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Free Legal Resource Fair During Saskatchewan’s Second Annual Access to Justice Week

By Alan Kilpatrick

On October 19th, the Saskatoon Public Library’s Francis Morrison Central Library Branch hosted a Free Legal Resource Fair in recognition of Saskatchewan’s Second Annual Access to Justice Week.

During the busy come-and-go tradeshow, members of the public had the opportunity to learn about their legal rights and connect with a variety of non-profit, government, and community legal service providers in Saskatoon.  The fair’s participants included the Saskatoon Open Door Society, Saskatoon Polices Services, Community Legal Assistance Services for Saskatoon Inner City, Public Legal Education Association of Saskatchewan, Law Society of Saskatchewan Library, Government of Saskatchewan’s Family Law Information Centre, Saskatchewan Office of Workers’ Advocates, and the Pro Bono Student University of Saskatchewan Chapters.

Volunteer lawyers from the Family Law Information Centre and Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan offered free legal information drop-in sessions for members of the public requiring family law assistance.  Members of the public were entitled to up to 30 minutes to ask questions about family law relevant to their situation

The Free Legal Resource Fair coincided with an enlightening lecture sponsored by McKercher LLP in the Francis Morrison Branch’s Film Theatre: How can your library help you access legal information?  Janet Freeman, a law librarian from the British Columbia LawMatters program, spoke about how public libraries can connect the public with legal information and can fill gap in access to legal information, education, and referrals.

Thank you to the organizations and partners who helped make the fair a real success!

(Reposted from Legal Sourcery)


CBA Toolkits and Practice Tools

By Alan Kilpatrick

Did you know that the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) website provides a wealth of free practice resources?  We encourage you to check it out!

Here is a break down of the amazing resources provided by the CBA:

• Practice Tools: CBA’s Practice Tools feature a broad selection of online guides covering child rights, tax law, and legal ethics.  For example, check out the Child Rights Toolkit.

• Practice Link: CBA’s Practice Links focus on work/life balance, mental health, and networking skills for legal professionals.  For example, check out Got Stress? What to Do Before the Burnout Hits.

• Sections and Forums:CBA features over thirty sections that explore and develop resources for specific areas of the law.  For example, check out the Aboriginal Law Section.

(Reposted from Legal Sourcery)

SlawTips – Advice about Technology, Research, and Legal Practice

By Alan Kilpatrick

Are you familiar with SlawTips?  It is a blog that provides lawyers and legal professionals with helpful advice about technology, research, and legal practice.  SlawTips explains that it offers:

“…brief, clear, useful nuggets of advice at the easy-going rate of one a day. In fact, it’s even simpler than that. You’ll get a tip about technology every Tuesday, a tip about research or writing each Wednesday, and a tip about practice on Thursdays.”

Consider checking out SlawTips if you would like to learn more about time saving technology, research databases, or practice tools.  The blog is researched and written by Susannah Tredwell, Neil Guthrie, Andrea Cannavina, Ian Hu, Sandra Bekhor, Michael McCubbin, and the Law Society of Saskatchewan Library.

Some recent posts on SlawTips include:

• Just How Frequently is that?
• Searching Google Efficiently and Effectively
• New Lawyers and Articling Students: Support Staff is a Great Resource
• What are Marginal Notes?

Access SlawTips online at

(Reposted from Legal Sourcery)

Dispelling the Myth of Spinsters and Shushers: Women and the Law Society Library

By Alan Kilpatrick

This article originally appeared in the Law Society of Saskatchewan Benchers’ Digest, , Volume 30 (2017) Issue 3, Page 15.

The Law Society of Saskatchewan Library has been an innovator and a leader among Canadian law libraries since the 1970s. No history of our library is complete without acknowledging the vital role women played in leading the library and pioneering the state-of-the-art information services that have made the Law Society of Saskatchewan Library a model to be emulated.

Prior to the mid-1970s, the Law Society Library had never employed a professional librarian or library staff. In the early 1970s, the Freeman Report recognized that members desperately needed modern legal information services and urged investment and professional staff for the library. In 1975, the library’s first ever professional librarian, Judy Brennan, MLS, was hired in Regina. This was followed a few years later in 1978 when Sheila Ann Lidster, MLS, was hired to run the Saskatoon Law Society Library.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the library assertively tackled the challenge of developing and providing modern information services to a disparate and rural province with limited funding and support. Thinking outside of the box, the library staff extended information services to rural areas by telephone and a fax machine network. Notably, the Regina Law Society Library became the first computerized courthouse library in North America. Peta Bates, MLS, a professional legal librarian from Toronto, took over the Saskatoon Branch in 1979, staying for more than thirty years. Pat Kelly, a trained library technician, soon joined her in 1982. Pat remains with the library to this day.

In the 1990s, online library databases were provided to members for a subscription fee through a toll-free dial-up line, a technological feat described by Iain Mentiplay in A Century of Integrity: The Law Society of Saskatchewan 1907 to 2007 as state of the art and a first among law society libraries in Canada.

Susan Baer, BPHE, MLS, took on the directorship of the Law Society Library in 1998 and desktop access to online legal resources became a major focus. In 2004, Saskatchewan because the first jurisdiction in Canada to provide members with desktop access to Westlaw. The library was one of the first proponents of open access to the law, access to justice, and CanLII, and decided to give free and open access to its in-house databases on the Internet for members of the public and lawyers alike in 1999.

Melanie Hodges Neufeld, BA, LLB, LLM, refocused the direction of the Law Society Library when she became the first Director of Legal Resources in 2012. Under Melanie’s management, the number of online resources available to members on their desktops through the Members’ Section has skyrocketed. CanLII’s free coverage of Saskatchewan case law nearly doubled as a result of a library-led digitization project in 2014. The library’s long-standing publishing program has expanded its scope beyond the Queen’s Bench Rules of Saskatchewan: Annotated to include more titles and formats, now including electronic formats. To provide meaningful information services, law libraries must continually evolve to reflect the needs of their members, and the Law Society Library remains committed to offering high-quality services that meet those needs.

Librarianship, largely a female dominated profession, has been and continues to be undervalued. Librarians and library staff continue to be associated with inaccurate and sexist stereotypes disconnected from the bustling reality of librarianship. It’s time to recognize the innovative and revolutionary services forged by the staff of the Law Society of Saskatchewan Library over the last four decades, and its time to acknowledge the important leadership that talented, forward-thinking women have contributed to make the Library the success that it continues to be.

Read more…

A Primer to Legislative Research Across the Provinces and Territories

By Alan Kilpatrick

In Spring 2017, the Vancouver Association of Law Libraries (VALL) published a Canada wide legislative research primer in their association’s quarterly publication, the VALL Review (Spring 2017, Volume 29, No. 2).

Legislative research is a major component of law librarian’s labour.  Publication of the primer is timely and apt.  It will be well used by legal information professionals.  I would like to commend VALL for its leadership in developing this excellent resource.

 A Primer to Legislative Research Across the Provinces and Territories was collaboratively developed by some amazing law librarians from Canada’s provinces and territories:

British Columbia
Emily Nickerson, Research Librarian
Norton Rose Fullbright Canada LLP

Megan Siu, Community Development & Education Specialist
Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta

Alan Kilpatrick, Librarian
Law Society of Saskatchewan Library

Karen Sawatzky, Director of Legal Resources
Law Society of Manitoba

Brenda Lauritzen, Reference Librarian
County of Carleton Law Association

Prince Edward Island
Pam Borden, Library Manager
Law Society of PEI Library

Newfoundland and Labrador
Brenda Blundon, Law Librarian
Department of Justice and Public Safety

Jenny Thornhill, Law Librarian
Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador

Nova Scotia
Janet Arsenault, Librarian
Justice Canada

Natalie Wing, Law Librarian
Yukon Public Law Library

Riel Gallant, Legislative Librarian
Nunavut Legislative Library

VALL has graciously allowed us to republish their primer on Legal Sourcery.

(Reposted from Legal Sourcery)

Six Things the Library is Doing to Improve Access to Justice

By Alan Kilpatrick

It is widely recognized that access to justice is inadequate and legal services are becoming increasingly inaccessible.  Fortunately, libraries across Canada are working together to improve access to legal information and create solutions to the barriers self-represented litigants face.

What are we doing at the Law Society of Saskatchewan Library?  In the past three years, the Law Society Library has participated in a multitude of innovative access to legal information partnerships with justice, community, and library stakeholders.  For example, we:

  1. Provide the public with legal research assistance
  2. Have nearly doubled the coverage of Saskatchewan case law on CanLII
  3. Host weekly family law clinics
  4. Teach the public about legal research at the Regina Public Library’s Legal Resource Fair
  5. Provide Pro Bono Law and CLASSIC lawyers with free legal research assistance
  6. Are a founding partner of the Saskatchewan Access to Legal Information Project

Click here to learn more about what the Law Society Library is actively doing to improve access to legal information and justice in Saskatchewan:

• Access to Legal Information Innovation in Saskatchewan
• The Saskatchewan Access to Legal Information Project (SALI)

Do you participate in access to legal information and justice initiatives?  Post a link or picture on Twitter using the hashtags #SKA2J and #justiceforall.

(Reposted from Legal Sourcery)

Searching Google Efficiently and Effectively

By Alan Kilpatrick

 The Internet is home to a growing body of high quality materials such as research guides, government reports, and legal commentary.  Accessing this material is as easy as typing keywords into Google and hitting enter, right?  Wrong!

The challenge to using Google efficiently is wading through the overwhelming volume of results retrieved.  Fortunately, there are tools to help pinpoint what you are looking for.  There is far more to searching Google than you might think.

Identify the Core Concepts

The first step to searching effectively is selecting effective search terms.  Identify the core concepts.  These will become your search terms.  Remove vague terms from the query.  They do nothing to improve the quality of the results.  Do not type a full question in the search bar.  Focus on the core concepts and eliminate everything else.

Search Operators and Filters

Operators and filters enable you to search with precision.  Advanced searches can be conducted with Google’s advanced search page or by incorporating operators and filters directly into Google’s search bar.  I recommend incorporating them into the search bar.  The real power of operators and filters comes from combining them together.  The search bar enables you to combine them with ease.  It is awkward to combine them with the advanced search page.

Here are the most useful operators and filters:

AND: AND separates terms that are distinct concepts, such as robbery AND weapon.  It narrows a search by retrieving results that contain both terms.  It is Google’s default operator.  As such, it is not necessary to type AND.  A space between terms is automatically interpreted as AND: robbery weapon.

OR: OR is used to separate terms that are synonyms of the same concept, such as (armed OR weapon OR knife).  It broadens a search by retrieving results that contain any of the search terms, but not necessarily all.  Enclose OR statements in brackets.

NOT:  NOT is represented by the minus sign.  It excludes results that contain a particular term.  For example, tort -defamation will not retrieve results that contain the term defamation.

PHRASE: To search for an exact phrase, enclose the phrase in quotes.  For example, “child of the marriage”.

SITE: Site limits the search to results from a certain website or domain.  For example, divorce only retrieves results from the Government of Canada domain.  divorce retrieves results from  This makes it easy to locate results from trustworthy websites.

ALLINTITLE: Title limits the search to results that contain the terms in the title.  For example, allintitle:legal regulation will retrieve results with these words in the title.  If your terms appear in the title of a document, it is likely relevant.

FILETYPE: File type limits the results to a certain file format.  For example, lsat filetype:pdf will retrieve results in PDF.  lsat filetype:ppt will retrieve results in PowerPoint.

Combining Operators and Filters

Combining operators and filters together will enable you to craft powerful queries and locate good results.  For example, (paralegal OR “legal technician”) “legal regulation” filetype:pdf will retrieve PDF documents from the Law Society of Saskatchewan domain on paralegals and legal regulation.

Evaluating the Results

Not everything Google retrieves is credible.  It is up to you to evaluate the results.  Consider authority, objectivity, and authorship.  Recognise that the order of the search results is not based on authority.  It is based on Google’s search algorithm.  The results most relevant to you may appear much farther down the results list.  Consider searching Google Scholar if you need scholarly and academic resources.

We have only just scratched the surface of Google today. Please contact the library if you have any other questions.

(Reposted from Legal Sourcery)