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Archive for October, 2015

Encrypt or Lose

We all want to be the reasonable person. It’s a figment of the legal imagination but it’s a nice middle ground. Lawyers can protect their client confidential and private information using encryption and securing it with a strong password. At what point is a lawyer not longer acting reasonably when they don’t?

How Do I Get Encrypted?

Since the early 2000s, we have had free full disk encryption software (TrueCrypt) and password managers (KeePass). Cost has not been an obstacle, although you might have needed some technical chops to use them. Then Apple and Microsoft put full disk encryption in . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

Happy Back to the Future Day

In the 1989 movie, Back to the Future Part II they time traveled to October 21, 2015. (The move was produced by Neil Canton – no relation as far as I know.)

Articles abound today comparing the 2015 depicted in the movie to today’s world. While we don’t have flying cars, and hoverboards have not proceeded beyond some proof of concept demos, drones and flatscreens and a few other things are here.

Another prediction that didn’t come true is the quip that the justice system works swiftly in the future now that they’ve abolished all lawyers.

Wearable tech was . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology

Minding the Gap

It sometimes seems that efforts to improve access to justice follow the age-old pattern of “One step forward, two steps back.” No sooner is a gap identified than a committee is struck to propose and develop gap-filling solutions, often without regard to the possibility that those solutions may themselves create new gaps.

Legal Aid Manitoba recently announced a significant change to its financial eligibility criteria. The Notice to the Profession, issued earlier this month, sets out the current income guidelines for eligibility and re-introduces a partial user-pay system for those outside the regular guidelines but within expanded financial criteria. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Legislation

Finding a Lawyer in a Law Thick World

“We live in a law thick world. To secure a benefit or avoid a loss in this world, we often find that we must somehow use the law. This is as true for global corporations as it is for ordinary individuals…” Noel Semple in Legal Services Regulations at the Crossroads

“Using the law” often requires people to hire lawyers. But, how do people go about finding a lawyer?

Although the Internet has drastically changed how people buy services, choosing a lawyer still necessitates a significant investment in time and resources. Semple remarks in his book that “both quality and price . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

Big Changes at the Library of Congress

Fall has arrived again and I have migrated back to Washington, DC. I had read that Dr. James Billington, the Librarian of Congress, retired at the end of September and that David Mao, former Law Librarian of Congress, was appointed as Acting Librarian of Congress. Mao shared his vision for the Library of Congress in this online interview.

When I checked back in at the Law Library of Congress, I learned that Roberta Shaffer, former Law Librarian of Congress before David Mao, was back as the Acting Law Librarian of Congress. I know the Library and Law Library . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

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. Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford, 2013 SCC 72

[1] It is not a crime in Canada to sell sex for money. However, it is a crime to keep a bawdy-house, to live on the avails of prostitution or to communicate in public with respect to a proposed act of prostitution. It is argued that these restrictions on prostitution put the safety . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Court Decision Expands Risks to Sellers Who Complete Seller Property Information Statements

The Ontario Superior Court has once again underscored how completing a seller property information statement (SPIS) can be a risky move for vendors.

When it comes to the purchase and sale of real estate the starting point for any analysis is “buyer beware”. For those looking to impress at cocktail parties the specific expression is “caveat emptor, quit ignorare non debuit quod jus alienum emit” which translates into “let the purchaser, who is not to be ignorant of the amount and nature of the interest, exercise proper caution”.

This general rule of buyer beware applies to defects that a . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law

Vivaldi, the Web and the Return of Browser Wars

Eons ago, I wrote one measly post on Slaw (for a 2008 legal tech article, it aged surprisingly well!) and since then have not posted here for seven years, while remaining a regular (but silent) reader.

As the new CanLII CEO, I was offered the chance to end this long hiatus and contribute again to Slaw. I was happy to oblige.


Let’s jump back in time:

At the time of my last contribution to Slaw, I was a very opinionated web user and thought that Internet Explorer 6 was the most evil thing that ever happened… to computers at . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

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.


Team Up to Improve Cash Flow

Garry Wise

Large enterprises typically have entire departments dedicated to maintaining positive cash flow. They employ predictable, set billing cycles, procedures that address accounts receivables, and where appropriate, safeguards to ensure that adequate deposits are on hand to secure pending purchases or services to be delivered. … . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Of Banality, #ELXN42 and John Oliver Baiting Charges Under the Elections Act

It’s late in the evening at this moment, and all reports indicate a Liberal majority will form Canada’s next government. But 24 hours ago there was still plenty of uncertainty and spectacle left in this race.

If you missed the awkward clips of Mulcair coming off as “Paul Giammati’s uncle reading a rhyming dictionary”, of Trudeau’s talent for falling down stairs (on purpose), or of Harper “murdering” a cover of Sweet Caroline and coming of as a body snatcher you can catch last night’s spectacle here. Be warned there is nothing remotely SFW on the other side of that . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

WatsonLaw Next?

Thomson Reuters and IBM announced earlier this month that they will be joining forces to “enhance customer solutions across Thomson Reuters using Watson.” A very interesting, if not a somewhat inevitable, development in 21st century legal research.

In the press release Mike Rhodin, senior Vice President of the IBM Watson Group enthusiastically said:

“Working with Thomson Reuters, and their vast trove of data, is an incredible opportunity to combine Watson’s cognitive capabilities with a global leader in decision making solutions across science, legal, tax, and finance. The result will be accelerated discoveries for the professionals that rely

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

The Stresses & Challenges of Being a Lawyer: When Technology Doesn’t Help

This article is by Ian Hu, claims prevention and practicePRO Counsel at LAWPRO

In addition to all the pressures lawyers face described in the article The Day to Day Stresses & Challenges of Being a Lawyer, technology has increased the pace of practice. While increasing efficiency, the constant flow of new products and applications can create just as much anxiety. The key is to use technology – don’t let it use you.

Here are a few examples of how technology has complicated legal practice, and what you can do to cope: . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading: Recommended