Small ideas on legal practice, research and technology

Archive for ‘Research & Writing’

Phone a Friend

In the age of email, tweets, texting, IM and messages through facebook, the telephone has new power.  If you need to gather a specific item to help with a research problem, try picking up a telephone and making a call.

The phone a friend lifeline works really well getting early versions of cases (call the lawyers on the winning side), getting information from a government source (most governments have online telephone directories that list people with their  titles and direct phone lines), or answering tricky procedural questions (parliamentary counsel offices, court clerks, university professors).

This weeks tip – try for …

Posted in: Research & Writing

Monitoring a Case Law Subject With CanLII

Sometimes it is important to know about every single new Canadian case on a particular topic.  Often it is best if you know about these cases as soon as possible.  This research tip offers an “as soon as possible” option with some creative use of CanLII.

  1. determine your search strategy (narrow it as musch as possible)
  2. run your search using CanLII’s – limiting to caselaw from the court levels and jurisdictions you need to watch
  3. sort your results by decision date
  4. copy and paste the resulting URL into your electronic calendar, and set a schedule to re-run your search
  5. keep
Posted in: Research & Writing

Read That URL

Things move about on the web.  Sometimes when you search you will get the dreaded message

ERROR: The requested URL could not be retrieved

Today’s research tip – read that URL!  Google, Bing, and other search engines provide the URL  for the search result that is coming up.  If a domain has changed or a site has been revamped, often you can find “missing” information by reading and translating the URL.  For instance, an error message when you click on this link

can be found at

In this case, the path to finding out …

Posted in: Research & Writing