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Archive for December, 2015

The Book Is Not Dead (Reprise)

It gladdens my heart to write this note. News reports – the general, ordinary, public news that has no vested interest in books or libraries or any of the things that are the bread and butter of those of us who are embedded in the biblio world – continue to report on the flattening or decline of the e-book market. The latest item I saw was in Connexion which reported the phenomenon is not limited to the Anglo world – France (with 6% e-book sales) and Germany (5.6%) also report a similar trend, though from a much lower base. In . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Preservation of and Access to Historical Case Law: Who Cares?

The news making waves in law libraries lately has been the announcement of Harvard Law School Library’s “Free the Law” initiative (also reported in the The New York Times). By digitizing their comprehensive collections of printed law reports, Harvard will make publicly available free, open and wide-ranging access to American case law for the first time. The Harvard Law School Library is to be lauded for this initiative, another in a series of projects from their Library Innovation Lab, including The Nuremberg Project to digitize their collections of source materials on the Nuremberg Trials; the H2O project to . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Are You Under Law’s Spell?

Law is like love. “It is the morning and the evening star” (Sinclair Lewis). It is all consuming.

From the moment law school begins, you are hooked. No problem viewed the same way as before. Heightened by the herd mentality, you are under its spell. Obsessed. Devoted. Enslaved. Sometimes to the detriment of your health and relationships, as explained excellently in Kate Managuan’s article: How to Recognize and Prevent Lawyer Burnout.

In order to prevent burnout and to serve the goal of justice, you must turn away from the law’s all-consuming spell and step towards extra-curricular activities.

Involve yourself

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

The Case for Reddit

I started using Twitter in March 2007. That definitely makes me an early adopter of that platform. That was before the first iPhone was launched (in June 2007), before Twitter had a native mobile app and before it even have a native search feature, these last two developments coming through acquisitions (see here and here). One of my first uses of Twitter was to (privately) log food I ate through a service called “Tweet What You Eat”, the first food diary you could actually use on mobile, in my case a Blackberry Electron. I’m such a long time user . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Technology

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. Couture v TSCC No. 2187, 2015 ONSC 7596

[1] In condominium living, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. However, the power of the collective is not absolute. Power must be exercised within the bounds of the condominium’s established jurisdiction and with due respect to the legal rights and reasonable expectations of the few or the one. . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Of Family Law Flowcharts and Guided Pathways

It’s the hap-happiest season of all.

And for some—family law practitioners in particular—the crackling warmth of hearth and home will be interrupted by the rustling sound of short leave applications, affidavits of unspeakable length and one or two clients’ Ghosts of Marriages Past. I have heard of counsel that dislike dealing with last minute Christmas custody conflicts so vigorously that they write office closure hours for the month of December directly into the retainer agreement. This is all said by way of making the point that family law and mid-December have a long history together. We should be reminded on . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Technology: Internet

A Fitbit for Your Website

Lo and behold, it’s that time of year again when we will soon be exhorted to compile our recurring yin/yang list of a) all the things we’ll stop doing in the year ahead (eat too much, drink too much, work too much, buy too much) and b) all the things we’ll do oodles more of (eat healthy food, exercise like a triathalete, spend time with loved ones, get outside, save money, read fiction, be grateful, write more, make stuff, etc.) You get the idea.

For most of us, I am sad to report that positive change will likely not come . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

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 research and writing, practice, and technology.

Research & Writing
Avoid the Adverb
Neil Guthrie

The novelist Graham Greene – a master of lean, mean prose – called adverbs ‘beastly’. (In spite of the -ly ending, that’s an adjective.) Think of the adverb ‘quite’, which is either ambiguous or weak: ‘quite good’ can mean ‘better than expected’, ‘something a bit less than good’, ‘actually good’, ‘very good’. In any case, it lacks oomph. … . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Let 2016 Be a Year of a Compassion for Employees in Canada

Compassionate care benefits are available to employees who have to take time away from work to care for a sick family member who has a significant risk of death. Changes to the availability of compassionate care benefits under the Employment Insurance Act are set to come into force in the New Year. The changes, which were introduced as part of the 2015 Budget, will increase the maximum amount of compassionate care benefits from six weeks to twenty-six weeks. The changes come into force on January 3, 2016.

Compassionate care benefits complement compassionate care leave, which is provided for in provincial . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation and Annotation

Law has a lot to do with the analysis and exegesis of texts. It’s usually helpful to learn what someone else has thought about a particular passage in a statute or judgment, and especially valuable to encounter a discussion among commentators. CanLII Connects takes us much of the way there, though it seems as though there’s little back and forth via the comments function. It may be that a newcomer to the commenting field will prove to be useful. is an annotating facility. Run by a not-for-profit organization aimed at democratizing discussion, it allows anyone to annotate any web . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

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. À bon droit  2. Thoughtful Legal Management 3. Youth and Work  4. Combat Sports Law  5. FamilyLLB

À bon droit
Le plaidoyer de culpabilité dans une instance criminelle constitue un aveu extrajudiciaire dans une instance civile

Nous avons déjà traité de l’impact d’un plaidoyer de culpabilité criminel dans le . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Law School Curriculum Reform

Professor Rod Macdonald had grand ideas about many things, ideas that were insightful, brilliant, quirky, courageous and original. Among these were his ideas about law school curricular reform. In Professor Macdonald’s view, “curricular reform is a continuing enterprise” and “thoughtful curricular debate is a law school’s primary heuristic device”. These are optimistic views about the importance and the promise of constructive curricular reform. But Professor Macdonald also observed, more pessimistically, that “since most curricular changes are implemented or retracted in the general spirit of tinkering, it is not surprising that the integration of new themes into existing programs has been . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education