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Archive for November, 2017

Working the Law Against Its Intent: Policing Access to Research

The current series of legal kerfuffles in scholarly publishing involves property and access rights in an industry that is, for all intents and purposes, moving toward universal open access. Let’s begin with recent moves by Elsevier, the largest of scholarly publishing corporations with over 2,000 journals, and the American Chemical Society, among the richest of the non-profit societies. These two entities have recently been awarded damages of $15 million (June 2017) and $4.8 million (September 2017) respectively by the U.S. courts, in light of Sci-Hub database, (which I have addressed earlier) providing free access to the better part of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

British Columbia Law Institute Blog Series on Financing Litigation

The British Columbia Law Institute (BCLI) recently published a Study Paper on Financing Litigation that looks at six financing models that have emerged both in Canada and internationally that can help litigants pay for litigation:

  • Unbundled legal services
  • Third-party litigation funding
  • Alternative fee arrangements
  • Crowdfunding
  • Legal expense insurance
  • Publicly funded litigation funds

The Institute has started a 6-part blog series on the topic. Each blog post will showcase one of the financing models.

Two posts have appeared so far.

The first post is on Unbundled Legal Services. The second is on Third-Party Litigation Funding.

It is all part . . . [more]

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

Ontario’s Cannabis Legislation Tabled in Legislature

On November 1, 2017, the Ontario government tabled Bill 174, Cannabis, Smoke-Free Ontario and Road Safety Statute Law Amendment Act, 2017, which would, if enacted, create the Cannabis Act, 2017 to provide the provincial framework for the upcoming federal Bill C-45, Cannabis Act that will legalize cannabis in Canada in July 1, 2018. . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Inventive Concept and Obviousness

One of the most difficult concepts to define in patent law is the inventiveness or obviousness of an invention. To be valid, a patent must have claims directed to an invention that is non-obvious – i.e. is inventive.

Determining whether an invention obvious, at what point in time, to whom, and with what level of effort, all raise complicated evidentiary and legal issues that often have to be analyzed as part of patentability and validity opinions or at trial.

In 2008, the Supreme Court directly addressed the obviousness analysis by describing a four part analysis (Apotex Inc. v. Sanofi-Synthelabo . . . [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. Ktunaxa Nation v. British Columbia (Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations), 2017 SCC 54

[1] The issue in this case is whether the British Columbia Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (“Minister”) erred in approving a ski resort development, despite claims by the Ktunaxa that the development would breach their constitutional right to freedom of religion and to protection . . . [more]

Posted in: Wednesday: What's Hot on CanLII

Implementing a Client-Centric Strategy

My colleague Shari Robinson and I met for coffee recently and, inevitably, we spent some time talking shop about client and business development efforts in law firms. Shari always brings a pragmatic and enthusiastic perspective to the discussion, drawing upon her sales background and time at one of the Big Four accounting firms. We got to talking about the importance of having a client-centric strategy, what that really means and what kind of resources are required to successfully execute.

We know through our experience that there is value in having a rigorous and standardized approach supporting a firm’s client relationships, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing

Who Dunnit? Artificial Intelligence and Unauthorized Practice

OK, I’m going to talk about AI and unauthorized practice in just a second, but first…

Who can resist those stories with the teen genius? The wunderkind trope. That Dutch teen with the Boomy McBoomface contraption setting out to heal our polluted oceans. That Mark Zuckerberg fella circa 2004, with the other face thingy.

Who is not in awe of an uncalloused mind lit by bedazzling precociousness and disarmingly naive ambition?

Take Joshua Browder, for instance. He’s surely that kid—our teen wonder—for legal automation. He taught himself to code at age 12 and first came to glory two years . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology: Internet

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, writing, and practice.


Avoid Communication Pitfalls With This One Simple Practice
Allison Wolf

Nothing causes trouble in legal practice quite like communication failures. Communication is one of the most common sources of malpractice claims. Honing proactive and effective communication skills has significant positive implications for everything from delegation, to the quality of your work, and the health of your personal and professional relationships. …

Research & Writing

Susannah Tredwell

Searches . . . [more]

Posted in: Tips Tuesday

Cost Disease, the Practice of Law and Access to Justice

How is it that we are such a wealthy society yet services that were once available are no longer available (at least at affordable prices)? Many people, but certainly not all, had help in their homes and farms, even full-time help. Doctors used to make house calls. When I was a child, the milkman[1] made deliveries each day. There used to be people who actually answered telephones in businesses.

What we call the “access to justice” problem seems to be similar in nature. We know that the number of self-represented litigants has dramatically increased over the last four decades. . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Ethics

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 more than 80 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. Legal Sourcery 2. Administrative Law Matters 3. NSRLP 4. Slater Vecchio Connected  5. Labour Pains

Legal Sourcery
Updated Child Support Guidelines Tables

The federal government has recently updated the Child Support Guidelines Tables. The new Tables are available at: The amendments were published in Part II

. . . [more]
Posted in: Monday’s Mix

Weak Data Security Will Erode Our Privacy and Our Liberties

I’ve been thinking a lot about cybersecurity recently. But when news of the Equifax data breach surfaced recently, I was more alarmed than usual. Although Equifax is the latest of a long line of data breaches where personal information has been stolen, this one was different.

There was the usual furor, of course, (US Senate hearings, questions in the House, newspaper headlines raging, stock tanking, etc.) when the fact of that massive data breach occurred was finally disclosed (a full five months after the breach occurred). More details on the scale of the breach have trickled out since then. But . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information