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Monday, December 19, 2016

CIAJ NAMES NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
The Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice has announced lawyer Christine O’Doherty will serve as its next executive director.

The Montreal lawyer started her career with O’Reilly & Associates in 1995.

She later joined the pharmaceutical industry, where she worked for 13 years and became interested in commercial, intellectual property and labour law.

O’Doherty will join CIAJ on Jan. 4.

“This is an organization that can play a strategic role to raise awareness and develop sustainability thinking about the administration of justice in Canada,” she says.

“I hope I will be able to create the strategic and relevant forums to achieve that reflection.”

She has worked for major pharmaceutical companies such as Merck Frosst Canada, National Pharmacon and Eli Lilly Canada in a number of different capacities.

She says one of her proudest accomplishments was helping to guide Merck through a crisis when the company had to recall and remove a prescription pain relief drug called Vioxx from the Canadian market.

“As a team, we were able to manage the crisis successfully without getting too many class action suits — in Canada at least,” she says.

“My legal expertise coupled with my public affairs background allowed me to better explain the issues at stake to the press and the public and the consequences of such a withdrawal for the patients and the health-care professionals.”

She started her own firm in 2008, and represented clients in corporate and labour law matters until recently. She has also taught at the Faculty of Pharmacy at the Université de Montréal since 2004.

NEXTLAW LABS INVESTS IN BEAGLE
Dentons LLP’s legal tech development company Nextlaw Labs has announced it will be investing in Canadian startup Beagle.

Beagle, which is based in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., uses machine learning to streamline the analysis of contracts.

The startup won the Canadian Bar Association’s Pitch contest this summer.

Beagle’s founder, Cian O’Sullivan, said the system gives lawyers the chance to focus on their expertise and strategy rather than on sifting through contract documents.

He said that Beagle will give lawyers access to a market of many businesses that don’t use lawyers on contracts, cutting down the amount of time and cost it takes to analyze a contract.

“Beagle is committed to making a global impact for law firms and their clients, as well as non-lawyers and small business owners who may not have had access to contract review capabilities before,” said O’Sullivan.

CANADIAN TAX FOUNDATION HONOURS RETIRED DLA PIPER LAWYER
The Canadian Tax Foundation has honoured a retired DLA Piper (Canada) LLP partner with its Lifetime Contribution Award.

Howard Kellough is credited with making significant contributions to the CFT during his time serving on its executive committee.

Kellough retired in March 2016 after working with the DLA Piper (Canada) national tax group since 2008.

The Canadian Tax Foundation also honoured Tim Duholke, a senior tax advisor with the firm.

LAW TIMES POLL
Law Times recently reported that some Law Society of Upper Canada benchers took issue with a recommendation proposed to Convocation that means every licensee must adopt “a statement of principles acknowledging their obligation to promote equity.”

Readers were asked if this requirement amounts to creating a thought crime.

More than 74 per cent of respondents said yes, while they support racialized lawyers in the profession, this recommendation oversteps reasonable expectations.

The remaining 26 per cent said no, this is a reasonable expectation, as achieving positive changes means each member must make a commitment to equity.

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Law Times poll

A recent Court of Appeal decision acknowledged a ‘new reality’ of civil litigation in which courts are seeing a significant number of self-represented litigants. Are courts are doing a good job of addressing the needs of self-represented litigants?
Yes, judges are doing a good job of ensuring trial fairness.
No, courts have only just begun to consider the many issues surrounding self-represented litigants.