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CA — The Use of Social Media by Canadian Judicial Officers

July 9, 2015 Comments off

The Use of Social Media by Canadian Judicial Officers (PDF)
Source: Canadian Centre for Court Technology

This ground-breaking discussion paper examines the complex issues surrounding the use by judges and tribunal members of social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn. The foundation of the discussion paper is an unprecedented survey of Canadian judicial officers. Responses from almost 700 participants (approximately 500 in English and 200 in French) provide valuable information about their use of, and opinions on, social media.

After a review of the responses, and consideration of what is currently available as guidance to judicial officers as well as examples of the implications of social media use, the discussion paper concludes with the recommendation that all judicial officers “have a duty to ensure that they understand the advantages, disadvantages and risks of the use of social media in personal and professional contexts and conduct themselves accordingly.”

The paper also concludes that existing policies, principles, codes of conduct or guidelines are inadequate to respond to that duty and suggests that until more guidance is provided, “judicial officers should use social media with caution, keeping in mind the above principles.”

Canada’s Anti–Money Laundering and Anti–Terrorist Financing Regime: The Legal Profession’s Obligations

May 25, 2015 Comments off

Canada’s Anti–Money Laundering and Anti–Terrorist Financing Regime: The Legal Profession’s Obligations
Source: Library of Parliament

On 13 February 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that certain provisions of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act that impose obligations on lawyers violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The decision, in Canada (Attorney General) v. Federation of Law Societies of Canada, confirmed that legislation cannot enforce obligations on lawyers that would undermine solicitor–client privilege.

In exempting lawyers from the Act, Canada – like the United States and Australia – is among the few Financial Action Task Force members that do not impose obligations on lawyers as part of their anti–money laundering and anti–terrorist financing regime.

According to the Task Force, criminals may use lawyers to facilitate illegal financial transactions, particularly when they are acting as financial intermediaries.

What Makes Lawyers Happy?: A Data-Driven Prescription to Redefine Professional Success

May 14, 2015 Comments off

What Makes Lawyers Happy?: A Data-Driven Prescription to Redefine Professional Success
Source: George Washington Law Review

This is the first theory-guided empirical research seeking to identify the correlates and contributors to the well-being and life satisfaction of lawyers. Data from several thousand lawyers in four states provide insights about diverse factors from law school and one’s legal career and personal life. Striking patterns appear repeatedly in the data and raise serious questions about the common priorities on law school campuses and among lawyers. External factors, which are often given the most attention and concern among law students and lawyers (factors oriented towards money and status—such as earnings, partnership in a law firm, law school debt, class rank, law review membership, and U.S. News & World Report’s law school rankings), showed nil to small associations with lawyer well-being. Conversely, the kinds of internal and psychological factors shown in previous research to erode in law school appear in these data to be the most important contributors to lawyers’ happiness and satisfaction. These factors constitute the first two of five tiers of well-being factors identified in the data, followed by choices regarding family and personal life. The external money and status factors constitute the fourth tier, and demographic differences were least important.

What Courses Should Law Students Take? Harvard’s Largest Employers Weigh In

April 8, 2015 Comments off

What Courses Should Law Students Take? Harvard’s Largest Employers Weigh In
Source: Harvard Business School Working Knowledge

We report the results of an online survey, conducted on behalf of Harvard Law School, of 124 practicing attorneys at major law firms. The survey had two main objectives: (1) to assist students in selecting courses by providing them with data about the relative importance of courses and (2) to provide faculty with information about how to improve the curriculum and best advise students. The most salient result is that students were strongly advised to study accounting and financial statement analysis, as well as corporate finance. These subject areas were viewed as particularly valuable, not only for corporate/transactional lawyers, but also for litigators. Intriguingly, non-traditional courses and skills, such as business strategy and teamwork, are seen as more important than many traditional courses and skills.

The Politics of Selecting the Bench from the Bar: The Legal Profession and Partisan Incentives to Politicize the Judiciary

February 4, 2015 Comments off

The Politics of Selecting the Bench from the Bar: The Legal Profession and Partisan Incentives to Politicize the Judiciary
Source: Harvard University

The American judiciary, like other branches of government, has increasingly come under attack as both ideologically driven and politicized. Using an original dataset that captures the ideological positioning of nearly half a million judges and lawyers who have made campaign contributions, we present empirical evidence showing politicization through various tiers of judicial hierarchy. Specifically, we show that, the higher the court, the more conservative and more polarized it becomes, in contrast with the broader population of attorneys, who tend to be liberal. These findings suggest that political actors not only rely on ideology in the selection of judges onto courts, but that they do so strategically, prioritizing higher courts. As explanation for these findings, we present a model of judicial politicization that formulates the ideological composition of the judiciary as a function of the ideological distributions of attorneys and politicians. To our knowledge, our study is the first to provide a direct ideological comparison across tiers of the judiciary and between judges and lawyers, and also the first to document how — and why — American courts are politicized.

New From the GAO

December 12, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. DOE and NNSA Project Management: Analysis of Alternatives Could Be Improved by Incorporating Best Practices. GAO-15-37, December 11.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-37
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667405.pdf

2. Nuclear Weapons: DOD’s Plan for Implementing Nuclear Reductions Generally Addresses Statutory Requirements but Lacks Some Detail. GAO-15-89R, December 11.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-89R

3. Small Business Credit Programs: Treasury Continues to Enhance Performance Measurement and Evaluation but Could Better Communicate and Update Results. GAO-15-105, December 11.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-105
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667449.pdf

4. Flood Insurance: Forgone Premiums Cannot Be Measured and FEMA Should Validate and Monitor Data System Changes. GAO-15-111, December 11.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-111
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667412.pdf

5. DOD Contract Services: Improved Planning and Implementation of Fiscal Controls Needed. GAO-15-115, December 11.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-115
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667431.pdf

6. Federal Subcontracting: Linking Small Business Subcontractors to Prime Contracts Is Not Feasible Using Current Systems. GAO-15-116, December 11.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-116
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667409.pdf

7. Professional Misconduct: DOJ Could Strengthen Procedures for Disciplining Its Attorneys. GAO-15-156, December 11.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-156
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667402.pdf

Survey: lawyers ready to join in major push to spot and report financial fraud targeting older Americans

August 12, 2014 Comments off

Survey: lawyers ready to join in major push to spot and report financial fraud targeting older Americans (PDF)
Source: Investor Protection Trust (IPT), the Investor Protection Institute (IPI), and the American Bar Association (ABA)

Nine out of 10 practicing attorneys surveyed by the Investor Protection Trust (IPT), the Investor Protection Institute (IPI), and the American Bar Association (ABA) are willing to take part in a new campaign to address the estimated 20 percent of older America ns who have been the victims of investment fraud and financial exploitation.

In releasing the survey findings, the three groups announced that they are launching the Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation (EIFFE) Prevention Program Legal. The EIFFE Prevention Program Legal will develop, test, and implement a model national continuing legal education (CLE) program to teach lawyers to: (1) recognize clients’ possible vulnerability to EIFFE due to mild cognitive impairment (MCI); (2) identify EIFFE in their clients; and (3) report suspected instances of EIFFE to appropriate authorities. In June 2010, the Investor Protection Trust released a national survey showing that one out five older Americans are victims of financial swindles.

+ Survey Results (PDF)

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