Friday, April 30, 2004

Stats now on board

I've been surprised the number of people commenting on having read this blog. Some have seen me mention it originally on a couple of listservs. Others have picked up on it via Bloglines. I'm hoping to post its existence on a few blog search engines, so thought it might be interesting to keep track how many hits it is getting. I really don't have an idea as to how many people are reading along.

I have now added a "people counter" to the first blog page, and am able to view other statistics about this page. The application was free from AddsFreeStats. I'm keen to see what this tells me.

Commercial Leasing & Management Tool Kit

Brownstone's, the U.S. publisher, has a subscription service called the Commercial Leasing & Management Tool Kit. Essentially it is a searchable database of model clauses, agreements, letters, forms, memos and more. Note if you subscribe to any of their newsletters or other publications you get a price break on the subscription; their customer service is very helpful, but they may forget to mention this.

Lehman's Zoning Trilogy

Great source for zoning definitions, sample diagrams, model by-law provisions: Lehman's Zoning Trilogy. Based on Canadian and U.S. by-laws. Subscription service.

Check out this page on has a list of library blogs, categorized by type of library. Even some Canadian ones. I will have a closer look at some of them later.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Sordid tale of a weblog hacker

Oh no--someone's blog was hacked! See the [non]billable hour: Help! Blogger in Need -- Weblog Hacked!! Until I figure out a way to regularly back up my blog, I must not get too attached to it I guess.

Wow. The reason why I went to the [non]billable hour in the first place was the subtitle of this blog, "revolutionizing the practice of law, one lawyer
at a time!" I couldn't resist.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

WIG is up and running!

Today was a ground-breaking one for us: we launched our first library intranet, WIG. We've taken all the elements we liked from a number of different websites, re-thought our existing services, and tried to incorporate it all into an easy-to-navigate design. We have made extensive use of databases created in DBTextworks WebPublisher Pro to populate the various sections.

The launch was a success! Let's hope this translates into use. Some of the things we did to promote WIG:
- advance "teaser" ads including various library staff members in barristers' and judges' wigs. These were produced by photocopy and manual cut-and-paste (no graphics software in sight) and then scanned into PDF. Very funny.
- lots of fun sayings in e-mails and the teaser ads. E-mail me for the list.
- the ads incorporated a hand-drawn character, "Wiglet", featuring a pig in a wig. This was a last minute inspiration by one of our team, and proved to be a good "stickiness" factor to get people hyped. We managed to come up with a real Wiglet (stuffed animal with doll's hair added). We plan to include a bio of our new mascot on the site and the addition of a feature called "Where's Wiglet?" with photos in various locales.
- dramatic launch, including the whole library staff in colourful wigs in a boardroom. We crammed 30-plus people in a little room for extra hype. Yours truly was made to wear a judge's wig for the launch. Supremely embarrassing! (Pun intended.)
- still to come: we are also sending out quizzes that can be answered by using the site; bookmarks with the URL ("bookmark it!") handed out personally with a special treat.

It does help that people in the firm were very, very ready for these changes. I'm very pleased with the launch and the feedback so far. All we need to do now is incorporate updating of the site into our regular routines, and promote it at every opportunity. Stay tuned for updates on our success!

If you want to know what "WIG" stands for, e-mail me. 8-)

Monday, April 26, 2004

Librarian 'Zine

I've been a long-time reader of Utne magazine. At one time I was even part of the "Utne family", one of the original hosts in the online communityUtne Cafe.

I'm looking at the May/June 2004 issue of Utne. They have always been a library friendly bunch, and even have a staff librarian, Chris Dodge. I see he now has a column "Street Librarian". And the back page also features a 'zine from librarian Celia Perez. Her 'zine is called "I Dreamed I Was Assertive" in which she writes about taking control of her life. Sounds interesting....if anyone has seen this zine I'd be interested to know where it might be available in the Toronto area or if there are other librarian zines. From a quick web search, it appears she has a number of other zines.

Friday, April 23, 2004

The Survey Monkey Smiled on Us

I wrote about the SurveyMonkey earlier this week, intending to check it out later. I gave the site to my co-worker Kay and was amazed at the results. She was able to immediately set up a survey of up to 10 questions, with up to 100 responses for free. Perfect for a firm our size. She surveyed our articling students regarding possible future training. The responses are put into a nice chart format. Very professional looking all around; far more fun than sending out an e-mail with a list of questions. We hope to incorporate little surveys at various times from our internal web pages.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

E-Laws 3 for You and Me

I had the pleasure of attending today's TALL luncheon including a talk by Donald Revell, Ontario's Chief Legislative Counsel, on E-Laws 3. I was also fortunate to be sitting close enough to speak with Mr. Revell. One thing he said that sticks with me: "All lawyers in Ontario should have the ability to use e-Laws."

This service is so comprehensive, and so usable, that this emphasized to me the necessity to tell our lawyers about e-Laws. They should be familiar with it and know how to at least navigate through the current legislation. It still surprises me when I come across a practitioner who doesn't know about it--time we librarians do something about that!

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

New Charter of Rights Digest on CanLII

CanLII now offers a new Charter of Rights Digest--see the announcement below. I had a quick look. From the main page (link below) is a table of contents to the Charter, and each section includes annotations. Across the top additional access is included:

-"Waiver" (waiver of rights),
-"Criminal Code" (sections judicially considered),
-"Statutes" and

>>> 04/20/04 01:30PM >>>
Dear CanLII users,

We are pleased to announce the publication of the Canadian Charter of Rights Decisions Digest on CanLII. CanLII is proud to offer access to this
fundamental document to the legal community and the Canadian society.

To view this document, please click on the following link:

Thank you for using CanLII!

To be added to the CanLII announcements mailing list follow the directions on this secure site

Since yesterday I've completed two completely different surveys through One survey was through the Ticketmaster website, originating from their U.S. office according to the questions; one was from CCH Canadian asking about their training. Looks like the might be of interest; pricing looks good. I wonder the flexibility: can little mini-surveys be put on specific pages of an intranet, for example? A new toy to play with!

Monday, April 19, 2004

Today's hidden gems

Lots of gems in today's Globe and Mail, including the "Professions" section all about lawyers (page B15 in the Toronto edition) and an article on page A5 about a new guide from the Canadian Judicial Council. The guide is meant to help judges put instructions into plain English for juries. The news release is available on the CJC website as well as the full document Model Jury Instructions in Criminal Matters in HTML and Word formats.

Other interesting items on the CJC website: a 6-page PDF document entitled Model Judicial Acceptable Use Policy for Computer Technology looks interesting. I am posting the link here so I can take some time later to read it. Also this page has back issues of a publication called Computer News for Judges which extols the virtues of use of electronic documents in court. Hmmm...I wonder how many litigation lawyers have seen that. I'll have to bookmark these pages to check back later.

Back to blogging

I'm feeling somewhat (but not completely) guilty about missing my blog entries the last few days. My excuses are varied: no time, too busy learning new things, no web access. Instead I am resolved to take what I have learned and reflect it here gradually. It is good to take a break now and then and regain the sense of enthusiasm.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Blogging for Lawyers

Brief editorial comment on Findlaw: I Blog, Therefore I Am which indicates blogging is an equalizing technology, allowing for smaller law firms to share knowledge internally and individual practitioners to show themselves as experts in a field. I found the comments interesting but wish there was more in-depth discussion.

Reynolds & Flores on Foreign Law

I have been following the AALL discussion on foreign and international law research. So far discussion has centred around the series FOREIGN LAW: CURRENT SOURCES OF CODES AND BASIC LEGISLATION, IN JURISDICTIONS OF THE WORLD" by Reynolds and Flores, currently published by Hein. It is available in paper and CD-ROM. I get the impression from the discussion it is also available electronically but I'm not sure whether it is available through Hein or someone else. I could not see it in HeinOnline. Many people turn to this source; apparently it is very helpful.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Upcoming list discussion on foreign and international law librarianship

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) has some great e-mail list discussions on various topics. This upcoming one sounds interesting. As far as I can tell, you don't need to be a AALL member to partake. The link below will also take you to archives of previous discussions.

Where in the World Did You Find That? : Exploring Foreign and International
Law Librarianship

As a law firm librarian, is foreign or international legal work brightening
your horizon? As a law librarian who serves the public, are your patrons
asking for foreign legal material to help them resolve family, estate, or
immigration matters? Do you struggle to keep up with what foreign and
international legal materials to collect (or maybe to cancel)? Would you
like to learn more about foreign and international law librarianship?

AALL will be holding a list discussion with expert FCIL moderators Jean
Wenger, Mary Rumsey and several "special guest moderators" (Anne Burnett,
Beatrice Tice, Lyonette Louis-Jacques, and Katherine Topulos) on
foreign/international law librarianship, April 12-25, 2004.

We hope that the forum will satisfy the following AALL "Competencies of Law
1.1. Demonstrate a strong commitment to excellent client service
1.2 Address the diverse nature of the library's clients and
1.4. Demonstrate knowledge of the legal system and the legal
1.5 Understand the social, political, and economic context in which
the legal system exists
1.15 Recognize the value of professional networking and actively
participating in professional associations
1.16 Actively pursue personal and professional growth through
continuing education
3.3 Assist clients with legal research using both print and
electronic resources
5.4 Understand the acquisition and management of a diverse
collection of legal and non-legal resources in multiple formats

Most of all, we hope the forum will provide an interesting and informative
discussion about foreign, comparative and international law. You are invited
to join in - just click on this link: to subscribe.

The discussion is just for only two weeks, beginning April 12. After April
25, the list subscribers will be purged.

Please join in, and hear what your colleagues will be talking about during
these two weeks.


Wednesday, April 07, 2004

New LibraryCo Chair

The Law Society has appointed a new Chair to LibraryCo Inc.'s board, Bencher Gavin MacKenzie of Heenan Blaikie LLP. See Canada NewsWire press release. LibraryCo is the organization that manages all Ontario country and district law libraries.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Law Society of B.C. creates money laundering rules

The Law Society of British Columbia has brought out money laundering rules for B.C. lawyers. There is an article about it in today's National Post (page A4) and further details are on the Law Society's website: "Benchers pass new rule to fight money laundering".

Knowledge Management and the Smarter Lawyer

I saw the book Knowledge Management and the Smarter Lawyer published by America Law Media reviewed in the March 2004 issue of Law Practice (an ABA magazine). Looks interesting, especially to those of us who haven't delved into KM.

It makes the argument that all lawyers should invest time in KM. I have felt that smaller firms need not spend the time in this area if they are already sharing information/knowledge well. Apparently the authors feel even solo lawyers should be concerned about this area of management. I'm interested to see if this book can sway me from my opinions.

Monday, April 05, 2004


I read somewhere recently that a high percentage of recipes in cookbooks have errors in them. Despite extensive checks by the editors to make sure recipes work, it is easy for typos to occur, and ingredients to inadvertently be missed.

Now this horrifying news story on FindLaw:
Magazine Recalled Because of Faulty Recipe

I have always played around with recipes and many times considered them guidelines only, but will certainly view them with a healthy dose of skepticism in future.

Aggregate feed now available!

For those of you interested in receiving this blog through a feed rather than having to visit this website on a regular basis, I have now set this up with aggregate service Bloglines, yet another free service.

I have not yet set up a list of blogs (a "blogroll") here. Mostly I poke around looking at the odd blog for ideas, but don't read others on a regular basis. That may change since I have found some interesting ones while looking through Bloglines. Keep an eye out to the right of this page for a "Blogroll" sometime soon.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

The Anarchist in the Library

I was looking at the AALL 2004 conference proceedings, and noticed the first keynote speaker is Siva Vaidhyanathan, author of The Anarchist in the Library . Since I hadn't heard of him before, I googled the book title. I came across an interesting interview with him in this blog archives from last year: [Eyeteeth: A Journal of Incisive Ideas]. The interview starts about halfway down the page.

I quite like this quote from Vaidhyanathan:

"Libraries are considered to be dangerous places and librarians are our heroes. This is something that we really have to emphasize. The library is also not just functionally important to communities all over the world, but a library itself is the embodiment of enlightenment values in all the best sense of that. A library is a temple to the notion that knowledge is not just for the elite and that access should be low cost if not free, that doors should be open. Investing in libraries monetarily, spiritually, intellectually, legally is one of the best things we can do for our immediate state and for the life we hope we can build for the rest of the century."

The Anarchist in the Library is expected to be released in Canada April 22, 2004.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

E-mail scams; phishing

The last few years I have kept my eye on various scams. It all started with phony invoices for bogus directories. Then came the massive surge of "Nigerian Scheme" e-mail messages arriving in our e-mail boxes. As of late I've been receiving messages supposedly from e-Bay and PayPal saying there is a problem with my account, encouraging me to sign on and update that account. The problem is, I don't have accounts with these services. But suppose I had? The U.S. Dept. of Justice has now released a report on fake websites used to gather information--this scam is called "phishing". See: Special Report on "Phishing".

I often check this website to determine if something is a hoax: Current Netlore - Internet hoaxes, email rumors, urban legends and also RCMP Frauds and Scams. See especially the RCMP's list of scam files at the bottom of the page.

When in doubt, I usually ignore and delete e-mail, faxes, and invoices I don't recognize.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

What's in a generation?

Two articles in yesterday's Globe and Mail created a little stir. Why is it so difficult to see associates stay long enough to make partner and essentially stay forever with one firm? Could it be explained by generational differences? The articles in question are"The generational divide" and "New generation strives for a life, not a living", both from pages C1 and C6 in the Careers section.

I have long been keenly aware of differences between the generations. I was born right on the "cusp", the last year of the Baby Boomer generation, and the first year of Generation X. For those keeping score, that puts my birthdate in 1964. My parents were born before the Boomer generation, called the "Traditionalist" generation in the articles. My mother has long been skeptical about the Boomer generation, especially devotees of those yahoos known as "The Beatles". In her mind Lennon and McCartney corrupted a whole generation. Heh.

I generally consider myself Generation X and, when I look at some of the generalizations in these articles, am surprised how many of the characteristics listed for Gen X (and even Gen Y) describe me. When Doug Adam's book Generation X first came out in 1991, my friends and I read it with great amusement, recognizing ourselves in some respects but finding differences in other aspects. Since that time we stepped out into the working world right in the middle of a major recession. Workplaces were in the process of downsizing, and we were viewed suspiciously by potential employers because we had little in the way of work experience. Few of those from the generation before us reached out to give us a hand up, largely (and quite understandably) because they themselves were uncertain of their own positions. I note those who have followed after us have not fallen into this trap, striving continually to get the "right" education, rack up experience and generally make themselves marketable. To my generation, they really look like a bunch of keeners. But who can fault someone for that?

Between disappointment in our initial work experiences, and fallout from the Cold War and impending environmental disasters, it is little wonder we are cynical about the future. Few of us have married, few of us have children, many remain single. Our "Traditionalist" parents, who worked their whole lives for one organization, either died of heart attacks shortly after retirement or felt used by their organizations in the end. The lesson seems to be that life is too short to wait until retirement to live it, and that we have to look after our own happiness since no one else will. We're doubtful about receiving old age pensions from the government, so squirrel our money away for the future. There will be few coming up behind us to take care of us in our later years, so we make sure we are financially secure and physically able. In many ways we work to make ourselves as strong and self-reliant as possible.

But that is not to say we are arrogant, aloof, or negative in attitude. I believe in people working together as peers and equals. Although I am a manager, I see myself as a leader, and am quite willing to be a supportive follower when appropriate. I believe strongly in communication and feel someone informed has a better chance of making the best decision as well will have less fear of change and future developments. I love learning from others, seeing what their experience has been and learning from that. Most of the people I talk to on a day to day basis are older than I am. I value their experience, their wisdom, their enthusiasm about their own lives, and the wonderful example they show me of what is to come in my life. Although I may be cynical about the world, I am optimistic about my own life and tend to be a happy person.

I'm not sure what the solution is for hanging on to people in an organization. We live in such a fast-paced, disposable, ever-changing world, that possibly we may need to change our concept of what a law firm is and how it is organized. How can a firm expect an intelligent, ambitious, dynamic young person to commit forever to one job? There is so much in the world to experience and so many aspects to one's life, that work really becomes just one part of the whole picture. I'm not predicting the downfall of the Seven Sisters or anything, but I think those firms that will be successful in the long term will be those that are most dynamic, diverse and willing to let its lawyers and other employees have a life outside the office. What a concept.