Monthly Archives: March 2010


New Titles – March, 2010

By Jennifer Walker

We’ve received a number of new Law Society CLE materials here at the library this month – you’ll find those listed below. In the coming weeks, we’ll be placing some new orders for other secondary source materials, so if there is anything you think we should absolutely add to the collection, let us know!

  • 14th Annual Intellectual Property Law: The Year in Review
  • Commercial Priorities for Real Estate and Business Lawyers
  • Estates Administration for Law Clerks 2010
  • Estate Accounting – Navigating the Complex Issues When Preparing and Reviewing Estate Format Accounts
  • New Lawyer Practice Series: Real Estate Law
  • The Annotated Will 2010
  • The Six-Minute Administrative Lawyer 2010
  • The Six-Minute Criminal Court Judge 2010
  • The Oatley-McLeish Guide to Motor Vehicle Litigation
  • The Six-Minute Commercial Leasing Lawyer 2010
  • Personal Injury Law for Law Clerks: Recent Changes That You Need to Know About
  • Practice Gems: Class Actions – A How-To For People Considering Expanding Their Litigation Practice
  • Practice Gems: Title and Off-Title Searching 2010
  • Proven Strategies to Enhance You WSIB Practice
  • Workplace Violence and Harassment: Advising Clients on Amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (Bill 168)

Finding Case Law

by Katie Tribe

One of the most common requests I receive as a legal reference librarian is for assistance in finding case law. Most individuals approach me after a number of keyword searches in the usual databases retrieve no results, or way too many. While electronic databases are amazing tools for finding case law and other related materials, in many cases a basic keyword search is the last method you should try. Here are a few recommendations for resources you might want to check out before you drive yourself crazy with search terms and their synonyms. As always, your CCLA Library staff is available to help you find and use the following resources. Just get in touch with us!

Case Digests and Quantums

Case digests and quantums organize noteworthy case law by topic, or area of law. They might address a number of topics and arrange them in alphabetical order, or deal with only one specific subject. For example, if you were looking to locate the leading cases on defamation, you might look up the term “defamation” in a set of digests under the letter D, or consult a defamation quantum. Once you’ve located your topic, you’ll find discussion and summaries of the leading cases in that area of law.

The CCLA Library has a number of these products in both print and electronic format. I’ve highlighted a few below:

The Canadian Encyclopedic Digest (CED)

The CCLA Library currently has a full set of the Canadian Encyclopedic Digests available in print, and plans to make an electronic version available on our computers very shortly. This large set of green binders is extremely easy to use, with topics listed in alphabetical order on the spines of each volume. Don’t let the appearance of the binders fool you; they look old because they are well loved, not because they are out of date. The CED is a loose leaf resource and is updated regularly. Find the large set of green binders in the Reference section, which is in the main part of the library, right next to the reading tables.

Quicklaw’s Canada Digest and Topical Quantums

If you click on Quicklaw’s “Court Cases” tab, you’ll notice a number of links on the left hand side of the page. These include the Canada Digest, along with a number of topical quantums, covering topics such as child and spousal support, personal injury, and sentencing, among many others. Clicking any of these links will take you directly to the resource, where you can browse through lists of topics (simply click the + signs to expand the list), or perform a search producing case summaries. One of the great benefits of electronic digests and quantums is that nearly all the case summaries include hyperlinks to the full text of the case.

Print Digests and Quantums

The library has a large number of print quantums and digests covering specific subjects. These materials, which look just like textbooks, are spread throughout the library in their respective subject areas. You’ll find family law quantums with the rest of the family law books, and so forth. The next time you are looking for case law, try browsing the shelf in your subject area. You’ll likely find a print quantum or digest addressing your topic. A reminder that the best place to start in any print resource is your Table of Contents and Index.

Using Legislation

It is extremely helpful to determine what legislation is applicable to the case law you are searching for. Once you know what sections are relevant to you, you can use them to find case law and commentary.

A great way to do this is by locating an annotated version of the legislation. An annotated act, for example, includes helpful commentary after each section, usually offering discussions of leading case law. The CCLA Library has a large amount of annotated legislation available in print. Most of our recent and popular volumes are located in the library’s Reference section, next to the reading tables. A few other volumes are located in our Texts section. Using this method may offer a simple starting point, or provide you with what you need without hours of research.

Electronic databases, such as Quicklaw and Westlaw eCarswell, also have excellent note-up features for legislation. Locate the relevant section and note it up to find cases that considered, referred to, or cited the section. Browse through the cases, or search for keywords within them to see if any are relevant to your issue. Noting up your legislation first is a great way to narrow your electronic search results before you start brainstorming search terms.

Good Old Textbooks

Many people overlook print textbooks and loose leaf materials when searching for case law. Often, the easiest way to find useful cases on a topic is by browsing a chapter in an established reference book. Most texts offer useful case citations and commentary; just follow up on those footnotes and check the fine print.

Use Electronic Databases Effectively

Set aside some time for training on electronic databases; if your current searching abilities are limited to keyword searches, there is plenty of room for growth. Products like Quicklaw and Westlaw eCarswell are extremely powerful and efficient tools when used to their full potential. Attend one of the training sessions in the CCLA Library (I can vouch for the sessions; I still learn something new each time I attend, despite using the product every day), stop by and ask us some questions, or book an appointment with Jen or I to walk you through a database. We’re always happy to help. If your searches are always resulting in 50 cases or more, or you’re not sure how to use any of the tools in the databases, we’re pretty sure we can share something useful with you.

These are just a few resources off the top of my head – I’ll post more as I think of them! As you can see, there are many places to start your search for case law before you resort to the search box. Be sure to contact myself or another library staff member if you’d like further details and information on any of the above resources.


Training Opportunities at the CCLA Library

By Katie Tribe

The CCLA Library is proud and happy to provide a number of extremely useful electronic resources for free to the legal community. We provide free online access to Quicklaw, Criminal Spectrum, DivorceMate, and O’Brien’s Forms and Precedents, to name a few, and are currently working to provide you with a few new electronic goodies in the near future. When we say free, we mean free in every sense of the word; there are no passwords, time clocks, billable hours, or download limits when using these products in the library. We only offer free, unlimited access.

As librarians, we don’t just want to make the products available to you; we also want to teach you how to use them, and to use them effectively. We also know that many firms have these products available in-house, and sometimes just need a refresher that covers searching techniques and new features. To help you out, we are available to instruct you and troubleshoot for you, whether by scheduled appointment or whenever you happen to call or stop by the CCLA Library. We also regularly offer training sessions in the library.

Training sessions are advertised via the CCLA website and listserv, and generally happen in the library over the lunch hour. We try to schedule the sessions in a way that is convenient to the legal community. For example, we offer a fresh set of sessions every fall to coincide with all the fresh articling students entering the scene. The sessions are informal, and you are welcome to bring a coffee or your lunch (yes, that means eating in the library!) and stay for as much or as little as you wish. We are also available afterward to answer questions.

So far, these sessions have provided insight into programs such as Quicklaw and Criminal Spectrum, and we have plans in the works for a number of other specialized sessions in the future. We are currently offering a series on Quicklaw, and there is still room in the remaining sessions if you’d like to register! Registration simply involves sending a quick email to me, Katie Tribe, at ktribe@ccla-abcc.ca. Of course, if you happen to be in the courthouse that day and haven’t registered, we still encourage you to stop by. We always seem to find room for everyone! The remaining sessions (one of which is this Thursday) are as follows:

Thursday, March 4th, 2010 – Legislation
Learn how to use Quicklaw to effectively find statutes, regulations, and related case law.

Thursday, March 25th, 2010 – Secondary Sources
Learn about the commentary, journal articles, forms, and news pieces available on Quicklaw, and how to effectively locate them.

Thursday, May 27th, 2010 – Introduction to Quicklaw
An opportunity for incoming students and experienced lawyers alike to be introduced to or revisit the basics of Quicklaw.


Hope to see you there!


Services at Your CCLA Library

By Katie Tribe

As librarians, Jen and I know that there is often very little awareness about what a library and its staff can do for its patrons. While we cover Library Services elsewhere on our website, I thought I’d go into a little more detail about a few of the things the CCLA Library staff has to offer you.

Collections

Not only does the library staff organize and maintain your library’s resources, but we also budget for and decide what materials are included in the collection. This includes not only traditional books, but also loose leafs, law reports, journals and magazines, and electronic products. As a result, we are always interested in feedback about what kinds of materials you’d like to see in the library. Feel free to contact us any time and share your insights!

Reference Services

As your Reference Librarian, I am the person to ask if you need information, case law, advice on your research strategy, or simply assistance in finding useful materials. Trust me, you won’t be bothering me; technically, your questions are part of my job description! Please feel free to contact me or any other library staff member in person, or via phone, email or fax. If you’d like more info about what to expect, or are not sure about what kinds of questions we can answer, have a quick look at our Reference FAQ page.

Training, Instruction, and Tours

As librarians, we not only want to provide you with resources; we also want you to know how to use them comfortably and effectively. For this reason, we are available to provide training and instruction on how to find and use both our print and electronic resources. Please feel free to make an appointment with us, or get in touch as needed. We also offer lunchtime training sessions in the library on a regular basis, which are announced on the CCLA website and listserv. If you’d like a tour of the library for yourself or a group, please just let us know!

Interlibrary Loans

Librarians are generally very resourceful, and believe strongly in sharing and providing access to information. As a result, there are few legal materials that we can’t get our hands on. If you need materials that aren’t available in the CCLA’s collection, be sure to let us know. Nine times out of ten we are able to get them through interlibrary loan. We can often get an item within a day or two of your request, and the loan is usually free of charge.

These are just a few of the services provided in your CCLA Library. If you’d like to learn more, have a quick look at our Library Services page. Is there a service you’d like to see at the CCLA Library? Feel free to contact us and share your ideas! We are always interested in your feedback.