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Archive for December, 2012

Have You Read 2012’s Top Cases?

Last year around this time I posted top 10 lists of the most consulted cases for 2011 – one for all cases consulted in 2011 and the other for consultations of cases decided in 2011. It was well received so I have been looking forward to continuing the tradition. And as with last year, I leave it to the readers to determine the significance of any case appearing on either list.
Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

If Your Library Was a Small Business, Would It Still Be Open?

For years, when interviewing candidates for library / information positions, I would ask about their entrepreneurial skills or for examples showing their entrepreneurial tendencies. Some got the question immediately , while others just looked confused. Thinking back, it could have been me, the way I posed the questions. Stereotypically, the term “entrepreneur” doesn’t come up in a typical library job interview. defines an entrepreneur as “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.” What I was trying to implant into my library were exactly those elements of bold . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Alternative Fee Agreements

As some readers of Slaw may know, about 10 months ago, I transitioned from private practice at Norton Rose Canada to an in-house position at a large retailer. I’ve loved the transition – particularly the more “business”-related aspects of my job. In my new role, I am responsible for negotiating with our outside counsel for the area of law in which I work. Because of the nature of the business I work for, I’ve had the opportunity to work with firms across the country and to negotiate new agreements with a number of them. It’s been a fantastic experience and . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Pepper v Hart – Use of Legislative History

Wikipedia’s article of the day on its main page today is a reference ot the House of Lords decision in Pepper v Hart. The case established the ability of English courts to use legislative history in interpreting unclear provisions of legislation. The full article goes into some detail about why the history had not been available before (parliamentary privilege under the 1689 Bill of Rights – the courts must not criticize Parliament) and why it might be a bad idea now (it would be too much work for lawyers giving advice or drafting to have to wade through Hansard . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

The Linkedin Makeover – What You Need to Know

Over the past year Linkedin has made a number of changes to what information they showcase on both personal bio and company pages. The underlying intent of the redesign seems focused on two things: 1) increasing user engagement and 2) making the pages more visual and less text-heavy. Here is a brief recap of the most relevant changes for lawyers:

Personal Bio Pages

Skills + Endorsements

Skills and endorsements are the most notable new feature in the redesigned bio pages. Linkedin now asks you to list a handful of skills or areas of expertise. Others can then “endorse” you for . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Wednesday: What’s Hot on CanLII

Each Wednesday we tell you which three English-language cases and which French-language case have been the most viewed on CanLII and we give you a small sense of what the cases are about.

For the week of December 4th to December 11th:

  1. Magder v. Ford 2012 ONSC 6929

    [1] The Appellant moves for a stay of the judgment of Hackland J. dated November 26, 2012, pending the hearing of his appeal from that judgment. The application judge removed the Appellant from his office as mayor of the City of Toronto, finding that he had violated the Municipal Conflict of Interest

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

Admissibility of Social Media Evidence

Back in August I posted a column on Slaw about a Quebec administrative tribunal decision that referred to Facebook and Wikipedia evidence.

The tribunal, the Commission sur les lésions professionnelles (CLP), has returned to the social media admissibility question Campeau et Services alimentaires Delta Dailyfood Canada inc., 2012 QCCLP 7666 (CanLII).

A worker was injured and had to take a lot of time off work. At one point her injuries caused her a case of depression that also kept her off work. To test whether this was serious, the employer created a fictitious account on Facebook, giving the alleged . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Court Technology and the Private Sector: Bridging the Chasm

Every day, Canadian courts and tribunals help resolve thousands of cases under the rule of law in a civilized, fair, impartial and independent manner. Technology has held, for decades, the promise of increased effectiveness and better efficiency. Ah… The plain enjoyment of one’s day at work when the right information is at your fingertips! If the technology objectives are simple and the outcomes easy to imagine, then why is it so difficult to rejuvenate courts and tribunals with better technology?

We strive for justice on demand that is simple from a litigant’s point of view. For example, simple cases with . . . [more]

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

More on New Lawyer Orientation

ILTA’s Peer to Peer magazine arrived yesterday – via Uberflip which I will happily explore in a future post.

Though the technology that Peer to Peer is available through is cool, this post is about its content, which is also cool. There are several articles in this issue about new hire orientation. Like Margaret McCaffery’s excellent post this week on new hire orientation and marketing, each article is from a different perspective.

  • Law firm 101 from mystery to mastery – deals with orientation from the CIO perspective
  • Law firm orientation know where you are to know where you are going
. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Reading: Recommended

Tips Tuesday

Here are excerpts from the most recent tips on SlawTips, the site that each week offers up useful advice, short and to the point, on technology, research and practice.


Legal Infographics
Shaunna Mireau

A note about an infographic was delivered to me by email yesterday by Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation website The infographic touted in the email was titled “Worried it’s Spam? 5 Things to Look for”. Sharing the infographic was encouraged in the email. Sharing is what infographics are all about. . . .

What Are Firms Actually Using?
David Bilinsky & Laura Calloway

There are . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Scalable Vector Graphics

This is about how and when to use SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics). The graphics part of SVG is easiest to explain. SVG is a format for images, like JPEG, PNG, or TIFF. The SVG difference is that, instead of capturing the image with a camera or scanner, you define it with words.

This is where the word “vector” comes in. A vector consists of a distance and a direction. The simplest example of a vector is probably “from point A to point B.” Real estate lawyers will relate vectors to metes and bounds descriptions in surveys, e.g. “Commencing at the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

WordRake: Automatically Improve the Conciseness of Your Writing

Imagine a tool that would round out the existing built-in spell- and grammar-checking tools in Microsoft Word, but instead of simply correcting errors, this tool would make your writing more concise. This tool exists, and it’s called WordRake.

You can think of WordRake as an automated editor. Gary Kinder, a lawyer and writing expert, codified many of the patterns he saw while editing documents into a set of rules that WordRake utilizes while processing a document.

Here is example of WordRake’s automated editing in action:

WordRake is a powerful add-on to Word, and is one of the only . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, Technology: Office Technology