor decisions based on lawyers’ unrealistic case assessment. Another study shows the parallel worlds lawyers and clients live in: lawyers are motivated financially; clients may be motivated primarily by an apology or an explanation.

If lawyers tend to be over confident about their cases, the solution is . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

The Supreme Court of Canada VIAGRA Case: 5 Messages Technology Businesses Should Receive

This column was written by Dominique T. Hussey, L.E. Trent Horne and Edward (Ted) Yoo

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of Canada has provided valuable guidance to patent agents and litigators as to how Canadian patents will be read and enforced (Teva Canada Limited v Pfizer Canada Inc, 2012 SCC 60).

The subject matter of the patent needs no introduction. Sildenafil is the active ingredient in VIAGRA, one of the world’s best known pharmaceutical products. There is no mystery or uncertainty as to the reason VIAGRA is prescribed.

Pfizer’s patent, however, was not as . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

The Size of Canada’s Legal Profession

As you’ll likely know, there’s been a great deal of concern expressed here and elsewhere lately about the economic state of the profession, the most recent addition to the discussion being Mitch Kowalski’s post Articling Debate Exposes Convocation’s Flaws and the comments it garnered. I made a comment on that post suggesting that one aspect of the discussion — the complaint that the law schools are graduating too many students — might be proceeding without the benefit of data and asking whether anyone had the stats.

It’s Sunday and I was reflexively lazy. But a moment later I thought to . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice