Pop Culture – Law is Cool http://lawiscool.com The law school blog and podcast from Canada Wed, 30 Sep 2015 13:10:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.6 1338880 A Lawyer’s Work, Life & Work-Life http://lawiscool.com/2014/06/19/a-lawyers-work-life-work-life/ Thu, 19 Jun 2014 19:31:52 +0000 http://lawiscool.com/?p=3727 By: Jason E Lau

 

It is no mystery that the typical day of work for a lawyer is laden with long hours, sleepless nights, and unrelenting amounts of stress. Although lawyer’s work often consumes his or her life, overshadowing both personal and family time, there needs to be a balance between the work and life to create a work-life.

The successful convergence of a lawyer’s work-life comes from two sources: an individual lawyer’s introspective and philosophy and from the externals environment of the firm.

 

The Lawyer’s Work-Life

 

Jatrine Bentsi-Enchill, founder and director of Esq. Development Institution, points out that the key ingredient to work-life balance for an individual lawyer is accomplishment and enjoyment. It is important to create positive outputs in a lawyer’s work-life

There are various tips and steps that one can take towards a work balance life:

  1. Create time blocks for yourself
  2. Determine values and priorities
  3. Make realistic expectations
  4. Stay organized

These points also relate to the importance of efficient time management. Derek LaCroix, director of Lawyer’s Assistance Program of British Columbia, emphasizes long-term solutions. The secret is to align one’s work schedule with their personal values, to create both value and pleasure in work.

 

The Firm’s Work-Life

 

Another problem stems from the workplace, the mentality and goals of the firm. One undeniable truth of the firm is that their main priority and goal is to make money. The firm expects demands their lawyers’ to provide quality, timely and perfect work.

Firms understand the importance that a balanced work-life will have on performance and have tried to address this issue with “firm generated” solutions, such as:

  • Alternate work weeks
  • Provision of mobile technology
  • Access to child-care facilities

These firm generated solutions do not work. The problem is that these solutions either provide short-term gains or are short lived. These so-called ‘solutions’ further segregate a lawyer’s work and life, rather than integrate them.

 

Lawyer-Firm Work-Life

 

Firms need to realize there needs to be a unison between work and life in which they are able to work together with their lawyers to create a cohesive solution and environment in which the two can merge and become simply work-life.

Both the firm and their lawyers should discuss what their goals are and craft programs and set up systems that address the root of the problem and provide lasting solutions.

It is important to integrate a lawyer’s goals of an accomplished and enjoyable work-life with that of a firm’s desire for quality and timely work. This harmony will effectively create a long-lasting and sustainable solution for both the firm and the lawyer’s work-life.

 

“My Clio Day” Video, which won an honourable mention in the “Clioday” the contest, is below:

[via http://landing.goclio.com/clioday.html]

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Chess Master, You May Approach the Bench http://lawiscool.com/2013/04/08/chess-master-you-may-approach-the-bench/ Tue, 09 Apr 2013 01:37:14 +0000 http://lawiscool.com/?p=3529 Ever want to take on an opponent in court from the comfort of your living room?  This legal themed chess set might provide an outlet.

Approach the Bench” was designed by a lawyer’s son as a gift to his dad.  After realizing there aren’t many legal-themed chess sets out there, the man behind the idea decided to make his own.

fullbaordabove

From the website:

The chessboard is uniquely “stepped” to resemble a jury-box and a bench…  handcrafted from cold cast bronze and Italian stone tile.

You can also see Lady Justice as the Queen, a bailiffs as knights, attorneys as bishops, and casebook piles as rooks.

My favourite: the small army of sleepy jury members as pawns.

Maybe if real-life chess games were brought back into style, the image of an advocate as a civil, patient, strategist would come back into focus.  What do you think?

 

2320-2-1

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Law Student Booted Off the Bachelor http://lawiscool.com/2012/11/02/law-student-booted-off-the-bachelor/ http://lawiscool.com/2012/11/02/law-student-booted-off-the-bachelor/#comments Fri, 02 Nov 2012 15:35:16 +0000 http://lawiscool.com/?p=3509 Gabrielle Dipersico is a 1L who just got booted off the television sitcom, The Bachelor. Her lesson from the ordeal?

Maybe next time I won’t be as direct with people, I guess.

Let’s see how that works out for you in practice.

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Legal Zoom Backs Law Student http://lawiscool.com/2012/03/03/legal-zoom-backs-law-student/ Sat, 03 Mar 2012 15:14:25 +0000 http://lawiscool.com/?p=3347 After law student Sandra Fluke was called a “slut” by Rush Limbaugh for her testimony on birth control, several sponsors of his show have withdrawn sponsorship.

The company stated in a Facebook post,

We’ve listened to many concerns voiced from our LegalZoom team as well as our customers. As a result, we have pulled all advertising from the Rush Limbaugh Show.

LegalZoom is a company that prides itself on respect for others, and we do not in any way support or endorse the recent comments made by Mr. Limbaugh.

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The Donkey and the Carrot: Why Law May Not Be So “Cool” After All http://lawiscool.com/2010/08/27/the-donkey-and-the-carrot-why-law-may-not-be-so-%e2%80%9ccool%e2%80%9d-after-all/ http://lawiscool.com/2010/08/27/the-donkey-and-the-carrot-why-law-may-not-be-so-%e2%80%9ccool%e2%80%9d-after-all/#comments Sat, 28 Aug 2010 00:02:33 +0000 http://lawiscool.com/?p=2871 For the class of 2013 (or 2014 in my case), the end of summer signals the beginning of law school.  Buoyed by hopes of success and spurred by the prospect of good paying jobs at the end of it all (or the metaphorical carrot on a stick), many of us are getting ready to settle in and start what will no doubt be a challenging but personally fulfilling year.  In the same spirit, I eagerly packed my bags and headed to Montreal propelled by the well wishes of friends and family members.  “You’ll do great,” they said.  “There’s a B curve at McGill.”  I replied.  “Don’t worry about it,” they said.  For months I had been complaining about paying tuition (side note: I know McGill’s Faculty of Law has one of the lowest tuitions in Canada.  Don’t stone me…), and I was saddled with my own fears and apprehensions.  But my friends and family reassured me: “It’ll all be worth it in the end.”  “Go out and make those big bucks,” they said.  So I pranced off to law school.

Shortly upon my arrival, I was in the McGill bookstore looking for my law textbooks when I randomly ran into and finally met fellow Law is Cool contributor Siena Anstis.  We lamented over the dollars that we would inevitably have to shell out in the next few weeks, but Sienna reminded me that, “It will all pay off in the end.  That’s what I keep telling myself anyway…”

A few days later, I went back to the bookstore to purchase my first set of law textbooks (yes, they are so heavy that I will have to buy them in instalments).  There, I bumped into another fellow 1L.  Although we exchanged no words, our countenances did the talking as we exchanged depressed glances, and I made my way to the cashier to pay for my textbooks.  At the cash, I let out a heavy sigh, still decrying the amount of money that these textbooks were going to cost me.  The cashier replied, “Don’t worry.  You’ll make it all back by the end of [law school].”

If I had a dollar for the number of times I was told that…

Most of us are going to law school with the ulterior motive of making some “good money” (admit it…) at the end of it all.   No one pays upwards of $60 000 for the heck of it.  After all, many of us go to law school desperately hoping that the stereotype rings true: “lawyers are stinking rich, or at least can live comfortably” and “job prospects abound for those with a law degree.”  However, as if to add insult to injury, the following excerpt from a blog post puts the stereotype into question:

The Real Value of a Legal Education

By John Farmer Jr.

America’s law schools begin the 2010-2011 academic year facing one of the greatest challenges to legal education since the rise of the modern law school at the end of the 19th century.

On one hand, the job market for law school graduates has rarely been worse than the past two years, and the class of 2011 is facing an equally daunting paucity of opportunities. As The Star-Ledger reported last week, some recent law school alumni who have had a difficult time navigating the job market have become embittered, claiming that the legal academy induced them to borrow large amounts of money by dangling a career prospect that has proven illusory.

On the other hand, interest in legal education has never been higher. Record numbers of qualified college graduates are applying to law schools, which are not hesitating to enroll them. This, in turn, led some members of the bar, meeting recently at the American Bar Association convention in San Francisco, to question the motivation of the law schools. How, they wonder, can they continue to admit thousands of students when their career prospects are so uncertain?

The struggles of recent law school alumni, coupled with the apprehensions of the bar, should give pause to those of us who are involved in educating the next generation of lawyers. …

In the short term, students should embark upon a legal education with their eyes open; the job market is difficult, and likely to remain so. Legal education is not, as the comments of some would suggest, an entitlement program.

…In retrospect, we were spoiled by the prosperity of the large law firms, and the easy career pipeline and high salaries they offered. Tuitions could be raised without fear of compromising the students’ futures; the debt students were forced to incur would be easy to manage with the high salaries recent graduates were commanding. As a consequence, many law schools became “cash cows” supporting programs in their larger university communities. The focus shifted to revenue; economic issues came to dominate.

But the real value of legal education is not, and never has been, primarily economic. It’s not about money; it’s about freedom.

Legal education gives students what 99.9 percent of humanity yearns for but is denied: control over one’s own life….”

I can’t help but wonder, however, how much control one can exert over one’s life when one is broke and thus at the mercy of loans, the leviathan that is the state and the monster that is capitalism.  We all know that job prospects for new law grads are not as great as they used to be (to say the least) – after all, there’ve been numerous posts and articles about this subject on numerous law blogs and sites.  But what am I to expect as a law graduate in 2014?  This year alone was one of the worst for articling students…  Can we – should we – expect better in a few years?  If so, there are no worries.  If not, however, it would behove the class of 2013 to start law school with, not only the end, but reality in mind.

Society?  It lied to me. My friends and family?  Maybe they were wrong.  It is quite possible that law school will not pay off in the end, or at least not without some elbow grease and elapsed time.  The reality is that, in some ways, many of us law students will be like donkeys with that illusive (or, depending on how you think of it, elusive) carrot dangling in front of us – motivated to work because of and for the carrot but forever running after something we may never realistically obtain.

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Call for Participation: Cyber-Surveillance in Everyday Life: An international workshop http://lawiscool.com/2010/08/25/cyber-surveillance/ Wed, 25 Aug 2010 23:24:00 +0000 http://lawiscool.com/?p=2865 Call for Participation

Cyber-Surveillance in Everyday Life: An international workshop

May 12-15, 2011, University of Toronto, Canada

Digitally mediated surveillance (DMS) is an increasingly prevalent, but still largely invisible, aspect of daily life. As we work, play and negotiate public and private spaces, on-line and off, we produce a growing stream of personal digital data of interest to unseen others. CCTV cameras hosted by private and public actors survey and record our movements in public space, as well as in the workplace. Corporate interests track our behaviour as we navigate both social and transactional cyberspaces, data mining our digital doubles and packaging users as commodities for sale to the highest bidder. Governments continue to collect personal information on-line with unclear guidelines for retention and use, while law enforcement increasingly use internet technology to monitor not only criminals but activists and political dissidents as well, with worrisome implications for democracy.

This international workshop brings together researchers, advocates, activists and artists working on the many aspects of cyber-surveillance, particularly as it pervades and mediates social life. This workshop will appeal to those interested in the surveillance aspects of topics such as the following, especially as they raise broader themes and issues that characterize the cyber-surveillance terrain more widely:

  • social networking (practices & platforms)
  • search engines
  • behavioural advertising/targeted marketing
  • monitoring and analysis techniques (facial recognition, RFID, video analytics, data mining)
  • Internet surveillance (deep packet inspection, backbone intercepts)
  • resistance (actors, practices, technologies)

A central concern is to better understand DMS practices, making them more publicly visible and democratically accountable. To do so, we must comprehend what constitutes DMS, delineating parameters for research and analysis. We must further explore the way citizens and consumers experience, engage with and respond to digitally mediated surveillance. Finally, we must develop alliances, responses and counterstrategies to deal with the ongoing creep of digitally mediated surveillance in everyday life.

The workshop adopts a novel structure, mainly comprising a series of themed panels organized to address compelling questions arising around digitally mediated surveillance that cut across the topics listed above. Some illustrative examples:

  1. We regularly hear about ‘cyber-surveillance’, ‘cyber-security’, and ‘cyber-threats’. What constitutes cyber-surveillance, and what are the empirical and theoretical difficulties in establishing a practical understanding of cyber-surveillance? Is the enterprise of developing a definition useful, or condemned to analytic confusion?
  2. What are the motives and strategies of key DMS actors (e.g. surveillance equipment/systems/ strategy/”solutions” providers; police/law enforcement/security agencies; data aggregation brokers; digital infrastructure providers); oversight/regulatory/data protection agencies; civil society organizations, and user/citizens?
  3. What are the relationships among key DMS actors (e.g. between social networking site providers)? Between marketers (e.g. Facebook and DoubleClick)? Between digital infrastructure providers and law enforcement (e.g. lawful access)?
  4. What business models are enterprises pursuing that promote DMS in a variety of areas, including social networking, location tracking, ID’d transactions etc. What can we expect of DMS in the coming years? What new risks and opportunities are likely?
  5. What do people know about the DMS practices and risks they are exposed to in everyday life? What are people’s attitudes to these practices and risks?
  6. What are the politics of DMS; who is active? What are their primary interests, what are the possible lines of contention and prospective alliances? What are the promising intervention points and alliances that can promote a more democratically accountable surveillance?
  7. What is the relationship between DMS and privacy? Are privacy policies legitimating DMS? Is a re-evaluation of traditional information privacy principles required in light of new and emergent online practices, such as social networking and others?
  8. Do deep packet inspection and other surveillance techniques and practices of internet service providers (ISP) threaten personal privacy?
  9. How do new technical configurations promote surveillance and challenge privacy? For example, do cloud computing applications pose a greater threat to personal privacy than the client/server model? How do mobile devices and geo-location promote surveillance of individuals?
  10. How do the multiple jurisdictions of internet data storage and exchange affect the application of national/international data protection laws?
  11. What is the role of advocacy/activist movements in challenging cyber-surveillance?

In conjunction with the workshop there will be a combination of public events on the theme of cyber-surveillance in everyday life:

  • poster session, for presenting and discussing provocative ideas and works in progress
  • public lecture or debate
  • art exhibition/installation(s)

We invite 500 word abstracts of research papers, position statements, short presentations, works in progress, posters, demonstrations, installations. Each abstract should:

  • address explicitly one or more “burning questions” related to digitally-mediated surveillance in everyday life, such as those mentioned above.
  • indicate the form of intended contribution (i.e. research paper, position statement, short presentation, work in progress, poster, demonstration, installation)

The workshop will consist of about 40 participants, at least half of whom will be presenters listed on the published program. Funds will be available to support the participation of representatives of civil society organizations.

Accepted research paper authors will be invited to submit a full paper (~6000 words) for presentation and discussion in a multi-party panel session. All accepted submissions will be posted publicly. A selection of papers will be invited for revision and academic publication in a special issue of an open-access, refereed journal such as Surveillance and Society.

In order to facilitate a more holistic conversation, one that reaches beyond academia, we also invite critical position statements, short presentations, works-in-progress, interactive demonstrations, and artistic interpretations of the meaning and import of cyber-surveillance in everyday life. These will be included in the panel sessions or grouped by theme in concurrent ‘birds-of-a-feather’ sessions designed to tease out, more interactively and informally, emergent questions, problems, ideas and future directions. This BoF track is meant to be flexible and contemporary, welcoming a variety of genres.

Instructions for making submissions will be available on the workshop website by Sept 1.

See also an accompanying Call for Annotated Bibliographies, aimed at providing background materials useful to workshop participants as well as more widely.

Timeline:

2010:

  • Oct. 1: Abstracts (500 words) for research papers, position statements, and other ‘birds-of-a-feather’ submissions
  • Nov. 15: Notification to authors of accepted research papers, position statements, etc. Abstracts posted to web.

2011:

  • Feb. 1: Abstracts (500 words) for posters
  • Mar. 1: Notification to authors of accepted posters.
  • Apr. 1: Full research papers (5-6000 words) due, and posted to web.
  • May 12-15 Workshop

Sponsored by: The New Transparency – Surveillance and Social Sorting.

International Program Committee: Jeffrey Chester (Center for Digital Democracy), Roger Clarke (Australian Privacy Foundation), Gus Hosein (Privacy International, London School of Economics), Helen Nissenbaum (New York University), Charles Raab (University of Edinburgh) and Priscilla Regan (George Mason University)

Organizing Committee: Colin Bennett, Andrew Clement, Kate Milberry & Chris Parsons.

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Blawg Review #278 http://lawiscool.com/2010/08/23/blawg-review-278/ http://lawiscool.com/2010/08/23/blawg-review-278/#comments Mon, 23 Aug 2010 10:35:43 +0000 http://lawiscool.com/?p=2856 Blawg Review is a blog carnival that rotates to a different law site every week, usually emphasizing a specific theme. Last week’s review was by R. David Donoghue.

August 23 is the “International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition,” established in 1997 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) during the 29th session of the General Conference (Volume 1).

The purpose of the day is to examine:

  • the historical study of the causes and workings of the transatlantic slave trade,
  • the clarification of the consequences and interactions to which it gave rise, and
  • the contribution of the project to the establishment of a culture of tolerance and peaceful coexistence between races and peoples.

This year UNESCO has developed a documentary for this day Slave Routes: A Global Vision.

A companion document has has been released with the film, and will be referred to periodically throughout this post.

The Causes and Workings of Transatlantic Slavery

The origins of the Transatlantic slave route go back to the Iberian wars, between the Christian and Muslim kingdoms of Spain and Portugal. Both sides engaged in the enslavement of captives of war. As Slave Routes notes, the institution of slavery existed well before the Transatlantic route, both internally within Africa and to the Near East. But something different began with the European enslavement of Africans from the 15th c. onwards.

The first known African slaves sold in markets of recognizable European states was in Lisbon, Portugal in 1441, obtained from what is now Mauritania. The Portuguese had good reason for attempting to circumvent the Atlas Mountains and raiding the West African coast. In 1086 a black African dynasty originating from this area known as Al-Murabitun (Almoravids in English) provided military support and temporarily halted the expanse of the Christians. Soon after, Pope Alexander II provided the papal standard (vexillum sancti Petri) and an indulgence to the Christians in the conflict in 1063, making it officially a holy war that would culminate centuries later in the Spanish Inquisition.

The motivation for European slavery of Africans was therefore initially military, as an extension of the Western Crusades known as La Reconquista, or the reconquest of the Iberian peninsula by the Christians. In reality this term was probably too broad and an exaggeration, as many of the diverse peoples in the Muslim kingdoms of Spain and Portugal included native Iberians who had adopted the Islamic faith.

A permanent Portuguese fort was established at Arguin in 1448, and the 1452 Dum Diversas papal bull of Pope Nicholas V specifically authorized Alfonso V of Portugal,

…full and free permission to invade, search out, capture, and subjugate the Saracens and pagans and any other unbelievers and enemies of Christ wherever they may be… and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery.

This established the basis for a racialized slavery, hereby unknown to Africa or any region engaging in African slave trade. As the motivations for slavery shifted from military goals to economic incentives, sheer greed resulted in a complete and utter destruction of African civilization and society. This is what made the Transatlantic slavery exceptionally devastating and worthy of particular scrutiny.

Web resources on the subject are expanding, archiving historic documents for amateur historians looking to deepen their knowledge on the subject. J.L. Bell has a post on Boston 1775 announcing American Slavery Debate, a new database of primary source documents.

Marco Randazza thinks slavery would be a pretty good alternative to some judicial punishments out there.

In some ways we’re all a slave to something. Those of us starting out in our legal careers are often a slave to the billable hour, or a slave to making partner. Norm Pattis is eying some of the pro bono work big firms are doing and wondering if they can spare him a partnership. Ronda Muir gives some tips to young lawyers on how to be a better lawyer by improving specific behaviours. Social media might boost a career, but Adrian Dayton cautions on a guest post at Above the Law that it takes time and dedication to get true returns.

If we don’t make it seems like we’re all likely to move back in with our parents. Stephanie West-Allen discusses these millennials on IdeaLawg. Scott Greenfield just sort of bashes them. Jordan Furlong thinks law firms should pay more attention to a workplace trend:

…a daydream about the courage to quit a job that treats you with less respect than you deserve… As Daniel Gross explains in a Newsweek commentary, “the poor labour market and workers’ antagonism toward employers and customers are actually connected”

Slavery means different things to different people. James T. Harris quotes Alan Keyes, who describes the experience of slavery as a guarantee of shelter, clothing and a job. “Socialism,” and Obama, is a form of slavery, if you buy the Keyes line that government-dominated largess is an infringement on freedom. Blunt Politics gives us more black Republicans who claim that real freedom comes through independence from the state, which they liken to the slave plantation,

This is not the land of guarantee, it’s the land of opportunity… but when you say racism is the problem, you put the power for your future in someone else’s hand.

My take is that the modern descendants of slaves are more likely to find guaranteed food, shelter and clothing in prison. The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and African-Americans are disproportionately affected for a variety of reasons. I always wonder why Keyes doesn’t talk more about that, because it seems like race is the problem. Or part of it, at least. If nothing else it makes confidence and belief in the system difficult for minorities in the U.S. Abdul Hakim-Shabazz has his own doubts about police on the Indiana Law Blog after the David Bisard case, where an intoxicated on-duty officer struck and killed a biker and somehow had the charges dropped.

Law enforcement is not always right. James Morton thinks Col. Patrick Parrish is wrong about Omar Khadr. Confessions are only valid if they are free and voluntary. Threats of gang rape in prison usually vitiate that consent.

Eric Lipman reminds us about Terry Nichols in prison, not notable for being African-American, but rather for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing. Seems he’s not too happy with his food in prison due to the lack of insoluble fibre which doesn’t give him regular bowel movements. Seems the judge doesn’t give a…

Consequences and Interactions of Transatlantic Slavery

The most immediate consequence of the Transatlantic slavery was the dominance of European powers in the world. Western civilization as we know it today would not be possible without the hundreds of years of free labour, and the continued exploitation of natural and human resources. Operation Black Vote said,

The UK reaped huge profits for the despicable trade financing the developments associated with the industrial revolution. Britain made unprecedented profits and benefited enormously for the bloody trade. The legacy of racism remains with us some 400 years later.

Transatlantic slavery also created a system of oppression that places people of European ancestry on a higher level in a hierarchy maintained by what Slave Routes refers to as europhilia, ethnophobia and endophobia. It resulted in a far greater polarization of cultures in the world, as those attempting to restructure this hierarchy or seeking independence through an anti-colonial stance invariably adopted a counter-European philosophy. We see this pattern not just across Africa, but all of the colonized world, including the Middle East, across Asia, and Latin America.

August 23 was selected by UNESCO because it corresponded with the Haitian revolution, a major landmark in the resistance against colonialism and slavery. Slave Routes points out,

In the United States, the North America historian, Herbert Aptheker, has estimated that approximately 250 acts of sedition in all were organized by Afro-Americans to free themselves from slavery during the history of that “particular institution” in that country.

These revolts existed throughout the Caribbean and the Americas, and were a far more compelling reason for abolitionism than any humanitarian or compassionate grounds. For more on the Haitian revolution and slave revolts, see Blawg Review #249.

Although the direct domination of the developed world by European powers has largely ceased, the exploitative relationship continues to this day and is a major source of civil unrest and political tensions in the world today.

I came across this poster the other day on Queen Street West stating that “Slavery wasn’t abolished in 1834,”

It’s an advertisement from The Body Shop, who have raised over a million dollars to fight sex trafficking through partnerships with ECPAT USA (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking) and The Somaly Mam Foundation. The greatest consumers of modern sex trafficking continues to be wealthy European and North American citizens.

The Morning Quickie shares a review of Not Natasha, a photo book documenting the lives of survivors of sexual slavery in Moldova.

The key thesis behind Siddarth Kara and Devin T Stewart’s Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery is not that different from the Transatlantic slavery,

…the enormity and pervasiveness of global sex trafficking is driven by the ability to generate immense profits at almost no real risk.

They suggest the most effective way to address the profitability of modern slavery is to elevate the risk.

Not For Sale | Cambodia from Not For Sale Campaign on Vimeo.

Michael Platzer of the U.N.’s Center for International Crime Prevention said,

…200 million people are victims of contemporary forms of slavery. Most aren’t prostitutes, of course, but children in sweatshops, domestic workers, migrants. During four centuries, 12 million people were believed to be involved in the slave trade between Africa and the New World. The 200 million — and many of course are women who are trafficked for sex — is a current figure. It’s happening now. Today.

The Not for Sale Campaign has a slavery map tracking incidents near you revealed largely through law enforcement. The campaign focuses on more than just sexual slavery, and in their 2010 “Stop Paying for Slavery Tour” uses supply chain monitoring programs and looks at various forms of exploitation and economic dependence that result in a de facto rather than de juris forms of slavery.

Or as Jason Mustian recently put it,

Ron Soodalter at the Huffington Post talks about The Slave Next Door, and reaffirms that slavery is alive and well today. He’s calling for California to pass the Transparency in Supply Chains Act. A Heart for Justice reviews the same book.

Bruce Reilly visits the Modern Slavery Museum focusing on agricultural workers. Actually, the museum visited him, because it’s on wheels,

Farmworkers in this country have been the most exploited group of folks since the Abolition in slavery in 1865. As one farm owner puts it, “Before, we used to own the workers. Now we just rent ‘em.”

Faces of Slavery from David Hepburn on Vimeo.

Those interested in learning more might want to attend the Global Forum on Human Trafficking in Yorba Linda, CA on Oct. 14-15, or a number of workshops being held in the UK by UCL.

My Fight Planet gives us an edited version of highlights from “Fight Traffic,” a Mixed Marital Arts (MMA) event raising funds to abolish slavery and human trafficking. Maybe we can do something like that over here, because MMA fights are coming to Ontario.

Not all sports are so philanthropic. Tom Kirkendall is following the Roger Clemens case. Meanwhile, Howard Wasserman is cheering speech at the Sports Law Blog. Lilian Edwards comments on the case of the anonymous star of BBC’s racing show Top Gear trying to reveal his true name to cash in on an autobiography. (Sorry, no hockey here this time).

A Culture of Tolerance and Peaceful Coexistence between Races and Peoples

Michael Lynk, one of my former profs at UWO and currently Associate Dean, has the 2009 Rand Memorial Lecture on SSRN, Labour Law and the New Inequality. The premise behind the paper is that poor labour practices that stem from global inequity leads to instability and civil strife, limiting both social capabilities economic potential of these communities. UNESCO is currently mobilizing a response for the Pakistan floods, an issue of global concern to avoid radicalization, militancy and religious extremism in the region.

An obvious prerequisite for the horrors of Transatlantic slavery was the development of racial ideology. Slave Routes notes one of the major obstacles to political independence in Latin America was persistent and divisive racial ideologies. The Human Genome Project and countless scientific studies in recent years indicate the biological impossibility of human “races,” yet the resurgence of eugenics around the world is quite disturbing.

But genes can be used in good ways too. The Innocence Project announces that after 30 years DNA evidence has proven a Virginia man is innocent of rape charges due to the pro bono work of lawyers at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP. Another recent exoneree, Michael Anthony Green, wants to become a paralegal to help others wrongfully accused.

Speaking of wrongfully accused, Christine Corcos reports that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was charged in Sweden for rape and molestation charges. Not so quick though, seems those charges were dropped in a hurry. Other charges of espionage against Assange are contemplated by Kenneth Anderson, but Julian Ku on Opinio Juris says in true spy form that they have to catch him first.

The most effective approach to peaceful coexistence might simply be for people to get to know and understand each other, a variation of the contact hypothesis used in sociology. But sociologists know that contact alone is not enough.

Eugene Volokh thinks Islamophobia is not quite irrational, citing a Time article indicating 46% of Americans believe Islam is more likely to encourage violence than other religions. Maybe, after several centuries of slavery and colonialism justified through religious practices, to restore some balance or equilibrium in global power. But sometimes, as Simon Fodden points out on Slaw, patience can be just as effective in the face of intolerance.

Volokh does note however that the accommodation laws invoked by many American Muslims today were intended for all religions and have primarily benefited Christians. And although Islamophobia is not a typical form of racism, it does rely on classic Social Darwinism thought.

By the way, Obama is not a Muslim, even though his middle name is Hussein (Can we get over this already?).

Slave Routes rejects the premise that racism is based on xenophobia or ignorance,

Racism can be defined as a process of suppression of the human being, based on socially selected phenotypical traits. This system classifies people according to their external physical characteristics and establishes a hierarchy of groups. In the long run, one of those groups defined as the superior race and the others are placed in inferior positions on the scale. Racism, therefore, is not a product of ignorance, the result of fear or concern over the ‘other’ or a natural phenomenon. [emphasis added]

Racism is more than a word, according to Marco Randazza. One word by a Dr. Schlessinger is what a lot of people are talking about right now. I’ll let you guess the word, but Norm Pattis weighs in too. One of his readers doesn’t agree though,

That someone as smart as yourself would join the oh so ignorant and completely off base “young black men say nigga, why can’t an old white woman say nigger?” team I hope speaks only to a generational divide and a complete lack of understanding of the context in which nigga is used and that it is a different word than nigger.

Where we do typically see racism manifested today is with immigration. Kevin Johnson at the Immigration Prof Blog discusses the 14th Amendment, which gives citizenship to the children of immigrants born in the U.S. Instead of repealing it, the real solution he proposes is immigration reform. Daniel Cubias points out how difficult it is to repeal an Amendment, and the unlikelihood of it happening, while J.E. Robertson considers it an attack on all Americans. Hegemomy notes that repealing the 14th Amendment used to be the talk of the fringe-right, and calls it the rise of the “Old South.” They heavy-handed tactics used in places like Arizona inevitably spill over into the general population, as evidenced by a case presented to us by Scott Greenfield.

What is needed is for group to have meaningful interaction with each other in a shared space and common goals to overcome deeply ingrained stereotypes and prejudices. It’s very difficult to hate others when you have extensive and nuanced encounters with a group that demonstrate the diversity found within them. For example, Martha Minow raises concerns that charter schools in the U.S. have the potential to create self-segregation.

Maybe that’s what the opponents of a new community center in lower Manhattan are really afraid of, that others won’t harbour the same hatred and animosity towards other that they do. Originally Park51 was appropriately called Cordoba House, invoking the city in Spain that was once a Muslim capital of a flowering multicultural and multi-religious literary civilization, extinguished by the same movement that led to the Transatlantic slavery.

Or maybe, as Jon Stewart suggests, Fox News is a terrorist command center (see here in Canada). Randazza doesn’t have much to say about it, aside from invoking through Sam Seder bull-size helpings of Terry Nichols’ favorite prison past-time:

Daniel Luban just calls it “The New Anti-Semitism,”

While activists like Pam Geller have led the anti-mosque campaign and the broader demonization of Muslims that has accompanied it, leaders like Abe Foxman have acquiesced in it. In doing so they risk providing an ugly and ironic illustration of the extent of Jewish assimilation in 21st-century America. We know that Jews can grow up to be senators and Supreme Court justices. Let’s not also discover that they can grow up to incite a pogrom.

It was through Cordoba that toothpaste and under-arm deodorant were introduced to Western Europe, and where literary works were translated freely between Arabic, Hebrew, Latin and Greek. It was in Cordoba that the Golden Age of Judaism flourished, giving birth to rabbinic scholars such as Maimonides.

Despite being one of the most tolerant and inclusive societies on Earth today, and all the lofty constitutional and human rights ideals, the United States has yet to accomplish the same culture of tolerance and coexistence that once briefly existed – in Cordoba.

Perhaps that’s something though we can all aspire to in Park51, if we’re willing to open our minds to it.

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Charon QC has his own little law review going on, and Jordan Furlong has six for the road. Next week’s Blawg Review is by Mirriam Seddiq, a criminal defence and immigration lawyer who posts on Not Guilty. Blawg Review has information about next week’s host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.

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Hip-Hop and the Law: Law as Police http://lawiscool.com/2010/07/31/hip-hop-and-the-law-law-as-police/ Sat, 31 Jul 2010 21:59:35 +0000 http://lawiscool.com/?p=2808 Jay-Z and the Law

Welcome to the first article in the “Hip-Hop and the Law” series, which uses hip-hop as an entry point to discuss significant legal issues from unconventional perspectives, an objective not very different from Hip-Hop Law.  For my  first exploration of hip-hop and the law, I decided to focus on the way “the law” is often used as a synonym for law enforcement or police officers in rap music. Consider the following three examples of “the law” as a synonym for police:
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The year is ninety-four, in my trunk is raw
In my rearview mirror is the [expletive] law
– Jay-Z, 99 Problems (2003)
Making [expletive] hate me from a distance
Hopping fences in an instant, trying to get away from the long arm of the law
– Z-Ro, Get Yo Paper (2002)
By the way they’re runnin’, you would swear the law was comin
– Eminem, Run Rabbit Run (2003)

From the above examples we can learn a great deal about the perception of “the law” within hip-hop discourse.  For instance, note that the subject in rap music is often on the punitive end of the law, interacting with the law as a mechanism of control that conflicts with the behaviors, actions, and often happiness of the subject.  The law, then, is not of the subject, of hip-hop culture, or the individuals and communities that comprise a hip-hop collective; instead, the law is an external agent that enters a community not to serve or protect, but to punish.

Another important observation to glean is that in hip-hop discourse the law is often defined by its frontline enforcers: police officers.  That the law can be reduced to police officers in hip-hop discourse indicates a lack of engagement of the law’s other elements: judges, politicians, lawyers, civil2pac arrestedsociety organizations, lobbyists, and others.  To many communities, police officers are the only representatives of the law that are seen and heard directly.

So for individuals and communities that are reflected by or even produce hip-hop discourse, the law is experienced in a way that does not always lend itself to thinking of the law as an academic field, a source of employment, a malleable tool of protecting and bettering society, or an arena through which society is guided and driven, or the multiple other manifestations of the law distinct from police officers.

We may gain from this is an appreciation of diversity that brings different experiences and understandings of the law to the table, but perhaps more pertinent is recognizing the power that those of us who engage with the law through roles outside of law enforcement have the potential to redefine the law in different, more nurturing and comprehensive ways to communities who see law as police (i.e. low-income and, or minority communities).  Popular education initiatives, public speaking in relevant venues, and mentoring of youth are three efforts to achieve such redefinition that I have personally seen work.

Determine where you fit in and play your position.

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Lawsuit of the day: airline CEO wants free flights on competitor’s planes http://lawiscool.com/2010/07/21/lawsuit-of-the-day-airline-ceo-wants-free-flights-on-competitors-planes/ Wed, 21 Jul 2010 18:37:43 +0000 http://lawiscool.com/?p=2799 Robert Deluce, the CEO of Porter Airlines, is suing Air Canada for free travel passes which are allegedly owed to him and his spouse.

Deluce’s family used to own Air Ontario and Air Austin, both of which offered mainly regional service throughout Ontario.  These companies were sold to Air Canada back in the 80’s (and later became part of Air Canada Jazz in 2001). As part of the sale, Deluce and his wife were supposed to get free first class travel passes for life on Air Canada.

Deluce alleges that beginning last fall, Air Canada stopped honouring his travel passes without warning. He is seeking $5 million in compensation. One may question how many free flights would have to be missed, in less than a year, in order to rack up $5m in damages.

One may also question why the CEO of an airline would need free flights on a competitor’s planes. But hey, a deal’s a deal, right?

The background to the story is that Porter and Air Canada have been locked in a legal spat over the use of the Toronto Island airport. This lawsuit simply represents the latest broadside in the ongoing battle.

An Air Canada spokesperson (who deserves a raise) had this to say about the lawsuit: “[b]ecause this is currently before the courts we cannot comment. However, it is completely understandable that Mr. Deluce would prefer to fly Air Canada — with its Executive Class, in-flight entertainment, Maple Leaf Lounges, Concierge Service and other exclusive benefits — rather than Porter.”

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No Pardon for Karla Hamolka http://lawiscool.com/2010/07/14/no-pardon-for-karla-hamolka/ http://lawiscool.com/2010/07/14/no-pardon-for-karla-hamolka/#comments Thu, 15 Jul 2010 00:07:09 +0000 http://lawiscool.com/?p=2778 No matter how good she scores on LSAT Karla Homolka wont be able to gain admission to law school until at least 2015.

With the passing of the new Bill C-23A, Karla Homolka, the ex-wife of the infamous Scarborough rapist, Paul Bernardo, will not only be unable to apply for a pardon but also wont have her law school application go through!

Federal Bill C-23A, Limiting Pardons for Serious Crimes Act, in June 29th, those “convicted of a serious personal injury offence, including manslaughter, who received a prison term of two years or more” will not be able to apply for pardon until at least 10 years past the end of their sentence. According to Lawyers Weekly the bill was rushed through Parliament to prevent Karla Homolka from being eligible to apply for a pardon on July 1st. Rumors abound that on her path to getting her life back on track, Mrs. Homolka is interested in getting a law degree in Ontario.

Lucky for her, she wont have to face the dreadful and demoralizing 1L exams for at least another 5 years thanks to Bill C-23A.

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