Shaunna Mireau on Canadian Legal Research

Tips on Canadian legal research from the Library at Field LLP.
Postings are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the firm.

December 23, 2008

Lifelong learning

I feel very strongly about the importance of learning new skills on a continual basis. This might be the case since I often ask to be the 'teacher' and would like 'learners' to participate. Another reason for my learning passion could be the direct and positive impact learning choices have had on my career.

Those of you who went to (library) college before the Internet existed in a common business way, and who chose to be early adopters of technology innovations will immediately understand my position. The folks in my Grant MacEwan 5 week night class on HTML editing in 1993 will also be aware of the impact of what we learned.

It isn't enough to welcome change, I believe we have to anticipate it, prepare for it, and embrace all of the potential chaos and turmoil that change brings. Chaos and turmoil are the harbingers of opportunity for those glass half full types like myself.

As 2008 comes to a close, I would like to share the list of things I learned this year. The list is in no particular order. In 2008 I learned:
  • that blogging about something is a good way to remember it;
  • how it only takes 5 hours of development time to make a 3 minute screencast;
  • that I like making screencasts of training tips and that people like having them available;
  • that BC acts can be brought into force by a Regulation;
  • that gathering statistics with Acumin is easy and of great assistance for reporting;
  • that I can keep more accurate time without a paper time sheet;
  • that I should have bought stock in RIM;
  • that weekly blogging is more difficult than writing six articles a year for a paper magazine;
  • that my theories on law firm knowledge management are not too unique;
  • how to transfer my library catalogue data from MS Access to MySQL and then the Intranet;
  • that a little patience goes a long way - and too often, I don't even a little;
  • that Goof Off is the best solvent for removing ugly labels from books;
  • that my children are mysteriously technologically adept;
  • that a Wiki is a pretty great way to collaborate on a conference presentation;
  • that there is a short line for Calgary passengers through security at the Edmonton International Airport;
  • how to save formatted cases from Canadian Labour Law Library;
  • that not everyone is as excited as I am about Cntrl' being the shortcut for pasting todays date in a field in MS Access;
  • that a backup laptop is a handy thing to have if you are giving a presentation;
  • that I should have drafted this post in January and added to it as the year went on;
  • that feeding my Facebook status with Twitter annoys some of my Friends, but others find it useful;
  • how to set up a wireless network;
  • how to install VoIP;
  • that chickens don't appreciate anything;
  • restart is a good strategy for many things, including creme caramel;
  • that you can write a pretty long blog post while waiting for Word to process your copy and paste of a long list of NRS hit results.

Merry New Year everyone.


December 09, 2008

Costs, online legal research, and blog searching

Nina Platt at Strategic Librarian wrote a nice summary of the benefits to a client for their lawyer performing online (disbursable to the client) legal research. Her post was in response to an unfortunately worded costs award by U.S. District Court Judge Willis B. Hunt in Fulton County. This little nugget, which was not widely posted about at the time denigrated high fees by counsel in a class action suit, including legal research.

I read the decision a couple of weeks ago, thanks to a post at the Law Librarian Blog, and dismissed it from my mind as punitive comments from one judge about the particular firms involved in one litigation file and their fees.

Nina's approach to this issue is much better. Rather than dismissing the comments as one-off, she takes a permanent approach to the issue. She reminds us of the importance of using technology tools effectively to save time, and money, for clients in the research gathering process. She also allows any future researcher to plug "class action coca-cola hunt costs" into Google and see commentary on the judges costs decision in the context of legal research.

Nina has assisted in the use (or not) of this case law as precedent in costs awards. Thank You.

This scenario is also an excellent reminder to think about using 'public' sentiment and social media tools like blog and wiki searches as we would have used mainstream media along with scholarly legal work in the past.

Blogs provide an excellent source of commentary about the law. Consider the excellent legal blog content represented in the ABA Journal Blawg 100 list or the sites nominated for CLawBies.

Labels: , ,

December 05, 2008

Live blogging

The U of A Law Faculty blog has a great post of live blogging from the debate on constitutionality on prorougation.

It is interesting that information from this session could be read by me, in Edmonton, shortly after it happened in Ontario. Thanks for posting Ubaka Ogbogu - Moin may call you a super-nerd, but the payback was awesome! Hope the lamb sandwich was tasty.

Topic: Was the Governor General’s Decision to Prorogue Parliament Constitutional?
Canada’s Leading Scholars Weigh in on this Historic Ruling
Where: University of Toronto Faculty of Law, Faculty Lounge
When: Today, 12 – 2pm