Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for the ‘Legal Information’ Columns

Ceci N’est Pas Un ChatGPT

As I finished teaching my class, Foreign, Comparative and International Legal (FCIL) Research, this past semester, a couple of students asked me about ChatGPT and artificial intelligence (AI). Given the ubiquitous presence of these topics in everyone’s minds, I should have expected these questions. This is clearly what everyone is talking about and my students are no strangers to these conversations. As someone who works on legal research with sources in multiple languages and from a wide range of countries, I identify myself as agnostic when it comes to technology. In the end, I decided to share with my students . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Building the Information We Need (Starting in the Law Library)

If you’d like to skip directly to the Kickstarter campaign, please click here.

When I look at the legal publishing landscape, I see gaps that are not being filled in the existing environment. Some information needs are well addressed; for example, there are excellent platforms to access openly available and commercial case digests, and there are many books on torts. These tools are widely needed and used, so there are clear incentives for commercial and non-profit entities to provide them. In contrast, individual organizations also frequently hire consultants to provide the precise information they need to make decisions . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Publishing

The Chaos of Changing the Bar Examination in the US

The U.S. Bar Exam is a high-stakes gamble for would-be lawyers, and a school’s pass rate is a rather high-stakes marker of a law school’s success in creating lawyers. In the next three or four years, the bar exam will be changing in most U.S. jurisdictions, and this creates a number of opportunities for innovation and opportunities for chaos.

Why is the exam changing? The National Conference of Bar Examiners puts it this way: “Set to debut in July 2026, the NextGen bar exam will test a broad range of foundational lawyering skills, utilizing a focused set of clearly identified . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Practice of Law

Bringing Online Consumer Dispute Information and Resolution to Saskatchewan

The Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority of Saskatchewan (FCAA) recently launched a new legal guided pathway and online dispute resolution platform to resolve consumer disputes. I had the privilege of working with the FCAA Consumer Protection Division team to develop the legal guided pathway portion of the project called Consumer Rights. This includes twelve dispute areas ranging from auctions to vehicle dealers.

The goal of the Consumer Rights pathway is to help consumers and businesses resolve issues in a fast, efficient and fair manner. It is an interactive pathway that takes the user through a series of questions and . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

“Open Access & Legal Scholarship” Revisited: Part II

In “Open Access & Legal Scholarship” Revisited: Part I, Hannah revisited John Bolan’s “exceptions to the exception” of the lack of open access (OA) in law. She considered the success story of CanLII, commercial repositories, increased interdisciplinarity, and the access to justice movement. In part II we would like to consider some of the factors that have contributed positively to the growth of the “exceptions to the exception” but also note the challenges they raise for the future.

Many experts in the field have examined the broader trends in OA. For a comprehensive review on where Canada stands on . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Tips Tuesday: Use Cached Materials on Google

If you want a read a web page but it isn’t loading, you can look at the cached version on Google. Google makes a copy of each web page it indexes so that it can be used as a backup. 

You can access Google’s cached version in one of two ways. 

If you found the page through a Google search, simply click on the three dots next to the search result and then click on the button that says “cached”.

Alternatively, if you have the URL, go to Google and enter the link preceded by cache:, e.g. cache: . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Weather Man or Professor?

I believe that a professor should always be on the lookout for innovative and enticing ways to engage students in class. The more a professor finds inspiring and captivating ways to convey a message or introduce new content, in my experience, the more students interact with the information in class and participate in the discussions.

Basically, this is the philosophy that prompted me to contact our law school’s media department and ask to use their fancy green room for my Foreign, Comparative and International Legal Research class. Despite my initial apprehension, the team gave me full liberty and my . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Getting Started on Writing That Book You’ve Been Thinking About

Over the years I’ve spoken with many people who believe they “have a book in them” or an idea for a book. But to take liberties paraphrasing Stephen Fry’s protagonist in The Hippopotamus: books aren’t made up of ideas, they’re made up of words.

So how do you string those words together at scale?

Firstly, I’d like to encourage you to reconsider. Writing a book is difficult, and it means spending pretty much all your spare time for a year or so working, and the remuneration is almost never good. Almost everyone I’ve spoken with gets more return doing . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information, Legal Publishing

Tips Tuesday: How Do You Cite the Saskatchewan Rules of Court?

This may sound like a very niche question, but it was one where the answer was not immediately obvious. (The short answer, as it turns out, is “Saskatchewan, The Queen’s Bench Rules” or “Saskatchewan, The Court of Appeal Rules”.)

While the McGill Guide explains how to cite rules of court, it does not include the Saskatchewan rules in its examples. McGill suggests including the indexing information, but the Saskatchewan rules are not regulations (unlike the court rules in other jurisdictions.)

According to the extremely helpful Ann Marie Melvie, the librarian at the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan: . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

Designing Data Projects Using Court Records

This submission is part of a column swap with the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) bimonthly member magazine, AALL Spectrum. Published six times a year, AALL Spectrum is designed to further professional development and education within the legal information industry. Slaw and the AALL Spectrum board have agreed to hand-select several columns each year as part of this exchange. 

Lessons from the SCALES OKN Project, Including its Cost, Data, and Development Challenges

With the increasing availability of electronic court records, many law librarians have seen more requests from their patrons to pull data from those records to answer . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information

2023 New Year Update From Washington, D.C.

A New Year Has Begun! And good legal information keeps on coming from the law librarians at the Law Library of Congress. Here are some notes from the latest releases:

January 9th, top 22:

“We are always working to incorporate your feedback into making an even better experience. One major request was one of the biggest items that the team worked on last year: the new API (application programming interface).”

January 12th, Foreign Legal Gazette update:

“In fall 2022, the Law Library of Congress added foreign legal gazettes for the countries of Niger,

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Information

Three Good Sources or Three Good Searches for Legal Research

It is occasionally difficult to convince students of the wonder of research: you never know what you might find! At the same time, students who believe in that wonder sometimes believe that there can be no method at all, as magical research results must only lie at the end of long and tortuous journeys which can never be repeated or described. I believe that there are methods and patterns to research, but I also know that even while following simple principles the path of research often feels twisty. The One Good Case method is one of the simple principles that . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information