Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for April, 2016

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 seventy 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. Susan on the Soapbox  2. University of Alberta Faculty of Law Blog 3. Slater Vecchio Connected  4. Double Aspect  5. Law of Work

Susan on the Soapbox
It’s Time for the Soapy Awards!

Ms Soapbox was trolling through Hansard searching for signs of intelligent life under the Dome when . . . [more]

Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Constitutional Amendments for Electoral Reform

On November 11, 1947, Winston Churchill said to the British House of Commons,

Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…

The concept has been attributed to Churchill himself, but it’s clear he was quoting another unknown source. In the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, social scientists have explored with wonder . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Legislation

Summaries Sunday: SOQUIJ

Every week we present the summary of a decision handed down by a Québec court provided to us by SOQUIJ and considered to be of interest to our readers throughout Canada. SOQUIJ is attached to the Québec Department of Justice and collects, analyzes, enriches, and disseminates legal information in Québec.

PROPRIÉTÉ INTELLECTUELLE : Point Zero doit notamment restituer les profits illicites réalisés grâce à la violation de la marque de commerce de Diesel, soit 52 080 $.

Intitulé : Diesel, s.p.a. c. Benisti Import-Export inc., 2016 QCCS 1085
Juridiction : Cour supérieure (C.S.), Montréal, 500-17-060891-101
Décision de : Juge Florence . . . [more]

Posted in: Summaries Sunday

Software as a Service Is a Good?

There has been a revolution in how software is delivered to customers. Traditionally software was licensed in a physical form. The customer traditionally received a copy of the computer program in a tangible form (disk or downloaded) and installed the software on its computer and operated the software in that manner. This also meant that the customer had to obtain and either install updates from time to time directly, or by virtue of automatic updates installed by the software supplier.

The revolution is a change to the business model. The new model has the software supplier maintain the software on . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

The Problem With Experts

Litigation and arbitration are teeming with experts these days.

There are technical experts to explain what happened. Others to say whose fault it was. And another bunch to quantify the damages.

Almost every sizable case has at least one expert on the witness list. Well, never just one. Each side must have their own expert. And, of course, they never agree.

That’s the problem with experts. Recent studies have shown that people have a very hard time understanding what experts say and giving appropriate weight to conflicting expert opinions. Adjudicators are no different from anyone else.

Derek Koehler, a psychology . . . [more]

Posted in: Dispute Resolution

What Do We Do With All This Data?

It is said that we measure what we value and that we value what we measure. If the adage holds true, law firms’ emphasis on measurement of billable hours points ultimately to their focus on making a profit. This is hardly surprising.

Heather Douglas’ post Metrics: Beyond the Billable Hour, suggests that law firms should measure more than just billable hours and could make use of the valuable data gleaned or already in their possession. Those are good ideas that could support the profit motivation, but may require a different approach to measurement and data gathering, relying on research methodologies . . . [more]

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

Panama Papers – Points to Ponder

The Panama papers revelations are worth pondering on many levels. (This Wired article is a good summary.)

My first reaction to the high level tax evasion and corruption allegations was to blanch at the thought that someone had basically given the entire contents of a law firm’s document management system to a third party.

As a lawyer, the fact that law firm files were leaked causes me to wince. After all, solicitor-client privilege is a fundamental tenet of democratic society. Law firms take the security of their files very seriously, and getting access to this information would not be an . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

Metrics: Beyond the Billable Hour

Law firms love measuring the billable hour. The current yardstick for worth. But by focusing only on the billable hour, law firms lose. They lose valuable data.

Think about how much data runs through a law firm:

  1. What do clients request?
  2. When do clients request it?
  3. Why are clients asking for that work? When do they need it done? What motivates the request? Is it tied to a specific time of year?
  4. How satisfied was the client? What feedback did the client provide?
  5. When do clients ask to reduce the bill and by how much?
  6. What type of work was
. . . [more]
Posted in: 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. Economical Mutual Insurance Company v. Caughy, 2016 ONCA 226

[17] Does parking a vehicle constitute the type of aberrant use contemplated by the Supreme Court in Citadel? In my view, it does not. The examples cited by Binnie J. were limited to circumstances in which a vehicle is not being used as a vehicle but for some other purpose. Parking a . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Ending Bullying in the Legal Profession

Lindsay Cameron‘s best-selling novel BIGLAW is billed as “The Devil Wears Prada meets One L, BIGLAW provides an insider’s view of the cut-throat world of big New York law firms.”

Most of the partners in the book are bullies. The book is a good read not so much because the characters and the storylines are outrageous but rather because both are credible and familiar. Cameron, a graduate of UBC’s Faculty of Law, was a corporate associate for six years in large law firms in both Canada and the United States. During that time, she no doubt accumulated a . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

Here’s to Law Professors

I was a law student in the mid-1970s. At that time, the curriculum in common law Canadian law schools reflected a widespread, if not universal, consensus on the content and scope of the core body of legal doctrine that would prepare students for a career in the legal profession. At my law school, in addition to the common first year subjects – torts, property, contracts, criminal law, legal systems and judicial process and legal writing – we were required to take administrative law, evidence, civil procedure, insurance, constitutional law (division of powers, that is – the Charter was not yet . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Education

Are Landlords Entitled to Take Photos for the Purpose of Listing or Sale Without the Consent of the Current Tenant?

A panel of three Ontario Divisional Court Judges have held that residential landlords are not permitted to photograph a property while it is occupied by a tenant unless the lease explicitly permits such photographs to be taken, or the landlord obtains the express consent of the tenant.

The Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board ordered a tenant to be evicted when she refused to allow the landlord access to the property for the purpose of photographing it so that it could be listed for sale. The tenant refused on the basis that her privacy would be invaded if photographs of her . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment