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Archive for February, 2013

Blackberry Fans Rejoice

As you are no doubt aware, RIM Blackberry finally brought its new operating system and a new phone to market this week. The first phone, the Z10 does not have a keyboard – a first for Blackberry. 

So will this save Blackberry? My take on early reviews is that Blackberry fans will like the new phones, and they will probably result in fewer people trading for iPhones, Android phones or Windows phones when their Blackberry terms expire. But it probably won’t result in a mass of people giving up their iPhones, Android phones or Windows phones for a Blackberry.

The . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, Technology: Office Technology

Opening Doors and Cutting Paths

I recently heard The Honourable Mr. Justice Marshall Rothstein give a few remarks as he received the Manitoba Bar Association’s Distinguished Service Award. In acknowledging the award, Justice Rothstein wisely noted that our career accomplishments don’t reflect only our own achievements but also the many contributions of our mentors and teachers.

Justice Rothstein’s comments reminded me of the importance of good mentoring, particularly in the early years of a legal career but also through periods of career transition, and turned my mind to the role of mentors in my own career.

The awards presentation also included the 2013 Isabel Ross . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

Notable Goings-on at CanLII

CanLII users will have noticed a couple of interesting recent developments over at our free legal information institute.

In January Simon Fodden pointed us to CanLII’s announcement of a new partnership with a translation agency “to ensure selected leading Canadian judgments are available in both of Canada’s official languages.” As Simon noted, challenges of access to decisions in one language or the other have been discussedmorethanonce at Slaw, and this is welcome news.

And a post last week hints at exciting developments yet to come. CanLII is advertising an opportunity for the right person . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Moving Beyond the Box

The 2013 AALS Annual Meeting featured a panel discussion on Understanding Search Engine Algorithms: Can We Effectively Teach Research Without Them? From what I gathered from the tweets, the panel—which featured, among others, Ian Koenig (Chief Architect for Lexisnexis) and Ed Walters (CEO of Fastcase)—gave a peak into their “black box” search functionality, something that has been a subject of vigorous debate among researchers since WestlawNext + WestSearch was introduced three years ago. I think Sarah Glassmeyer (Director of Content Development for summarized many researchers’ feelings best when she tweeted:

Google (and google type search interfaces) infantilize people

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Publishing

Duty of Care of Mobile Phone Provider (Or User)?

Here’s a question raised on a US legal technology list that seems relevant to Canadian law too.

What’s the duty of care of mobile devices as pertains to patches/updates provided by the vendor and/or provider?


I bought an Android phone in June 2012, which received an over-the-air OS upgrade in late July to Android 4.0.4. This release was provided to me well after the version was released to the public. Also, since that time, 2 other versions of Android (4.1 and 4.2) have been made available. There are known security vulnerabilities in the 4.0.4 release.

Yet I’ve certainly not

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology: Office Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Capturing Information

There is a fantastic article in the Attorney at Work Blog by Daniel Gold today titled Save Random Sparks of Genius. Part of the article discusses the art of capture:

Finding a way to capture information anytime and anywhere—and then do something with that information—is critical to our success. It allows us to snare random sparks of genius like a hunter gets his prey.

Slaw has featured posts on capture using technology tools like Evernote, and Storify. There are low tech methods for remembering those fantastic ideas; I have a friend who swears by the notepad on the bedside . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Legal Information: Publishing, Technology: Internet

The End of the Monopoly Over the Provision of Legal Services and Prosecutions for the “Unauthorized Practice of Law”, Part 1 of 2

Law societies in Canada should be preparing to share their monopoly over the provision of legal services, i.e., preparing for government regulation. In the interim, should they be allowed to prosecute the offence of “the unauthorized practice of law,” given that such prosecutions now aim to protect a monopoly over the provision of legal services that is greater than that granted them by law?

Until the problem of “the unavailability to the majority of the population of legal services at reasonable cost” is solved, the prosecutors of this offence should be Crown counsel, or at the least such prosecutions . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

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.


How You Can Improve Your Mobile “Touch” Keyboard Typing Skills
Dan Pinnington

I am a Blackberry person, and I’m holding out (with great patriotic hope) for a new BB10 Blackberry with a real keyboard (apparently there is a model with a real . . .


New Government Publications Resource
Shaunna Mireau

A press release received in my email inbox inspired today’s tip. Because I subscribe to an email . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Best Law Firms for Women Lawyers

Every year Working Mother Magazine publishes a survey of the NAFE / Flex-time Lawyers 50 Best Law Firms For Women Lawyers in the United States.

This year there is a noticeable shift away from maternity leave policies and flexible work arrangements towards preparing women for leadership roles especially around business development. This is an interesting trend and may signal a new phase that women lawyers and their firms are entering.

The founder of Flextime Lawyers, Deborah Epstein Henry, notes that women lawyers have been waiting to achieve critical mass in the profession on the assumption that the sheer weight . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Technology-Assisted Review Through the Lens of Downton Abbey

Grantham, Carson and Jarvis LLP, located in downton New York City, was established in the 20th century and there have been Granthams in the role of managing partner since 1962. The founding partner Grantham attracted corporate clients in the financial services, entertainment, insurance, communications and manufacturing sectors. The firm served these clients well over the years and was rewarded with faithful loyalty. There were occasional troubling signs in the 1990s, though, that the clients found the cost of litigation prohibitive, especially the fees paid for document review. By 2005, some were talking about Alternate Fee Arrangements and Outside Counsel Guidelines, . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Halsbury’s Laws Completed

Congratulations to Lexis-Nexis Canada and a squadron of Canadian legal authors for achieving what many of us doubted that we would ever see, a contemporary Canadian legal encyclopaedia. Halsbury’s Laws of Canada has reached its seventy-seventh volume as a statement of common-law Canadian law in English.

Lexis took over the ground floor bar at Toronto’s Trump Hotel and flew in from the sunny California campus of Pepperdine University, the grand old man of Canadian tort law, Allen Martin Linden. And of course a Butterworths author and latterly a Lexis-Nexis author.

While AML delivered the one-liners, Halsburys is testament to the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Reading: Recommended

Don Tapscott Interview – Making Internal Collaboration Work

Don Tapscott, author, speaker and advisor on new technologies and media, was interviewed by McKinsey Quarterly back in September 2012, and a video excerpt plus transcript of the interview was released last month. See: Making internal collaboration work: An interview with Don Tapscott. This interview has been raising questions around the web, and thought it would be useful to look at it here on SLAW.
Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology: Office Technology