Help A Reporter Out (HARO) was launched in 2008 as a way to connect reporters and experts needed for media stories, from television clips to online news articles.
Today, it’s one of the fastest growing publicity services online, and lawyers can use the platform as a cost-effective way to publicize their practice and display their expertise.
But it can also help in other ways. You can use the service to build media contacts, gain more search engine traffic and strengthen your reputation.
With everything it has to offer, HARO can become a significant aspect of your overall online marketing strategy. Here’s how to make it work.HARO 101: The Basics
HARO helps reporters find sources for their stories, and helps sources – experts, business owners, professionals – get free publicity by being featured in news articles.
The service is used by hundreds of major online outlets, including Forbes, Gannet, Associated Press, Reuters and Fox. It’s also used by thousands of smaller publishers, like blogs, trade magazines and local radio stations.How HARO Works
Every weekday, HARO send out three daily emails (5:35 a.m., 12:35 p.m. and 5:35 p.m. EST) with queries, which are pitches from reporters who need information for their stories.
A query includes the reporter’s name, media outlet, deadline, summary of their needs, and any requirements for their sources.
An example of a query would look like:
Name: Joe Smith, Reporter for Popular Legal Website
Category: Business and Finance
Media Outlet: Popular Legal Website
Deadline: 7:00 PM EST – 20 February
Looking for lawyers who can comment on the legality of the delays given to various Affordable Care Act employer mandates.
Must be a lawyer who is familiar with administrative or healthcare law and is knowledgeable about the current status of the ACA and the delays for its employer mandates.
The emails are sent out to a list of people that have signed up as sources. From there, it’s simple: sources who can reliably comment on the topic can send an email to the reporter. The email is sent through an anonymized email, much the same way Craigslist handles initial emails.
The reporter can then sift through responses to find experts and information that best fit the needs of the story. Typically, the reporter gets in contact with the source if he or she has decided to use the source’s information.
When the article comes out, the source is cited as an expert, and boom — free publicity.
Who Can Use HARO?
Anyone can sign up to a source on HARO, but those with more experience, credentials or expertise are more likely to get the attention of reporters.
On the reporting side, there’s a list of query guidelines reporters must meet in order to have their queries sent out to sources. One major requirement is that the reporter’s website must have an Alexa.com ranking of one million or less. This ranking is loosely based on overall traffic to a site and prevents queries from bloggers who are writing for new or unestablished sites.
Why Use HARO?
For lawyers, the most beneficial part of HARO is getting free publicity. When you’re used as a source in the media, this can result in:
On HARO’s website are a number of success stories: tales of companies that have had massive PR success simply from answering a query and being featured in media stories.
What Else You Should Know
Although use of the service is increasing, HARO still runs a tight ship. They only have a few rules:
The HARO process is simple, but that doesn’t mean free publicity comes easy. Here’s what you can do to maximize the marketing value of HARO.How to Use HARO as a Source
Success with HARO is essentially a numbers game. You might respond to ten queries in one week and only hear back from one or two reporters. The publicity you receive from those few opportunities, however, often makes up for the lack of response to your other emails.
Your job as a source is simple, then: to be the most appealing response to a query. Legal queries, especially those from large websites or publications, can yield anywhere from 20 to 50 or more responses, which means the amount of publicity you receive is largely based on your ability to stand out from the pack.
How do you do that? Make the reporter’s job as easy as possible. In my experience, working both as a source and a reporter, the most effective HARO responses are:
If you can craft a response that hits on all of the above, you have a much better chance of being the selected source for a story.Be Relevant
Sending an off-topic pitch is not only against HARO’s rules, it also annoys reporters to no end. They’re usually on deadlines or working on multiple stories, and irrelevant emails won’t do either of you any favors.
As you’re searching through HARO queries, look for topics that you can definitively comment on. If you’re not comfortable speaking to other experts about the topic, save your time and skip it.
Cast a deep net instead of a wide one, focusing on the areas you’re most familiar with and exercising patience. That’s not to say that you can’t be creative, however. If you handle your own online marketing, for example, then you may be able to comment on a query asking for online marketing tips.
In fact, applying your expertise to related queries like this can often get you better results because other lawyers aren’t looking at these queries.
The other factor in being relevant is providing actual expertise and information. Don’t send a BS pitch full of fluff and robotic quotes that sound like they’re taken from your firm’s latest press release. Reporters can recognize this type of pitch from a mile away, and it’s not likely to be included in a story.
Instead, make sure there’s a clear focus and take-away from your response. Ask yourself if you’d find the information useful had you been unaware of it. If you don’t have anything of value to offer, don’t bother responding.Be Timely
Although there are deadlines attached to each query, ignore those and plan on responding to a query as soon as possible. When you find relevant queries, take enough time to compose a good response, but take no longer.
Even if a stated deadline is still days away, many reporters like to use the quality responses they receive first. Again, it’s about making their job as easy as possible. When you’re one of the first responses, and you offer solid insight, the writer may be more likely to include your information in an initial draft of the story.
The importance of timeliness also depends on the subject. Broad queries that focus on legal topics in general are likely to receive more responses, while highly specialized queries may receive fewer responses and therefore, you may have more time to respond.
In general, it’s best to get in the habit of responding as quickly as you can without sacrificing the quality and focus of your response.Be Professional
As a reporter, when I receive responses that have poor grammar, lack of formatting or even one sentence summaries, I delete them on the spot. With HARO, part of being an expert is looking the part, and this means sending professional emails.
They can still be quick, direct and informal, but there’s no room for grammar errors, lack of information or other unprofessional mistakes. Include an actual greeting, a complete rundown of your idea, and your contact information.
Also, be sure to heed any requirements or directions the reporter puts in their query. If they ask for a brief bio, include a brief bio. If they want to conduct a Skype interview, make sure you can do that.Be Direct
Part of being professional, and useful, is getting right to the point. Don’t start your response with your background or expertise or anything else other than the information that directly answers their query.
You can include that information later on in the email, but again, think from a reporter’s point-of-view. They don’t want to wade through your credentials – they want to see what insight you can offer.Don’t Be Overly Promotional
In talking to other writers who’ve used HARO, it didn’t take long to name our biggest peeve: self-promotional responses. In most cases with legal queries, this isn’t an issue: the lawyer responds with information and also mentions their firm, website or service.
For some legal professionals, it’s easy to see HARO as a vehicle similar to a press release, particularly for those who have branched out and started a non-practice legal business, like software service or phone app.
But pitching your platform before your expertise won’t get the positive attention you want from a reporter. Instead, focus on your pitch, and only afterwards should you mention your company or website.
It’s also a good practice to avoid asking if the reporter will be including a link to your website. Links and increased organic traffic may be a benefit of using HARO, but those metrics shouldn’t be your main goal. Asking for links will send up a red flag that will make it a lot easier for the reporter to skip your response.
As long as you’re adding value to the story, you can still get the publicity you want, but it will be for your insight, not for what you’re trying to sell.Above All, Demonstrate Expertise
Of all these elements, by far the most important is your ability to demonstrate expertise. If you send a response that’s late, full of errors and long-winded, you might still have a chance of being featured if you offer extremely valuable information.
The idea of expertise, then, can trump just about everything else – including your actual expertise. What I mean is this: when responding to queries, you don’t have to be the leading expert in your field. You simply have to offer a response that appears expert.
Of course, writers want to profile well-known figures in the field they’re discussing. But depending on the scope or needs of the article, they’ll take anything that’s useful, even if it’s from someone largely unknown in the public eye.
Often, it doesn’t matter if you’re a budding lawyer or a savvy, grizzled rainmaker – if you can project what appears to be an expert voice, you can get the attention of a reporter.Other Useful HARO Tips
Keep track of the reporters you work with. Whether it’s saving them as contacts or connecting on LinkedIn, keeping in touch with reporters is a great way to become a consistent source for their stories. It may be against HARO’s rules to harvest email addresses, but it’s entirely okay to build out your media connections for future opportunities. This is particularly helpful if you’re putting out news, survey results or other assets that you’d like to get media attention.
Keep your responses conversational. A lot of writers take quotes directly from the emails themselves, rather than setting up separate interviews. Be prepared for this by offering conversational emails that would be easy to quote, in full or in part.
Let the reporter do the following up. Chances are good that most times, your response won’t be used. Instead of emailing the reporter to follow up, wait for him or her to get back to you. If your information is used, they’ll let you know, usually thanking you for your feedback and offering a link or date of publication.
Leverage your publicity. If you have success with HARO, use this media to your advantage. Feature it on your site or blog to demonstrate to potential clients that you have clout in the industry. Share the links on social media. If you’re featured in an online story, engage with commenters who have questions or comments.Harnessing the Potential of HARO
Plenty of lawyers are currently using HARO to gain free publicity, but few have perfected the process to make it an efficient part of their marketing strategy. HARO is all about a mutually beneficial relationship between reporters and expert – keep this in mind when you send responses and you’ll have a much easier time of getting free publicity.
Featured image: “image of a young journalist, sitting at the table for a typewriter” from Shutterstock.
The Lawyer’s Guide to Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is a post from Lawyerist.com. The original content in this feed is © 2013 Lawyerist Media, LLC. This feed is provided for private use only and may not be re-published.
A recent piece in University Affairs profiles Toronto lawyer Arshia Tabrizi and his academic community engagement start-up, Vidoyen. The name, the article explains, blends “video” and “doyen.” But I’m not sure how many Deans, if any, are on the roster: The site does, though, boast “academics, scholars, experts and thought leaders.”
The site features two-minute video mini-expositions falling in a range of categories. In a quick look through the categories, I don’t see any law professors or practitioners, other than Mr. Tabrizi himself. The slate of advisors includes Former Mayor David Miller and David Cohn, the Director of News at the fine news-gathering app Circa.
It seems the goal of Vidoyen is to connect academics with the community, for all of the good reasons that exist to do that. Given the medium of video, the crossovers with MOOCs and the like are evident. The divergence is in the style: the brevity of the Vidoyen product connects it to social media—not quite Vine, but definitely not Khan Academy. “TED talks meets Twitter,” Mr. Tabrizi says.
Vidoyen has its sphere, for now, of academics in various disciplines. But I wonder about the potential value of a two-or-so-minute portable video blog format, as a community engagement tool for law professors, or perhaps lawyers.
A coalition of unions led by the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ) has won a court challenge against certain provisions of the 2009 reform of Quebec’s Pay Equity Act. The provisions in question require employers subject to the Act to audit pay equity in their businesses every five years, but not continuously. In other words, since 2009, Quebec employers have been required to perform a pay equity audit at the end of each five-year period, prepare a list of events that generated wage adjustments (e.g., promotions), and only pay the wage adjustments due at that time rather than when the adjustments occurred. The first audits would have taken place this year.
As a result of the FIQ challenge, on January 22, 2014, the Superior Court deemed sections 76.3 and 76.5 of the amended Act unconstitutional. These provisions describe the substance of employers’ obligations in maintaining pay equity. One describes the information that the employer must post following the audit process, and the other describes the non-retroactive adjustments that may arise. The plaintiffs—representing predominantly female job classes—argued that the changes introduced during the 2009 reform penalized employees because they were not entitled to a retroactive wage adjustment from the time a change in their job was recognized, but only after the pay equity audit, which could occur five years later.
The amendments were intended to push the many Quebec businesses that have failed to comply with the Pay Equity Act into action, but it seems that they may have the unintended effect of limiting or reducing affected workers’ compensation. For example, if only audited at the end of a five-year period, a wage adjustment could result in significantly lower pension benefits.
According to the Superior Court, the obligation to pay salary adjustments without the possibility of retroactivity is a source of discrimination based on sex and continues the systemic discrimination against women the Act was supposed to eliminate. The Court found the two provisions of the Act invalid, unenforceable and ineffective because they derogate from sections 15 and 52 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and sections 10, 16 and 19 of the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The provisions in question violate the right to equality of women at work because they create conditions that substantially diminish several other rights and benefits conferred by the Pay Equity Act.
Judge Edward Martin asked that the government modify the Pay Equity Act to better inform employees of changes that lead to salary adjustments as a result of the five-year pay equity audit, and that salary adjustments be due at the time of the change rather than the time of the audit.
However, the Court’s declaration of invalidity, unenforceability and infectivity is suspended for a period of one year (January 24, 2015), to allow the government time to modify the law.
Unfortunately, on February 21, 2014, Quebec’s Minister of Justice filed a notice to appeal the judgement stating that it contains errors of fact and law that deserve to be reviewed by the Court of Appeal. It will be interesting to hear what the Minister of Justice believes is incorrect in the Superior Court’s ruling and what the Court of Appeal has to say on the matter.
Each Thursday we present a significant excerpt, usually from a recently published book or journal article. In every case the proper permissions have been obtained. If you are a publisher who would like to participate in this feature, please let us know via the site’s contact form.
Women Workers: Is Equality Enough?
feminists@law, Vol 2, No 2 (2013)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
(Footnotes omitted; they are available in the original, via the hyperlink above.)
. . . After the crisis of World War II, in most democratic capitalist countries a stable and enduring gender order composed of a male breadwinner and female housewife was constructed on top of the Keynesian welfare state. It depended upon providing high wages and secure employment to men. Tax, labour, family and social welfare law supported this arrangement, and trade barriers created protected enclaves for developed industrial economies. Equality in employment for men and women was simply not part of the political discourse. Married women were treated as the most marginal of workers, and they were excluded from the labour force. It was not until the mid-1960s that the Canadian and UK governments lifted their bans on employing married women in the civil service.
During the 1960s, the expansion in publicly provided services created employment opportunities for women and as men’s wage increases started to stall, married women took on part-time jobs in order to maintain household consumption standards. Married women provided a reserve army of workers for the expanding welfare state and growing corporate bureaucracies.
The only equality law available to women was equal pay for equal work legislation, which was not enacted in the UK until 1970 (14 years after it was introduced by the Canadian federal government). However, equal pay was perfectly compatible with the development of a different, and subordinate, employment norm for women. Women were much more likely to work in non-unionized jobs in the service sector on a part-time or temporary basis, and they were crowded into a small band of occupations at the bottom of the job hierarchy. Sex segregation became a viable alternative to excluding married women from the labour market.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the second wave of the women’s movement pushed to dismantle the last remnants of discriminatory laws, practices and policies. Women demanded equal rights, and won greater legal and political independence from men. Improved access to the labour market and social welfare programs, especially for lone mothers, provided a material base for women’s independence. So, too, did effective and reliable mechanisms for reproductive control. Divorce laws were liberalized and marriage breakdown increased. But formal legal equality did not address the underlying gender division of labour. Women’s employment was shaped by the gendered division of labour that continued to give them primary responsibility for caring for human beings.
The increase in women’s paid employment resulted in a recalibration of the gender order. Although the primary breadwinner was still male and unpaid domestic work continued to be performed by women, the male breadwinner was supplemented by a subordinated women worker. By the late 1970s, women no longer constituted a reserve army; their employment was necessary, but the employment arrangements that enabled them to balance their domestic responsibilities did not provide them with economic independence.
Second-wave feminism caught fire as the proportion of women in the labour force grew and the state recognized the importance of women’s employment. For a brief moment in the early 1980s in Canada, substantive equality became dominant in Canadian political discourse. Pay and employment equity, a national and universal publicly funded child care system, and labour standards to improve the conditions of part-time workers were recommended by a series of federally appointed task forces and royal commissions.
However, feminism’s equality momentum was difficult to sustain when the economy went into decline. The deep recession at the beginning of the 1980s hit especially hard in Canada’s manufacturing sector, where employment shrank dramatically. Economic restructuring and neoliberal policies designed to promote flexible employment led to a deterioration in employment standards, dropping unionization rates, declining real wages and the spread of precarious work. The feminization of labour was matched by a feminization of employment norms: employment terms, conditions and arrangements, such as low pay, poor benefits, part-time and temporary work, which historically have been associated with women, proliferated. Increasingly, men began to take these jobs too.
Equality began to be seen as a leveling down discourse in labour law and equality claims by women had less political resonance in a climate in which employment conditions and prospects for men were deteriorating. These changes fuelled the backlash against substantive equality that deepened during the 1990s. By the end of the 1980s, the dilemmas facing women in the new gender order could not be resolved through expanding the definition of sex discrimination.
In some ways, the visibility and relevance of gender differences in the labour market began to disappear, as the employment experiences of men and women converged.
During the 1990s, the pattern of women’s labour market participation more closely resembled men’s and the gap between men and women’s wages had narrowed.
However, this convergence is not necessarily a cause for celebration. In Canada, between 1980 and 2000, men’s median weekly earnings dropped by 7 per cent while women’s grew by 13 per cent. From 2000 to 2005, median earnings remained constant for men but rose by 4 per cent for women. The most dramatic improvement was among women aged 45 to 49 (17.8 per cent) and those at the higher end of the wage distribution (16.0 per cent). The women’s labour market also began to polarize, which was a marked departure from the 1950s and 1960s, when women’s employment was much more homogenous. Age, race, migrant status and household composition are increasingly important for predicting women’s labour market outcomes.
Yet, in other ways the relevance of gender has intensified.
In 2007, the wage gap between men and women in Canada was 21 per cent. Although gendered occupational segregation is declining, it is still very persistent. In 2009, 67 per cent of all employed women worked in teaching, nursing and related health occupations, clerical or other administrative positions, or sales and service occupations, compared with 31 per cent of employed men. The labour force participation rate of women is still below that of men, mostly due to women’s childrearing responsibilities. Women with children under the age of three are less likely than other women to have a job. Married women with children continue to be disproportionately concentrated in part-time employment. In the UK, the percentage of married women employed part-time is one of the highest in the developed world.
Women’s increased employment rate and working hours have not been matched by a concomitant shift in unpaid domestic work to men, although men have increased their contribution to domestic labour. An increase in long hours of work, especially amongst men, and an increase in the length of the standard work week during the 1980s and 1990s contributed to a rise in work-life conflict.
The contradictory pressures of gender erosion and intensification are driving the reconfiguration of the gender order. There have been two general responses in developed countries such as Canada and the UK to the challenge of sustaining social reproduction: work-life balance policies and the commodification of a central component of social reproduction – care work.
Work-life balance policies are designed to achieve a new accommodation between the processes of production and requirements of social reproduction in light of the breakdown of the post-war gender order. Their goal is to institutionalize a form of family-friendly flexibility that makes it easier for individuals and households to combine family life and working life. Key components of policies for work/life balance are leave for family responsibilities and flexible working-time arrangements that enable workers to adjust their working time more easily.
However, a problem is that these policies can, depending upon their design, either alleviate or reinforce the gendered division of social reproduction labour. In the UK, the long hours of work culture for men runs counter to their invoking the right to request shorter hours. Thus, women are much more likely to resort to the flexible working time provisions. Although reduced-hour jobs constructed round individual requests are generally of higher quality than jobs constructed as part time, ‘even better would be a fundamental rethinking of the construction of jobs at all levels so they could be offered on a range of different hours packages, abandoning the concepts of part-time and full-time.’
Moreover, despite the hoopla surrounding the recent reforms in the UK which provide greater flexibility for fathers to use parental leave, the low replacement rate for wages during parental leave virtually ensures that the lower-waged worker, typically the woman, in a two-earner family will take it. These policies cultivate an ideal worker/marginalized caregiver gender order.
In order to promote gender equality proponents of family-friendly policies need to consider the politics of choice. Women’s responsibility for childcare is typically seen as an individual choice and women are responsible for its costs. However, policies that enhance individual choice need to attend to the broader structures of employment and social reproduction. Policy discourse in Canada and the UK has only just begun to register ideas about men’s greater involvement in domestic life. The problem is that so long as men can choose not to care women will have no choice but to do so. The choices of individual women are shaped by the opportunities open to them and the cultural norms that prevail. Thus, it is important to increase the incentives for men to take on a greater share of unpaid labour and to challenge cultural norms that associate women with certain kinds of domestic labour if women are to be given a real choice about how they spend their time. What we need are forms of affirmative action polices when it comes to men and domestic work. . . .
Experience success and it’s like a drug… you want more. Success in your law firm is much the same. Whatever got you there, you put into high gear to get you more. Whether it is building relationships with big corporate clients or lateral hires that bring a book of business, oftentimes the strategies that once worked will outlive their usefulness and become liabilities. Author and Inc. Magazine contributor Les McKeowen has seen several “types” of strengths turned into destructive weaknesses…
1. The legacy business that holds growth hostage. Perhaps the most common way in which a great achievement becomes a liability is when the company has fought a long, expensive battle for industry prominence– and won.
Often the price that has been paid for that victory in terms of time, resources and personnel is so high that everything that follows is distorted by its gravitational pull: A components manufacturer builds an unassailable position in the plastics industry, but can’t (or won’t) adapt to new materials because of the literal and psychic sunk cost in its old, legacy industry.
Take a long look at your practice areas and industry teams. Are they truly relevant in today’s world… or are you stuck simply because your founding partners got you there?
2. The single customer that distorts the entire business. Sure, it’s great to get a large customer. Your industry’s equivalent of Walmart or Apple comes a-knocking and before you know it, you’ve got massive orders, a lengthy pipeline, and predictable cash flow (even if the profits are tight).
You also get considerable bragging rights. At industry conferences, competitors look at you with envy. Your employees feel proud to see your product at outlets everywhere. You’re a member of an elite club.
But back on the factory floor, or in office cubicles, your entire business is gradually being distorted.
Until one day, you no longer have control over your own destiny. You can no longer afford to lose this customer, because if you did, you’d have to essentially start all over again.
Take a look at your single largest sales success – has it brought you freedom? Or are you trapped?
I have first-hand experience with this one and the word “trapped” hits to the heart of the matter. It’s hard to admit, but stop and take a hard look at what this big gorilla is doing to your organization and if the feeling is “trapped” then start doing something about it… now!
3. The maverick-turned-jerk who pollutes the atmosphere and destroys your culture. Every growing business needs a big dog or two–hard-charging, get-it-done Operators who work every hour God sends (and then some) to build the success of the business in the early days.
But those big dogs can sour. As the business grows and becomes more complex, big dogs often bristle at being forced to comply with the systems and processes needed to scale. A little drunk on the autonomy they’ve built over the years–and often having built a massive amount of sweat equity with the business’ founders–they become mavericks.
Take a long look at your biggest big dog. If they’re teeing off everyone except you (and maybe, if you’re honest, they’re teeing you off, too), it’s time to admit that your once greatest asset has become a maverick liability.
Every law firm has one… the “big dog” who causes more havoc than the organization can absorb. Ask yourself and others, could the firm survive without him or her? The answer is usually, YES! It may be uncomfortable but sooner or later you will need to bite the bullet and part ways. Once it’s done people will say…”Finally, we thought you’d never wake up!”
It’s time for a reality check. Take your blinders off and make sure your strengths haven’t turn into your weakness. And please shoot me an email if you’d like to discuss this subject further!
In the wake of a 2013 ruckus that cost a top Harvard University dean her job, a committee appointed by Harvard’s president has recommended that the university adopt institutionwide standards for gaining access to email and other accounts used by students, faculty members, and employees.
“At present, the university lacks a clear, overarching policy in this area,” says the committee’s report. “The absence of a single, visible, and comprehensive policy has led to confusion and uncertainty.”
The committee—led by David Barron, a law professor—is recommending that access to individuals’ accounts be permitted only for “a legitimate and important university purpose” and when “authorized by an appropriate and accountable person.”
In general, the committee says, the account user should be notified when information “will be or has been accessed,” and access “should be limited to the user electronic information needed to accomplish the purpose.” The report also recommends that a committee including faculty members be entrusted with “ongoing, independent oversight” of compliance with the proposed standards.
Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard’s president, appointed the committee after top administrators of Harvard College, the university’s main undergraduate division, admitted approving secret searches of the email accounts of 16 resident deans in hopes of discovering who had leaked information about a cheating scandal to the news media.
Evelynn M. Hammonds, the Harvard College dean, stepped down last summer after acknowledging that she and Michael D. Smith, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, had authorized the secret searches.
The recommendations will now undergo a two-week comment period. After any resulting revisions, they will be presented to President Faust to be carried out.
This release of work-level records as Linked Data appears to include records for a very large number of legal works.
The release seems to include a high proportion of the legal works in the OCLC database, amounting to tens of thousands of legal works from many different nations.
The release is of potential interest to developers of legal information systems that use Linked Data technology: these new OCLC work-level records can be linked to by, or integrated with, other legal information resources that employ Linked Data.
Tennant means “work” as that term is used in the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) framework.
FRBR has been incorporated into some major legal metadata standards, including Akoma Ntoso, CEN MetaLex, and the LEX naming convention (specifying URN:LEX and the HTTP-based LEX identifier).
FRBR has been implemented in some legal information systems, including Legislation.gov.uk, the MetaLex Document Server, the Brazilian Senate’s LexML system, and the implementations of Akoma Ntoso and the LEX Naming Convention.
According to Tennant, the OCLC announcement was posted by Richard Wallis at Data Liberate.
The Justice Index has been launched, by the National Center for Access to Justice at Cardozo Law School.
The index provides quantitative measures of access to justice for U.S. states.
The broad variables in the model are attorney access, self-representation, language assistance, and disability assistance.
The methodology is explained at http://www.justiceindex.org/methodology/
Richard Zorza has a new post about the index.
The Twitter hashtag for the event was #legalevolution
Here is a summary of the program, based on the conference Website and Ed Walters’s photo of the program:
Introductory Session: Bruce MacEwen.
I. The Rogers Diffusion Curve: How Industries Change and Adapt, Including Law.
Presenter: William D. Henderson
Commentator: Firoz Dattu
II. Innovation No. 1: Predictive Analytics for Substantive and Operational Decisions.
Presenters: Chris Zorn, Evan Parker-Stephen [click here for slides]
Commentator: David Cambria
III. Innovation No. 2: Process Design and Implementation in an Endless Quest for Perfection.
Presenter: Raymond Bayley
Commentator: Kimberley A. DeBeers
IV. Contemporary Examples of Innovations Nos. 1 and 2 within the Legal Industry.
Presenters: Daniel Martin Katz, Michael J. Bommarito II [click here for slides]
Commentator: Paul Carr
For more resources related to this event, please see the comments to this post.
HT Dan Katz
Open Sourc… 11:55:09, 2014-02-25
A few weeks ago, I asked a local solosmall email list whether small firms have a diversity problem. My question was prompted by a job posting from a small firm made up exclusively of young, white men (except for the secretary, who was a young, white woman).1 On reflection, I could not think of many small firms with any better diversity (including my own, which, at its most-diverse, was three white men and a remote assistant who was a white woman — oh, and a couple of Irish foreign exchange students from a local law school, both men).
But I didn’t think it was fair to apply my limited anecdotal experience to an entire segment of my state’s legal market, so I tried to crowdsource it. While it is relatively easy to survey big firms for diversity, it would be virtually impossible even to list all the firms with 2–20 lawyers or so in any metropolitan area, much less survey them for diversity.
I figured the members of my state’s solosmall listserv, who come from all over the state, would be able to give me a better idea of small-firm diversity. So I asked, and although I got well over 50 responses, almost nobody told me whether they had encountered diversity in small firms. Instead, I got responses like this:
[T]his resembles a camel in the Sahara, looking for sand. There’s plenty of it, but so what?
I’m really not sure what that means. I also got a lot of reactions like this one, suggesting that many lawyers took the question personally:
My firm consists of two lawyers – one fifty something woman, one thirty something man. Does the fact that we are both white mean that we have a diversity problem?
And a few anecdotes noting the existence of a person who is a member of a racial minority somewhere nearby:
There is an attorney of Chinese ethnicity in the Stearns County attorney’s office. Is that enough diversity for you?
(That one may have been a joke, to be fair, but there were many others essentially identical to it that were definitely not jokes.) Many of the responses went similarly, with an account of the sender’s firm’s makup, and a challenge — “Is that diverse enough for you?”
Just by asking about diversity, I guess I set myself up as a target for people who either don’t want to talk about diversity or don’t believe there is a diversity problem in small firms. I felt like I was asking the NFL about concussions.
It would be easy to assume that these comments come from people who are defensive because their own firms lack diversity, but that is not necessarily the case. Some of the lawyers I quoted about are diverse in their own right, or come from firms most would consider diverse.
So in the end, I still don’t know whether small firms are diverse, much less whether or not we should consider the existing level of small-firm diversity to be a problem. What I do know is that most small firms don’t do a lot of hiring. A very small firm may hire just a handful of people during its existence. That’s not a lot of opportunity to introduce diversity, and I wonder how many small firms even consider diversity when taking on a partner. Maybe a lot. Maybe none. And if small firms tend to be homogenous as a result, is that a problem?
One person who responded came at the issue from a different angle:
I started my career in Biglaw and periodically hang out at events where someone is addressing the “lack of diversity” in the profession – without questioning the unspoken assumption that “the profession” is big firms. Biglaw was invented by old white guys between 1900-1970, and it continues to bear all the hallmarks of its era. Expecting it to accommodate difference in any meaningful way is (in my opinion) like expecting a cruise ship to sprout wings and fly. That’s just not what it’s for.
So after hanging my shingle, imagine how fun it was to discover where the missing “diversity” was hiding… in plain sight, in solo practice. Pretty much every Title VII protected class I can think of is “overrepresented” among solos and smalls relative to Biglaw.
In other words, maybe solosmall, taken as a whole, is more diverse and that’s a problem.
Still, I am no closer to an answer, so I will try again. Do you think small firms are diverse? Do you think the level of diversity you have observed in small firms is a problem? Why?
Featured image: “Image of businesspeople’?? silhouettes in a rush” from Shutterstock.
I did follow up with one of the owners. He said his first two hires were women, although the next few happened to be men. And even though the firm photo had only men, they recently hired a female lawyer who was not yet on the website. He said he was sensitive to the perception that his firm lacks diversity, and that the firm is doing its best to address it.
Do Small Firms Have a Diversity Problem? is a post from Lawyerist.com. The original content in this feed is © 2013 Lawyerist Media, LLC. This feed is provided for private use only and may not be re-published.
What distinguishes a licensed, practising lawyer from another unlicensed legal professional?
Many will say that the answer is trust. The lawyer has duties and obligations to their client pursuant to a professional code of ethics and the profession’s regulatory scheme. A regulated lawyer has professional liability insurance coverage (mandatory in Canada) and is also “covered” for theft by their local compensation fund.
Clients can rely on those structures to protect them from lawyer’s mistakes, misdeeds and misappropriations. They can place their trust in their lawyer, and failing that, the lawyer’s regulator, liability insurer and compensation fund.
I was reminded of the importance of these foundational structures yesterday when I read the headline, Lawyer faces new allegation of professional misconduct and learned that a Manitoba lawyer has been suspended and is facing allegations of misappropriating client trust funds.
Later in the day, I received another reminder with my annual invoice for practising fees from the Law Society of Manitoba. The invoice included an increased contribution to the Law Society’s Reimbursement Fund as well as a notice advising that there are a some large claims to be paid from that fund in the coming year, drawing down reserves. As a result, I (and some 1500 other Manitoba lawyers) will pay a heftier levy this year to replenish the fund for the future.
As a licensed and regulated lawyer, I am required to uphold the ethical and practice standards set by my professional body. I am required to pay my annual fees for the privilege of practising. I am required to purchase and maintain liability insurance. And I am am required to contribute to the cost of reimbursing another lawyer’s clients when that lawyer has stolen client money.
It’s a lot to swallow on the day the invoice comes from the Law Society, but it underscores the degree to which the legal profession as a whole takes seriously the obligations that flow from the trust clients have placed in us. It also points directly to the enhanced value still provided by a regulated “brand” of legal services.
Thanks to the work of Corporate Records & Archives and the Great Library, the Law Society of Upper Canada has made the minutes and transcripts of Convocation available online as a searchable and browsable database. According to LSUC Archivist Paul Leatherdale, “The site contains the public versions of the Minutes of Convocation from April 1988 to the present, and the public Transcripts of Convocation from September 1991 to the present.”
The Professional Regulation Committee, in the form of the Alternative Business Structures Working Group, of the Law Society of Upper Canada has just submitted a Report to Convocation on the subject of alternative business structures. In all, though I’ve not had time to fully review the report, it’s quite positive about new business structures and recommends that Convocation explore various models and the rules necessary to implement and control them. This from the executive summary:
Conclusion and Recommendation: The Working Group concluded that there are negative consequences inherent in current regulatory limitations on the delivery of legal services in Ontario that could be addressed with the thoughtful liberalization of business structures and the related liberalization of what non-legal services can be provided by entities providing legal services. The Working Group identified four structural and services models as options for consideration as permissible regulatory structures, and for consultation:
The Working Group recommends that these four models be the subject of consultation with interested groups and individuals prior to a decision as to which is the preferred option for recommendation to Convocation. The four models are described in greater detail at paragraphs 162 to 179 of the report.
This is a report that all lawyers will want to read, initiating, as it does, the likelihood of widespread and fundamental reform of the economics of legal practice.
A few months ago I questioned whether there was any worth in a lawyer paying for an enhanced profile on legal lists.
I got a call recently that topped that concept.
The call was from a publisher in England. They started off by talking about their publication read by thousands of CEOs around the world. And an upcoming edition that was going to feature a global CEO survey on social media risk from a major accounting firm. They did their best to promote this as a high profile publication.
Then they said they wanted to do a companion article to get a perspective from a lawyer with social media experience, and asked if their writer could contact me to ask some questions.
So the wheels start turning. Is this for real or a scam? Is there any reason I should / should not do this? Might this be a good promo opportunity? Might this be a good investment of my time?
Then reality hits – and the answers become clear. For the privilege of being interviewed, I have to pay a fee of 7900 pounds – about $15,000!!!
Really? Are lawyers and other professionals that gullible that they will actually pay that kind of money to be featured in an article? And the publication actually expects an expert to pay them to give their article credibility?
Sadly the fact that these types of businesses exist tells me that lawyers and other professionals are indeed that gullible.
Is being an expert or thought leader not something one earns, rather than purchasing for a price approaching a small car?
Forget earning your place as a thought leader – for the price of a small car, you too can find your place among them.
To a hammer, everything is a nail
There is an old aphorism that “To a hammer, everything is a nail”. The aphorism reflects the centrality of perspective. Where you stand very much affects what you can (or want to) see.
I think that Professor Julie Macfarlane makes this point in the context of discussions about access to justice. Professor Macfarlane has carefully researched and thoughtfully written about the reality that most family law litigants don’t use lawyers. She speaks about this issue with lawyers yet, as she seems to say, the discussions with lawyers about this topic are, at best, stilted. I suspect that this is because lawyers see the access to justice issue from their professional perspective, are rightly proud of the work that they do for clients and have difficulty processing the access to justice issue from any perspective other than their own.
So the main point of this column is to try to address the A2J question from a different perspective and to use that perspective to look at the solutions offered.
Middle Income Access to Justice
In 2012, Professors Trebilcock, Duggan and Sossin published Middle Income Access to Justice. The book drew on 23 surveys of the public’s experience with justiciable problems undertaken across 13 countries.
The importance of this approach is that it looks at justiciable problems experienced by the public rather than looking at what lawyers do. The punch line is that there is a difference. Lawyers know what lawyers do. Lawyers fairly believe that lawyers do good things. So lawyers don’t see problems. To a hammer, everything is a nail.
The 2009 Ontario Civil Legal Needs Project is examined in the book by Professors Baxter, Trebilcock and Yoon. They examine the data seeking to determine what predicts the decision to seek legal advice. In other words, when do the members of the public go to lawyers for help? The answer is that it is the problem type significantly predicts whether a lawyer is consulted. And there are four problem types that predict the involvement of lawyers namely criminal, family, wills and powers of attorney and real estate. While not significant in a statistical sense, personal injury comes a close fifth on the numbers.
That the public goes to lawyers for criminal, family, wills and powers of attorney, real estate problems and personal injury problems should come as no surprise to lawyers. This is pretty much exactly what lawyers say that they do for individuals. In 2005, the Law Society of Upper Canada Sole Practitioner and Small Firm Task Force reported that lawyers in sole practice and in small firms generally represent individuals (77%) and that these lawyers practice real estate (46%), civil litigation (39%), wills, estates, trusts (35%), corporate and commercial (33%) and family (26%).
What do lawyers do? What legal needs exist?
Given that the public says that it uses lawyers for criminal, family, wills and powers of attorney, real estate problems and personal injury problems and that this is what lawyers say they do, we can have a strong degree of confidence about the nature of the practice of law for individuals.
Solicitors do real estate work, assist with wills, estates and trusts and also do some corporate and commercial work (presumably for small businesses). Litigators do criminal, family and personal injury litigation. Some lawyers of course do solicitors work as well as litigation.
That these are the categories of work done by lawyers makes obvious sense. Members of the public with significant assets use solicitors to help them with real estate transactions and in dealing with inheritances made or received. Members of the public who have trouble with the criminal law, who are in failed family relationships or who seek compensation for significant personal injury use litigators.
But what lawyers don’t see and cannot appreciate is that this amounts to a relatively small portion of the justiciable problems experienced by members of the public. According to the 2009 Ontario Civil Legal Needs Project, the public only seek legal assistance in respect of 11.7% of justiciable events.
Said simply, the public use lawyers for less than 15% of the justiciable events experienced by them. Said another way, what is 100% of lawyers’ practices is less than 15% of the public’s legal needs.
What about the other 85%?
Of the over 85% of justiciable problems that don’t attract legal attention, approximately 60% are consumer problems, money/debt and employment problems. A smallish proportion is in respect of discrimination, housing, hospital treatment/release, welfare benefits, disability benefits, immigration and other matters.
Should we care about the 85% of legal needs that are not addressed by lawyers? For the legal philosopher, the answer must be yes. As Professors Trebilcock, Duggan and Sossin put it “Most conceptions of the rule of law assume equality before the law and hence access to law or the justice system as one of its fundamental predicates”. And as Professor Gillian Hadfield argues, it seems quite wrong that the businesses on the other side of these justiciable events have expert legal assistance while the public does not. For the Law Society, the answer must also be yes given its public interest mandate. For individual solicitors and litigators who are struggling to do a good job and make a decent living, it is not surprising that this 85% is not on their radar.
The next question is why are lawyers used for less than 15% of legal needs? This is not well examined but I think the reason is clear. Lawyers are small business people who sell their time and expertise to help members of the public solve their problems. Taking into account the incomes reasonably required by university-trained highly intelligent professionals and their overheads, the fees for lawyers solving problems are measured in the hundreds of dollars per hour of time spent.
Real estate transactions and issues with inheritances are economically significant enough that the cost of a lawyer is justified. Personal injury claims work economically where the compensation likely attainable is large enough to justify legal fees.
Criminal law and family law are more problematic. Criminal law problems undoubtedly require legal assistance but accused persons often cannot afford the fees. As a society, we (mostly) address the importance of criminal law problems and the inability of those with criminal law problems to pay for legal assistance through legal aid.
Family law is the problem child from the lawyers perspective. The issues are difficult enough to justify legal assistance. People often cannot simply choose to ignore the family law issues whether because custody of children is at issue, support is needed or assets are being divided. Most people don’t use lawyers for family law problems. Not because they don’t want to but rather because they can’t afford to pay what turns out to be a large and unpredictable cost.
As for the remaining 85%, the fees of the legal expert are out of proportion with the size of the problem to be solved and, unlike criminal or family law, the public isn’t forced into the legal system.
What to do about the 85%?
So what to do? We could ignore the 85% and hope that no one notices. This seems to be the current approach.
We could hope that society comes to see these legal needs as being as compelling as health or education and provide legal aid funding. There are two problems with this approach. First, it won’t happen. Second and more important is that it is wrong to require society to pay for solutions the cost of which is disproportionate to the problem addressed. Even people with sufficient resources generally do not use lawyers for these problems because of the cost benefit equation. The business model of the small business lawyer does not provide an efficient way to address the 85% whether privately funded or funded by legal aid.
We could (and in Ontario have) allow regulated paralegals to address a portion of the 85%. While the business model is essentially the same, paralegals charge less and so can efficiently address some of the 85%. Small claims court work is a good example. But the advocacy provided by regulated paralegals solves at best a small part of the 85% puzzle.
There are two remaining choices. Neither will be attractive to practising lawyers. The first is to end the monopoly. If lawyers and regulated paralegals can’t efficiently address over 85% of legal problems then it makes sense simply to get out of the way. It makes no sense to prohibit anyone but a member of the Law Society from doing work that members of the Law Society don’t do.
The alternative choice is to encourage innovation by regulatory liberalization permitting other ways of delivering legal services. Having small businesses spend expert professional time on problems is not the only way to address problems. Technology and business processes can provide lower cost solutions. Larger businesses with scope and scale can deliver services in a way that the small business professional cannot.
My preference is to allow new ways of providing legal services under regulatory supervision. I am uncomfortable with the deregulation alternative. But I don’t see how doing nothing is acceptable.
Returning to the 15% (actually the 11.7%)
Criminal, family, wills and powers of attorney, real estate and personal injury problems make up the 11.7% of justiciable problems for which the public turn to lawyers for assistance. These are problems that lawyers see and seek to solve for their clients.
For criminal law, there is a clear issue of access to justice. But the answer is mostly, if not entirely, proper legal aid to ensure that competent criminal lawyers are engaged to protect fundamental constitution rights.
For real estate transactions, there is no reason to think that access to legal services is an issue. While there are likely efficiencies available through new ways of providing legal services, the issues in real estate law aren’t really about access.
For wills and powers of attorney, the issue is a bit more complicated. For those with property of sufficient value, the current system no doubt works reasonably well in terms of access. As in real estate, services could likely be more efficiently. But, it is also clear that the majority of Canadians do not have a will nor a power of attorney. For the majority of Canadians, wills and powers of attorney are in the 85% not the 15%. But lawyers do not see this as an issue because lawyers ably serve the minority of the public who have sufficient assets in their estate or a sufficient inheritance to justify paying lawyers’ fees.
For personal injury law, the contingent fee substantially addresses the access issue. However, the small business professional model limits the risk that can be taken by personal injury lawyers. With limited capital and limited volume, personal injury lawyers inevitably will tend to take on claims that are most certain to pay off. And it is common that clients are required to fund disbursements which may or may not be affordable.
The greatest access problem in the 15% is in family law. Family law litigants often start off with a lawyer but then try to represent themselves because legal fees are large and unpredictable and the amount of the family assets do not justify the legal fees. Professor Macfarlane’s research indicates that 70% of family law litigants are unrepresented. It seems that many start in the 15% but most end up in the 85%. Family law lawyers do not have the volume of business or the working capital to work on a fixed or predictable fee basis. The hourly rate legal model is unable to reduce price without reducing lawyers incomes. Technology and process innovation are not brought to bear because of lack of investment capital and expertise.
Improving access to justice in family law is complicated. Part of the answer may be allowing paralegals to do some of the advocacy work that is no longer being done by lawyers. Part of the answer may be in reducing the complexity of the process by which family law disputes are resolved. But there is reason to think that allowing evolution of business structures can be part of the solution as well. In Australia, firms which have taken advantage of access to external capital are now providing fixed fee family law services. As well, the well-capitalized Australian firms (e.g. Shine Lawyers, Slater & Gordon) fund disbursements in personal injury matters as well as fees.
To return to the beginning, it seems that it can be difficult for lawyers to appreciate the access issues that exist in our legal system. This may be because our perspective is inherently limited and we are rightly proud of that which we do. There is also a natural fear of change and, for some, a tendency to exaggerate how well things are going and how badly things could be if the status quo is not maintained. In my view, there is a compelling need for reform to advance access to justice. The scholarly thinking (e.g. Hadfield, Semple) and the actual evidence shows benefit, not harm, from allowing new ways of providing legal services. We actually need to change.
Each Wednesday we tell you which three English-language cases and which French-language case have been the most viewed* on CanLII and we give you a small sense of what the cases are about.
For this last week:
 Occasionally a seemingly innocuous event can have tragic consequences.
 On the morning of December 4, 2006, the plaintiff, an emergency room physician, was driving his Honda Accord (“Honda”) eastbound on Lorimer Road from his home in Whistler, British Columbia to the Whistler Health Care Centre (“WHCC”). It was cold and snowing. The roads were slippery. The traffic light at the intersection of Lorimer Road and Highway 99 (the “Intersection”) was red in his direction. The plaintiff stopped.
 When the light turned green, the plaintiff began to move forward. However, a highway snow plow truck (“Snow Plow”) proceeding northbound on Highway 99 slid into the Intersection, blocking the plaintiff’s eastbound route.
 The offender in the identified hypothetical would have a prior conviction for a designated drug offence which may be more than ten years old. He or she is likely an addict but may instead be a recreational user of drugs. That is a personal characteristic which is not relevant to a reasonable hypothetical. All sorts of drug users share drugs. A one year jail sentence for this hypothetical offender goes well beyond what is justified by the legitimate penological goals and sentencing principles of the CDSA. It is a sentence which Canadians would find abhorrent or intolerable. Accordingly, I find that the mandatory minimum sentence of imprisonment for one year required by s. 5(3)(a)(i)(D) of the CDSA constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.
 On January 25, 2005, the appellant, Ajitpal Singh Sekhon, was charged with unlawfully importing cocaine and unlawfully possessing cocaine for the purpose of trafficking. He was arrested when he attempted to cross the border from Washington State into British Columbia. The key issue at trial was whether Mr. Sekhon knew about the cocaine that was secreted in the pickup truck he was driving. The trial judge found that he did. He based his decision in part on the testimony of an expert police witness who testified about the customs and practices of the drug trade. One aspect of the expert’s evidence strayed beyond the proper scope of expert testimony. As such, it was inadmissible and should not have been relied on by the trial judge.
 The flawed testimony upon which the trial judge relied forms one sentence of a 16-page judgment that is otherwise flawless. In particular, the trial judge provided a long list of reasons for disbelieving the appellant and rejecting his testimony as incredible. And apart from the one aspect of the expert’s evidence that he should not have considered, the trial judge provided an equally impressive list of reasons for concluding that the appellant was aware of the cocaine secreted in the pickup truck.
 In the end, the only issue of concern is whether the curative proviso in s. 686(1)(b)(iii) of the Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, can be applied to sustain the convictions. I believe it can. While the error relating to the flawed expert testimony cannot be swept aside as harmless, the evidence establishing the appellant’s guilty knowledge — and thus his guilt — is overwhelming. Hence, the second branch of the curative proviso can safely be applied to sustain the convictions.
The most-consulted French-language decision was Quebec (Agence du Revenu) v. Services Environnementaux AES inc. 2013 CSC 65
 Ces appels soulèvent des problèmes liés à la détermination de la nature et de la portée d’ententes intervenues entre des contribuables relativement à la réorganisation d’entreprises, à des planifications fiscales et aux effets de ces mesures à l’égard du fisc. En bref, dans ces deux affaires, des actionnaires de sociétés commerciales effectuèrent diverses transactions pour procéder à la restructuration de ces sociétés et la cession d’intérêts dans celles-ci. Leurs ententes devaient être réalisées sans produire d’incidences fiscales. À la suite d’erreurs commises par les conseillers fiscaux des contribuables en cause, l’Agence du Revenu du Québec (« ARQ ») et l’Agence du Revenu du Canada (« ARC ») établirent des avis de cotisation réclamant des impôts imprévus par ces contribuables.
 À la suite de l’établissement des avis de cotisation dans ces deux dossiers, les parties concernées s’entendirent pour corriger les documents relatifs à leurs ententes afin d’obtenir l’effet de neutralité fiscale qu’elles recherchaient. Elles demandèrent à la Cour supérieure du Québec de rectifier leurs documents originaux, lesquels ne reflétaient pas selon elles leurs véritables ententes. La Cour supérieure rendit des jugements contradictoires dans ces dossiers, accordant la demande de rectification dans l’un 2009 QCCS 790 (CanLII), (2009 QCCS 790 (CanLII)) et la rejetant dans l’autre 2010 QCCS 1576 (CanLII), (2010 QCCS 1576 (CanLII)). La Cour d’appel du Québec fit droit dans les deux cas aux demandes de rectification visant à donner effet à la volonté réelle des parties 2011 QCCA 394 (CanLII), (2011 QCCA 394, 2011 D.T.C. 5045; 2011 QCCA 954 (CanLII), 2011 QCCA 954 (CanLII)). Pour des motifs différant en partie de ceux de la Cour d’appel, je rejetterais les pourvois de l’ARQ, déclarerais que les intimés pouvaient modifier leurs conventions et constaterais cette modification.
* As of January 2014 we measure the total amount of time spent on the pages rather than simply the number of hits; as well, a case once mentioned won’t appear again for three months.
Here is an update on the Neocodex Project, announced last year by Dr. Sergio Puig of Stanford University and Dr. Enric Torrents of the Autonomous University of Barcelona.
is a collaboration between researchers and professors from Stanford Law School, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Université Pierre et Marie Curie and other institutions to develop open source technology for integrating, analyzing and making available information from all international courts and national jurisdictions in open linked data standards, including the automated processing, analysis and visualization of social networks (neutrals, litigants, and other entities), semantic networks (citations, case-law contents, legal knowledge) and the publication of corpus collections with added metadata.
The project has a Twitter account: @hackthelawcode
The project has received a resource allocation on the Open Science Data Cloud, and was described in a recent post by Walt Wells at the blog of the Open Cloud Consortium: OSDC Project Spotlight: Neocodex – Legal Data on a Global Scale.
Second prize goes to Garrett Schure for Translate U.K. and U.S legislative documents to Akoma Ntoso, consisting of a written analysis of “a Perl/LibXML mapping of U.K. and U.S. legislative documents, with a set of scripts to add additional semantic and analysis markup.”
Here is a description of the challenge:
[...] The Legislative XML Data Mapping Challenge invites competitors to produce a data map for US bill XML [i.e., the U.S. House XML Legislative Document Type Definitions, Schemas, and Samples] and the most recent Akoma Ntoso schema and UK bill XML [i.e., Crown Legislation Markup Language schema] and the most recent Akoma Ntoso schema. Gaps or issues identified through this challenge will help to shape the evolving Akoma Ntoso international standard. [...]
The judges of the challenge were: