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Adapting the SALI Legal Taxonomy to the Canadian Environment

04 Nov 2021 8:46 AM | Michel-Adrien Sheppard (Administrator)

From time to time, this blog will highlight initiatives, ideas, or activities coming from members, committees or special interest groups (SIGs).

Today: Adapting the SALI Taxonomy to the Canadian Legal Environment, by Michael McAlpine , Manager, Information, Research & Knowledge at Siskinds (London, Ontario)

On September 28th, the Knowledge Management Special Interest Group of CALL met to discuss and learn about the Legal Matter Specification Standard developed by the SALI Alliance.

The SALI Alliance (Standards Advancement for the Legal Industry) is a non-profit organization open to all stakeholders in the legal community. Members include law firms, companies, legal service providers, legal industry associations and academic institutions. Founding sponsors are the Legal Marketing Association (LMA) and the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA).

Guest speaker Jim Hannigan spoke about the history of the taxonomy and the current uses of it in the legal industry. Michael McAlpine then discussed the work done by the SALI Canadian Working Group to adapt the taxonomy to the Canadian legal environment. There was a general discussion about the uses of the taxonomy and efforts to implement it in law firms.

First released in 2019, the SALI taxonomy was developed in order to provide a standard method for describing legal matters and associated documents. Version 2.0 was released at the end of 2020 and represented a significant expansion of the code set. Organizations and individuals around the globe continue to contribute to its development and growth.

The SALI taxonomy is extensible and can work in conjunction with other standards (eg, NAICS, UTBMS codes). SALI is an open, free and party neutral that can be used by law firms, vendors and others in the legal industry to ensure matters and documents are described consistently. SALI has been endorsed by several large law firms and by vendors such as Fastcase, NetDocuments and Reynen Court.

Some of the core attributes of the current standard are:

  • Area of Law: Each matter can be assigned a primary and secondary area of law. Primary areas include topics such as Corporate Law, Constitutional and Human Rights, Personal and Family Law, and Food and Drug Law. Secondary areas are more specific and include topics such as Corporate Governance, Accident Benefits Law, and Labour Law.
  • Service: The Services attribute is a central feature of the taxonomy. Examples of services are Transaction, Advisory, or Dispute. Services provide more detail to a matter description than just relying solely on Area of Law.
  • Player Role: The Role attribute is what makes SALI party neutral. Roles include Appellant, Respondent, Acquiror or Acquiree.

Other attributes that can be used to describe a matter or client include Industry, Legal Entity, Location, or Trial Type.

The KM SIG will next meet on November 30th to discuss website monitoring applications. If you would like an invitation, please contact Michael McAlpine.

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