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Archive for February, 2013

Proposed Human Diversity Policies Stir Up Debate

Proposed amendments to The Public Schools Act in Manitoba are causing concern among many supporters of Manitoba’s funded independent schools. Bill 18, The Public Schools Amendment Act (Safe and Inclusive Schools) formally defines bullying activities and requires school staff or supervisors to report incidents of bullying, including cyber-bullying to the school principal. The amendments also mandate school boards to put in place “respect for human diversity” policies.

The Bill was introduced by the majority government as part of its Anti-Bullying Action Plan and received First Reading on December 4, 2012. Modeled after Ontario’s 2012 amendments to the Education Act, . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Law Firm SEO Tactics to Avoid in 2013

Over the past year, Google has made a number of significant changes to its delivery of search engine rankings. In light of those changes, law firms that employ various aggressive search marketing tactics need to reconsider them. In this column, I want to highlight some of the major web-spam filters that Google has created and offer some important (and ethical) lessons for maintaining a strong search engine presence.

Let’s start by discussing a couple of those changes.

Penguin and Panda

Major alterations to Google’s ranking methods tend to be given nicknames, kind of like hurricanes — but for some businesses, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Greed IS Good

… sometimes.

For some lawyers, anyway.

EG’s clients lost completely. They didn’t have much on their side apart from EG. Assuming (for argument’s sake) the cab rank rule applies in Canada, a strict application says that EG was obliged to take the gamblers’ case provided they met his fee.

I wonder, though, what else it means that it wasn’t BG on the appeal.

“Frank”ly speaking, that is.

Moreira v. Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, 2013 ONCA 121. You can read about it in the papers. The short summary is: Gamblers lose; house wins. Again. Go figure.

  . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Employment, Human Rights and (US) National Security

The US government is sensitive about matters of national security. One of the expressions of this sensitivity is its unwillingness to have certain kinds of work performed by citizens of countries that the US considers likely to be hostile – e.g . Iran, Cuba, Yemen. etc. Thus it is forbidden by US law for companies doing certain kinds of work for some agencies of the US government to hire nationals of those countries for that work.

Canadian law prohibits discrimination in employment on the ground of national origin, among other things. This is governed by human rights codes and employment . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law

Inserting Object Links

The methods for producing the results of research have been on the top of my to-do list. Perhaps my knowledge management hat is shading my outlook. I believe that an efficient, sustainable and reusable work product is a very important aspect of legal research.

My staff and I create memos to document our research output – not memos analyzing legal issues as that is a lawyer task, memos that contain a report of what information we find, how we found it, and often permanent links to that information. One problem that has evaded solution is the ability to link to . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Office Technology

Yahoo Calls in Its Telecommuters

Yahoo has decided that as of June of this year, workers who had been previously telecommuting will have to report to the office for work, as discussed on many news sites. The type of collaboration, communication and creative energy that can only be achieved face-to-face seems to be a driving factor.

It is no surprise that employees directly affected by this new policy are unhappy. In fact, employees are not the only ones reacting to this; the internet is buzzing with criticism over this decision.

Telecommuting is considered one of the more flexible ways employers deal with an increasing . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology

Timing Is Crucial in CIRA Domain Name Disputes

CIRA, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, manages the registration of domain names ending in “ca”. It has created a set of rules and procedures, called the Canadian Dispute Resolution Process (or CDRP), for resolving some of the disputes that arise over domain names, particularly cybersquatting. Everyone who registers a dot-CA domain name agrees to abide by CIRA’s rules and procedures.

In a couple of recent dot-CA domain name disputes, the outcome has turned on the timing of the formation of the party complaining about a domain name. It is important that before bringing a domain name dispute that you investigate . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

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.


Use Alerts So You Are Never Late for an Appointment
Dan Pinnington

Are you frequently late for meetings and appointments? “My lawyer made me wait” is an all too common client complaint. Being late all the time is something that will really . . .


Never Start From Scratch
Shaunna Mireau

The fastest path is one that you have already traveled. The sign posts are familiar and likely . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Defendants Need to Move Quickly for Costs When Plaintiffs Unilaterally Discontinue a Lawsuit

Most lawsuits end in one of two ways; the court makes a determination on the merits (whether it be a trial or by way of motion), or the parties reach a settlement.

However, there is a provision in our Rules of Civil Procedure that permits a plaintiff to unilaterally discontinue its lawsuit against a defendant, provided the lawsuit has not advanced past the stage of exchanging the claim and the defences (known more technically as the “close of pleadings”).

Even where the plaintiff unilaterally discontinues its claim, the defendant is entitled to ask the court for some of the legal . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Law Society of BC’s Cloud Computing Checklist

♫ I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now,
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall.
I really don’t know clouds at all…

Lyrics, music and recorded by Joni Mitchell.

The Law Society of British Columbia has now released their Cloud Computing Checklist on the Practice Support and Resources section of their website. This checklist follows on the issuance of their Cloud Computing Report in 2012.

Cloud computing offers many benefits to lawyers including: accessing a vast array of new software services and applications, off-loading hardware and software maintenance and upkeep to others, . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Chris Dale on Why We Can’t Just Use Google for eDiscovery

Chris Dale, a lawyer-turned-eDisclosure-consultant based in the UK, has taken my two-post series from December on search inside the legal organization (see here and here) and applied the thinking specifically to eDiscovery. In his post Why Don’t We Just Use Google for eDiscovery? he suggests that the complexity of using litigation support tools–with concept searching, de-duplication, e-mail threading, clustering and predictive coding–has lawyers asking why not just use Google, or something like Google?

He gets to to the crux of the problem in this notion:

If the primary point is that Google does not purport to give you everything

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

E-Mail Pro Tip #2: Move to BCC

I receive between 100 and 1,000 business-related e-mails per day. Out of necessity, over the last few years I’ve developed a numbers of systems that help me manage my inbox effectively. This is the second in a series of posts describing the systems I utilize to stay on top of my inbox.

We’ve all done the favour of making an introduction over e-mail. What often follows is a string of e-mails that bear no relevance to the introducer:

Jim: Bob, please meet Alice. You should definitely get to know each other; please take it from here!
Bob: Alice, . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology