Small ideas on legal practice, research and technology

Recent Decisions Sources

Today’s Tip: Check with the media.

If you’re trying to find the text of a judgment that has just been released and it is not on the relevant court’s website, check the websites of the Globe and Mail and National Post. They will quite often scan in the court judgment (assuming the case is important enough) and link to it from the relevant news story.

Globe and Mail
National Post

This tip is from Susannah Tredwell, Library Manager, Lawson Lundell LLP in Vancouver, BC. Follow her on twitter or come and see her speak at the Canadian Association of Law

Posted in: Research & Writing

Essential Keyboard Shortcuts for Navigating PowerPoint Like a Pro

You should be very comfortable with the basics of navigating PowerPoint when you are doing a presentation. It looks rather unprofessional when someone gets up in front of an audience and has difficulties in the middle of their presentation. Here are some helpful PowerPoint keyboard shortcuts that will help you navigate through your presentation.

One of the most helpful keyboard shortcuts is using the Space Bar to advance to the next slide. Of course, you can use Page Down, however the Space Bar is a much larger target and it’s easier to hit that if you are nervous or your …

Posted in: Technology

Present Values

Today’s Tip: research with an eye to time relevance
talk about today’s dollars.

When you are reading case law with a monetary award, you might want to look at that award in today dollar values.  The Bank of Canada Inflation Calculator is a great link to put in your favourites as it can quickly give you a present value for a historical figure.

How significant is inflation? $10000 in 1969 is worth $61,354.17 today.…

Posted in: Research & Writing

Save Yourself From the Dumbest Windows Feature Ever: Full Menus Off

Many installations of Microsoft Office have “Full menus” disabled. What does this mean? You only see limited menu choices (i.e., the ones you have used before and recently) when you click on File, Edit, View, Insert, etc.

When Full Menus is off you can’t see menu commands that you don’t use often or have never used before unless you click the two downwards pointing chevrons at the bottom of the menu – this forces Windows to show all the available commands on that menu. You can also double-click the menu to expand it.

When you expand one menu, all of …

Posted in: Technology

Where Is That Statute Link?

To make your legislation investigation or monitoring task easier, check out the Canadian Legislation Table of links from the Lederman Law Library at Queen’s.

This organized resource offers links to current and retrospective legislation, usually from the primary source (i.e. Queen’s Printers).

A link to a jurisdiction’s statutes and regulations page on CanLII will also give their source of information.

Today’s Tip: For legislation, remember to go to the source.

For some extra info on the Why of a legislative change and some sources for that information, check out my post at Slaw yesterday and read the excellent suggestions in

Posted in: Research & Writing

Handy Keyboard Shortcuts for Formatting Text

Few things are more finicky than typing case citations in various legal documents. Most people use toolbar buttons to turn italics and underling on and off. Reach for mouse, reach back, reach for mouse again, reach back… There is a better and must faster way.

With these three simple keyboard shortcuts case typing case citations will be a breeze:

  • Press Ctrl+I to turn italics on/off
  • Press Ctrl+U to turn underline on/off
  • Press Ctrl+B to turn bold on/off

A side note for those that are not familiar with the syntax for describing keyboard shortcuts. Simply remember that a plus sign (+) …

Posted in: Technology

Ask for Assistance

Today’s tip is simple.  Ask for help.

There is too much information in the world to have an expertise in all but the most narrow of subjects.  It is better to ask for assistance than to try to explain to someone why you expended unnecessary time and energy and might not have the ‘best’ answer.  Ask for help or advice – from your partners, from your associates, from your students, from your network, from librarians in your organization or another. 

There is no such thing as a dumb question.…

Posted in: Research & Writing