News


CALL / ACBD 2018 Preview

Brenda and I are heading off to the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) conference in Halifax this weekend, and as always, are very much looking forward to it. The theme this year is “Build Bridges / Broaden Our Reach,” a sentiment that resonates with our library and our drive to do more and work with more people. The CALL conference is an excellent opportunity for us to meet and learn from our colleagues across the country, and this year, we’ll both be contributing to the programming! Here are some of the upcoming topics:

Knowledge is Power: The Role of Law Librarians in the Future Legal Market 

Law is becoming a buyer’s market. Armed with unprecedented access to industry data, clients are ready to forge a new relationship with law firms, which themselves are facing competition from alternative legal services providers while coping with shrinking retainers and internal succession crises. In this time of upheaval, many old assumptions are falling away, and new approaches to the business of law are emerging.

In the coming years, law firms will generate revenue from a diverse range of sources — including technology-driven products and the contributions of skilled “non-lawyers” — rather than from the billable efforts of lawyers alone. The critical elements in these new offerings will be knowledge, data and information — and that will make law librarians and legal knowledge managers some of the most important people in the legal world.

Jordan Furlong, a leading legal market analyst and industry consultant, will explain the forces that have brought about such widespread change in the law, describe the key features of both tomorrow’s clients and tomorrow’s law firms, and share his insights and forecasts about the role that law librarians and legal knowledge managers will play in the law firms of the future.

Competitive Intelligence & Government Docs: Find, Use & Create Actionable Intelligence

Locating and analyzing government information can be a daunting and convoluted task, however honing these skills can give you an edge in conducting competitive intelligence (CI) and business research for lawyers and their clients. Among other things, government information can be used to:

  • Keep lawyers and clients abreast of regulatory and legislative changes,
  • Gather intel on clients and client competitors, and
  • Provide data for benchmarking and forecasting.

This hands-on session will present a few case studies- employing analytical CI frameworks and government information to create actionable intelligence. A variety of government information including regulatory changes, access to information requests, parliamentary, and ministerial/departmental information will be covered. Attendees will leave this session with an understanding of basic CI frameworks, how to locate a variety of government information, and how to combine these to create actionable intelligence.

The Crown, The Copyright, and The Law

November 7, 2017 marked five years since the 2012 Copyright Modernization Act was implemented, a point by which a review of the Act is mandated. Surrounding months have seen wide discussion of Canada’s copyright regime. Librarian Amanda Wakaruk launched ePetition E-1116, a laudable attempt to assure availability of government publications. Digging deeper, there is a plausible argument that with respect to primary law of Canada – legislation and case law – Crown copyright, or indeed copyright protection generally, has never subsisted, nor should it.

This session will pursue an analysis of Canadian copyright legislation, judicial interpretation, theory, and comparative law including Indigenous law, to elucidate the contention that primary law is a copyright-free zone in this country and should be formally recognized as such. The session will also explore the possibilities and implications that might arise from such recognition, particularly for wide publication of open primary law and creative opportunities.

As I mentioned above, Brenda and I will also be presenting this year. Brenda will be leading a session on the super useful website Canva, which allows you to make really nice graphics without being a designer, while I’ll be giving a lightning talk on our Will Check program. It’s going to be a busy, but undoubtedly excellent, conference!


#GetLoud: CMHA Mental Health Week 2018

This week (May 7 to 13 2018) is the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Mental Health Week. As we did last year, we’d like to again take a brief pause in our regular Robeside Assistance programming to remind our readers of the mental health supports that are available to members of the legal community.

The Member Assistance Program, provided through Homewood Health, is a confidential health service that is funded by, and runs entirely independently of, the Law Society of Ontario. A variety of counselling options are available through their service (online, telephone, and in-person), to address all manner of mental health care issues (such as stress, anxiety, anger, depression, and much more). This is available to all lawyers, paralegals, law students, and judges in Ontario, as well as their partners and children.

To find out more, check out www.myassistplan.com, or call 1-855-403-8922.

 


Global Legal Hackathon Ottawa: Feb 23-25, 2018

 

We’re quite excited that there’s an Ottawa meetup for the Global Legal Hackathon, coming up on February 23-25, 2018!

For those not familiar with the concept of a hackathon, quite simply it’s a meetup that looks to brainstorm and implement technical solutions to solve a problem or address a need. Programmers, lawyers, business leaders and more are set to come together, form teams, and create solutions which they will then present to a panel of judges.

The hackathon is free to participate, and is looking for legal community members with all types of skills to join in! If you have an interest in legal tech and the future of technology in law, this is definitely not to be missed!

You can find out more information and register for the hackathon on their website, as well as following the hashtags #GLH2018 #glhOttawa on Twitter.

Here is a more detailed FAQ, for those inclined to know more:

What is it?
The Global Legal Hackathon is a chance for thousands of people in 40 cities around the world to combine ideas and technology to build concepts and solutions that address business and practice of law challenges and access to justice opportunities. This 3 minute video tells the story: https://youtu.be/QOly-S2x8NA

In Ottawa, collaborators from Invest Ottawa, Compass / vLex Canada, UOttawa faculty of law and its Programme de Pratique du Droit, and many others, with the generous support of IBM and the CCLA, will converge on Bayview Yards for a weekend of collaboration, hacking, creation and education. Visit the Ottawa event site for full details.

Specifically, multi-disciplinary teams come together to collaborate, build and launch mobile, web apps or any other innovations aimed at solving a particular problem. People can come individually or as a team, with an existing idea to pitch, or to listen and join one of the teams that will be formed at the start of the event.  The goal is to come up with a prototype or proposal at the end of the hackathon to present in front of a panel of esteemed judges that includes UOttawa Law Dean Adam Dodek, Invest Ottawa CEO Michael Tremblay, and National Chair of the CBA Futures Committee Martine Boucher. With adequate sponsorship, we also hope to create a number of other local competition categories.

Throughout the week-end, teams will be assisted by mentors, be entertained and educated by many guest speakers  addressing such topics as privacy issues for legal apps, the Internet of Things, blockchain, legal market changes, AI and Machine Learning, among other things. We are also expecting a very special guest to speak about the Ontario Minister of Attorney General’s efforts to introduce technology innovations to improve access to justice.

The winner for Ottawa will go through to a global competition, culminating with a global winner announced at a banquet in New York on April 21. But in the long term, we all win as the Ottawa law and tech communities come together and find new ways of supporting each other!
Our objective is to bring 150 people together, with up to a further 100 participating remotely or attending different parts of the event as observers. We are making great progress toward those targets.
When is it?
February 23rd at 5pm through to February 25th at 9pm. Full schedule details are updated daily on the Ottawa site.
Who else is involved?
Globally, city hosts include major legal publishers like Thomson Reuters and Wolters Kluwer, major tech companies like Microsoft and American Express, major law firms like Orrick and Baker Hostetler, and major law schools like USC and the Singapore Academy of Law. More city sponsors as being announced every day, and it reads like a who’s who of forward-thinking legal tech companies and institutions.

We are anticipating very good participation from the law school, and are pleased to see strong interest brewing in the Department of Justice and other areas of the government and of the courts, but we have an especially strong desire to engage the tech talent being developed in Ottawa’s colleges and universities. The world is watching and this is great place for those with technology, design, and programming skills to shine. With the legal community coming around to understanding its need to collaborate with these professionals, this event will prove a great opportunity for that collaboration to begin.

What about the technology aspects?
Any and all technologies are permitted and can be expected to be used in this event. In addition, some organizations will be making available technology and content to help turbo-charge participant efforts. Details of sponsored technologies will be posted on the global site shortly. As set out in this blog post from the global organizers  vLex (in partnership with Compass / vLex Canada) will be making its Iceberg AI platform available to 100 teams around the world. The platform enables access to the vLex case citator as well as to Machine Learning capabilities such as automated legal topic classification, entity and key phrase extraction, and “semantic comparison” functionality trained on legal information but applicable to any document type. In addition, teams will have the option of having their version of Iceberg pre-loaded with either 33,000 Canadian Federal Court decisions or 30,000+ decisions of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. Iceberg will be have at least one IBM Watson capability directly integrated (a natural language understanding module that extracts names, topics and key phrases from any document type), and IBM will shortly be announcing the details of other Watson capabilities that will be available for teams to use.

As to what teams may build — who knows! The results will be influence by the depth and breadth of law and tech community participation as well as the quality of guidance teams receive from volunteer mentors.

Great!! How do I get involved?
To sign up as a participant or attendee, access the sign-up forms through lawtech613.com
To volunteer as a mentor (which essentially amounts to sitting at a table for an hour or two as teams come up to share what they are doing and seek your guidance on elements that could make the idea useful in the real world), please contact Colin Lachance at colin@compass.law or 613-316-3290
To participate as a sponsor or to offer up an expert speaker for the Saturday education sessions, please contact Colin Lachance at colin@compass.law or 613-316-3290.
Sponsorship packages will go to support food, tables, room rental and other aspects. The associated rights, privileges and recognitions will be tailored to the firm, and the packages will range from $1,000 to $3,000.
Yes, as you might have guessed, to step up and support your community as a sponsor, please contact Colin Lachance at colin@compass.law or 613-316-3290.
What do I get as Platinum Presenting Sponsor?
For $5,000, the Platinum Presenting Sponsor will receive:
  • premiere recognition as sole Platinum sponsor
  • scope and space for firm signage (up to 5 placements, including behind the speakers on opening day and sunday evening pitches, a booth and collateral display table for the full event
  • acknowledgement from the main stage at each main step of the event
  • option of delivering a 30 minute information session during a Saturday speaking slot
  • a designated “<your firm/institution here> Mentor” corner to provide business of law counselling and feedback to hacking teams
  • premiere placement and high volume mentions and thanks on the lawtech613.com site, the event app and social media communications between now and one week following the event
  • opportunity, at your option, to create a designated prize category and award
  • authorization to use and re-use for any purpose, the week-end media reel developed by the videographers we bring in to capture all the excitement and action of the week-end!

New Database Subscription: ICLR

We may have limited physical space available at the moment, but to somewhat make up for it we’re happy to announce we’ve added a subscription to the UK Case Law Reporter database ICLR! If you’ve ever used a British case you’ve probably gotten it from an ICLR publication, so we’re very excited to still be able to still access that collection while we are renovating.

We love the clean interface of the program, and its searching and navigation are intuitive and easy to use. Stay tuned as we explore and demonstrate some of its features over the coming months!

You can access the ICLR on site at the CCLA Library, through our lawyer computers. Friendly reminder that all our databases can be accessed through the Library Toolkit icon on each desktop!


CCLA Renovations: Library Service Update

After a grueling month of moving books, packing, unpacking, furniture disassembly and reassembly, we’re back! Here’s an update on what is currently available at the CCLA Library:

Public Computers

There are three computers available for use. You can print from these computers (black and white only). All of these computers are set up to access WestlawNext Canada, Lexis Advance Quicklaw, Thomson Reuters ProView, and a whole bunch of other great research tools.

Print Collection

All of the books that we chose to keep out during the renovation are now in the Lounge. You can call this collection our Greatest Hits. As always, books are for Courthouse use only – if you wish to take a book to court, please see a CCLA Library staff member to sign the book out. Books are due back to a staff member by 5:00 every day.

Photocopiers and Fax

We have one photocopier available for copying and scanning, and one fax machine. For payment for copies or print jobs, we accept cheques, cards, or firm account only (no cash).

Library Staff Assistance

We’re here! We’ve propped open the doors between the Lounge and the Library (we’ll be taking them down entirely soon), and you can find us just past those doors. We’ve also re-opened the helplines, so free free to call or email. During this time, we can order in books from other libraries if we don’t have what you need, but if you’re reading this from a library we normally lend to, we’re sorry but we can’t lend anything at this time.

Workspace

We’re a bit short on space at the moment for studying. There are a few tables in the lounge, but nothing available in the Library itself. This is a temporary measure and we’ll have more space available later this year.

One other big change is that the old “main doors” to the library are no longer in service. They’ll be back in the future, but for now they will remain locked. The only entrance to the Library is through the lounge, and while we acknowledge this does make it more difficult to find us, and harder to get in if you do not have a code, this is only a temporary measure. We will be open again through the main entrance later this year. Contact us if you need the code for the lounge.

We thank every one for their patience over the last month – we know how difficult it can be to carry on business at court without the services the CCLA provides.

 


The 2017 Clawbie Awards: Our Nominations!

Clawbies Logo

We’re so excited that it’s Clawbie time again! Since there are so, so many superb choices to pick from and we are limited to three nominees, we decided again to stick with what we did last year: highlighting some of our favourite bloggers local to the Ottawa region. So here we go!

Ottawa Employment and Labour Law Blog
Andrew Vey & Paul Willetts (Vey Willetts LLP) / @VW_Lawyers

Andrew and Paul’s blog is so accessible, which is something we really appreciate as members of a law-adjacent profession! We love their writing style and their posts are always interesting, relevant and timely.

Some of our favourite blog posts this year:

 

Law21 Blog
Jordan Furlong / @jordan_law21

Anyone who’s read a post on Law21 can appreciate how thoughtful, insightful, and forward-thinking they are, and we are no exception. 

Some of our favourite blog posts this year:

 

Diversonomics Podcast (or on iTunes)
Roberto Aburto & Sarah Willis (Gowling WLG) / @robaburto

A timely and welcome addition to the ever-growing Canadian legal podcast scene, we were delighted to discover the Diversonomics series by local Gowling WLG lawyers. Roberto and Sarah launched season two this year, which continues to take on the difficult topics of diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.

Some of their notable episodes this year:


End of Year Review 2017

This is our last week of posting on Robeside Assistance for 2017, so we wanted to kick things off with our year end review! This year has gone by in a blur, especially these last few weeks as we get the library ready for renovations in the new year. (To answer a question we’re asked a lot: Nope, we didn’t get the month of December off! We’ve been super busy organizing the book collection, furniture, and assorted belongings of the Association. It’s like packing up your house, when you’ve been living in it for 30 years!)

We expect things to be a bit hectic around here for much of the next year, but we’re delighted that we’ll still be able to blog and bring you the latest news in online research, new books, cool throwbacks, and of course, Ottawa blogs and decisions. Tomorrow, we’ll be publishing our Clawbie picks for 2017, so stay tuned for those.

Much like last year, our most-read posts are always the Ottawa decision and blog post round-ups. In case you missed them the first time around, here are some of our other most popular blog posts from 2017:


Compendium of Damages Awarded in Personal Injury Actions Across Ontario, January 1999 – October 2017 Update

The CCLA Compendium of Damages Awarded in Personal Injury Actions Across Ontario has been updated to October 2017! This invaluable guide is a favourite with local litigators, and has been produced for the CCLA for several years under the leadership of The Honourable James Chadwick and with the assistance of students from the University of Ottawa law school.

To check it out, please click here. For your future reference, you can find this publication on the CCLA website under our “Civil Litigation” practice portal.

Also, if you’re looking for the CCLA’s Compendium of Costs, our most recent update is from 2015 – you can find that here.

 


New Login Process for HeinOnline

Heads up for lawyers in Ontario: the Law Society has changed the way you remotely access HeinOnline. Previously, lawyers could ask their local library for the password for logging in to the program, but because it was a single common login the password would change every six months. Starting last week, however, the Law Society has issued a new remote access procedure through EZproxy software. This will allow a static and persistent login and password for each individual lawyer, and it also means the previous username and passwords will not work!

HeinOnline is a fantastic resource for journal articles and historical Canadian legislation; we highly recommend it, and it’s free for Ontario lawyers! To get set up for your new access, contact the Law Society by email with your name, affiliation and law society number.

You can find out more by visiting the Great Library’s blog post here.

 


vLex Canada now available at the CCLA Library

We are pleased to announce that the vLex Canada law database is now available for access at the CCLA Library! vLex is a new database that includes Canadian case law from a multitude of reporters, Irwin law secondary materials, several law journals and integrated access to the Slaw legal magazine.

Even better, vLex is partnering with the CCLA to allow users to log in for free from their accounts on site at the library, but then receive 24 hour take-away access to the database from anywhere! This means you can simply log in from the courthouse library and take your work back to the comfort of your own office for 24 hours, without the need for your own subscription. Anonymous access (access without a username/password), is also available for free at the CCLA Library.

For more background on the vLex Canada law database, from an upcoming press release:

vLex Canada is based in Ottawa and led by former CanLII CEO, and CCLA member, Colin Lachance. In November of 2016, Colin led the effort to acquire and re-purpose the Maritime Law Book collection when that company announced its intent to shut its doors after 47 years of publishing Canadian case law. Launched initially as “Compass”, in December of 2016, the new company began its efforts to reinvigorate competition in the Canadian primary law research market. In May Compass announced that it had taken investment from international legal publishers vLex (Spain) and Justia (U.S.) and would shortly re-launch its research service on the vLex platform, and that the CEOs of those companies would join the Compass Board of Directors. Compass also announced the appointment of Ottawa-based and internationally-renowned legal market analyst Jordan Furlong to its Board of Directors.

 

vLex Canada brings several important Canadian legal resources together on a world-leading international technology platform.  With Canadian case law from the Maritime Law Book national and provincial reporter series, as well as up-to-date english-language case law as its base, vLex Canada layers in integrated access to a deep selection of the Irwin Law Essentials of Canada Law series, several Canadian law journals, Slaw legal magazine and several other national and regionally important secondary sources. The advanced vLex research platform serves hundreds of thousands of customers around the globe through intelligent technology and extensive personalization features. Application of Machine Learning and other artificial intelligence techniques on the platform to the Canadian content will support soon-to-arrive features such as similar case recommendations, automatic topical classification of cases, unique visualizations to support research, and detailed court analytics.

We’re very excited to have access to this new resource and to see how it grows! We will be highlighting the features of this new database in the future, but for now you can access it through our CCLA Library Toolkit (on site and take-away). You can also sign up for your free vLex account here.