Link Round-Up: July 21, 2017
'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.
- On July 14th, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that the process to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the upcoming retirement of Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin has officially commenced. Candidates who wish to be considered must submit an application package before the cut-off date of 23:59 Pacific on September 15th, 2017. An independent and non-partisan advisory board has been put together, the members of which will review the candidates who apply and submit a shortlist for the Prime Minister's consideration. This will be the second appointment made following the new process introduced by the Trudeau administration last year. Under the process, candidates must be functionally bilingual and, to uphold regional representation on the Supreme Court, only candidates from or with a relationship to Western or Northern Canada may apply.
- DoNotPay, the Facebook Messenger-based legal chatbot that was helping people overturn parking tickets before expanding into helping with immigration paperwork in March, has expanded once again. This time, creator Joshua Browder has released not one but 1,000 new legal bots at the same time. In a statement made to Mashable, Browder said:
"The expansion is into consumer rights, from fighting your landlord to getting a refund when something isn't delivered on time … I think businesses should be forced to treat consumers better, and consumer rights bots will hopefully change that."
In addition to the new chatbots created by Browder and his team, DoNotPay will also be introducing the option for anyone to create their own legal chatbot on the DoNotPay platform with no tech expertise required. Lawyers, activists, charities or other interested parties need simply to fill out a form and send it to the DoNotPays staff, who will do the work of verifying the legal information and creating the final product.
- Some news for all you Star Wars-loving legal news fans (I assume there's one or two of you out there at least). On the Basis of Sex, an upcoming biopic about the life of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has now had not one, but two former Star Wars actresses named in the lead role. Though Natalie Portman was originally attached to the project, it has now been reported that Felicity Jones, the Academy Award nominated actress who recently starred in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, will be portraying the Justice. I, for one, look forward to watching the Notorious R.B.G. lightsaber battle for her spot on the Supreme Court.
- Australian Senator Larissa Waters has recently had to resign her post after learning that she holds dual Australian and Canadian citizenships. Waters was born in Winnipeg, but had not been to Canada since she was 11 months old and was unaware that she held dual citizenship. Unfortunately, Australia's constitution does not allow "citizen[s] of a foreign power" to be elected to Parliament.
- Public Services and Procurement Canada has announced their intention to restore the Supreme Court of Canada building. The building will be vacated for the duration of the renovations, with occupants being relocated to the empty West Memorial Building while the work is completed.
- Finally, we at Loom would like to extend hearty congratulations to Robert Ambrogi, who has been named one of the winners of the 2017 Yankee Quill, a lifetime achievement award celebrating journalistic excellence and "New England's highest journalistic honor." Ambrogi will be honoured alongside Robin Young and James Franklin in a ceremony in Massachusetts on October 12th.