Thursday, October 25, 2007

In Montreal at Law Via the Internet

Bonjour. Maintenant je suis a Montreal pour le 8e conférence internationale Internet pour le droit.

Hello. I am in Montreal for the 8th International Conference Law Via The Internet.

I travelled from Toronto yesterday on the fabulous VIA Rail. I enjoyed the trip, especially having wireless Internet connectivity to allow me to catch up on a few things and stay connected. I arrived refreshed, not stressed as a I might have been travelling by plane or car.

Last night I joined other speakers at a reception hosted by LexUM, producers of CANLII, in their offices. I was one of the first to arrived and was greeted by staff members and our conference organizer Daniel Poulin. I was surprised to learn some of the people there knew who I am, having followed my little thoughts and adventures here on this blog. That was exciting and flattering. Eric Pare gave me a tour of the office. I was surprised at how large it is, how many staff they have (around 40 people!). Apparently the DJ and caterer were not usual features, but I suppose you can't have everything. ;-)

As people arrived I managed to meet some new people and see familiar ones. One special guest was The Honourable Mr. Justice Bastarache who is the Honorary Conference Chair. There were people from all over the world present making for a very interesting social event.

This morning I arrived to find a formal conference room: seats set up in school room style (narrow tables in front of the chairs, the tables with table cloths). Again people from around the world, many wearing headphones for the simultaneous translation, and the speakers on at a formal table up on a platform at front. It felt very much like the UN I thought, except there was an official photographer working the room. I don't recall seeing official photographers at the UN.

The morning was spent with official opening remarks, and then discussions of developing countries and how access to law is key to helping in their development. This afternoon took a different tack with discussion of doctrine or secondary legal materials. We started with four full presentations by panelists in the first session, and then in the session I participated in we had one full paper and then some roundtable commentary. I provided some commentary, although time was limited and I didn't get as much control of the microphone as perhaps I would have liked. Still, being my first time on a panel at this conference I was among some very esteemed people and was fortunate to have been invited and receive the exposure.

Now tomorrow I can relax and be a regular delegate, perhaps have time to do some further blogging. This is a little chatty, but I will hopefully have something more substantive for you to hang your hat on after this.

And--who knows?--perhaps I will start blogging en francais!

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