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Archive for October, 2013

Drafting Arbitration Clauses

Over the years I have seen dozens of contracts with dreadful arbitration clauses.

They are generally found near the end of the agreement, with the other so-called “boilerplate”. One often wonders whether the lawyers even read them before the contract was signed. Almost certainly, the business people didn’t. One consequence of this neglect is that, if and when the clause must be dusted off and used in a dispute, it may not work as intended. And unworkable arbitration clauses tend to give the process as a whole a bad name.

There are 7 essential elements of an effective arbitration clause. . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

Thursday Thinkpiece: Azzolini on What Distinguishes Law Firm Librarianship

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.

John Azzolini
Oxford : Chandos Publishing, 2013

Excerpted: pp. 9 and 10-14 from Chapter 2: Tasks, Skills, and Attributes

[Footnotes have been converted to endnotes here.]

Abstract: Law firm librarianship can be distinguished from its public and academic counterparts by examining several of the emblematic features . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Do You Suffer From Hypovibochondria?

Aka Phantom Cellphone Vibration – when you think you feel your phone vibrating when it is not. Yes, this is a real thing that has been the subject of academic studies.

From a study at Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne, United States entitled Phantom vibrations among undergraduates: Prevalence and associated psychological characteristics:

Phantom vibration syndrome,’ or perceived vibrations from a device that is not really vibrating, is a recent psychological phenomenon that has attracted the attention of the media and medical community. Most (89%) of the 290 undergraduates in our sample had experienced phantom vibrations, and they experienced them . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology


The Personal Information Protection And Identity Theft Prevention Act (Bill 211) has recently passed in Manitoba and takes effect upon proclamation.

This Private Member’s Bill was most recently introduced on May 28, 2013 but had been put forward a number of times previously. The Explanatory Note sets out that:

This Bill governs the collection, use, disclosure and destruction of personal information by organizations in the private sector. It also establishes a duty for those organizations to notify individuals who may be affected when the personal information the organization has collected is lost, stolen or compromised.

Winnipeg lawyer Brian Bowman, . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Lean as a Process Catalyst for Legal Technology

I’m (re-)reading Lean UX by Jeff Gothelf following last month’s enlightening set of sessions at ILTA on why we need to find new ways of doing things. Whether it was legal project management, change management or application and software development, ILTA was full of ideas about re-imagining and simplifying the very traditional processes at our firms.

By adopting processes that are faster, leaner and with more feedback loops, both this book and the ILTA sessions suggest we can turn those massive boil-the-ocean stalled projects into that which entrepreneurs and innovators already know well – the Minimum Viable Product . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal 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 past week:

  1. Meads v. Meads 2012 ABQB 571

    1. This Court has developed a new awareness and understanding of a category of vexatious litigant. As we shall see, while there is often a lack of homogeneity, and some individuals or groups have no name or special identity, they (by their own admission or by descriptions given by others) often fall into the following descriptions: Detaxers;

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

More Paralegal Benchers Coming to Ontario

The Ministry of the Attorney General in Ontario announced today that they will introduce a Bill to change how legal professions are regulated in the province.

The proposed Bill would allow the law society to recover legal costs from discipline proceedings, and will allow information protected by solicitor-client privilege to be used in hearings.

The main thrust of the Bill appears to provide more equitable representation of paralegals within the law society, increasing the number of benchers at Convocation from two to five. The committee chair, who is elected by paralegal members, can attend Convocation but cannot vote unless they . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Substantive Law: Legislation

Quebec Court of Appeal: Evidence Required to Prove Discrimination…

The Quebec Court of Appeal (decision in French) recently overturned a decision of the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal (decision in English) made in 2010 which had essentially held that any decision not to train a pilot made by the U.S. Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was prima facie anti-muslim and/or anti-Arab and discriminatory. Accordingly, Bombardier could not refuse to train a pilot for a license on the basis of a U.S. DHS determination that the pilot constituted a security risk. The CBC described the original case and its ramifications here. The follow up on . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Battling the MWP

MWP. My colleague and her team have started using this acronym to help sort the projects that come to them. MWP stands for make work project. MWPs are the bane of busy people and groups and when analyzed will necessarily fall to the bottom of a pile. A caution though, one person’s MWP may be viewed as a necessary rush by someone else.

Whether you are working in a service department inside of an organization or you are taking in work from clients, some tasks are simply MWPs. From the library side of legal work, some theoretical MWP examples: extra . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management

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.


iPad Obliterate: A Tech Tale of Disaster (And How a Backup Can Avoid Heartache)
Dan Pinnington

Lance Ulanoff did an op-ed post titled “iPad Obliterate: A Tech Tale of Disaster” on Mashable last week. In the post he relates his personal story of how he lost all the data on his iPad. His post should be required reading for anyone with a mobile device as there are some very . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

The Courts, the Politicians, and the Environment

A lot of government decision-making makes people who care about the environment want to tear out their hair. Sometimes they go further and sue. Does it help?

Suing the government can certainly draw attention to a decision. Sometimes, the subsequent negotiations can lead to a better result. Very occasionally, Canadian courts actually do force a government to to do a better job on an environmental matter. For example, they have required the federal government to actually come up with a plan for protecting an endangered species, as the Species at Risk Act specifically requires them to do. And in Oldman . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Kate Simpson Joins Slaw

Slaw is pleased and proud indeed to announce that Kate Simpson has joined Slaw as a columnist in the Legal Technology group.

Kate is a Knowledge Design Consultant who works with law firms from both sides of the Atlantic. With her company Tangledom, Inc., Kate works at the intersection of law, technology and design.

You can follow Kate on Twitter @tangledom.

Please welcome Kate to Slaw . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw, Announcements