‘Link Round-Up’ gives you a glimpse into the articles that got the most airtime around the Loom Analytics water cooler this week. Published every Friday, article topics include access to justice, big data, legal technology, and what’s happening in the Canadian legal landscape.
- The big story of this week would have to be yesterday’s United States Senate hearing in which former F.B.I. director James Comey testified before Congress regarding the meetings with Donald Trump that led up to his firing. If you haven’t yet read or watched it, a full transcript and video of the open session is available here.
- At the same time as the James Comey testimony was taking place, the British Columbia Court of Appeal opened its doors to cameras yesterday for a less high-profile webcast. The BCCA allowed appeal proceedings in the case of Taseko Mines Limited v. Western Canada Wilderness Committee to be broadcast live as part of an ongoing pilot project looking to increase public access to court processes. This was only the second case to participate in the pilot project, with the first hearing to do so having happened all the way back in 2013, when a landmark doctor-assisted suicide hearing garnered 1,939 unique views.
- In this op-ed penned for The Washington Post, law professor Jennifer Bard and professor of legal writing Larry Cunningham make a case for their solution to the access to justice gap: legal services and legal education needs to adopt a tiered system like that which exists in medicine.
Professionals must first acknowledge that not every legal task must be performed by a licensed lawyer. Instead, we need to adopt a tiered system of legal-services delivery that allows for lower barriers to entry. Just as a pharmacist can administer vaccines and a nurse practitioner can be on the front line of diagnosing and treating ailments, we should have legal practitioners who can also exercise independent judgment within the scope of their training. Such a change would expand the preparation and independence of the existing network of paralegals, secretaries and investigators already assisting lawyers.
- Because the current political climate hasn’t yet gotten surreal enough, a group of Twitter users represented by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University have threatened to sue Donald Trump if he does not unblock them on Twitter. A letter sent to the White House by the Institute states that because the president uses his Twitter account to make statements regarding public policy, he is in violation of the first amendment by blocking Twitter users who criticize him, i.e. excluding people from a public forum based on their views.
- The Vancouver Sun has been counting down to this Canada Day with profiles of noteworthy British Columbians. This week the countdown included one Mabel Priscilla Penery French, the first woman to win the right to practice law in both New Brunswick and British Columbia. How did she do it? Through some clever application of the law, of course.
- Though they have since been struck down, the ripples of the presidential executive orders banning U.S. travel and immigration from Muslim-majority countries continue to be felt. In her strange and oddly touching coverage on the Human-Computer Interaction Conference in Denver, Colorado, Emily Dreyfuss reflects on the long shadow cast on the scientific research community by the ban while describing the experience of attending the conference via ‘telepresence robot’.
“Two telepresence robots roll into a human-computer interaction conference. Sounds like the beginning of a very nerdy joke, but it really happened (#2017). A few weeks ago in Denver, Colorado, a robot I was piloting over the internet from my computer in Idaho stood wheel-to-wheel with a similar ‘bot in a pink skirt controlled by a researcher in Germany. We huddled. We introduced ourselves by yelling at each other’s screens. Given the topic of the conference, this particular human-computer interaction was a little too on the HD touch-screen nose. But as much as we symbolized the future, we were also a political statement about a troubled present.”