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Archive for July, 2013

A Home for Our Legal Technology Relics

In a conversation the other day we touched on the differences between how (or if) electronic legal research was taught when I was in law school, and then a few years later when I first instructed legal research and writing. We recalled the equipment, manuals, and peripherals the publisher(s) sent us, and a perception of their complexity.

Serendipitously, the same day, I noticed Sarah Glassmeyer of CALI wrote on LLRX about an idea to collect those old things and more.

Note: It’s not that she’s a hoarder. Sarah happens to want to collect and preserve “our shared legal technology . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information, Technology


XSLT refers to Transformations, a member of the Extensible Stylesheet Language family: As the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) describes it, “An XSLT stylesheet specifies the presentation of a class of XML documents by describing how an instance of the class is transformed into an XML document that uses a formatting vocabulary, such as (X)HTML or XSL-FO.” In other words, you can use it to transform an XML document into HTML. A little less directly, it’s also used to transform XML into PDF, EPUB, etc. This is important stuff, but not really very new anymore. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Have You Got the Time?

In Is Timex Suffering the Early Stages of Disruption? Grant McCracken describes the crowd-funding approach taken by bespoke watchmakers, Hudson Watch Company and asks whether this business model challenges longstanding watchmaker Timex in the marketplace. His point isn’t that this small upstart is a threat to Timex, but that Hudson’s arrival in the market creates an opportunity for the old guard to reexamine their business models and assumptions about consumers and the marketplace they operate in.

McCracken suggests that the questions for Timex to ask are:

  1. “What could HWC be telling me about the world? What’s out here that I
. . . [more]
Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Behavioural Advertising – Not an Exact Science

We have a love/hate view of behavioural advertising (tracking and targeting of individuals’ web activities, across sites and over time, in order to serve advertisements that are tailored to those individuals’ inferred interests).

On the one hand, if we are going to be served up ads on the web, it is better (for both viewers and advertisers) to be served ads that are relevant to the viewer’s interests. On the other hand, it can be rather creepy to think we are being tracked, especially if there are profiles of us being stored somewhere, and especially if those profiles contain information . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Can a Search Suggestion Be Defamatory? (Revisited)

Earlier this year I posted about a French case that held Google liable for search suggestions that pulled up defamatory senses. (Courts in other countries have also held Google liable for this; others have not.)

The highest court in France, the Cour de Cassation, has now held that Google was not liable after all. The search results were completely automated, thus not the expression of anyone’s intention, and thus not able to be the basis of an intentional illicit act like defamation.

As the court said:

la fonctionnalité aboutissant au rapprochement critiqué est le fruit d’un processus purement automatique dans

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

Should Lawyers Get a LinkedIn Premium Account?

One question I’ve been getting asked more and more frequently as I do presentations on LinkedIn for lawyers is whether it’s worth getting a paid LinkedIn account. For most lawyers, the basic (free) LinkedIn account has more than enough features to help you build your network, find and communicate with people and build relationships. But there are some advantages to having a premium account, depending on how you’ll be using LinkedIn. For example, if you’re planning to use LinkedIn as your main contact database, you might want to consider a premium account.

Here’s an overview of the different types of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

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 this last week:

  1. Doe v. A & W Canada 2013 HRTO 1259

    [1] The applicant is a resident of Cornwall who has not identified himself. The applicant filed an Application using the name of a cartoon character, containing allegations he acknowledges are “ridiculous” that appear intended to lampoon views with which he disagrees. When the fictional name was raised by the Tribunal and identification was required,

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

Lateral Hire Onboarding – the Library Perspective

We have a new associate starting this week. New lawyer hires are a frequent event at my firm. There have been 15 so far in 2013 (including students) which is a big number if you are dealing with onboarding on an ad hoc basis.

Like most others, my firm has a program in place for onboarding new hires. Our summer and articling students have a formal orientation program. We have a training and desk support program for legal support staff and administrative staff. Lateral lawyer onboarding is a bit different.

New lawyers, like everyone else, have technology training and orientation. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training

Self-Publishing Courts

Bombardier makes trains and planes. Courts and tribunals make judgments. Decisions are the main product of the judicial activity. Why are then courts not more enthusiastic when it comes to assuming the responsibility to publish their product on their own? The responsibility to run an open court lies with the court itself and today access to digital case law on the Internet can definitely be seen as a requirement of the open court principle.

With regard to self-publishing information, the judiciary has been overtaken by other branches of government, such as legislatures and Queen’s printers. The reliance of courts on . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Practice Pitfalls: Beware the Desperate Client in a Personal Injury Matter

In the September 2010 issue of LAWPRO Magazine, we asked our claims counsel about what they feel are the biggest malpractice hazards in each area of law based on the claims files they work on every day. Here is an excerpt from that article dealing with clients who urge a quick settlement. Click here to read the full article “Practice Pitfalls”.

“Many plaintiffs’ lawyers fall victim to clients who desperately need money in the early stages of a personal injury lawsuit,” says Cynthia Miller, Unit Director & Counsel (Litigation) at LAWPRO. “So they settle the client’s statutory accident benefits claim . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Cass Sunstein’s Typology of Constitutional Personae

In a recent paper , Professor Cass Sunstein of Harvard University suggests American Supreme Court justices can be identified as adhering to four distinct personae in their adjudicatory style. Sunstein argues that constitutional law is dominated by those whom he calls: Heroes, Soldiers, Burkeans and Mutes. Ultimately, Sunstein’s point is that judges do not consistently identify as one specific persona, but that the standard theories of constitutional interpretation (originalism, moralism, etc) can lead to the adoption of one or another of the personae depending on the occasion.

While Sunstein’s account is meant to be limited to American constitutional law, his . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Swallowing the Double-Edged Sword

Access to justice, according to some definitions, includes a public that has some legal literacy – people who are aware of their rights and obligations under the law.

Technology helps promote a form of legal literacy, but some lawyers say it’s a double-edged sword – clients are more willing than ever to participate in the process, says one contributor to the CBA Legal Futures consultation, but they “lack the practical understanding of the limitations of the judicial system to fully appreciate risk.”

Just as some medical patients will research online and then ask their family physician to confirm Dr. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology