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Archive for June, 2013

Gunnercooke – a Truly Innovative UK Law Firm

There are many within the legal community who scoff at Twitter saying that “it’s as a useless piece of fluff”. However for those interested in learning about legal innovation and connecting with legal innovators around the globe, Twitter is indispensible. Everything that is happening globally in terms of legal transformation is shared on Twitter. Today I connected with another innovative law firm from the UK – gunnercooke.

Former general counsel Sarah Goulbourne got together over coffee with corporate lawyer Darryl Cooke in mid-2010 to chat about how a different legal model would have huge competitive advantage over existing . . . [more]

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

Categories and Supreme Court Justices

With the retirement of Mr. Justice Morris Fish the government must again decide on the appointment of a member of the Supreme Court of Canada. There is the continuing issue of how best to manage the selection process. And as well there is, of course, the matter of the new judge’s characteristics — intelligence, discernment, experience, knowledge, compassion, and so forth. Then we come to the question of the externalities, so to speak — gender and race, prime among them.

Four of the five most recent appointments to the Supreme Court by the Conservative government have been men. Does . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Know Thyself

Your reputation is how other people see you. What we do frames that perception so we should act professionally and positively. At the end of the day, we can’t make people think well of us. The Web expands the areas in which we need to watch for how we appear to others. It’s important for lawyers to regularly look at how they appear to the world on the Web. Just because you aren’t on the Web or in social media, doesn’t mean information about you isn’t.

This is a technology column so I’m not talking about search engine optimization, social . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Thursday Thinkpiece: Dodek on the Canadian Constitution

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.

The Canadian Constitution
Adam Dodek
Toronto: Dundurn Press, 2013

Excerpt: pp. 11-12

I admit it. I love the Canadian Constitution. Sometimes I just don’t feel the love back. There was the time when I ordered the only existing Canadian Constitution book for my students and it got lost in transit (maybe it was . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Questioning the Wisdom of Willie Nelson

Willie Nellson is performing in Confederation Park on the summer solstice this Friday. In anticipation I’ve had my favourite Willie Nelson song stuck in my head all week: (yes this blog post is mostly an excuse to play this song).

A few years ago around the time of my call to the bar I sent my parents a video of myself doing a karaoke to this song. They were proud parents of a lawyer-to-be and thought they’d appreciate Willie’s advice to mothers that they should make their kids be “doctors and lawyers and such” (and more central to the song, . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

DPLA and HathiTrust Launch Partnership

Yesterday the Digital Public Library of America launched a partnership with HathiTrust, marrying the preservation mission of one with the access strengths of the other. The partnership will have the DPLA—itself only a couple of months post-launch—employ HathiTrust’s metadata to improve discoverability of and access to that content in HathiTrust that is in the public domain or otherwise freely available. HathiTrust’s own discovery and access platform will continue to develop as well. As has been noted previously here and elsewhere, HathiTrust preserves a fair amount of content useful for legal research.

Details of the partnership are in yesterday’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Technology: Internet

Internships and Wages

A recent decision by a New York federal judge has raised a number of issues concerning unpaid internships. It was decided in this case that two interns working on the set of the film Black Swan should have been paid, given that the work they accomplished did not meet the six criteria used for determining that an internship may be unpaid, as published in a fact sheet by the U.S. Department of Labor (which are interestingly the same criteria published by the Ontario Ministry of Labour):

1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Anti-Spam Law – Update on Timing

On Monday I chaired a joint LSUC /IT-Can afternoon on IT privacy law. One of the panels was on the anti-spam act, including representatives from the CRTC and Industry Canada. While there is no clear implementation date yet, Industry Canada expects the final Industry Canada regulations will be out in late summer or early fall. When those come out, an implementation date will be announced. Industry Canada is recommending that there be an implementation delay of several months to allow business to comply, but that decision is ultimately in the government’s hands.

The legislation is very complex, with exceptions layered . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Making Progress

Today, the Women Lawyers Forum of the Manitoba Bar Association is gathering to honour and celebrate women appointed to the Bench in Manitoba or retiring from the Bench. Celebrating Success is an annual event to acknowledge the contribution these members of the judiciary have made to our profession, and to the cause of gender equality.

The event today recognizes Judge Cynthia Devine and Judge Margaret Wiebe, both appointed to the Provincial Court and Madam Justice Diana Cameron, promoted to the Court of Appeal from the Court of Queen’s Bench.

While it is always a lovely evening, I find . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous

New: Journal of Open Access to Law

A brand new peer-reviewed academic journal has just come into being and is issuing a call for papers. The Journal of Open Access to Law (JOAL) is a project of Cornell’s Legal Information Institute (LII), the Italian National Research Council’s Institute of Legal Information Theory and Techniques (ITTIG-CNR), and the Institute of Law and Technology (IDT) of the Autonomous University in Barcelona.

From the main web page:

JOAL is an open-access, peer-reviewed academic journal of international scope. Its purpose is to promote international research on the topic of open access to law.

JOAL provides

. . . [more]
Posted in: Announcements, Legal Information: Publishing

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. Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, Local 30 v. Irving Pulp & Paper, Ltd. 2013 SCC 34

    [3] The legal issue at the heart of this case is the interpretation of the management rights clause of a collective agreement. This is a labour law issue with clear precedents and a history of respectful recognition of the ability

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

Who Pays When Polluters Can’t?

In theory, Canadians are pretty comfortable with the polluter pay principle, at least when it applies to other people. (We do not seem to feel the same way about carbon taxes.) In theory, the polluter-pay principle ensures that polluters, rather than the public or the immediate victims of pollution, bear the cost of repairing damage done to the natural environment.

As described by the Supreme Court of Canada in Imperial Oil Ltd. v. Quebec (Minister of the Environment):

In fact, that principle has become firmly entrenched in environmental law in Canada. It is found in almost all federal and

. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues