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Archive for January, 2014

Shadow Stabbing

“Adjectives on the typewriter, he moves his words like a prize fight-er.”

I cannot proclaim to understand the meaning of the Cake song Shadow Stabbing but I do love that line. It seems particularly appropriate for a thought that has long percolated in my head regarding online communication, that being that context is so often lost. I have found it in contributing to this blog and in other online fora. How many times have you written an email with several points to which the response you receive only addresses one of those points. Or, if you engage in blogging or . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Tyler Langdon

Slaw is pleased to announce that Tyler Langdon has joined us as a columnist, writing in the Practice of Law group. His first column will appear this coming Monday.

Tyler is Counsel for Global Legal Operations with McCain Foods Limited and numerous subsidiary companies around the world, having primary responsibility for providing counsel relating to McCain’s Central and South American operations, McCain International Inc., McCain’s Global Technology Centre and the One McCain Project – one of the largest projects in McCain’s history involving standardizing the way McCain does business around the globe. Tyler also supports, along with other members of . . . [more]

Posted in: Administration of Slaw

Accessing Legal Information in Our Evolving Digital World

Public legal education and information (PLEI) has a long history in Canada, but recently has received greater emphasis as a key component in the reinvigorated debate over access to justice. Three aspects of this debate are especially important to explain the increased interest in PLEI. The first is that a major catalyst for this debate has been the increasing number of self-represented litigants (SLRs). It is obvious that if SLRs are going to engage the justice system, they need some degree of legal education and information. Second, a central theme in the current access to justice debate has been the . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

The Friday Fillip: Dutch Treat

The great museums of the world are putting their riches online — at least, so many of them as can be represented by photographs or digital copies. If the internet was always a Wunderkamer, it is now almost insanely rich with representations of beautiful and potent objects. Of course, the map is not the territory — and neither does a photograph of a great work of art pack anything like the emotional punch of the work in the flesh, so to speak. That said, it’s still wonderful to roam through the riches of the Rijksmuseum, for example, which . . . [more]

Posted in: The Friday Fillip

Online Sources of Official Legislation Rarer Than You Thought

A post earlier this week on In Custodia Legis, the blog of the Law Library of Congress in Washington, explained that the Australian federal legislative website ComLaw and the New Zealand legislative website were offering official versions of their laws.

In other words, the sites guarantee that the text that a searcher finds there (usually the PDF version) is a correct statement of the law and is admissible as evidence in court. Traditionally, only the print version of legislation from a government printer is official.

Many people are surprised to find out how few electronic versions of laws . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology: Internet

What Will Tomorrow’s Lawyers Do?

There are lots of ways to stop being a dinosaur – there’s no need to wait for the meteorite.

Corinne Mucilli made the point in the latest CBA Futures Twitterchat on the topic of new forms of lawyer employment for the emerging legal market.

Host Jordan Furlong of Stem Legal encouraged participants to discuss whether the dominance of “lawyer jobs” is coming to a close, and to provide examples of future lawyer employment before offering up this mind-blowing opinion: “As far as I know, there’s no richer potential resource for new lawyer employment than the latent legal market. Create a . . . [more]

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

Protecting Yourself From Cybercrime Dangers: Beware the Dangers of BYOD and the Family Computer

Cybercrime dangers are many, complex and ever-changing. Hardly a day goes by without another news report of a data breach or other cyber-related scam or theft. Cyber criminals have considerable resources and expertise, and can cause significant damage to their targets. Cyber criminals specifically target law firms as law firms regularly have funds in their trust accounts and client data that is often very valuable. This article, from the December 2013 issue of LAWPRO Magazine, reviews the specific cybercrime dangers law firms need to be concerned about, and how they can mitigate their risks.

In many firms, it is . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Does a Generational Divide Hamper Change in Legal Services?

My class at University of Ottawa Law is now over. But the thoughts provoked in class hopefully are not. U of O has, probably more so than other Ontario law schools, a social justice/access to justice bent and I have been critical of the CBA’s recent Reaching Equal Justice Report mostly because it is unrealistic and provides little hope for change. So it was interesting for me to see two presentations by students that focussed on ideas that should have been part of that CBA Report.

One student presented ways in which gamification could be used in legal services. It . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: CLE/PD, Education & Training: Law Schools, Justice Issues, Law Student Week, Legal Information, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

Ontario’s Minimum Wage Debate and Advisory Panel’s Final Report

The Minimum Wage Advisory Panel's final report was tabled with the Ontario government on Monday January 27, 2014. The report points out that the minimum wage is not solely a statistical or economic debate, it is also a benchmark, “a wage floor” that establishes a bare minimum for society. While the minimum wage cannot do it alone—child care, affordable housing, tax credits and tax exemptions are also essential—it is also a key component of any realistic anti-poverty strategy, no matter how blunt or inefficient it might be.
Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Hey Superwoman, Superman, Take Off the Cape (Part Two)

On Christmas Eve, instead of happy dreams of sugar plums and nutcrackers I tossed and turned in bed battling inner demons that were determined to remind me of all my apparently innumerable short comings. 

I was sick with a flu that left me weak and unable to carry out my fabulous plans for holiday entertaining. Adding insult to injury, I was left curled up on the couch clutching my cup of camomile tea and watching others sip from that bottle of California Cult Classic wine we had been saving.

Holiday photos this year feature me with tangled hair and dark . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Thursday Thinkpiece: Kierstead & Abner on Learning Professionalism in Law Firms

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.

Learning Professionalism in Practice
Shelley Kierstead & Erika Abner
(2013) Osgoode CLPE Research Paper No. 59/203

Excerpt: pp. 35-38

The Hidden Curriculum in Law Firms

In addition to examining the stated curriculum and the interpersonal curriculum in the workplace, available studies also describe components of the hidden curriculum in law firms.

Policy Development . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

She’ll #IdleNoMore

Earlier today, one of our law graduate students gave a delightful performance of a poem, Why I’ll #IdleNoMore. The poem earned Michelle first place in the annual diversity writing contest the University Library sponsors in conjunction with the Provost’s Diversity Research Forum.

Michelle’s performance was evocative and thought-provoking, as is the poem itself: She rapped about the goals of the Idle No More movement, and about activism as an ally of that movement.

As stimulating to me as her performance were the remarks with which Michelle prefaced it. She spoke of how, were it not for her time . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Justice Issues