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Archive for December, 2015

The Friday Fillip: The Surface of Things

There’s a kind of pleasure you can get from contemplating an unopened parcel. I think of it as the “brown paper packages tied up with strings” phenomenon. Of course part of the delight is in the anticipation of what might lie within, the knowledge of (and control over?) a coming discovery or surprise, as though you’d called a time-out after the set-up and before the punch line of a joke in the way the best comics can work their timing.

There’s enjoyment, too, in attending to the wrapping itself, I find. That’s easy when the wrapping is artful in some . . . [more]

Posted in: The Friday Fillip

Lincoln on the Practice of Law

“Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser: in fees, and expenses, and waste of time. As peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.”

Abraham Lincoln
Notes on the Practice of Law
The Library of America, Lincoln: Speeches and Writings, 1832-1858

John-Paul Boyd is the executive director of the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family. The Institute is a federally-incorporated charity established in 1987 and is affiliated with the University of . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Attn. Fossil Fuel Companies – the Risk of Climate Lawsuits Is Getting Harder to Ignore

In a recent speech to the world’s insurance companies, Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England (and formerly of the Bank of Canada), warned of the risks of lawsuits “by parties who have suffered loss or damage from the effects of climate change [who] seek compensation from those they hold responsible.”

While not presenting such lawsuits as a sure thing, Mr. Carney alluded to multi-billion dollar lawsuits against the Asbestos industry and said that the risks of such litigation “will only increase as the science and evidence of climate change hardens.”

West Coast Environmental Law made a . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

Manitoba Proposes Domestic Violence Leave

Governments have been steadily increasing statutory leaves of absence entitlements to help employees deal with various personal issues without fear of losing their jobs. The Manitoba government is raising the bar by introducing groundbreaking proposed changes to the Employment Standards Code that would give victims of domestic violence the right to time off work without fear of job loss, give employees a new leave for long-term illness and injury, and extend the length of leave for compassionate care. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Thursday Thinkpiece: Romig on Legal Blogging and the Rhetorical Genre of Public Legal Writing

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.

Legal Blogging and the Rhetorical Genre of Public Legal Writing

Jennifer Murphy Romig, Instructor of Legal Writing, Research and Advocacy, Emory University School of Law
Legal Communication & Rhetoric: JALWD, Vol. 12, 2015

Excerpt: Introduction, Section II, and Appendices


Now is the time to bring scholarly attention to a new genre . . . [more]

Posted in: Thursday Thinkpiece

Connecting With Employees

Most often when an employer wants to connect with staff to find out how the firm is doing or where they can make improvements, they will create a survey that allows people to answer anonymously. Employee engagement programs and the surveys that go with them are usually led by the human resource department and (hopefully) an external, impartial 3rd party. This makes sense but what can be lacking from these programs is an understanding of how to get the greatest participation through messaging and a marketing process. This is a bit off topic from the usual marketing and business . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

From the King’s Court to Online Dispute Resolution

On such an afternoon some score of members of the High Court of Chancery bar ought to be … engaged in one of the ten thousand stages of an endless cause, tripping one another up on slippery precedents, groping knee-deep in technicalities, running their goat-hair and horse-hair warded heads against walls of words and making a pretence of equity with serious faces, as players might…between the registrar’s red table and the silk gowns, with bills, cross-bills, answers, rejoinders, injunctions, affidavits, issues, references to masters, masters’ reports, mountains of costly nonsense, piled before them… This is the Court of Chancery, which

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

Bypassing a Subscription Paywall Violates Technological Protection Measure Provisions in Copyright Act, Negates Fair Dealing Defence

An Ontario court recently ruled in 395804 Ontario Limited c.o.b. as Blacklock’s Reporter v. Canadian Vintners Association and Dan Paszkowski that circumventing a subscription paywall to access a news article violates the technological protection measure (TPM) provisions in Canada’s Copyright Act, and negates the fair dealing defence to copyright infringement available under Canadian law.

The plaintiff, Blacklock, published a subscription-based newsletter which used a paywall to restrict access to paying subscribers. The defendants (collectively the “CVA”), sought a copy of an article from the plaintiff’s website. The CVA obtained a copy of the article by obtaining another subscriber’s assistance, . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

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. Karmel v Calgary Jewish Academy, 2015 ABQB 731

[82] There is little point in setting out the rest of the correspondence. By the end of 2012, as I have emphasized, the die was cast. By the time the special meeting of the Board was called in February 2013, it was obvious that the PEC would recommend Mr. Karmel’s removal. Since Mr. . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

The Clawbies Turn 10

The 10th annual Canadian Law Blog Awards is now officially open for business! It’s hard to believe that ten years has passed since I first scribbled down a list of my favourite law blogs (probably on the back of a Christmas napkin) and then wrote up a post explaining what those blogs meant to me.

The spirit of the Clawbies hasn’t changed much over the past decade. We still tell bloggers not to nominate their own blog, and instead, to write a nomination post identifying three or more other blogs that made an impact on their professional lives. That . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet

Law Firms [Slowly] in Transition

Altman Weil recently released its annual review of law firms and the challenges they face, entitled Law Firms in Transition. There have already been a number of thoughtful comments about it, including the following:

  • Stop the AI madness, by Ryan McClead at 3 Geeks
  • GCs Now Do Less Law, by Ron Friedmann at Prism Legal
  • 9 Takeaways from the Altman Weil Law Firms in Transition Study, on the Business of Law Blog
  • Law firms in transition: Keeping up with the times, by Kim Covert at the CBA PracticeLink

The report summarizes responses from law-firm lawyers . . . [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 research and writing, practice, and technology.

Research & Writing

Gruesome Twosomes
Neil Guthrie

What do I mean by this? Pairs of words that lawyers routinely use together, but would be better not to. These pairs may once (in the late Middle Ages?) have had distinct meanings but now really don’t. And even in the Middle Ages they may not have: many of these ‘coupled synonyms’ (in Richard Wydick‘s phrase) join an English word with . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday