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Archive for April, 2013

Friday Fillip: All the Way Down

One of my favourite quips fell from the misanthropic mouth of Brother Theodore (“philosopher, metaphysician, and podiatrist”): “I have gazed into the abyss, and the abyss has gazed into me . . . and neither of us liked what we saw.”

This turn on Nietzsche’s apothegm 146 — “He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.” — is, amusingly, a bathetic comment on the Depth, as it caps that awesome void with a plastic lid of “not liking.” But . . . [more]

Posted in: The Friday Fillip

Canadian Association of Law Libraries: Could Federal Budget Affect Access to Legislative Information?

Legal researchers and law librarians have long worried about the lack of a coherent strategy in Canada to ensure the digital preservation and archiving of legal and governmental information. A case in point is Louis Mirando’s post of Feb. 15th , 2013 on Library Budgets and Priorities: A New Year and a New Normal:

(…) when will we begin an organized, comprehensive preservation/digitization project for our historical law collections? Preservation must procede hand-in-hand with digital access. The Internet Archive and Hathi Trust (for monographs), and JSTOR and Ontario’s Scholars Portal (for journals – unfortunately not open-access) are a start,

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information, Technology: Internet

What Kind of Pope Is Your Managing Partner?

Last month, the world was transfixed by the selection of a new pope for the Catholic church. Prior to the selection of Pope Francis, there was a great deal of discussion about what type of pope would the best choice as the church is running through some fairly turbulent times.

There were those who believed that a “no-nonsense CEO” or “tough-guy governor” as the Globe and Mail suggested on March 9, 2013 would be the best pope. The chief argument for such an individual was that the Curia, and other aspects of the church, needed to be reformed to deal . . . [more]

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

Consolidating Labour Legislation: Proposed Saskatchewan Employment Act

On December 4, 2012, the Saskatchewan government tabled Bill No. 85, An Act respecting Employment Standards, Occupational Health and Safety, Labour Relations and Related Matters and making consequential amendments to certain Acts (hereinafter referred to as the Saskatchewan Employment Act) in the hope of consolidating 12 employment and labour-related laws, restructuring existing provisions, eliminating inconsistencies, and more accurately reflect contemporary employment relationships.
Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Status Seekers

Lawyers rely on an invisible infrastructure to power their law firms. Once those wires leave your computer and hit the wall, you cede control to others. Even if you haven’t shifted any part of your practice to the cloud, you may have file or e-mail servers inside your firm that are managed by others. We can use status dashboards and related information to warn us when things have gone awry in our digital world.

Your Apps Status

A tremor runs through cyberspace when Google Mail goes offline and social networks light up with virtual handwringing. Your first awareness may be . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Thursday Thinkpiece: Torrance on the International Finance Corporation

Each Thursday we present a significant excerpt, usually from a recently published book or journal article. In every case the proper permissions have been obtained. If you are a publisher who would like to participate in this feature, please let us know via the site’s contact form.

IFC Performance Standards on Environmental & Social Sustainability: A Guidebook
Michael Torrance
Toronto: LexisNexis Canada, 2012

Excerpts from the Preface (selected by the publisher and the author)

[Footnotes converted to endnotes]

This Guidebook is intended to provide an introduction and guidance to the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Performance Standards on Environmental and Social . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Culture Wants to Be Free*

Prof. Larry Lessig gave a superb talk, “Free Culture,” this evening at Harvard Law School. The talk is one of a series of special events Harvard Law professor and Berkman Center for Internet & Society director Terry Fisher organized for his 2013 Copyright course, in which I’m lucky enough to be participating. Like all the special events, Prof. Lessig’s talk was presented in person to Prof. Fisher’s Copyright law school class, via webinar to online course participants (including me), and to the public via archived webcast.

I took a few notes during Prof. Lessig’s engaging and stimulating talk, and . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology: Internet

Adapting to Change: How Legal Departments Evolve With the Businesses They Serve, a CCCA Keynote

I hope you don’t mind as I continue gradually to post notes from the CCCA National Spring Conference earlier this week. We now jump ahead to yesterday’s closing keynote.

These are notes from a panel discussion by Joe Bradford, Vice-President, Joint Venture and Legal, CNOOC Canada Inc., Riccardo Trecroce, Vice President and General Counsel, North America, Magna International, Inc., and moderator Gary Graham, Partner, Gowlings, Hamilton on April 16, 2013 at the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association National Spring Conference 2013 in Toronto. Note: these are my selected notes from this session; any inaccuracies or omissions are . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

ABA Techshow’s “60 Sites in 6 Minutes” Slowed Down

Each year the ABA Techshow offers a fun feature that has the audience bombarded by the URLs of dozens and dozens of interesting sites delivered at a relentless rapid pace by a tag team of IT experts. You can access the YouTube video used in that presentation. But in case you find it hard to keep up, I’m offering below a simple list of all of the URLs mentioned this year. You’ll discover, when you explore them, that they’re a mix of the useful and the amusing, which is no bad thing.

My thanks to this year’s four presenters, Britt . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology

Perspective Is an Important Element of Privacy

One thing I find consistent about privacy issues is an inconsistency in approach and viewpoint. What is and is not deemed acceptable seems to change dramatically based on several factors, including geographic location (which I suppose is really more of a cultural issue than a geographic one), whether it is about one’s own information or you are doing something with someone else’s information, and whether the party with the information is government or business.

Many times it comes down to issues of trust, understanding, surprise, and how public one wants their life to be.

An example is in this article . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology

The CBA on the Future of the Legal Profession

For generations, Canada provided refuge and opportunities for individuals seeking a home where they could build a good life. Our strong legal system remains the foundation on which that home was built, offering protections to those who faced persecution for reasons such as the colour of their skin or their political or religious beliefs. On April 17, 1982, Canada enshrined those protections in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, declaring that equality under the law is fundamental to the quality of life of its citizens.

Since then, Canada’s commitment to equality and justice – a real source of pride . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

A Plea for More PLEI

Law Day is being celebrated across the country this week to mark the 31st anniversary of the signing of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms on April 17, 1982. The Canadian Bar Association introduced Law Day one year later and has since been promoting events to mark it across the country.

In Winnipeg, Law Day celebrations took place this past Sunday with an Open House and tours at the Law Courts Complex, a special sitting of the Citizenship Court, student mock trials, legal information sessions and displays.

I’ve been a Law Day volunteer a number of times, greeting members . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues