Using Resources Differently

Legal literature studies show that lawyers usually read texts in chunks, finding the specific section that is relevant to the issue they are researching, and ignoring the rest. The finding aids (Table of Contents and Index) are invaluable in determining which part of the text is important.

There’s another way to discover relevant information, by applying critical thinking to the content. For instance, a frequent visitor to the library told me that in reviewing one of our e-books, Prosecuting and Defending Drug Cases: A Practitioner’s Handbook, he realized Ch. 2, Bail Hearings in Drug Cases was applicable to almost all bail hearings. This is good information for me to be able to pass on to others, especially when I don’t have another text solely on bail to rely on.

In my own law firm experience, I would often receive requests for information on easements. The leading text on real property law, Anger and Honsberger: Law of Real Property has a section on easements in Ch. 17. We had an electronic library catalogue which included the table of contents, but wasn’t detailed enough to capture this section, so I added a note indicating this text had a significant chapter on easements. That way, if you did a search of the catalogue with the keyword “easements”, it would come to the top.

Book reviews are another source of information, particularly in subjects I’m not familiar with. Reviewers typically describe not only the content but the format of the book from a personal perspective that can resonate with me. For instance, in this review of The Fundamentals of Statutory Interpretation Erica Anderson, Manager, Digital and Web Content at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, comments that she recently attended a hearing at the Supreme Court of Canada and:

was amazed to hear the judges and lawyers separately mention or quote the modern principle of statutory interpretation in their arguments, questions, and comments. In particular, an SCC judge commented that they had looked at the second reading of Hansard and committee debates for indication of legislative intent.

2019 CLLR 44-3, p. 27

The hardest part for me is retaining these little nuggets for the next time someone asks for a resource on that particular subject.

How do you use resources differently?

Staying on Top of the Law

Practitioners are well aware of how difficult it is to keep current with changes in the law. When the first cellphone with the ability to take photos was invented, who knew it would eventually lead to a whole new area of law called cyberbullying? Our job at the Manitoba Law Library is to support you in your quest to stay current.

There are a number of journals and newsletters dedicated to specific areas of law. We have compiled a list of the titles that we can share with you. Please review the list, and let us know if you would like to receive them. You can email us at library@lawsociety.mb.ca to be added to the list. And if you already subscribe to a couple, take a look at the list and see if there are others you want to receive.

Gladue Reports Database Update

Way back in May 2018, I wrote about a project out of Saskatchewan to create a database for researching Gladue principles. This resource was going to operate under a subscription model, but has just received funding to make it open access. Content is from Saskatchewan, however, researchers in other jurisdictions will likely find it a useful starting point. It would be even better if other jurisdictions found a way to add on to it.

For now, congratulations to the Law Society of Saskatchewan, Legal Aid Saskatchewan and the Ministry of Corrections and Policing for having the foresight to develop and fund this resource.

H/t to The Lawyers’ Daily: Creators of novel Gladue database hope it becomes widely used after free access

New Book Display: Health Law

Books in the library:

As displayed in the library.

desLibris (Behind the Law Society of Manitoba Member’s Portal):

Newsletters*:

  • Carlson Personal Injury Quantum of Damages NetLetter
  • LexisNexis Health Law NetLetter
  • LexisNexis Personal Injury NetLetter

*Newsletter distribution service is only offered to member’s of the Law Society of Manitoba.

Summer Rerun – Charterpedia

Summer vacations cut into staff available to write original posts. Over the next few months we’ll be rerunning posts we think you should be reminded of. Enjoy!

The law librarian world is geeking out today over Charterpedia, the federal government’s compilation of analysis and caselaw on the Canadian Charter. It’s like a crowd-sourced annotated Charter, for free!

This Charterpedia provides legal information about the Charter and contains information about the purpose of each section of the Charter, the analysis or test developed through case law in respect of the section, and any particular considerations related to it. Each Charterpedia entry cites relevant case law, and citations to Supreme Court of Canada decisions are hyperlinked whenever possible.

If you don’t have access to a paid annotated Charter product (or even if you do), I’d highly recommend starting with this.

(Originally published Dec 15, 2017)