Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for January, 2015

New Blog for Legal Education Micro-Charity CLEW

You may remember a guest column posted a few months ago here on Slaw written by John Claydon, titled Canadian lawyers making a difference in Cambodia.

In it, John describes how a five-lawyer Toronto firm, Bennett Gastle, established Cambodian Legal Education for Women (CLEW), a charity that gives full four-year scholarships to young women from rural areas who would otherwise be unable to obtain a university education.

These young women graduate with LLBs from Cambodia’s leading law school, and though most of them will not be able to join the exclusive and expensive Bar, the grads (several dozen . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Can Better Data Security Be Encouraged by Civil Liability?

Some people – notably information security expert Bruce Schneier – believe that if IT suppliers, notably software providers, were civilly liable for the harm caused by buggy products, they would have an incentive to be more careful. The market currently encourages the industry to put products on sale as early as possible, and with the most hype possible, whether testing has been adequate or security threats thoroughly checked.

Here is an overview of Schneier’s position. A classic statement of the issues with software is here.

Would they be more careful – and would we then all be better . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation, ulc_ecomm_list

Breastfeeding Need Not Be Accommodated by Telework

In Flatt v. Treasury Board (Department of Industry), the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board has rejected a public servant’s complaint that Industry Canada discriminated against her on the basis of family status when it refused to let her work from home full-time while breastfeeding.
Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Thursday Thinkpiece: Abbott on “Sponsoring Women”

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.

Sponsoring Women: What Men Need to Know

Ida O. Abbott

Excerpt: Chapter 3, “Sponsorship is More than Mentorship”. Excerpted with permission from Attorney at Work. $35 ($24 digital edition).

The practice of mentorship is well known and well established in today’s workplace. A mentor is someone who helps a more junior . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

After the Gates Foundation Open Access Policy

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has demonstrated the power of philanthropy to reshape the world. Among the many instances, an earlier one touching my own area of work, which involves research on public access to research and scholarship, has been the PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, which “is the first open-access journal devoted to the world’s most neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) …affecting the world’s forgotten people,” as the journal describes itself. The launch of the journal was funded by the Gates Foundation. The pointedness of its stance matters. The Foundation enabled a new and open journal that changes the . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Windows 10 Revealed

Microsoft gave details today about the Microsoft 10 OS. (Yes, they are skipping 9). For those still on Win 7 because you were not thrilled by the Win 8 interface, you will likely go direct to Win 10, as it attempts to address the interface issues that people did not like. (If you are still using Win XP – you are in dangerous territory, and should probably disconnect from the internet given that it is not being updated.) Win 8 works really well on a tablet (the surface pro 3, for example), but the touch design interface did not translate . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Times New Roman, Coffee and Ditching Reason

One of my favourite things about being a lawyer is that legal work provides unending opportunities for problem solving.

As a youngster, I loved math best when we were focused on the solving word problems, and when algebra was introduced, I couldn’t get enough of it. Fast-forwarding to today…my legal practice consists primarily of hiring myself out to identify and analyze problems and propose a range of solutions.

I still love problem solving. That’s why two recent blog posts from SeyfarthLean Consulting CEO, Ken Grady caught my eye, both on this subject.

In The Arts of Coffee and Law, . . . [more]

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

Wednesday: What’s Hot on CanLII

Each Wednesday we tell you which three English-language cases and which French-language case have been the most viewed* on CanLII and we give you a small sense of what the cases are about.

For this last week:

1. Leggat v. Jennings, 2015 ONSC 237

[30] In view of the almost absolute nature of the privilege, competing interests are much less relevant, and indeed, as stated by Major J. in McClure, a balancing of interests is not appropriate. Solicitor-client privilege will almost invariably prevail over other interests. It is with that focus that I will analyze the issue before me, . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Browse in the Clear

The Web browser has become a fundamental law practice tool. It’s what you use to get to Google’s web search, and perhaps your Web-based e-mail system, or your cloud-based practice management tool. As you travel across the Internet, you leave a trail behind you. Sometimes that’s on purpose but if you aren’t aware, you may find that the linkages marketers are making with that trail will surprise you. Use Web browser extensions to show, and block, this trail. Extensions can help you to browse and do online research with less clutter.

In Cognito Isn’t In Visible

The first thing to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Trusting the System

By now, you have probably read that the Alberta Courts public facing judgments database is no longer an active search page, and instead redirects seekers to CanLII.

Bill Clinton is attributed with saying “The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change.” Jack Welch advised, “Change before you have to.” Some other very clever person came up with, “People do not resist change. They resist being changed.”

My opinion on people resisting being changed is that there is far less resistance when there is trust. Trust that the change is not a change . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

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.


Understanding Excel Error Messages
Dan Pinnington

Anyone who has spent a lot of time using Excel will occasionally make and error when entering data or a formula. Thankfully, Excel is programmed to tell you that you made a mistake, and it will even give you an error message that will suggest what the problem is. These are the error messages that Excel will give you, and an explanation of . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

The Enduring Value of the Mediation Skillset

During Conflict Resolution Week in October, Mediate BC Roster mediators made a number of presentations around the province about mediation. We tried to answer the public’s question: “What is Mediation?” That seems like a simple task – it is not.

First, “mediation” is not just one thing. It is a flexible tool that includes a variety of processes. Some practitioners have tried to catalogue the processes and to assign names (interest-based, facilitative, transformative, narrative, evaluative, rights-based, joint, shuttle, etc.). From the perspective of the people in conflict, each of these processes will look very different and the role of the . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution