Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for December, 2013

The Friday Fillip: Twitter Titter

Having just enjoyed a challenging ice storm, I’m full of appreciation for Twitter and the role it plays in emergencies (and in daily life, which is a form of chronic, sub-clinical emergency, surely): what’s going on; what’s wanted, not wanted; what’s likely to happen in the immediate future — this is useful information.

But Twitter has a lighter side, because some people emit a steady stream of jokes; and some of the time these joke are pretty good, certainly good enough for a quick yuk or quiet smile, which are things not to be frowned on in the course of . . . [more]

Posted in: The Friday Fillip

Key Partner Risk – the Elephant in the Room

By this time of year most law firms have will have prepared their strategic plan for 2014, which should flow from their existing 5- or 10-year overall strategic plan.

Most firms will have also done a risk scan of the environment to determine what factors can adversely impact their strategy and use that information to adjust their plans accordingly.

Most firms will identify compliance-type issues as risk factors.

Others will consider the economic environment and how that will impact revenue and use that to determine hiring practices.

The more thoughtful will analyze where their revenue comes from to determine if . . . [more]

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


How You Can Reduce the Extreme Dangers of Using Public Computers
Dan Pinnington

Public computers in libraries, Internet cafes, airports, and copy shops are an extreme security risk. While you can take steps to reduce these risks, it is still very dangerous to . . .


Parliamentary Documents
Shaunna Mireau

Researching federal legislation can be fascinating particularly historical legislation. The Canadian spirit of the times can gleaned from . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Protecting Yourself From Cybercrime Dangers: Avoid the Dangers of Email

Cybercrime is a real and present danger for law firms. All firms should work to understand the cybercrime risks they are exposed to and take steps to reduce the likelihood they will experience a data breach at the hands of cyber criminals. The following checklist is taken from the article “Cybercrime and Law Firms: The Risks are Real” from the December 2013 issue of LAWPRO Magazine.

To assess your cybercrime preparedness, see if you can answer the following questions:

  • Are your passwords secure enough?
  • Would you or your staff be duped by a phishing message?
  • How would your
. . . [more]
Posted in: Reading: Recommended, Technology

Season for Giving

The ice storm passing through Central and Eastern Canada is making many of us give pause. Many people are hours–and possibly days–without power, and some (the horror) are without cell phone or Internet access. It makes us thankful for what we do have, and what we typically take for granted. I am seeing a lot of people pulling together to help one another.

What about those who have to go without on a longer term basis? How are we pulling together to help them?

In Toronto I am particularly seeing a lot of support for the Daily Bread Food Bank . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

International Legal Publishers — Lexis, Westlaw, Wolters Kluwer, And… Wikipedia

Yes, Wikipedia

A recent encounter I had with German tax law was quite revealing. A claim had been made by the German tax authorities for the payment of a gift tax on a transaction in Canada that took place more than a decade ago. A computer trace of some kind by the German tax authorities had recently brought the matter to light and resulted in a demand for the payment of back taxes by a Canadian to the German government based on incomplete information.

Recognizing my serious limitations in tax matters of any kind, I approached a highly regarded member . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Bedford: A Significant but Cautious Victory

The Supreme Court of Canada’s much-anticipated decision in Canada (Attorney General) v Bedford (Bedford) represents an important victory for sex workers’ rights. Although there is a long road ahead in terms of implementation, which will be peppered with contentious debates about the role of the state in the regulation of sex work and the legitimacy of sex work as labour, it is important to pause and look at the decision with a critical lens, taking into account the symbolic significance of this landmark case. Simultaneously, the Court’s decision also highlights serious concerns regarding the attainment of civil liberties on the . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment

Legal Incubators for Innovation and Access to Justice

Last August I mentioned the CBA’s summary report on access to justice, Reaching Equal Justice: An Invitation to Envision and Act. This past week the Access to Justice Committee released the final report.

The report traverses many topics on the reasons why change is needed, including the growth of pro bono and unrepresented litigants, increase in poverty and legal illiteracy and increasing complexity of the legal system. The report also investigates several solutions to the problems, such as innovation in the courts, unbundled services and relying on technology.

There’s one idea in particular which has attracted my attention . . . [more]

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