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3… 2… 1… (Re)Launch Your Saskatchewan Legal Databases!

By Alan Kilpatrick

I am very excited to announce that today we are officially relaunching our searchable in-house Saskatchewan legal databases on a modern, mobile-friendly, cloud-based platform:

Law Society of Saskatchewan Conduct Review Database
Law Society of Saskatchewan Ethics Rulings Database
Saskatchewan Bills database
Saskatchewan Cases database
Saskatchewan Court of Appeal Sentencing Digest

Saskatchewan legal practitioners, the judiciary, and members of the public can rely on the free, timely, and reliable access to legal information these databases provide.

Forty Years of Legal & Technical Innovation 

Developed by your pioneering Law Society Library staff through the 1980s and 1990s, these databases represent Saskatchewan’s very first instances of legal and technical innovation.  Our law library staff saw that Saskatchewan, as a small province, was not being well served by Canada’s commercial legal publishers and that there was a significant delay before our case law became available in commercial sources.

What did they do?

They boldly decided to go ahead and solve the problem themselves by stepping into the role of legal content creator, publisher, and database developer, creating databases to ensure Saskatchewan practitioners and residents could find, access, and use the law they needed.  Through their forward-thinking innovation, they created the first online internet case law database created by a law society in Canada.  Legal innovation is not new.  Law libraries have been doing it for decades.

Why Did We Relaunch the Databases? 

Over the past year, your Law Society Legal Resources team has led a major project to migrate these databases and their corresponding datasets to the new platform.

Our existing platform was out of date and we felt it was the right time to migrate our data.  We remain firmly committed to providing legal information resources in the latest formats available.  Legal information enhancements are not static.  They are constantly evolving.  We are constantly upgrading and advancing the resources practitioners and the public have access to.

These databases remain incredibly popular throughout the province, with Saskatchewan Cases receiving over 4000 hits a month alone.  Why are they so popular? They are extremely powerful tools.  Consider adding them to your practice and legal information toolkit.

Finally, the over forty years’ worth of structured data and content contained within these databases represents a valuable commodity for the Law Society, its members, and the citizenry of this province.

Need a Free CPD Credit Before the End of the Year?

Don’t miss (Re)Launching Your Saskatchewan Legal Databases.  Our free webinar, open to members, non-members, and the public, qualifies for 1 free CPD Hour and is being held on Tuesday, November 24th from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM CST. Throughout this webinar, we’ll introduce you to the “relaunched” Saskatchewan legal databases and offer a variety of tips and tricks to enable you to maximize their potential.  Register here!

My special thanks to Christine Muldoon, Paul Westgate, Ken Fox, Melanie Hodges Neufeld and the rest of the Legal Resources crew for all the hard work they put into this project over the past year.

Webinar: (Re)Launching Your Saskatchewan Legal Databases (CPD 287)

By Alan Kilpatrick

You know and love our in-house Saskatchewan legal databasesCases, Sentencing Digest, Bills, Conduct Review, and Ethics Rulings. Since we launched them in the early 1990s, they’ve been a steadfast and reliable part of your practice toolkit. 

Well, as Bob Dylan once said, “the times they are a-changin’.” Over the past year, your Legal Resources team has coordinated a major project to migrate these databases to an innovative cloud-based platform hosted by Lucidea.  We’re excited to announce the updated databases are ready for launch this month

We’re taking a big step towards the future of modern and robust legal information resources and we want you to be ready for this revolution in Saskatchewan legal resources

Join your bearded librarian super duo, Ken Fox and Alan Kilpatrick, to learn about the new databases in (Re)Launching Your Saskatchewan Legal Databases CPD 287:

• Cases database

• Court of Appeal Sentencing Digest database

• Bills database

• Conduct Review database

• Ethics Ruling database

Throughout the webinar, we’ll offer a variety of tips to enable you to maximize the database’s potential

Need a free CPD credit before the end of the year? CPD 287 qualifies for 1 free CPD HourRegister here!

Live Chat with Your Law Society Librarian!

By Alan Kilpatrick

Starting Monday, August 31st, it’s going to be even easier to connect with us for information and research assistance. We’re launching our brand-new live chat feature! 

Just head to the Legal Resources page and enter your question in the chatbox on the bottom right of the screen. 

And that’s it!  Either Ken Fox or I, your bearded law librarian duo, will respond promptly!

Chat with us Monday to Friday from 9:00am – 4:00pm.  Outside these hours, you’ll see a small icon on the bottom right of the screen.  Click on it and your question will be emailed to us! 

As your legal information navigators, we can find whatever you are looking for. If it takes longer than five minutes to find, just chat with us!

It’s all part of our commitment to support your information and resource needs and add value to your work through innovation.  We’re using technology to push the limits of how we support you.

You can continue to contact us by email or phone at:

1-877-989-4999 or 306-569-8020

Don’t expect us to be keeping it down or shushing you in the library stacks anymore, you’ll find us chatting up a storm!

Change of Address: O’Brien’s Forms is Moving to Westlaw Next!

By Alan Kilpatrick

Earlier this year, Thomson Reuters announced that the popular online version of O’Brien’s Encyclopedia of Forms was moving to the Westlaw Next (WLN) platform.  Incorporating O’Brien’s content directly into WLN’s powerful platform offers enhanced searchability, usability, and integration for practitioners, researchers, and law librarians alike.  You can check out the increased functionality you’re gaining through this “change of address” with this helpful chart.

Over the past month, your Legal Resources staff have been hard at work negotiating with Thomson Reuters to add the O’Brien’s content to the Law Society’s province wide WLN subscription.  We’re excited to let you know that you can now access O’Brien’s Encyclopedia of Forms directly from the WLN homepage, simply by selecting the WLN link in the Members’ Resource Section.

WLN, remotely accessible to all Saskatchewan members through the Members’ Resource Section, is already home to a multiple of practitioner focused resources such as the Canadian Encyclopedic Digest, Canadian Abridgement, Source Products, and more.  Starting today, it going to be even easier for you to access the great forms and precedents that make up O’Brien’s Encyclopedia of Forms.

It’s all part of our commitment to support you, maximize your access to resources, and aggressively innovate the future of your Law Society Library.  We’ll continue to add value to your legal work during this uncertain time. Never fear, we’ve got your back.

Learn more about this change by watching this brief YouTube video, O’Brien’s Encyclopedia of Forms on WestlawNext Canada (11:51), prepared by Thomson Reuters:

Get in touch with us if you have any questions about the new platform. As your legal information navigators, we can find whatever you are looking for.  Remember, if it takes longer than five minutes to find, ask us!

Embedded Law Librarians in the Public Library: Saskatchewan’s Law Librarian On-site Initiative

By Alan Kilpatrick
 This talk was recently presented at the 2020 Canadian Association of Law Libraries Virtual Conference.  You can watch the recording here

Legal information professionals can play a crucial role in helping the public locate, access, and connect with reliable sources of legal information.  Our competitive set of skills, our intimate knowledge of the creation, curation, and use of legal information, and our relationships and networks place us in a great position to facilitate public access to legal information.

Since January 2019, Ken Fox and I, Reference Librarians with the Law Society of Saskatchewan, have attended the main branches of the Saskatoon Public Library (SPL) and the Regina Public Library (RPL), respectively, as embedded Law Librarians, one afternoon and evening a month.  We provide on-site legal information assistance: guiding patrons towards online and print sources, highlighting resources for further learning, teaching basic research skills, and, when necessary, suggesting referrals to organizations that provide legal advice.  I am here to talk about our experiences and to update you on what we have learned.

Over the past five years, the Law Society of Saskatchewan has explored the role libraries and information professionals can play in improving legal information access through a variety of initiatives, such as Saskatchewan’s Access to Legal Information project.  Like many courthouse libraries, we are open to the public, encourage the public to visit or contact us, and provide public visitors with information assistance.  However, we have long strived to establish a more direct connection with members of the public searching for legal information.  While brainstorming among our team, we realized that the public library could be an ideal place to better connect with the public.  The public library, after all, is a place those with information needs visit seeking information and resources.

We already had robust relationships with RPL and SPL through Saskatchewan’s Access to Legal Information project.  We approached the heads of programming at both library systems to pitch our On-site Law Librarian idea.  We found them eagerly receptive, open to the suggestion, and actively searching for new program ideas.  The Law Librarian On-site initiative was born!

Arriving for a session, a member of the front desk staff assists us in setting up a table and signage near the library entrance, visible to patrons entering and exiting.  We bring a laptop as well as public legal information pamphlets along with us.  We work with marketing staff at each library system to advertise upcoming sessions in the library program guide, social media, and website.

While facilitating public access to legal information, I see myself as a guide who can help provide those seeking information about the law with a good starting point that supports their burgeoning legal journey.  Legal information access is a building block of access to justice.  It enables people to learn about the law, identify legal options, and may prompt them to seek further legal assistance.

Many do ask us for legal advice, if we are lawyers, and for lawyer referrals.  Here are the guidelines we have developed for our public legal information services.  We are careful to indicate we are not lawyers and cannot provide legal advice.  This does not diminish the value of what we do.  Non-lawyers and legal librarians alike have a powerful role to play in the legal ecosystem.  

Each session is four hours.  On average, we assist six people per session.  Some members of the public visit the library specifically to speak to us.  Most seem to stumble upon us, then sit down to ask a question.  Scheduling one session in the afternoon and another in the evening every month allows us to connect with different segments of public library patrons.  Our evening sessions commonly coincide with a legal advice clinic held by Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan at the public library, leading to a higher number of Law Librarian on Site enquiries.

A typical interaction can take any where from five minutes to two hours.  It is not uncommon to spend an hour or two demonstrating legislative and case law searching.  For longer enquiries, we encourage the public to follow up with us and to come and visit us in the courthouse.

The most common areas of law asked about are criminal, family, residential/tenancy, small claims, and wills/estates law.  Frequently, we are approached by those curious about what we offer, patrons who mistake us for public library staff, and by those who just want someone to chat with.  Most often, we refer the public to Saskatchewan’s public legal information site, the Saskatchewan Court’s site, the Law Society’s site, and CanLII.

How successful is the program?  We are still evaluating its success, though the service appears reasonably popular with a good stream of enquiries.  Since mid-March, the initiative has been on hold due to Covid-19.  We are currently working with RPL and SPL to resume the program virtually.  We are looking forward to eventually resuming Law Librarian On-site as an in-person program in the future.

I encourage you to explore the potential of offering a similar service in your own communities’ public library.  Please reach out to me if you have any questions.  I am happy to help you set up your own Law Librarian On-site initiative.  Let us be bold and actively reimagine what legal information professionals can do.  We have the skills and knowledge to make a difference.

Thank you.

Register For Your Free CPD Hour! Watch CPD 282: Online Legal Resources in the Age of COVID-19 Now!

By Alan Kilpatrick

Last month, Ken Fox and I presented CPD 282: Online Legal Resources in the Age of Covid-19, a free member webinar eligible for one CPD hour.  Fortunately, you can still watch the webinar and register for your free CPD hour!

As you know, your physical library locations are closed until to further notice due to coronavirus. In the webinar, we demonstrate the amazing eBook resources you have access to that compensate for your temporary loss of access to our print resources. The almost 250 members who registered were surprised to learn just how many eBooks they have access to online through the Members’ Resource Section.

Our webinar will ensure you get the most out of our online resources. We’re all dealing with the challenges of working and practicing law remotely during this unusual time. Don’t let legal resources add to that challenge!

Watch here on Vimeo (1:00:33):


Five Questions with Alan Kilpatrick

By Alan Kilpatrick (Reposted from the CALL/ACBD Blog.) 

Alan Kilpatrick (| Reference Librarian, Law Society of Saskatchewan

1. Tell us a little about your educational background and how you entered the legal information industry.

My journey to legal librarianship was fortuitous.  After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from Vancouver Island University (VIU), I took some time to reflect on what I wanted to do with my life.  Throughout my undergraduate degree, I worked weekends and summers as an Army Reservist and part time as a library page at VIU’s library and the Vancouver Island Regional Library.  Shortly after graduating from VIU, I spent a year working with the Canadian Forces security effort at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. While this was an amazing experience, I realized it wasn’t the correct career path for me.

Here, the connections I had made with the library world as a page paid off.  After speaking with several librarians, I decided that attending Western University’s Master of Library & Information Science program was the right professional move.

At Western, I developed my career goals and identified my professional interests.  I gained an interest in reference service, legal research, and government information after a co-op with Transport Canada’s Ottawa Library as a reference librarian.  I discovered an interest in copyright law and instruction after an exciting opportunity to research and present on Western Library’s Access Copyright agreement.

Following graduation, I received a summer internship with Saskatchewan’s Legislative Library.  During this time, I learned about the Law Society Library.  After handing in a resume in 2013, an opportunity presented itself and I haven’t looked back since. 

2. How has being involved in CALL helped you professionally (e.g. scholarships & grants, continuing education, networking)?

CALL membership has been extremely beneficial professionally.  When I became a law librarian, CALL connected me to a large professional network and with mentors who helped me develop the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in this industry.  Attendance at CALL’s New Law Librarian Institute helped me further develop my knowledge and create a competitive legal information skill set.  I frequently contact the colleagues I’ve met through CALL for advice, assistance, and encouragement.

Our association’s annual conference has been a source of wonderful networking opportunities and topnotch professional development.  As legal innovation accelerates and legal information resources evolve, our skill set must keep pace.  I’m confident CALL will help me do this.

As my career grows, I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve the association through various committees, including being on the Board of Directors for the 2019-2021 term.

3. What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone looking to break into the legal information industry?

Network!  During CALL’s 2018 conference in Halifax, I was privileged to co-present Taking the ‘Work’ Out of Networking: Build Relationships, Not a Stack of Business Cards with Bronwyn Guiton, Veronica Kollbrand, and Megan Siu.  During the presentation, I made five networking suggestions for new and prospective legal information professionals:

• It’s never too early to start networking: It’s been valuable at every stage of my career.
• Get Active: Joining a professional association is a great way to network.
• Network widely and wisely: Don’t limit your networking horizons.
• Share your story: We’re all doing interesting things as information professionals.  Tell people about it!
• Embrace new situations: Networking can be intimidating.  Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone.

4. What are three skills/attributes you think legal information professionals need to have?

• Act Boldly: Boldly market yourself and boldly reimagine what a library can be. 
• Embrace Change: Embrace change in the legal information field.    
• Learn Continuously:  Commit yourself to lifelong learning.  Integrate what you learn into your professional practice.    

5. What are three things on your bucket list?

• Explore Cold War history by doing a road trip through Eastern Europe
• Restore a 1970s American Motors Corporation (AMC) Gremlin
• Travel to India again (I spent the final semester of my Library Science degree on an amazing internship with a literacy organization in Bangalore)

Can Covid-19 Help Us Build a Better Law Library?

By Alan Kilpatrick

You may have heard that the Law Society’s office and library locations are closed until further notice due to Covid-19.  Despite the closure, your top-notch law librarians and information professionals continue to operate at full capacity on a remote basis.  We’re actively exploring how we can maximize your access to resources and best serve you remotely.  In short, we’re innovating remote legal information & law library services.

Here’s what we’re doing to support you right now:

Information & Research Assistance
Contact us by email or phone with your legal information questions. As your legal information navigators, we can find whatever you are looking for. If it takes longer than five minutes to find, ask us!
1-877-989-4999 or 306-569-8020
9:00am – 4:30pm

Online Resources
You have access to one of Canada’s leading online legal resource collections.  Simply log into the Members’ Resource Section to access an outstanding online law library right on your desktop.  Technology enables us to push the limits of how we support your information needs.

Remote Resources Video Tutorials
Last month, we launched a video series, Remote Resources for Law Society Members, to highlight the online resources you can access remotely!  SlawTips described the series as “perfect for a time when more people than ever are working away from their office or usual workspace.” Watch it here.

Online Legal Resources in the Age of Covid-19 (CPD 282): June 18th @ 1200pm
We’re all dealing with the challenges of working and practicing law remotely during this unusual time.  Don’t let legal resources add to that challenge.  This is a CPD opportunity you can’t afford to miss!  Register here.

Print Resources & Library Access
Our physical libraries remain closed.  If you require print materials, contact us and we’ll work with you to identify alternate online resources.  Excellent online resources exist in many research areas.  If necessary, we may retrieve print materials or scan short excerpts for you as needed.  We will also not require items to be returned at this time unless to meet another member’s urgent request.

Primo: Your Library Catalogue (CPD-178)
To get the most out of our print resources, search Primo, our integrated library catalogue.  Watch our free recorded webinar on using Primo, eligible for one free CPD credit!

We appreciate your support as we continue to assist you during this unusual and challenging time.

New Video Series: Remote Legal Resources

By Alan Kilpatrick

Today, we’re launching a new video series, Remote Resources for Law Society Members, to highlight the key legal resources Saskatchewan members can access remotely, right on their computer’s desktop, simply by logging into the Members’ Resource Section! Produced by Alan Kilpatrick and written by Ken Fox, this five-video series is freely available on Vimeo. New videos will be developed frequently. Please contact us if you have suggestions for future videos.

Watch the series introduction here (1:43):

While our physical library locations might be closed and many of you are dealing with the challenges of working and practicing law remotely, rest assured you have access to one of the best online legal resource collections in Canada. Watching the series will ensure you get the most out of our online resources.

My Twitter feed, like yours, has been dominated by frequents calls to use this pandemic an opportunity to innovate within the legal and judicial system. Look to your legal librarians and information professionals as your innovation partners: innovation is our bread and butter. Technology has fundamentally changed how legal information is created, aggregated, sold, and used. Over the past three decades, your Library professionals have adeptly navigated the waves of this change and aggressively negotiated with information vendors to pioneer the development of one of Canada’s leading remotely accessible online collections.

Watch the rest of our series here:

Remote Resources for Law Society Members Series

  1. Remote Resources: Series Introduction (1:43) – In this video series, we’ll highlight some of the key resources that you can access remotely by logging into the Member Resource Section.
  2. Need an Online Text? Try the CED! (7:18) – If you are a Saskatchewan lawyer, you have online access the Canadian Encyclopedic Digest (CED) through the Member Resource Section.
  3. Irwin Law: Essentials of Canadian Law – Online! (5:36) – Irwin texts have the distinct advantage, more relevant now than ever, that they are all available to Saskatchewan lawyers online.
  4. Finding Irwin Law Books on Des Libris (6:46) – In this video, we will give you a few tips on finding Irwin Law eBooks using the Des Libris platform.
  5. O’Brien’s Internet: Online Encyclopedia of Forms (7:01) – If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a law librarian, it’s that every lawyer loves O’Brien’s Encyclopedia of Forms.

Don’t hesitate to contact us by email at for legal information assistance. As legal information navigators, we can quickly and efficiently locate whatever you are looking for. If it takes longer than five minutes to find, contact us!

Covid-19 Legal News Roundup

By Alan Kilpatrick

The COVID-19 pandemic, and its impact on the practice of law, is changing rapidly. We want to help you stay up to date with the latest news.

Each week we aggregate the leading legal news headlines on COVID-19 on topics that matter to you: access to justice, the Courts, legal innovation, legal practice, remote working, students & articling, and wellness.

Access to Justice
Can a chatbot answer legal questions? | Heather Douglas, Slaw (April 29)
• Sounds good, but what are we missing? | Julie Macfarlane, Representing Yourself Canada (April 30)
• That was then and this is now | Julie Macfarlane & Justice Aki Choudhury, Jumping Off the Ivory Tower (April 30) Podcast

• Coming out of the stone age | Michael Lesage, The Lawyer’s Daily (April 27)
• Losing ground on the backlog | Dale Smith, CBA National (April 29)
• Our civil justice system needs to be brought Into the 21st century | Rosalie Silberman Abella, The Globe and Mail (April 24)

Legal Innovation
COVID-19 could catalyze the legal industry renaissance | Nancy Rapoport & Joe Tiano, Above the Law (April 29)
Learning from “building planes in the sky” | Kari Boyle, Slaw (April 29)
Pandemic IX: Law firm transformation | Jordan Furlong, Law 21 (April 30)

Legal Practice
7 Ways the pandemic will forever change law practice | Bob Ambrogi, Above the Law (April 27)
How will your marketing evolve after COVID-19? | Attorney at Work (April 30)
We must act before COVID-19 spells the end of an independent criminal bar | Bill Trudell, Canadian Lawyer (April 28)

Remote Working
The Great migration: How remote-work has transformed the legal profession | Aidan Macnab, Canadian Lawyer (April 28)
Ready or not — your legal hearing may now be video conferenced | Anita Balakrishnan, Law Times (April 29)
Zoom backgrounds: Looking good in a tiny square! | Bull Garlington, Attorney at Work (April 27)

Students & Articling
Are we entering a new era of legal education during the novel coronavirus crisis? | Ari Kaplan, ABA Journal (April 24)
LSO ‘actively’ pursuing online bar exams, live convocation technology |Anita Balakrishnan, Law Times (April 27)
Please don’t go to law school because of COVID-19 | Jordan Rothman, Above the Law (April 29)

Get organized! Time investments for better legal information habits | Amelia Landenberger, Slaw (April 29)
Lawyers on Zoom drinking coffee | Canadian Bar Association (CBA) Ontario Branch (n.d.) Podcast
My post-COVID hopes for the profession | Darryl Singer, Canadian Lawyer (April 27)