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Archive for November, 2014

Time for a CASL Check Up

Some of the dust kicked up during the stampede to comply with Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) has settled. In October, Ipsos released survey results showing that most Canadians are aware of the legislation and that they are taking advantage of it.

David Canton has published excellent commentary and practical advice regarding the legislation, which came into effect on July 1, 2014. Judging from discussions with clients and colleagues post-implementation, most compliance campaigns helped firms clean up their databases and wrangle administrative procedures. Although, some in-house marketers and administrative staff might still be recovering from the process….

Ipsos conducted the survey . . . [more]

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

Premier Wynne Calls for Review of Sexual Harassment Rules in Ontario

In the wake of the allegations regarding Mr. Ghomeshi, Premier Wynne has called for a review of sexual harassment rules in Ontario. While employees of broadcasters like the CBC generally fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Canada Labour Code (and therefore Premier Wynne has limited power over the CBC), the situation has served as “lightning rod” for discussion – and probably one that is much needed. Before we discuss whether an overhaul is required, what’s the current state of the law? Currently, sexual harassment can be a criminal offence under the Criminal Code, an offence under . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Public Consultations

The law library team at my firm spends a good chunk of time monitoring legislation. It is our role to alert our colleagues, and in some cases our firm clients directly, with information about new legislation and changes to existing legislation. We like to be proactive so we also do our best to chase down “what is coming down the pipe”.

Rumours, innuendo, a couple of very good Alberta political watch newsletters and, increasingly, public consultations.

Public consultations are a way for government to ask before creating complex legislation that might be difficult to implement or enforce without significant voluntary . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Real Estate Agent Loses $120,000 Commission for Not Sending Simple Email or Letter

The Ontario Court of Appeal has overturned a trial decision costing a commercial real estate agent over $100,000 all because the agent failed to send a simple email or letter.

The facts of the case are relatively straight forward.

The vendor signed a listing agreement with Ariston Realty Corp. (“Ariston”). The listing agreement contained a holdover clause which provided that the vendor would pay Ariston a commission of 5% of the sale price in the event that the property was sold within six months after the expiry of the listing agreement to any party to whom Ariston introduced the property . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Only Connect!

I am 100% certain that E.M. Forster wasn’t thinking about legal publishing when he wrote that powerful phrase; on the other hand, it seems apposite given where we are in the development of online legal publishing today.

A couple of months ago I wrote about some of my hopes and dreams for the future of legal publishing. Legal infographics, the semantic web, open data—these are exciting times for legal publishers (I’m afraid I don’t agree with Robert McKay on this point).

I loved Susannah Tredwell’s column about skeuomorphism and how the format of the print book informs so much . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

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.

A Tip for Quickly Switching Between Relative and Absolute Cell References in Microsoft Excel
Dan Pinnington

When you create a cell reference in an Excel formula that refers to another cell, that cell reference can be relative (the default) or absolute. A relative cell reference adjusts to its new location when the formula is copied or moved. An absolute cell reference does not change when the formula is moved…. . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Of #AltLegal and the Skeleton Key to Other Professions

What lawyer doesn’t daydream about throwing in the towel and leaving practice—at least once in a while? Even if just infrequently like during a trust audit. Or maybe frequently but only during select rituals, like contemplating a depleted retainer, or feeling that file go off-the-rails while pondering what it could be like to have your salary taken care of without all that suspense.

Ruminating about less beaten career paths is perfectly lawyerly. The CBA even publishes a list of career alternatives for lawyers, or writes up profiles of people who have pursued different legal paths from time to time. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Legal Information: Libraries & Research

Public Policy Trumps State Immunity

On 30 October 2014 the UK Court of Appeal released a decision that is likely to send a frisson of fear down the spine of governments everywhere.

The Court allowed the appellants Abdul Hakim Belhaj and his wife Fatima Boudchar to sue the British Secret Intelligence Service and the Minister responsible for it at the material time, for a declaration of illegality and for damages.

The claim alleges that the respondents participated in the unlawful abduction, detention and rendition of Mr Belhaj and Ms Boudchar to Libya, where they were imprisoned and tortured.

No determination has yet been made on . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Does Your Firm Have a Social Media Policy?

So your firm has one or more social media accounts they use to deliver its message. But do you have a social media policy for your employees to use? In this day and age, many of your employees have personal (Facebook) and professional (LinkedIn) accounts that may be effectively associated with the firm, based on the employee’s sharing of information. It’s best to have a general guideline to help the lawyers and staff at your firm know the risks and to guide them through how their online activity may affect their professional lives.

A few points to consider when creating . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Machine Learning: Using Technology to Enhance the Practice of Law (Part 2)

Last week I looked at Harry Surden’s paper on the application of “machine learning” techniques to the practice of law and the recent talk he gave at a Codex Speaker Series in Stanford. After introducing the concept of “machine learning,” Surden notes that although artificial intelligence is still unable to stand in for complex human thought processes we can still get “intelligent results without intelligence.” He also points out that, the goal here is not to replace attorneys with machines. Instead these algorithms “act as a compliment” which can help to make litigation processes and attorneys themselves more efficient. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Robot Law II: Drones

The first technology column I wrote for Slaw was called Robot Law. In those days, the main uses of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) – aka drones – were military, either for reconnaissance or for attack. Since then, civilian uses have expanded, and the technology has evolved to serve them. Individuals can readily buy drones the size of insects or the size of a microwave oven or larger. Commercial versions can be the size of small aircraft.

Among the many peaceful uses of drones are surveying, especially of hard-to-access or remote lands and installations like . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Monday’s Mix

Each Monday we present brief excerpts of recent posts from five of Canada’s award­-winning legal blogs chosen at random* from sixty recent Clawbie winners. In this way we hope to promote their work, with their permission, to as wide an audience as possible.

This week the randomly selected blogs are 1. SOQUIJ  2. FamilyLLB 3. Canadian Privacy Law Blog  4. Double Aspect  5. FP Legal Post

La protection de l’image d’une personne est associée au respect du droit à sa vie privée

Il y aura violation au droit à l’image, en tant que composante du droit au respect de . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix