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Archive for August, 2013

Where Are All the Women in the Future of Law?

Something has been bothering me lately about the discussions about the future of the legal profession. Maybe you’ve noticed it too? Where are the voices of women in this discussion?

There are a few of us paying attention to the issues but on the whole, I’d say women lawyers are not speaking up about what changes they’d like to see for the future of their profession.

Of course, we know that many women lawyers leave private practice early in their careers. I recently heard Allan Fineblit, CEO of The Law Society of Manitoba say that half of women lawyers are . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

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. R. v. Boyes 2013 BCPC 204

    [1] Mr. Boyes is charged with three offences, alleged to have been committed in the early morning hours of September 22, 2012: (i) dangerous driving, contrary to section 249(1)(a) of the Criminal Code; (ii) failing to stop when pursued by police officer, contrary to section 249.1(1) of the Criminal Code; and (iii) failing to comply with demand

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

Affidavit on the Power of Metadata

We’ve referred to the matter of governments spying on citizens a number of times here on Slaw, particularly in relation to the feebleness of the “it’s only metadata” excuse. If you’d like more confirmation that metadata has the power to breach privacy in a serious way, have a look at the affidavit — the “declaration,” to be precise — by Princeton computer science prof, Edward W. Felten filed in an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit. Professor Felten takes you through the process step by step, intending, of course, to educate the court about these technological matters.

There’s perhaps a natural . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous

Humourous but Effective Response to Copyright Violation

Lawyers routinely send demand letters to those who may offend a client’s rights in some way. The easiest, but often ineffective, way to do that is to fire off a missive citing every possible legal theory that is being breached, and threatening to bring down a reign of legal terror so intimidating that the recipient will quake in their boots and comply.

Sometimes that kind of letter is so over the top that it isn’t taken seriously. Especially in todays world of social media, it can actually backfire due to the Streisand effect.

So it is noteworthy when someone . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Got Any Bright Ideas?

Innovation will be a hallmark and creativity will be absolutely mandatory for lawyers and law firms hoping to succeed in the next decade and beyond, participants at a Futures Initiative-sponsored professional development session on innovation were told at the 2013 CBA Legal Conference in Saskatoon.

Innovation, creativity and perhaps the kind of regulatory change that made the U.K.’s Riverview Law possible.

Andy Daws, Riverview’s vice-president North America, says the 2007 Legal Services Act, which was designed to promote competition, innovation and the public and consumer interest, has made the U.K. “the world’s legal laboratory right now,” where experiments in ownership . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Sold Out: Trade Trumps Human Rights in Canada’s Relationship With Colombia

By any measure one of the most entrenched and distressing human rights tragedies in the Americas has been the decades of conflict and abuse in Colombia. The statistics are staggering. Highest number of internally displaced people in the world. Most dangerous country on the planet to be a trade unionist. Amidst an enduring crisis that has impacted virtually every part of Colombian society, the plight of the country’s Indigenous peoples is particularly harrowing. Their fate has become so alarming in fact that UN experts and the country’s own Constitutional Court are starting to talk about extermination and possible genocide.

By . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Proroguing Parliament When?

When someone says that they will do something, I expect them to do it. Call me naïve, call me impatient, both are likely true. Back on August 20, The Canadian Press/Global News shared that Prime Minister Harper was intending to prorogue Parliament.

The official prorogation proclamation will be published in Canada Gazette Part II. Usually when prorogation is decided outside the publication schedule of the Gazette (which is every second Wednesday for Part II), it is done with an EXTRA issue. There were EXTRAs published with prorogation in September of 2007, September of 2002, and September of 1999. A search . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

What’s in a Name

Messiah. That is the name that last month, a Tennessee judge deemed was inappropriate for a seven-month old baby, holding that « it’s a title that has only been earned by one person and that person is Jesus Christ ». The judge entered an order changing the boy’s name to Martin. Most legal commentators have since argued that this decision is more than likely to be reversed on appeal, primarily in light of the religious underpinnings of the judge’s decision, which raise First Amendment concerns (according to the New York Times, the American Civil Liberties Union has offered to appeal . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

BASE Academic Search Engine

I don’t think we’ve yet talked about the Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE) here on Slaw. A structure of the University of Bielefeld in Germany, BASE boasts that it indexes the metadata of 50,072,862 documents from 2,699 content sources (and keeps adding data at a great rate). Of course, the database ranges across all fields of academic endeavour — but that includes law and law-related material, which might be of use in certain situations. Much of the material referenced in BASE is open access and identified as such by the search engine.

You can either browse the database or use . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Measuring the Performance of Law Firm Libraries

It is challenging for law firm libraries to measure the performance of their libraries. Traditional library metrics are less helpful for law firm libraries compared to public or academic libraries; for example, circulation statistics are often used as an indicator of library usage and what parts of the library collection are in highest demand. In law firm libraries, many of the materials are used primarily in the library or are signed out to a single lawyer for months (in some cases for years) at a time. The circulation statistics for a given book will therefore suggest that it was never . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

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.


Use PC Decrapifier to Remove Unwanted Software From a New or Old PC
Dan Pinnington

Unfortunately, most new computers come preloaded with a tons of junk software you don’t really want or need. These can be trial versions of various programs, including widely used programs, toolbars, utilities, games and other programs you have never heard of (and will probably never use).
And if you have an older computer, odds . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

What They Don’t Teach You in Law School

I stumbled across this post by Marc Luber yesterday that I thought I would share.

Marc identifies five different things that are not taught in law school:

  1. How to be a Lawyer
  2. Career Planning
  3. Legal Career Paths
  4. Alternative Careers for Lawyers
  5. How to Sell your Legal Skills to Employers

It was 10 years ago that I entered my first year of law school. All five of the items mentioned by Marc were as true in 2003 as they are in 2013. With law school enrolment numbers up, and articling placements becoming increasingly difficult to obtain, it still boggles my mind . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools