Thursday, October 30, 2008

JD Supra Widgets Make Content Portable

One of my Stem clients that I've previously blogged about is JD Supra, a web 2.0 legal document sharing service. And while I like to show support for all my clients, as a librarian, I've always been drawn to this site's purpose: give content, get noticed. It fits my whole philosophy of using information driven marketing tactics, and for those medium to longer pieces of written discourse that lawyers so often produce, I find the product to be in a class by itself.

This past week, one of the features I've really been hoping for finally went live - web widgets. Widgets are important to me for a number of reasons. But mostly as a long time fan of RSS technology, I see them as a final end-product to making content portable.

The same way my Canadian legal publications website is a consumable offering for the latest product releases from legal publishers, JD Supra's web widgets will give lawyers & law firms an opportunity display their content anywhere they decide to web-publish.

But perhaps the biggest value I see for lawyers, is the ability to create a personal document collection once, and then to automatically re-publish the latest entries from those collections anywhere they see fit. Got a blog? Put it there. Got a lawyer profile on your firm website? Put it there too. Intranets, social networks, association websites, and so on.

Anywhere you represent yourself online, you're a cut & paste of a small piece of code away from dynamically inserting your latest publications and documents. It's an easy way of adding professional context, and best of all - it's completely automated! Once your widgets are in place, you've created a personal (& professional) syndication network that will automatically display your latest work product.

For me, that's an awesome capability to be able to leverage for clients. And for lawyers, that's simply working smart.

Congrats to everyone JD Supra for getting this new feature launched. Way to build the vision! :)

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Quickscribe Manual Update for October

The BC Labour Legislation Manual was the only Quickscribe update for October.

For daily updates to the statutes and regulations of British Columbia, visit

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

BC Supreme Court: Linking is not republication

Michael Geist directs our attention to yesterday’s decision of Crookes v. Wikimedia Foundation Inc.,2008 BCSC 1424, where the BC Supreme Court ruled that online linking to allegedly defamatory materials does not amount to republication.

Barbara at law.librarians also points us to an article at international law firm Pinsent Mason's blog Out-Law, which discusses the Crookes decision and how other countries have dealt with similar cases.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New BC Renewable Energy Blog - MegaWatt!

Top marks go to the lawyers at Clark Wilson LLP's Energy Group on the new name for their BC renewable energy blog... MegaWatt!

Following in the footsteps of the firm's very successful Canadian Trademark Blog, this new entry into the Canadian blogosphere looks just as exciting. Led by the firm's Energy law co-chair Warren Brazier, the contributing group includes Jonathan Lotz, Shauna Towriss, and Michal Jaworski.

As most VLLB readers will know, I was a long time employee at the firm. And perhaps what interests me most about the launch, is that each of these individuals are senior or mid-level Associates at the firm. Each a rising star, and each receiving firm support to drive their individual profile. Even in a tough economy, the firm is providing an opportunity for their Associates to be entrepreneurial about their practice. Very impressive.

Those attributes, by the way, are consistent with my experience at the firm, and very typical of Clark Wilson's approach. Can't hurt for recruiting efforts either, right?

So I offer a big congratulations to all those involved! This looks like a very timely topic, in a big growth area for the Province. I also know that each of these individuals has a affinity for writing, so I have little doubt to their future success!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Voting Day 2008

I've just returned from voting in the Canadian election, and experienced an interesting twist to the new ID process in place this year. Not only was I asked my ID, which I had, but I was then quizzed on it!

Elections Canada rep: Do you have your ID?
SM: Yes I do. There you go.
Elections Canada rep: Please state your name and fixed mailing address?

Nothing I had read indicated that I would be subject to a pop quiz on my ID. Only that I must have my ID ready and waiting. Take comfort though; I thrive on executing under pressure.

Anyone care to venture a guess if they have stopped me from voting, had I answered 24 sussex drive?

Vote early vote often, I guess... And don't forget to memorize your dead uncle Phil's mailing address prior to your third polling station! Nice touch on that voter apathy problem...

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Monday, October 06, 2008

Randy McClanahan on Legal In-sourcing

In my world, there's nothing better than when a client writes something intellectually provocative. Not only does it make my life at Stem easier, but I get completely energized by it.

Case in point this morning, Randy McClanahan over at the Contingent Fee Business Litigation blog used my ACC value challenge post as a jumping off point for his concept of Legal In-sourcing.

The idea, or at least my understanding of it, is that rather than sending legal work off-shore to India or another country, or to outside firms with their 'infrastructure', that companies with in-house legal departments take that work back in-house. Back where legal staff have a substantial and vested interest in both work quality and in the final outcome.

Randy's argument is that companies engaged in large-scale complex litigation often choose their service providers based on getting the right lead or trial lawyer. And that choice, he warns, can come with a heavy price tag -- a pyramid of hourly-billing lawyers and support staff that can skyrocket the cost of litigation.

His alternative is the basis for a new service designed to help General Counsel manage in-house legal departments, and called appropriately litigation in-sourcing.

The idea is that routine tasks such as document production, discovery, investigation, and research should be brought back inside the company. The law firm, in turn, works in an advisory role helping track the case throughout its life-span; and if the file goes to court, the company has a trial lawyer with 30 years experience ready and waiting.

Especially during this tough economy, I think Randy and his partners at McClanahan Myers Espey are in a good position to raise some eyebrows here. Given Randy's background, I'd also say he has the big firm pedigree to garner some attention.

I find this service, and MME for that matter, fascinating on a number of levels. It's a slightly different take on value billing, especially when paired with the firm's heavy use of contingent fees. It's also consistent with the firm's business model to create relationships where they share litigation risk with clients. And a big part of being in that 'risk-partner' role is matter management and minimizing expenditures.

It's also tough to argue that work executed by in-house legal staff isn't a bit empowering. That work which remains closer to clients might receive a higher level of care.

This is not to be critical of hourly or flat-fee billing. As I've said before, billing choices are often situation dependent. I can also see positives to legal outsourcing. Ron Friedmann's recent breakdown on the reasons and economics are persuasive. More that I'm a big advocate of choice and innovation for legal services, and I have to admire that this service seems to expand both elements.

The fact that it comes from a client? Simply makes for a better Monday...

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Canada’s National Do Not Call Registry -- Back in Business?

David Fraser over at the Canadian Privacy Law Blog notes the much-anticipated National Do Not Call Registry went live this past Tuesday, in a post that links to prior blog commentary and essential resources on the topic.

By all accounts, the vast majority of people trying to register that first day -- either on the website or via the 1-800 number -- were out of luck. The website crashed and callers were faced with multiple-hour waits, if they got through at all.

Sounds familiarly like my iPhone purchase experience... but I digress...

Of the downed service, CRTC spokesman Denis Carmel said, “We're victims of our own success”. On the other hand, Michael Geist called it, “an inauspicious start, to say the least.”

Fraser also mentions iOptOut, an initiative spearheaded by Geist, which allows “Canadians to create and manage a personal do-not-call list that begins where do-not-call list ends.” I haven't signed up with iOptOut yet, but it does sound intriguing.

Both the Registry and iOptOut websites seem to be back up today, and with any luck, the rush is now over... While it remains to be seen just how many unsolicited phone calls will be blocked once a number is registered, I think I feel like most Canadians: finally having some options is a good thing.

A spam free phone environment at supper time? I'm not getting my hopes up. I hear there might be some exception to the rules...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Quickscribe Manual Update for September

The BC Forest Legislation Manual was the only Quickscribe update for September.

Readers are also invited to track ongoing BC legislative changes, updated every few hours, over at

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