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Archive for August, 2013

The Friday Fillip: Looking at Clouds From Both Sides

As people who work in law we’re used to squeezing every last drop of significance from a fact or a word, framing it this way or that way so that a particular facet glints. Even the presence, absence or location of a single comma can be a matter of moment (though the significance of the curls in “comma cases” is exaggerated by the disingenuously wondering press). So we know the importance of the small in ways that others might find hard to appreciate.

For example, in these times of political disaffection (are there ever other times?) you’ll hear people say . . . [more]

Posted in: The Friday Fillip

Client-Driven Change

Recently I gave the closing keynote at a mid-sized insurance company’s annual conference for outside lawyers. The company (which we’ll call “Acme”) annually invites a selection of their outside counsel to discuss issues of importance to it; the items on the agenda for this year, and for the last few years, have been innovation, providing more client value and finding blue oceans.

Here is a company that totally gets it, AND more importantly, is focussed on working with its outside counsel to achieve results. I see very little of this and so I was greatly impressed; far too often, change . . . [more]

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

Convergence, or a Tale of Two Conferences

Recently I had the great opportunity to attend two seemingly opposite conferences addressing the duality my professional life has taken on. Going directly from one to the other, I became aware immediately that lessons learned from one could be applied to the other: the similarities and differences very illuminating to problems both sets of professionals are experiencing.

One of the great things about my position as the Executive Director of the Toronto Lawyers Association is that I’ve been introduced to a whole new galaxy of professionals … the people that make up the Canadian Society of Association Executives. They are . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

British Columbia Online Privacy Practices

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia has published another document to help businesses improve online privacy practices. This comes after an August 2013 report from Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN) that shows B.C. companies have work to do to make their privacy policies clear and accessible to the public.
Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, Technology: Internet

The Secret Is Out – Your Own Personal Business Coach in a Book!

There is nothing new under the sun when it comes to business development for lawyers. The challenge for any writer tackling the subject today is how to add value in a field already saturated with publications. Peter H. Freeman, the author of the ARC Group’s latest publication, Secrets of the Masters – The Business Development Guide for Lawyers, has successfully produced a fresh and practical guide that will make a worthy addition to every law firm’s library.

As a coach of lawyers I immediately appreciated Freeman’s approach to the subject matter. Here is my top ten list of what . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Thursday Thinkpiece: Carasco on the Rights of Non-Citizens

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.

Non-Citizens in Canada: Status and Rights
Emily F. Carasco
Toronto: LexisNexis Canada, 2012

Excerpted sections from Chapter 1

Citizenship Status, Non-Citizenship Status and Human Rights

Citizenship status is a critical determinant of the extent of human rights protection available to an individual. The relationship of an individual to the state in which he . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Opening Doors: A Public Legal Education and Information Forum

I’d like to use this space to profile an upcoming event hosted by The Public Legal Education Association of Canada/L’Association canadienne des organismes d’éducation et d’information juridique . On October 9 and 10, 2013, the National PLEAC Conference and AGM will take place in Vancouver.

Wednesday, October 9 will see the AGM and the business meetings of the members of PLEAC/ACOEIJ, along with a social celebrating public legal education and, specifically, PLEI in BC.

Scheduled for Thursday, October 10, is what looks to be a stimulating and worthy event called Opening Doors. This day is planned to be

a public

. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training, Justice Issues, Legal Information

Data, Metadata, de-Identification and Re-Identification

Data about individuals is very valuable. It can be used to discern trends, popular thought, individual buying habits, customer behaviour, do medical research, and many other things. But it is important that the collectors and users of that data use it in a privacy friendly manner.

One of the deflections by the NSA is that they don’t record conversations, just metadata about phone calls and other communication. Metadata means information about information, and can be just as personal and invasive as the data itself.

The Ontario Privacy Commissioner, Ann Cavoukian, recently published a paper entitled A Primer on Metadata: Separating . . . [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 this last week:

  1. Pascua v Khul-Schachter 2013 CanLII 47860 (ON SC)

    1. The plaintiff claims $25,000 for damages for wrongful dismissal and breach of the employment contract.

    4. The plaintiff, Sunshine Pascua, was employed as a full-time nanny and live-in caregiver for the two children of the defendant, Michelle Khul-Schachter, also known as Shashena, pursuant to a written employment contract. The plaintiff’s work included child care,

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

New Restrictions on Use of Electronic Devices in Manitoba Courts

Can a member of the public post a tweet about a sentencing hearing as it is taking place in a Canadian courtroom? It depends on which court and in which province, but in most of Canada the answer is no. And what about checking email during the course of a long-winded closing submission? The answer, is yes, in most jurisdictions, but only if you’re a legal profession insider.

The Canadian Centre for Court Technology (“CCCT”) has posted a Canada Wide Summary of Court Policies on Live, Text-Based Communications from the Courtroom as of June 2013. The Summary confirms what Dean . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Technology, Technology: Internet

Raising the Bar

Preparing for the bar exam was one of the most challenging things I have ever done.

I attended law school because I wanted to use the law to foster systemic change. I knew law school would be challenging. And it was, not just due to the work load, the social pressure and job application process, but also because the road well-travelled for law students is a corporate one. The law is conservative, slow changing and it looks backwards. Nevertheless, I flourished by taking a mixture of ‘black letter’ law classes, critical theory seminars and clinical legal programs.

Students often talk . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Practice of Law

“Effective Practices” for Resolution of Intellectual Property Disputes

There is a perceived reluctance to use private dispute resolution (either mediation or arbitration) to resolve intellectual property (IP) disputes.

One reason is that IP rights (patents, trademarks and copyright) are statutory monopolies, granted on a national basis. Therefore, rights holders must look to government authorities and national courts to establish and enforce these rights.

However, the most valuable IP rights are commercialized internationally, so national enforcement and dispute resolution is very costly, time-consuming and inefficient. IP litigation is also public and potentially fatal to confidential information and trade secrets. That’s why there is a compelling case for both owners . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution