Addison Cameron-Huff, Blockchain Lawyer

Thoughts and opinions of a Toronto-based cryptocurrency lawyer who's worked in the industry since 2014.

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The IT.CAN Conference Is Great

A week and a half ago I attended the 17th annual IT.CAN conference. The conference was more educational than I expected (i.e. less networking). Although the IT/tech bar is a fairly small group of people the conference was still accessible and open to new people like myself.

I wish I had attended IT.CAN as a student because it would have opened my eyes to the areas of practice within tech. I strongly recommend it to anyone considering the field (and there's a very cheap student rate).

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I Was Quoted in the Globe and Mail Today

I was quoted in a Globe and Mail article written by David Israelson.

The article is about Suncor's social media strategy. Here's what I had to say:

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FlatLaw: Betakit Article

My legal marketplace, flatlaw.ca was written up today on Betakit. You can read the article here.

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What Does Small Claims Court Cost? What Can I Expect to Win?

It's difficult to estimate what a case is worth. There are many variables and it's impossible to provide an exact figure but it's helpful to consider ballpark numbers (especially for settlement offers). The calculator below gives an idea of what a small claims court case could cost and what a plaintiff could get out of it (expected value).

Warning: this calculator makes a lot of assumptions and is a simplified model that overstates the odds of success (for a few reasons, such as judges not awarding the full amount claimed, non-payment by defendants [a $0 "win"], etc.). It does not include HST.

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The Ontario Court System's Secret Audio Recordings

As of a few months ago, all Ontario court proceedings are being recorded but the files are hidden from the public through court procedures.

Theoretically Ontario courts follow the "open court" principle (see e.g. Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. v. Ontario). The public is supposed to be able to see justice be done.

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Square Cash: A New Development in Online Payment

Square launched Square Cash today. It looks like a competitor to Interac e-transfer (at least in Canada) except it's free.

From what I know of the American market, this is a bigger innovation there than it'll be here where emailing money is fairly common (at least with young people). For the moment it's US only anyway.

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How Do Lawyers Bill?

Answer: an arm and a leg at a time.

Better answer: hourly, fixed fee and on contingency.

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AlbertaMonitor.ca: Nearly Finished

I've nearly finished developing AlbertaMonitor. It's a service that sends clients emails when their keywords are mentioned in Hansard, new bills or regulations (the Alberta version of OntarioMonitor.ca).

Now the waiting part. Scrapers can break for a variety of reasons so I'll need to wait a while before I can start getting people to try out the service. The Alberta Legislature will re-open at the end of October and I'll have a chance to test out the scraping/parsing services.

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Android as a Work Phone

Android is better than iOS if you have multiple email accounts set up in Gmail.

I switched to an HTC One about two weeks ago from iPhone (I'd been using iOS for about five years). There are a lot of differences but one thing stands out as being worth switching for.

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Coming Soon: Importing Wine, Beer & Liquor From Other Provinces

A bill has been introduced to the Ontario legislature that will allow the personal, non-commercial importation of alcohol drinks from other provinces: Bill 98.

From the Explanatory Note: “The Bill amends the Liquor Control Act to add a provision that permits individuals who are 19 years of age or older to import or cause to be imported wine into Ontario from another province if the wine is for their personal consumption and not for resale or other commercial use.”

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Cost-per-Click for Lawyer Ads

The Google AdWords rates for lawyer-related ads range from about 35 cents for a divorce lawyer in Edmonton to $63 for "car accident lawyers".

There are very few monthly searches for "injury lawyers" or "injury lawyers toronto" but every time someone clicks one of those ads it's about $60.

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A Canadian Ghost Town (and its cousins around the world)

There's a large abandoned town in British Columbia: Kitsault. It was built in 1979 as a mining town for molybednum but the price collapsed shortly after construction and the town was abandoned.

Story and photos on MessyNessyChic.com.

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The Don Valley River Trail Needs Improvement

The Don Valley River runs through the heart of Toronto. It's about a five minute drive from where I grew up yet I've never walked the trail next to it. It's nice in parts but generally pretty shabby.

It probably wouldn't take much work to make this a nice trail. If the City extended the Riverdale Farm design down through the trail and cleaned up the garbage it could be a beautiful walk. Throw a few container stores like at Dundas and Bathurst along the walk and it could be a bunch of new jobs for Regent Park/St. Jamestown.

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Making Money from Website Content is Hard

I used to read the Toronto Star online several times a day. The trivia night I go to most Wednesdays used it as the source for questions for the first round every week. Then The Star introduced a paywall. I stopped reading it. The person who runs trivia night stopped using it and switched to the National Post.

It's incredibly hard to monetize casual internet content (e.g. news, blogs, etc.). Charging for access causes a huge drop in readership (depending on the form of paywall: 60%-90% for the Times UK, 40% for the Globe, etc.) and isn't an approach most small websites can take because their brand has no value (yet).

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Article Roundup for Sept. 6th

Here are a few of the interesting things I read today:

popehat.com: A short essay on why government encryption breaking (as recently revealed by the Guardian) is un-American. It's particularly interesting because the author is a famous lawyer and discusses the (ab)use of nefariously obtained attorney-client emails.

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Xbox Royalties: What Does "FRAND" Mean?

Microsoft has won a round in their battle with Motorola over licensing fees for industry standard patents.

The patents at issue were related to wireless (802.11) and video technologies (H.264) that are part of industry standards. When standards are developed the contributing companies agree to license their patents on "fair reasonable and non-discriminatory" (FRAND) terms. Microsoft and Motorola have been fighting over what that term means.

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Subreddits for Lawyers

A few weeks ago I discovered the (mostly American) subreddits for lawyers.

The /r/LegalMarketing subreddit is particularly useful for solo lawyers. Here's a post from yesterday that details one lawyer's web marketing efforts: reddit.com/....

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Great Lawyer Books

  1. The Trial of an Action
  2. Plain English for Lawyers
  3. Letters to a Young Lawyer

I'd like to hear your recommendations. Send me an email! cameronhuff.com

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More About Automating This Blog

It's worth learning some basic scripting if you're a lazy person.

For making new blog posts I created a Bash script that looks like this:

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The Law Society Referral Service is Fantastic

Before I started my own practice I spoke with a number of lawyers who went off on their own. One of these excellent lawyers, John Simpson, told me that the Law Society Referral Service (LSRS) was something that every new lawyer should sign up for.

The LSRS is a phone system run by the Law Society of Upper Canada. People who need lawyers call in and screening agents direct their call to a random lawyer who practices in that area (both legally and geographically). Lawyers must provide 30 minute consults (but not legal advice).

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There are hundreds more blog posts to read, going back to 2013:
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