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Archive for May, 2014

What Is the Carnegie Report and Why Does It Matter?

When legal education reform is discussed, Slaw readers may have heard mention of the Carnegie Report without knowing what the report is all about.

Simply put, the Carnegie Report calls for significant changes in legal education in North America. It recommends an integrated approach to legal education. The report identifies “the three apprenticeships” of legal education (theory, ethics, and practical skills) and calls for the apprenticeships to be integrated into courses throughout law school.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is a US based foundation founded in 1905. It describes its mission is as being “committed to developing . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education

CBA Futures Chat: How to Be a Legal Innovator

{Pre-text: It is quite humbling and even feels premature to be hosting a CBA Legal Futures Twitter Chat on How to be a Legal Innovator. That said, I welcomed the invitation, as my completely unexpected trajectory as a lawyer has admittedly led me a few times to take a step back and re-trace my thought-process over the past 3+ years since I took the entrepreneurship route: À-la, “What tha..??! This is shaping up to be pre-tty cool. Geez, how did I get here?” And I have kept some notes.

<<Cue Sophia’s voice from Golden Girls here>> Picture it. Toronto. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Managing a Name Change

I just did something that I haven’t had to do in 5 years … update my title. I have taken on a new role in my organization – facilitating process improvement projects in addition to overseeing knowledge management. There is something that is missing from my title that has been there for a long time – the word Library. I have self identified as a law librarian since joining a law firm library team as a fresh graduate from a library technician program. Whether my actual title was Library Technician or some other derivation, that comforting word has underpinned my . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research

That Elusive Thing Called Justice Leadership

In a fascinating new book that has just been published, What Should We Be Worried About?, John Naughton expresses his big worry:

[W]e are increasingly enmeshed in incompetent systems – that is, systems that exhibit pathological behavior but can’t fix themselves (…) because solving the problem would require coordinated action by significant components of the system, but engaging in such action is not in the short-term interest of any individual component (…). So in the end, pathological system behavior continues until catastrophe ensues.

Legal systems can be like that: incompetent and unable to change. In this column I reflect . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

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.


Audio Editor Audacity Great for Recording or Converting Audio
Dan Pinnington

Audacity is a free, multi-track audio recorder and editor that runs on Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. You can use Audacity to record live audio through your computer microphone. . . .


What is in your collection?
Shaunna Mireau

The librarians in our firm library often have questions on topics that are outside

. . . [more]
Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Update: Court of Appeal Rules Property Management Company Still Barred From Appearing at Landlord and Tenant Board

About a year ago I wrote a post about a case where the Ontario Superior Court issued a permanent injunction preventing the owner of a property management company from appearing before the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board on behalf of his landlord clients.

The property management company appealed to the Court of Appeal, who dismissed the appeal last week.

  . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment

“Law Is an Information Technology”

That’s the first line in a recent article from the Fordham Law Review by John O. McGinnis and Russell G. Pearce, an article which I’ve added to my “must read” list.

There’s been a lot of talk about disruption and innovation in law practice. In “The Great Disruption: How Machine Intelligence Will Transform the Role of Lawyers in the Delivery of Legal Services,” the authors note that “the disruption has already begun” and take a look at “the weakening of lawyers’ market power over providing legal services.”

The article is presented in two parts:

“Part I describes

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

Legal Stream

As those who’ve read Slaw for a while might know, I’ve been critical in the past about the way the news media treat law. Simply put, law does not figure in their analysis of things that make the world go round. This is easy — and distressing — to see by looking at the way in which news media categorize their content. The Globe and Mail, for example, doesn’t include “Law” or “Justice” in any of its major menu headings, and only by looking at the website’s site map can we find “Law” among the 175 possibilities as a third . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Publishing

10 Ways to Build a Better Clientele

The impact of poor client selection and sloppy client service will be magnified in trying economic times. In response, you want to proactively take steps to build and retain a better clientele. Here are some pointers to help you meet that goal. This article orginally appeared in the Fall 2008 issue of LAWPRO Magazine.

  1. Get a retainer up front: The best way to ensure that you get paid in full at the end of a matter is to obtain a retainer at the matter’s start. After you and your client reach a consensus on what work you need
. . . [more]
Posted in: Reading: Recommended

Legal Research Training in 2014: Lapped Again

Training United States law students in the skills of legal research has never been easy. It is hard to do well, but that is not the heart of the problem. The lack of institutional support for the effort has always presented the most basic of challenges. Like regular exercise or avoiding sweets, research skills are much praised but seldom actualized. At most law schools legal research is part of the first year curriculum. It is almost inevitably taught by non-tenure track instructors. In the hierarchy of U.S. legal education, and hierarchy is a major theme for law schools, non-tenure track . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Climate Change Class Actions Could Spur Greater Emergency Preparedness

There are no such things as natural disasters, only situations with disastrous consequences due to lack of social preparedness. This sentiment was a quite common one to encounter during my time working in emergency management. For example, Ilan Kelman states,

The term “natural disaster” is often used to refer to a disaster which involves an event originating in the environment. The term has led to connotations that the disaster is caused by nature or that these disasters are the natural state of affairs. In many belief systems, including Western thought, deities often cause “natural disasters” to punish humanity or

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Substantive Law: Foreign Law

Summaries Sunday: Maritime Law Book

Summaries of selected recent cases are provided each week to Slaw by Maritime Law Book. Every Sunday we present a precis of the latest summaries, a fuller version of which can be found on MLB-Slaw Selected Case Summaries at

This week’s summaries concern:
Armed Forces – Criminal Law – Company Law – Constitutional Law – Copyright :

Armed Forces – Civil Rights – Criminal Law

Wehmeier was a former Canadian Forces member who was employed as a peer educator at a decompression centre operated by the Forces in Germany and

. . . [more]
Posted in: Summaries Sunday