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Archive for September, 2013

Salary Caps and Retained Earnings for Law Firms

The other day, I was sitting with Phil Brown, of the Law Society of Upper Canada, trying to solve the world’s problems – as we are wont to do from time to time.

I ventured that one of the constraints to access to justice is a lawyer’s overhead. And a large part of that overhead in large- and medium-sized firms, is lawyer salary.

Then I thought, how crazy is it that we live in a world where lawyers can’t survive on a salary of $250,000.00 per year – keeping in mind that this amount is about 5 times what the . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Quebec Ombudsperson Supports End-of-Life Care Bill, Offers Recommendations

Quebec’s ombudsperson—le protecteur du citoyen—offered her support to Bill 52, An Act respecting end-of-life care, in a brief presented to the national assembly’s committee on health and social services. The ombudsperson’s submission to the assembly is important because as its French name indicates, the protecteur du citoyen’s mandate is to protect the rights of citizens or groups of citizens, which includes proposing amendments to existing or draft acts, regulations, directives, and administrative policies in order to improve them for the public good.
Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Thursday Thinkpiece: Bhabha on the Conceptual Limits of Accommodation to Religious Freedom

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.

From Saumur to L. (S.): Tracing the Theory and Concept of Religious Freedom under Canadian Law
Faisal Bhabha
58 Supreme Court Law Review (2d), 2012

(The excerpt from the introduction has been edited for Slaw by the author.)

Religious Freedom Unhinged: The Conceptual Limits of Accommodation

Religious freedom under the Canadian Constitution[1] . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Metadata in Digital Photos – Should You Care?

We are hopeful that you are familiar with metadata, especially as it exists in e-mail messages and word processing files. If not, then a brief refresher is in order. There are a couple of different types of metadata, but most regard the common definition to be data that is stored internal to the file (you can’t see it without knowing how to look at it) and is not explicitly defined by the user. The application (e.g. word processor) inserts data within the file such as the author, last time printed, fonts used or creation date. But what about image files . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Consortium Project Addresses Link and Reference Rot

Pieces this week in the New York Times and Jonathan Zittrain’s Future of the Internet blog brought our attention to broken or altered links in legal scholarship and in decisions of the Supreme Court of the US. The news is based on research by Professor Zittrain, Larry Lessig, and Kendra Albert, currently released as a working paper.

The paper’s abstract notes that “more than 70% of the URLs within the Harvard Law Review and other journals, and 50% of the URLs found within U.S. Supreme Court opinions do not link to the originally cited information.”

This should not be . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Web Site Comments – Useful or Just for Trolls?

There has been some controversy lately over comments on web sites. Far too often comments are toxic, bitter, uninformed, and irrelevant. Some popular bloggers such as Seth Godin simply turn the comment function off. Popular Science has just announced they are shutting off comments because they felt that “trolls and spambots” in their comments have overwhelmed intellectual debate. Some people have been critical of Popular Science’s decision.

At the same time, YouTube is about to make some changes to try to float the most relevant comments to the top, and push the nasty stuff to the bottom. This Washington Post . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Law Firms Should Have Become Legal Publishers Because Legal Publishers Are Now Becoming Law Firms

The really interesting piece of news that we’ve come across in the past fortnight is the announcement by Jordans publishing that they are now moving into the world of legal services.

Here at LLN / HOB we have always repeated ad nauseam that we hoped a law firm of some stripe would discover they could actually generate revenue from legal publishing activities; but instead the tables have been turned and Jordans have decided that there will be money in the world of practice while it appears to us, from the report, that they still intend to retain their legal content . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Manitoba PUB Report on Payday Loans Regulation

Manitoba’s Public Utilities Board (PUB) this week issued a report containing a series of recommendations to the Government of Manitoba on Manitoba’s payday loan regulations and the payday loan industry.

The report is the result of a public review and consultation process undertaken pursuant to the authority given the Board under s. 164 of The Consumer Protection Act and The Public Utilities Board Act.

Payday loans are extremely costly to borrowers. According to the accompanying news release:

A $17 fee on a two-week, $100 loan is equivalent to paying 442% annually as the cost of borrowing.

This seems particularly . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Selling the Farm?

Readers of SLAW know that, as a rule, librarians are passionate about their collections, and despite negative stereotypes, they embrace the electronic resources and developments with alacrity, often way ahead of the pack. (For example, in 1998, the librarian community were among the earliest adopters of, and overwhelmingly enthusiasts for, the new Google search engine, with is simple clean lines and lack of advertising – such a contrast to the AltaVista, Ask Jeeves  and Excite interfaces in use at the time.)

Where practical and useful for the organisation, librarians equally maintain the book resources for which they have responsibility. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

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. Exposoft Solutions Inc. (Re) 2013 ONSC 5798

    [1] This was a motion which should never have been. It also involved the smallest amount of money I have encountered to date in a Commercial List matter – less than $5,000. But, being a motion brought in the Toronto Region, about two inches of materials were served and filed, and four cases handed up during

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

Of Landlords and Freemen

I am a landlord. My spouse and I try very hard to be great landlords, fair, responsive, and reasonable. We have excellent tenants. Responsible, reasonable, and fair. I honestly have no idea how I would deal with a situation such as the on recently in the media from Calgary. According to various media reports (here, here, here, and here) a landlord C is having issues with a tenant P who has claimed that the rental property he lives in is a sovereign embassy.

The matter crosses all kinds of legislative paths, the Residential Tenancies Act, . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

The Quebec Charter of Values vs. Oakes

By now, the proposed Quebec Charter of Values and the enforced secularism it promotes have been debated in the media, on blogs and around the water cooler consistently for the past few weeks. For the most part, the debate has centered around the proposed ban on conspicuous symbols worn by public sector employees. Most of what has been written is scathing and attacks the irrationality of the proposal, not to mention its blatant systemic discrimination, if not its direct discrimination (it is certainly not a coincidence that Christians do not wear conspicuous religious symbols or clothing, but that Muslims, Jews, . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous