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Archive for March, 2014

The Friday Fillip: Cabin Fever

In my next life I shall be an architect. I already have a couple of pairs of eyeglass frames suitable for the role, and I once had a corduroy suit, albeit of the wrong colour. But, perhaps more to the point, I’m an inveterate maker. Not for me, though, big buildings or bridges. No, I’ll build dwellings — and, by preference, small houses. Cabins, if you will.

Surprisingly, there’s quite a lot of competition out there for the job of cabin builder. And even more enthusiasm for the business of dreaming about building cabins. Indeed — you’ve heard of porn, . . . [more]

Posted in: The Friday Fillip

Electronic Evidence Case – Criminal Law and Social Media

The New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench recently admitted into a criminal case screenshots of a Facebook conversation that took place the day after an alleged sexual assault between the complainant and the accused. R v Nde Soh, 2014 NBQB 20

The court held – properly, in my view – that the screenshots were electronic documents within the meaning of ss. 31.1ff of the Canada Evidence Act, which reflect the Uniform Electronic Evidence Act. It found that the documents were properly authenticated. It decided that the computer system was sufficiently reliable in the absence of any evidence from . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Facial Recognition Software: As Good as Your Brain

In case you needed another reason to get paranoid about your growing loss of privacy, Facebook has now successfully developed facial recognition software that performs to the same standard as the human brain. [Cited FB research paper.]

The project is called “DeepFace”, and its recognition rate of 97.25 is closely comparable to human accuracy at 97.53%. Even with variances in lighting; and even when the angle of the shot is different. If you’d like to get into the detail, the link above gives a nice condensed summary.

What could this mean in the future? It’s hard to predict, of . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

CBA Futures Tweet Chat

Perhaps after 3 trips to Oz in the last 6 months I’ve become too attached to that “sun-burned country.”

Or perhaps, it’s the deliberate myopia of many lawyers and Benchers in Canada that raises my ire.

Anyone who has an informed interest in alternative business structures (ABS) – structures that permit outside investment in law firms – will know that Australia, not the UK, was the first country to allow outside investment into law firms.

A reasonably informed person will know that the state of New South Wales (population of about 7 million and whose capital is Sydney) permitted this . . . [more]

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

Show Me the Money

Since late last year, a groundswell of opinion seems to be developing in favour of open and free access to legal scholarship and secondary sources.

Sean Hocking’s recent column speculates that “someone will see that a Wikipedia type solution to the cataloguing, editing and free distribution of legal information is of benefit to a functioning democracy in the 21st century.”

Who will do this work? He suggests that this role will be taken on by “unemployed or at least underemployed legal editors, academics and dare we say it, lawyers, out there who’d be willing to initiate the process of getting . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Class Notes 1: Mining Social Media for Legal Research

By this point in the term, our advanced legal research and writing class has covered all the favourite usual suspects: research plans, research records and journals, secondary research using legal and library databases, federal legislative research, provincial legislative research, primary research using the big three, UK research, US research, and so on. We’re saving EU legal research for next week.

But this week we took a small detour and looked at the use of social media as a resource for legal research. For instance, we examined the strategic use of Twitter as a legal research source, mainly for secondary information . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Legal Information, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Web of Law and Policy Discourages Reporting of Sexual Harassment

A colleague of mine at First Reference, Adam Gorley, wrote an article about the Standing Committee on the Status of Women's study on sexual harassment in Federal workplaces. I thought I would share this very interesting article here on Slaw.
Posted in: Justice Issues, Miscellaneous, Substantive Law: Legislation

Davos 2014 and Justice

The Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum at Davos has many layers. Business leaders meet and do deals and forge partnerships. High potential start-ups use Davos to pitch. Members of governments come to support the deal making. The President of Mongolia worked hard to bring business to his country. Another layer is pure politics. “We even met the Iranians.”, said one ambassador to me, very pleased. The do-good layer is the one in which I move. The WEF has built a formidable network of doers and thinkers around big global issues such as the environment, governance, health, and youth . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Thursday Thinkpiece: Priel on Negligence Law

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.

Tort Law for Cynics
Dan Priel
Modern Law Review, Volume 77 (2014)


Back in 1949 Lord Justice Denning had an occasion to consider the rules imposing tort liability on the actions of people of unsound mind. He wrote there:

I am aware that these rules of law have been criticized by some

. . . [more]
Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

First Canadian Antibody Decision of Federal Court Significant for What It Does Not Say

It has been 15 years since the last brand v brand challenge of a biologic patent in Canada. In 2000, Amgen’s recombinant EPO patent (for EPREX, which stimulates red blood cells to treat anaemia) was found valid and infringed by Hoffman’s RECORMON product.[1] In January 2014 the Federal Court once again upheld the validity of certain claims of Abbott’s psoriasis antibody patent that were challenged by Janssen[2].

The Abbott v Janssen decision (“Decision”) provides a somewhat typical patent validity analysis. Mr. Justice Hughes favoured certain Abbott experts who found that Abbott’s discovery of a “very sticky” antibody . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

The Value of a Brand

We all know that brand logos and names can be valuable assets and powerful promotional tools. Research has shown that children as young as 2 years old can recognize certain logos.

Some are created by company founders on their own, and some are the result of intensive work by advertising agencies. Pepsi spent a million dollars on its latest logo redesign. Nike paid a graphic design student $35 for its swoosh design.

These, and other interesting facts on designs are on this infographic published by


Prepared by | Author: Alex Hillsberg | See our Facebook
. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous

More Ways Your Assistant Can Help With Your Legal Marketing

 This is the second and final part on the topic of how you might engage your assistant in your legal marketing efforts. In the first part, we established that client service is a team sport and everyone working with clients ought to have the same intention to win client loyalty and create long term relationships.

These tips are for motivated teams who are looking to build a successful long term client-centric practice. Implementing the basic and advanced tips takes extra time and energy, so choose your assistant carefully and compensate accordingly.

File opening habits – consistency with your file . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing