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Archive for May, 2013

Monday’s Mix

Each Monday we present brief excerpts of recent posts from five of Canada’s award-winning legal blogs chosen at random* from forty-one recent Clawbie winners. In this way we hope to promote their work, with their permission, to as wide an audience as possible.

This week the randomly selected blogs are 1. Environmental Law and Litigation 2. Entertainment & Media Law Signal 3. University of Alberta Faculty of Law Blog 4. Human Rights in the Workplace 5. Kelly Santini LLP’s Employment Law Blog for the Suddenly Unemployed

Environmental Law and Litigation
Kawartha Lakes appeal heard by Court of Appeal

The City . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Access to Justice Starts With Legal Tuition

The practical skills gained through legal education help young lawyers service the public more effectively. However, the burden of legal tuition may prevent lawyers from entering these areas of practice until they’re already in mid-career, if at all.

Many undergraduate students evaluate their options after graduation, and consider doing graduate work or professional education like law school. At this point most students are already burdened with debt but are still interested in increasing their employability in the long-term.

New studies by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) explore the opportunities for graduate students in the province:

Doctoral enrolments

. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools

Summaries Sunday: Maritime Law Book

Summaries of selected recent cases are provided each week to Slaw by Maritime Law Book. Every Sunday we present a precis of the latest summaries, a fuller version of which can be found on MLB-Slaw Selected Case Summaries at

This week’s summaries concern:
Trade Regulation / Implied terms:

Murphy v. Amway Canada et al. 2013 FCA 38
Arbitration – Courts – Practice – Trade Regulation

The plaintiff was registered as an independent business owner under the umbrella of the defendant wholesaler. The registration agreement included an arbitration agreement and incorporated the defendant’s Rules of Conduct. The arbitration

. . . [more]
Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Vroom, Vroom Law

In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, I put around two thousand lawyers through a hands-on computer course on how they could use a PC themselves. For a few years, one lawyer returned annually. Turns out that his motivation was to re-assure himself that his colleagues were still luddites when it came to IT, and that he had nothing to fear with respect to their catching up to him.

I suspect that he had a good 3 decades start on most. However, one would have to say that now tech is finally being accepted as playing an important role in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

The Friday Fillip: Many Wrongs Make Right

I’m sure I’ve confessed here before to being what others might call a “prescriptivist” where English usage is concerned. (I’m actually all for freedom of choice; it’s just that I would prefer it to be an informed choice.) But I have a healthy respect for the power of practice to normalize things, including the way we speak. Like Canute, the eleventh century king of Denmark, England, Norway, Sweden, etc., I might as well try to hold back the tide as to buck the way things get said.

And King Canute, or Cnut, is a good way to broach what I’m . . . [more]

Posted in: The Friday Fillip

April 2013 Issue of Connected Bulletin on Courts and Social Media

The April 2013 issue of Connected is available online.

The bulletin covers the impact of new social media such as Twitter and Facebook on court proceedings, the ethical implications of judges and court staff using new media, and court policy issues relating to these technologies. Most of the stories are about the United States.

In this issue:

  • Oregon juror jailed for texting during trial
  • AOCs [administrative offices of the courts] and high courts using social media: an update
  • Courts on Yelp
  • Michigan launches latest video in Court Stories series

The bulletin is published by the Virginia-based National Center for State . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

A Response to the CBA Legal Futures Initiative

The Canadian Bar Association is running through its CBA Legal Futures Initiative which ostensibly looks at allowing outside investment into law firms, the so-called, Alternative Business Structure (ABS). This initiative should be of interest to all lawyers, but most particularly to younger lawyers, as it may determine the course of their careers – perhaps for the worst.

Younger lawyers should take note of the behaviour of the CBA and various law societies in the late 1990’s and the early 2000’s around Multi-Disciplinary Practices (because of backward-thinking individuals in the CBA and in provincial law societies, MDPs have been regulated into . . . [more]

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

Canada’s Human Rights Record Being Challenged at the United Nations

Since 2009, and most recently last December at the United Nations Sixty-seventh General Assembly Plenary, various countries—particularly Iran and North Korea—have raised various challenges to Canada's human rights record. However, on April 30, 2013, it was reported that members of the United Nations Human Rights Council have formally challenged Canada's human rights record, with 83 countries making recommendations for enhanced rights protections. This challenge refutes Canada's status as a human rights leader and indicates that Canada must take immediate action on socio-economic disparities.
Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous

Thursday Thinkpiece: Ginsburg on the Future of National Constitutions

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.

Tom Ginsburg
in The Law of the Future and the Future of Law, S. Muller, S. Zouridis, M. Frishman & L. Kistemaker eds., Oslo: Torkel Opsahl Academic EPublisher, 2011

Excerpt: pages 148 – 151

The Future

Where will constitutions go in the next . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

“Get Your Head Out of the Boat”

I used to race our sailboat, a 35-footer (11 meters) that required a crew of about nine to be competitive. When I helmed, or steered the boat, I would sometimes drag down our performance with three common mistakes:

  1. Not good enough as a sailor
  2. Tried to do too much
  3. Didn’t get my head out of the boat

Project managers often fall prey to the same three mistakes in the context of project management.

Insufficient Skill

I wasn’t a terribly good racing sailor. Indeed, none of our regular crew, equally busy-with-real-world-jobs colleagues, were that good. Over time, we learned to deal . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Living on the Edge at the Equal Justice Summit

Last week I had the good fortune to have attended the Canadian Bar Association’s Envisioning Equal Justice Summit: Building Justice for Everyone in Vancouver. Many participants live-tweeted sessions and otherwise engaged in #equaljustice discussions. The summit culminated in a compilation, by the participants, of ideas and concrete strategies for legal and justice system reform. These will be presented in a report to the full conference of the CBA with a plan for implementation. I’ll write about highlights in subsequent posts over the coming weeks. Others have written, here and elsewhere, for example, about the stimulating event as well.

The . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Justice Issues

On May Day and Mat Leaves

Happy May Day all! A day for celebrating the labour movement, gathering community, and strengthening the search for greater workers’ rights everywhere.

On May Day, we celebrate and support vulnerable and embattled workers as if they are outside our profession. But we’d like to return yet again to the issue of retaining women in the legal profession, and ask why, as a profession, we are so bad at turning that critical gaze inwards. An April 2013 study commissioned by the Law Society of Upper Canada and authored by Fiona M. Kay, Stacey Alarie, and Jones Adjei of Queen’s University tells . . . [more]

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