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Archive for June, 2013

Shout-Out to SCOTUSblog

Today’s conclusion of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) 2012-2013 session calendar— after a burst of some high-profile opinions—is an opportune occasion for a reminder of the fantastic resource that is SCOTUSblog. The site’s been around since the relatively early days of blogs—2002—and it has been discussed or referenced on this blog a few times. Indeed, a Google search for “SCOTUS” returns SCOTUSblog before it does the home for SCOTUS itself:

SCOTUSblog can be seen as a superb example of an excellent public resource supported by commercial partners, including a legal publisher. It started small and rather . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Legal Information: Publishing, Reading: Recommended, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Windows 8.1 Preview Now Available

Microsoft Windows 8.1 will be available later this year through the Windows store, and is available today as a preview.

8.1 addresses criticisms about Windows 8 and brings many improvements. It also brings back the start button, and allows a choice of booting to the Metro interface, or to the traditional desktop. (For some reason only Apple seems to get away with getting rid of things we are used to.)

Microsoft is giving the full details today at its Build 2013 developer conference. I watched a live stream of part of it. Some of the enhancements are . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology, Technology: Office Technology

Free Software for the Security Conscious

Like many people, I suspect, I’ve been thinking about the lack of privacy in my comings and goings on the internet and wondering what, if any, steps I should take to prevent or impede the collection of data about me and my acts. Thanks to a tip from David Collier-Brown, a frequent commenter on Slaw, I’m exploring a site called PRISM Break that lists and gives a brief explanation of nearly eighty free alternatives to the more popular “proprietary” applications and operating systems. By and large the thought here is that these popular systems and software are likely to be . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology

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 November 28 to December 4th:

  1. Hartley v. Cunningham et al 2013 ONSC 4191

    [1] At issue now is the matter of costs awarded to the respondents. In May of this year, I released an endorsement dismissing the application and awarding costs to the respondents in amounts to be agreed upon or fixed by me. The parties did not resolve costs and, therefore, through

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

Fear of Discovery

This past February I came out of the closet! A closet that many many people stay in and are afraid to step out of.

At the Mid-Winter Meeting of the CBA I was to report to Council. Instead I told them a story.

It was a story about a man becoming enraged when cut off while driving on a freeway who then chased after the person that cut them off and was stopped for excessive speeding. When the police officer came to the window of the vehicle the man was shaking. He was going fast enough that his vehicle could . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Working Remotely

Connie kindly updated Slawyers with key links relating to the flood situation in Southern Alberta. As you can imagine, for those of us with close family, friends, colleagues and clients in the affected areas, the situation of our Southern neighbours is top of mind.

I am so proud of the way my colleagues have dealt with this situation. Our Calgary Managing Partner, Doreen Saunderson, has been keeping our staff updated with information. Her first email, June 20, 2013 just shy of midnight shared “We hope that all of you and your families are safe. Caring for them is your . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Hey, Accused Person: You’ve Got Mail

One of the costs to the justice system is the failure of many who are accused of summary conviction offences to appear at scheduled court hearings. A group of researchers in the US studied the effect on the no-show rate of sending out reminder postcards. These would be cheaper than the reminder phone calls typically used in many jurisdictions. The study sample was roughly 8,000 “misdemeanants” in Nebraska, a selection of whom received one of three postcards, each with somewhat different wording (as to consequences of failure to appear). The results are described thus in the current issue [PDF] of . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous

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.


Crop (Don’t Zoom) for Better Smartphone Pictures
Dan Pinnington

With our camera-equipped smartphones, most of us are snapping more pictures than we ever did before. And while not quite the same as working with a digital single-lens reflex camera, the cameras on today’s smartphones can take amazing pictures. Among the many features they now have, most smartphone cameras offer a zoom function. Nice to have a zoom, but you . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Legal Business Development: Be a Master Relationship Builder

Few would argue that the core of legal business development is… relationships. How you build them, nurture them and value them is the difference between lawyers who are serious about building a successful practice, and others who just give it lip service. Sure it’s easy to meet people but the question is… what do you do with that introduction? Inc. Magazine contributor Minda Zetlin looks inside the success of Mobile Deluxe, a tremendously successful gaming company, to examine founder Josh Hartwell’s secrets to becoming a master relationship builder. Zetlin explains…

How did Hartwell launch a successful mobile gaming company–with no . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Prosecutions Involving Social Media Evidence

On Thursday, the retiring English Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, published final guidelines for crown counsel on the approach they should take in cases involving communications sent via social media. The approach they take could be usefully read by Canada’s prosecutors.

First step is to assess the content of the communication and the conduct in question. It distinguishes between :

Communications which may constitute credible threats of violence to the person or damage to property.

Communications which specifically target an individual or individuals and which may constitute harassment or stalking.

Communications which may amount to a breach

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing, Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Technology: Internet

The Shylock Appeal

Slaw readers interested in the theatre may want to mark the date of the Shylock Appeal, which will take place at the Stratford Festival on Saturday, October 5, at the Studio Theatre (behind the Avon Theatre), at 10:30 a.m. Alan Lenczner and another leading advocate will argue Shylock’s sentence before a panel of judges including Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin and former Justice Ian Binnie. With actors in the other roles, this day in court will be as entertaining as it is judiciously sound. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Snarks and Boojums

One of the perqs (?) of writing for traditional, paper, law journals is the author’s offprint. One of the problems of writing for those journals is what to do with most of those offprints if one wants to keep one’s friends who aren’t compelled to accept one. They (the offprints, not the friends) aren’t as convenient as the old-style paper matchbooks for levelling off-kilter restaurant tables and the like.

I received, this morning, 3 packages which, when opened and emptied, yielded an about 14″ (about 35.56 cm) stack of offprints containing my recent too-long article “Factual Causation in Negligence After . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Reading