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 1

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.


Changes Ahead!

A couple of weeks ago, we were given the go-ahead to start prepping the library for the long-awaited renovation. I’m sure you can imagine our delight and excitement! In the coming months, we will be pruning the book collection and removing bookshelves from our space. “Weeding” a collection, as it’s known in the library world, is a process that takes a fair amount of time to complete properly, even more so when you’re doing a large scale weed like we’ll be doing for the renos. The renos are still a ways off, but the books need to be attended to first!

The first set of books to leave the library are select volumes of legislation from other provinces. The next stop for those books, we’re happy to say, will be HeinOnline, where they will be helping to increase the amount of Canadian legislation available in that database. (Did we mention LSUC licensees get free HeinOnline access? Contact us for details!).

We are currently working on our renovations plan, including which services and materials will be available during construction. We will make everyone aware of those plans when they are finalized. For now, however, we’re business as usual, just with slightly fewer books and shelves, and slightly more dust! Launch

Jen and I are very excited to announce a project that has been a long time in coming…!

We can’t count the number of phone calls we get from members of the public or lawyers looking to find if a will exists. In other provinces there are different solutions to help with this issue that run by different organizations, but we found that in Ontario we were sorely lacking!

So with the help of a FOLA Legal Innovation Award, we set out to see what we could do. We launched the result, Will Check, at our Solicitors conference a couple weeks ago, and got some great feedback!

So what is Will Check and how will it help? In summary:

  • Will Check is a wills registry to store the location information for wills (not the wills themselves), curated by the CCLA Library.
  • If we get a request for a will, ideally we can look up the lawyer who holds the original of that will. We only provide the contact information of that lawyer, not any information about the will itself.
  • Currently requests and submissions can only be made by members of the LSUC.
  • We are beginning the project focused for those who practice in the East Region.
  • The site features simple forms to fill out, making registering wills quick and easy.
  • Sample release available to get client approval.

We will be continually improving and hopefully expanding based on feedback, and are optimistic that this will become an invaluable resource for solicitors who practice in the area of wills and estates. If you have any comments, we’d love to hear them! Let us know.

Preview: 2017 CALL/ACBD Conference

The CALL/ACBD annual conference is coming to town next week, and we couldn’t be more excited! The last time the CALL conference was held in Ottawa was in 2007, so this will be the first time any of us here at the CCLA get to attend the conference on home turf and welcome our library friends and colleagues to the city. The conference planning committee has put together an excellent program on the theme of “Celebrate our history, create our future,” appealing to a wide variety of our interests as law librarians. Here are just a few of the sessions we’re especially looking forward to:

Uncharted Ethical Lands: Law Libraries as Creators, Publishers and Hosts of New Information

“Law Libraries are exploring new and non-traditional roles as creators, hosts, and publishers of locally created content. Learning hubs, incubators, data repositories, and OA e-publishing are a few of the exciting services that may re-position libraries and librarians as leaders in the new information environment. These kinds of services can potentially lead us into legal and ethical minefields as we negotiate competing rights, explore the extent of institutional responsibility, and begin to build our brand as publishers. This workshop offers the PLUS model of decision making as one tool to assist library staff in working through the ethical and legal obligations associated with these new and yet-to-be determined roles. After a presentation of the model, participants will work in groups to apply ethical decision-making processes to real case studies, and then come together to arrive at the best and most ethical “let’s make this happen” solutions.”

Wikipedia and the Law: A Mini Edit-A-Thon

“‘Why is there no Wikipedia article about Elder Law in Canada?’ ‘Why does the article on the Legislative Assembly of Ontario need citation verification?’ ‘Shouldn’t someone fix this?’ Yes – and that someone is you. This hands-on workshop will show you how to create your own Wikipedia account, how to edit and add content to existing Wikipedia articles related to the law, and how to create Wikipedia articles from scratch. You will also learn helpful tips and tricks for hosting your very own Wikipedia Edita-Thon.”

Judicial and Legal Archives – Preserving the Past, Telling Stories in the Future

“Judicial information includes both the judgments and orders produced by Courts, the case files, and the personal archives of judges. How is this record being preserved across the country, and what stories does it hold? What will the record look like in the future, as email replaces analogue correspondence? Can we preserve the electronic record? Rosalie Fox, Director of the Supreme Court Library and Information Management Branch will discuss the challenges of archiving judges’ personal archives, and how deliberative secrecy impacts judicial archives here and around the world. Professor Philip Girard, eminent legal historian, will speak about using case files and judicial personal papers to illustrate the evolution of Canada’s legal history. David Rajotte, an archivist with Library and Archives Canada, and the archivist responsible for the recent assessment of the Supreme Court and Exchequer Court’s collections, will round out the panel, with a perspective on preserving judicial archives.”

The Digital Litigator : Throwing Away the Binders and the Briefcases

“Justice Canada’s lawyers, members of the federal department frequently referred to as “Canada’s largest law firm”, are changing the way they litigate. Learn from Jean-Sébastien Rochon about how his group is equipping litigation teams with the information technology, tools, information, and processes to change the way they practice law in a digital information environment.”

As always, you can follow tweets from the conference with the hashtag #CALLACBD2017.


Mental Health Week 2017

May 1 to 7, 2017 is the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Mental Health Week. During past several years, the CCLA has been fortunate to have mental health experts speak at our conferences and deliver CPD programming. The importance of mental health care in the legal community cannot be overstated, and we’re happy to help spread the word and remind our readers of the resources available to all lawyers, paralegals, law students, and judges in Ontario, as well as their family members.

The Member Assistance Plan, provided through Homewood Human Solutions, is a confidential health service that is funded by, and runs entirely independently of, the LSUC. 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).

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

For Mental Health Week, the Canadian Mental Health Association’s #GETLOUD campaign is currently in full swing. To learn more about what this organization is doing to help bring attention to the need for mental health care funding and services, check out their campaign website –