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NEW SECURITIES LAW PARTNER AT FMC
Elana Hahn has left international law firm Morrison & Foerster LLP to become a partner at Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP.

Hahn joins FMC as a partner in the firm’s securities group at its Toronto office. Previously, she worked at a number of U.S. and British firms in London, England. Her practice covers an array of banking, capital markets, and derivatives matters.

“We are very happy to welcome Elana to our securities group,” said Mike Kaplan, FMC’s managing partner in Toronto.

“She is an experienced capital markets and finance lawyer and brings a wealth of insight and expertise to her practice, which will make her a great addition to our team.”

FORMER LAWYER’S SENTENCE REDUCED
The Ontario Court of Appeal has reduced the fraud sentence for a former lawyer from Innisfil, Ont.

In cutting the sentence to 16 months less time served of eight months from the original penalty of 22 months, the appeal court considered fresh evidence that Myles McLellan had agreed to secure $100,400 through a second mortgage in favour of the victim, Sam Klaiman, as restitution.

“I am satisfied that if the trial judge had before her the fresh evidence demonstrating that the appellant placed a second mortgage on his property in favour of Mr. Klaiman’s company, which interest was not subject to other multilayered security interests, she would have imposed a lower custodial sentence,” Justice Michael Tulloch wrote with his fellow appeal court judges agreeing.

Justice Anne Mullins had earlier convicted McLellan of fraud over $5,000 and two counts of uttering forged documents. The case related to funds deposited in his trust account in February 2006 that were “quickly dispersed for his own financial purposes.”

The Law Society of Upper Canada disbarred McLellan in 2009.

LAO REVIEWING REFUGEE SERVICES
Citing continuing funding challenges, Legal Aid Ontario is reviewing its delivery of refugee law services.
LAO has already drafted a consultation paper on refugee legal aid services that proposes a new model for delivering them. As a result, it will be consulting on its suggestions between Nov. 5 and Dec. 10. Registration for the consultations is available on LAO’s web site.

In justifying the need for change, LAO referred to new federal legislation that reforms the refugee determination system in Canada. “This new legislation, coupled with rising costs, requires LAO to reassess some of the basic assumptions about how refugee legal aid services are provided in Ontario,” LAO said last week.

The consultations follow changes LAO already made to the certificate system this year when it announced plans to reduce the amount of money it spends on refugee and immigration certificates by $1 million in a bid to tackle its deficit.

POLL RESULTS
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

It appears the recommendations from the Law Society of Upper Canada’s articling task force aren’t very popular with many Law Times readers. According to the poll, 74 per cent of respondents said the task force hadn’t gotten it right when it recommended a law practice program as an alternative to articling.

The poll comes as the legal profession has been vigorously debating the report’s recommendations. At Convocation on Oct. 25, law society benchers deferred a decision on the proposal for a law practice program until Nov. 22. Many benchers cited the need for more time to consider the report.
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FORMER CRTC CHAIR JOINS JAMS
Konrad von Finckenstein, former chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, has joined the Toronto office of JAMS.
Von Finckenstein’s move to the global alternative dispute resolution provider follows a five-year term at the CRTC that ended this year and a previous position on the Federal Court bench.
“Justice von Finckenstein has an excellent reputation for being fair and efficient,” said Chris Poole, president and CEO of JAMS.
For his part, von Finckenstein said he’s looking forward to working at JAMS. “I have always believed that ADR helps parties solve their problems and resolve their disputes in an expeditious manner,” he said.

HRTO AWARD CUT DUE TO FACEBOOK POST

An employee who breached a confidentiality provision of a human rights settlement by posting information on her Facebook page has paid the price for her actions.
According to Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario member Ian Mackenzie’s Oct. 15 ruling in Tremblay v. 1168531 Ontario Inc., the employee posted the following message after the parties signed the minutes of settlement: “Well court is done didn’t get what I wanted but I still walked away with some.”
After the employer took issue with the postings at the HRTO, the employee countered that there was no proof they were about the settlement. She also argued Facebook was private, Mackenzie noted.
Mackenzie however, rejected those defences in the Oct. 15 ruling. “There have been no cases before the HRTO where a breach of confidentiality has been found,” he wrote in a ruling that emphasized the importance of adhering to such provisions.
As a result, Mackenzie reduced the amount owing to the employee under the settlement by $1,000. He also ordered the employer to pay interest on the outstanding amounts owed under the settlement.

LEGAL CHANGES FOR YOUNG OFFENDERS
New provisions related to young offenders contained in the Safe Streets and Communities Act came into force last week.
“These changes to the youth criminal justice system are needed, balanced, and responsible,” said Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, who touted the protecting Canadians from violent and repeat young offenders segment of the act last week.
Among other things, the provisions related to young offenders will remove barriers to sentencing youth to custody; require the Crown to consider seeking adult sentences for youth who commit serious violent offences such as murder, manslaughter, and aggravated sexual assault; and require the courts to look at lifting publication bans on the names of youth found guilty of violent crimes.
“All too often, the justice system was powerless to keep violent or repeat young offenders in custody even when they posed a danger to society,” said Sen. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu.

POLL RESULTS
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.
The poll asked readers whether the province’s Justice on Target project is worth continuing given its failure to reach its ambitious original goals. It appears readers are in favour of it as nearly 70 per cent of respondents said it should continue. The poll follows the government’s release of statistics showing that while the project failed to cut appearances and the number of days to disposition in criminal cases by 30 per cent, the courts have nevertheless made modest progress on both fronts. The province is now continuing the project with new goals based on the severity of the case but no timelines for reaching them.
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TORONTO LAWYER JOINS DIVERSITY PROGRAM

Baker & McKenzie LLP partner Donna Walwyn is the first Canadian participant in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity’s fellows program.

The council, a U.S. organization involving top general counsel and managing partners, launched the fellows program as a structured mentoring effort aimed at identifying high-potential lawyers from diverse backgrounds.

The goal is to encourage a diverse generation of promising lawyers with strong leadership and relationship skills and a commitment to diversity at their firms and within the profession.

"We are proud to have Donna represent our office and our firm in the prestigious LCLD program," said Kevin Coon, managing partner of Baker & McKenzie’s Toronto office.

"Donna is a highly skilled and talented pensions and employee benefits lawyer and a person of great character."

For Walwyn, the opportunity is an honour. "I am truly honoured to be the first Canadian selected for the LCLD fellows program," she said.

JOT STATS ACROSS ONTARIO

As Law Times once again took a look at the Justice on Target project last week, particularly in regards to several Toronto-area courthouses reviewed during an earlier evaluation, the province also released statistics on how it fared at individual courthouses across Ontario.

While the project has fallen short of its ambitious targets overall, in some towns and cities there have been striking improvements in criminal court efficiency.

In Oshawa, Ont., for example, the average days to disposition is down to 169 from 231 in 2007. The average number of appearances, meanwhile, has fallen to 8.5 from 10.9 five years ago.

That's according to the latest statistics released by the Ministry of the Attorney General about the project launched with the aim of reducing both days to disposition and appearances by 30 per cent by 2012.

Attorney General John Gerretsen credits simple things for the improvements at courthouses like the one in Oshawa.

"The signage is a lot better," he says, noting efforts to provide more information to the accused from the outset, particularly when it comes to disclosure, have been making a difference in terms of ensuring court appearances are more meaningful. As well, technological improvements have played a role.

Other courthouses that have seen significant success include Kingston, Ont., where the average days to disposition was 125 this year. That’s down from 177 in 2007.

Appearances have fallen as well to 6.9 from 9.7. The courthouse in Barrie, Ont., has also shown positive results with days to dispositiondown to 171 from 240.

Some cities, however, saw worsening numbers. In Ottawa, days to disposition increased slightly to 208 from 207 and appearances rose to 9.3 from 9.2.

But that situation pales in comparison to Hamilton, Ont., where days to disposition skyrocketed to 237 from 157 five years ago and appearances rose to 9.3 from 8.5.

FMC LAUNCHES MICROSITE ON PRIVATE BUSINESS

Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP has launched a new microsite aimed at private business owners.

The new site, canadianprivateenterprise.com, will provide insights and news on matters such as intellectual property and tax and estate planning.

Lawyers Anna Balinsky, Laurence Geringer, and Ted Shoub will write and edit content on the site.

POLL RESULTS

The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

According to the poll, many Law Times readers aren’t on board with Windsor Law’s policy on who its legal aid program will represent in domestic violence cases.

Recently, the law school found itself in hot water following reports its Community Legal Aid program would no longer represent accused men in such cases but would continue to provide services to accused women. The school has since said it would represent neither gender in such cases.

Readers, however, are skeptical. According to the poll, 73 per cent of respondents answered no to the question of whether the school had the right policy.
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TWO CROWNS APPOINTED TO BENCH
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has announced the appointment of two Ontario Crown prosecutors as judges of the Superior Court.

Former Progressive Conservative MPP Tony Skarica takes a position on the Superior Court bench in Brampton, Ont. He replaces Justice D.L. Corbett, who transferred to Toronto following Justice Sarah Pepall’s move to the Ontario Court of Appeal in April.

Besides his stint in politics, Skarica has had a long career in criminal law. A permanent duty counsel for three years beginning in 1979, he worked as a sole practitioner from 1982 to 1983. He then served as an assistant Crown attorney in the Hamilton, Ont., and central south regions at various points thereafter.

Also appointed to the Superior Court bench in Brampton is Toronto Crown attorney Ria Tzimas. Tzimas became counsel with the Crown law office following a five-year stint in private practice from 1993 to 1998. She replaces Justice M.H Tulloch, who joined the Court of Appeal in June.

LAW FIRMS LAUDED AS TOP EMPLOYERS
McCarthy Tétrault LLP is hailing its success in landing a spot on Mediacorp Canada Inc.’s list of the top 100 employers in Canada for 2013.

“With the support of our CEO, we continue to work hard to develop and implement programs, practices, policies, and initiatives that are among the very best offered by employers in Canada,” said Paul Boniferro, the firm’s national leader for practices and people.

“We still have work to do, but as a leading law firm, we believe this hard work is never done.”

Also on the list from the legal community was Bennett Jones LLP. In addition, legal publisher Carswell, a division of Thomson Reuters Canada Ltd., made the list for the fifth consecutive time. The list noted Bennett Jones provides compassionate leave top-up payments of 100 per cent of salary for a week. Carswell, meanwhile, received accolades for a two-year leadership program aimed at promoting from within.

NEW CHAIRMAN AT STIKEMAN ELLIOTT
William Braithwaite is the new chairman of Stikeman Elliott LLP.

A senior partner in the firm’s Toronto office, Braithwaite is a leading lawyer in the area of mergers and acquisitions. He has also acted as counsel to major corporations, boards of directors, institutional shareholders, governments, and regulatory agencies.

Braithwaite succeeds Pierre Raymond in the role as chairman. Raymond will continue in a management role at the firm’s Montreal office.

CROWNS APPROVE TENTATIVE DEAL
Federal government lawyers have approved a tentative agreement reached earlier this year that granted them a 15.25-per-cent wage increase over three years.

According to the Association of Justice Counsel, 91.5 per cent of members who voted were in favour of the collective agreement reached with the federal government.

“We have heard the voice of our members,” said association president Lisa Blais. “Our association will do everything to ensure a speedy finalization of the agreement and its early implementation.”

For more, see "Federal Crowns to get 15.25% pay boost."

POLL RESULTS
A strong majority of respondents to the latest Law Times online poll are in favour of Omar Khadr’s return to Canada.

About 60 per cent agreed that the federal government should have allowed the inmate previously held at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to come back to Canada. A further 22 per cent of respondents weren’t necessarily in favour of the move but said the government had no choice. Just under 19 per cent of respondents outright opposed his return.
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LAWYER DISBARRED FOR TAKING $1M FROM DAD’S ESTATE
A Law Society of Upper Canada hearing panel has disbarred Ottawa lawyer Leslie Vandor for taking $1 million from his father’s estate.

“The evidence in this case demonstrated misappropriations of over $2,000,000 involving multiple breaches of trust and dishonesty,” wrote hearing panel chairwoman Constance Backhouse in a Sept. 27 ruling.

“The misappropriations occurred through multiple transactions involving multiple individuals, both clients and family members. The evidence portrayed a thicket of small lies intertwined with many significant misrepresentations, all taking place over more than 10 years.”

According to the hearing panel’s finding of misconduct in May, Vandor transferred more than $1 million from his father’s estate and Vandor Investments Ltd. to himself or other companies he controlled from 1998 to 2007.

Vandor has had a prominent role in the Ottawa legal community. He authored several legal books, appeared on radio and TV shows to talk about legal issues in the area, and had a weekly column in the Ottawa Citizen.

He had also previously served as senior adviser to the attorney general of Canada and became an independent contractor with what had been Lang Michener LLP in 2006. Part of the disciplinary findings against him involved transfers out of and between the firm’s trust and mixed trust accounts from February to April 2008.

Despite the panel’s findings, Vandor argued against disbarment. “The lawyer took the position that other justice agencies had made findings different from those of this panel,” Backhouse noted in the Sept. 27 ruling.

“He produced an e-mail indicating that the Montreal police had decided to drop the criminal charges that had been laid against him.”
The panel, however, maintained disbarment was appropriate.

“Here, apart from co-operation during the law society’s investigation phase and no prior disciplinary record, there are no mitigating circumstances,” wrote Backhouse.
“Indeed, there is nothing that one could characterize as exceptional extenuating circumstances or compelling mitigating evidence of unique circumstances.”

CHARLES ROACH A ‘POWERFUL ADVOCATE’
A man who would “stand up for his principles,” Toronto lawyer Charles Roach died last week before he could realize his dream of Canadian citizenship without swearing an oath to the Queen.

“He was a powerful advocate,” says fellow lawyer Selwyn Pieters, who met Roach in 1990 at a protest against police shootings of black people.
“He was one of the very few lawyers that was on the picket line when there was a police shooting or some other misdeeds by the police that required a public response.”

Roach fought many battles. Despite a struggle with brain cancer, the 79-year-old civil rights lawyer was still fighting his way through the courts in his bid to become a Canadian citizen without swearing the oath, something he felt was unconstitutional. He died, however, on Oct. 2.

Over the years, Pieters and Roach would see each other at rallies, seminars, and conferences. But most recently, Pieters had gone from fighting beside Roach to fighting for him as one of his lawyers in his bid for citizenship.
 
While the outcome of his official citizenship might be uncertain, Roach leaves a legacy of accomplishment in Canada. He immigrated from his birthplace of Trinidad and Tobago in 1955 and found himself inspired by a prominent figure who took her stand that year — Rosa Parks. His own journey started as a law student at the University of Toronto. He was called to the bar in 1963 and opened his own practice in 1968.

Roach took up the fight for those seeking refugee status and the rights of migrant workers throughout the 1970s, and had a hand in the Movement of Minority Electors in 1978. He also co-founded the Black Action Defence Committee in the 1980s and battled for civilian control of policing.

Although he was a permanent resident of Canada, he never forgot his birthplace. Roach was a central figure, for example, in the creation of Caribana in 1967.
“He sang and he sang everywhere,” says Pieters. “It didn’t matter to Charlie. My favourite memory was him having us sing at events.

I miss the man already. I saw him two weeks before he died, so I was very fortunate to have a chance to say goodbye. It’s a loss for the entire community.”
Pieters, however, won’t be giving up the battle to have his friend recognized as a Canadian citizen. The case, with three other plaintiffs, is back in court July 23.

“Stand up for your principles,” says Pieters in reference to what he thinks Roach would want Canadians to know.
“Fight for whatever you believe in — win, lose, or draw.”

EMPLOYMENT LAW FIRM TOPS FOR WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS
Employment law firm Rubin Thomlinson LLP has made the Profit/Chatelaine 2012 top 100 list of Canadian women entrepreneurs.
“It’s our 10th-year anniversary, so it’s a great seal of approval,” says partner Janice Rubin.

The list, running for its 14th year and for the first time in collaboration with Chatelaine, celebrates women’s accomplishments in growing and running businesses.

Ranking 51st on the list, Rubin Thomlinson can also claim another accomplishment as the only law firm on it. “We’re thrilled to be on it, particularly because we are the only law firm on the list,” says Rubin.

The honour is important, says Rubin, because women partners at senior and equity levels are still underrepresented in the profession. She credits the firm’s “fantastic team” and “unbelievably wonderful clients” for their role in landing Rubin Thomlinson on the list.
“We’re in great company,” she says.

CROWN FACING OVER-80 CHARGE ON OCT. 17
An assistant Crown attorney in Thunder Bay, Ont., is due in court this month on a charge of driving over 80.

Brendan Crawley, spokesman for the Ministry of the Attorney General, has confirmed that Karen Scullion, an assistant Crown attorney in Thunder Bay, is facing a charge of driving over 80 following an incident in May.

According to CBC News, the Ontario Provincial Police allege Scullion was parked on a road in Oliver Paipoonge, a municipality west of Thunder Bay, on May 29 and was behind the wheel when another vehicle hit her car from behind.

The matter is next in court in Thunder Bay on Oct. 17.
“The employee is on leave and as this is a human resources matter, we cannot comment further,” said Crawley.

NEW PROGRAM TO COVER PARALEGALS, LAWYERS
The Law Society of Upper Canada is launching a confidential assistance program aimed at supporting lawyers and now paralegals in Ontario who are experiencing a personal or professional crisis.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2013, the program will offer a variety of services including confidential peer-to-peer counseling.
The services aren’t new to lawyers.

The Ontario Lawyers’ Assistance Program (OLAP) has received more than  $3 million in funding from the law society and LawPRO since 2006. However, in order to ensure paralegals also have access to the services, the law society and LawPRO will be ending their funding for OLAP at the end of 2012 in favour of the new assistance program.

INAUGURAL MCMURTRY FELLOWS NAMED
Osgoode Hall Law School has named three lawyers as its first McMurtry fellows.

The three fellows are Raj Anand of WeirFoulds LLP, Joseph Arvay of Arvay Finlay in Vancouver, and sole practitioner Fay Faraday. A committee composed of student representatives and Osgoode staff selected the recipients.

The fellows will mentor students and lawyers engaged in experiential education activities by spending a term, or part of one, at Osgoode. Each will have an office, administrative support, and a stipend while in residence.

Other contributions may involve teaching, participating in research projects, delivering public and faculty lectures, participating in Osgoode’s mooting and lawyering programs, and assisting with institutional projects in their areas of interest and expertise.

The McMurtry fellowship honours Osgoode graduate and former attorney general and chief justice Roy McMurtry.
As the first program of its kind in Canada, the fellowship complements Osgoode’s recent introduction of an experiential education requirement.

The fellows “will play a vital role in helping to connect our students, faculty, and staff with broader practice networks, insights, and expertise,” said Osgoode dean Lorne Sossin.
“They will help build bridges between the law school and the community to advance experiential education.”

LCO CONSIDERING FORESTRY WAGE ACT
On Oct. 1, the Law Commission of Ontario launched the first stage of a project considering reforms of the Forestry Workers Lien for Wages Act.

The project will develop recommendations for changes to the act as its terminology and procedures haven’t changed since 1891. “Recent cases have shown that the act does not reflect modern logging practices or legal processes,” said law commission executive director Patricia Hughes.

“If it is to fulfil its purpose of protecting workers in the logging industry, reform is essential.”

The law commission says the act, which currently applies only to northern Ontario and the County of Haliburton, frustrates workers’ attempts to protect their interests because interpreting the law in contemporary circumstances necessitates complex and costly litigation.
The consultation paper is available at lco-cdo.org.
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ANDRAE MARROCCO JOINS DICKINSON WRIGHT

Andrae Marrocco has joined the Toronto office of Dickinson Wright LLP as of counsel.

Marrocco, former vice president and general counsel of AISystems Inc., was recently senior associate at Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP.

He advises private and public corporations, businesses, and entrepreneurs on a range of corporate and finance transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, commercial contracts, structured finance agreements, restructurings, corporate governance, and international transactions.

INTERPRETER SHORTAGE A ‘SERIOUS SITUATION’

The lack of accredited interpreters continues to be a challenge for the court system, a new ruling indicates.

In R. v. Pecson, Superior Court Justice Leonard Ricchetti faced the dilemma of a trial with no accredited interpreter for Tagalog available.

“Given the Ministry of the Attorney General’s policy regarding the use of accredited interpreters for trial and the fact there are no accredited Tagalog interpreters in Ontario, this creates a very serious situation in criminal matters,” Ricchetti wrote in the Sept. 18 ruling.

“This is a matter which needs to be addressed by the Ministry of the Attorney General immediately.”

After the Crown suggested two Tagalog interpreters for the trial of Dennis Pecson, defence counsel objected to a court inquiry as to their competency.

Ricchetti, however, decided to go ahead anyway given his conclusion that the accused had the right to a competent, but not necessarily an accredited, interpreter.

In the end, Ricchetti noted, defence counsel suggested Sophie Reyesleger, a conditionally accredited interpreter, for the trial. As a result, the court rescheduled Pecson’s trial for Jan. 7.

But Ricchetti emphasized the need for the province to act quickly on the lack of interpreters. “One suggestion is that any applications for accreditation for Tagalog interpreters be expedited as I understand one of the two proffered Tagalog interpreters is waiting to be tested,” he wrote.

OTTAWA COURT CLOSED DUE TO FLOOD

A flood brought a temporary halt to proceedings at the Ottawa courthouse last Tuesday.

The flood forced the building’s evacuation and closure for the day.

The courthouse closed after a water main broke just outside the Laurier Street entrance to the building, causing water to pour in.

The burst pipe caused delays of several cases, including a police sergeant’s high-profile sexual assault trial.

When service workers shut off the water main, it shut off the water to the courthouse and city hall.

The lack of running water for toilets and other necessities created a health and safety issue that prompted officials to close the building.

“We were about to recommence a jury trial and it turns out there’s been a pipe that broke in the criminal vault downstairs where they keep the exhibits and things and it was filling up with water,” said James Foord of Foord Davies LLP who’s also president of the Defence Counsel Association of Ottawa.

“I guess whenever they have that type of situation, the water will keep flowing until it fills the room which could include the cellblock.”

Foord said everyone in custody awaiting bail hearings or sentencing had their matters adjourned until Wednesday morning.

POLL RESULTS

The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

It appears many Law Times readers agree with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association’s report on the retention and disclosure of non-conviction records by police.

About 73 per cent of respondents agreed with the CCLA’s call for change to the system given concerns about disclosures of records related to withdrawn criminal charges, findings of not guilty, charges never laid, and non-criminal interactions such as mental-health situations.

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BRYANT TO SPEAK AT EVENT THIS WEEK
Former attorney general Michael Bryant will speak at a lunch organized by A Call to Action Canada this week.

The event is in support of A Call to Action’s activities in promoting diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. It takes place at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Toronto at 123 Queen St. W. at noon on Sept. 28. For more information, call 416-795-9747.

Bryant has been in the news lately with the release of his book, 28 Seconds: A True Story of Addiction, Tragedy, and Hope.

In the book, he chronicles his battles with alcohol addiction, the highs and lows of his political career, and the aftermath of his deadly encounter with a cyclist in 2009.

INSOLVENCY LAWYER JOINS BLG
Edmond Lamek has left Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP to join Borden Ladner Gervais LLP.

“Edmond is a leading insolvency and restructuring practitioner and is a proven advocate with an ability to get deals done,” said Michael MacNaughton, national leader of BLG’s insolvency and restructuring group.

“Our clients will benefit from his experience and judgment. His addition strengthens our national team and shows our continuing commitment to leadership in this area.”

Lamek, who becomes a partner at BLG, has more than 20 years of experience practising exclusively in the area of insolvency and restructuring law. “I’m pleased to join a firm that is so focused on professional excellence and committed to providing the best possible service to their clients,” he said.

NEW FELLOWSHIPS AT OSGOODE
Osgoode Hall Law School is launching a new fellowship focused on experiential learning.

The McMurtry Visiting Clinical Fellowship, named after former Ontario chief justice Roy McMurtry, will bring lawyers and other practitioners to Osgoode for a term to provide mentorship to students and lawyers engaged in experiential education.

“McMurtry fellowships will play a vital role in creating bridges between the academic, policy, and practice communities and provide Osgoode students, staff, and faculty with the opportunity to connect with broader practice networks and expertise,” said Osgoode dean Lorne Sossin.

Fellowship holders will receive an office, administrative support, and a stipend with the expectation that they’ll spend a semester in residence at Osgoode. An ad hoc selection committee will choose the fellowship holders each spring.

The fellowships follow a recent announcement that Osgoode is changing its law degree program to focus on experiential learning by introducing what it calls a praxicum into the curriculum.

FIRM LAUNCHES $5K FACEBOOK CONTEST
Toronto immigration law firm Niren & Associates is taking an innovative approach to social media this month.

The firm is launching a Facebook contest offering up to $5,000 in immigration services. To enter, people simply need to like its Facebook page and share their story. The contest wraps up on Sept. 30.

“We’ve noticed our clients seem more engaged when they are part of the Facebook community,” said firm founder Michael Niren. “So we were looking for ways to make our Facebook fan page more interesting.”

POLL RESULTS
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

According to the poll, 70 per cent of respondents believe accident benefits should provide for medical marijuana.

The poll follows a Law Times story about an arbitrator’s ruling that provided medical marijuana to an insurance claimant who said the drug was the only substance that alleviated her pain, anxiety, insomnia, and poor appetite without significant side-effects.
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DONATION TO SUPPORT NEW CHAIR AT WESTERN
A $1.5-million donation from W. Geoff Beattie and Torys LLP will help Western Law launch a new chair in corporate law.

Western has matched the gift in order to provide $3 million for the new W. Geoff Beattie chair in corporate law. The money will also support the Torys LLP corporate and securities law forum.

“Western Law is extremely grateful for this generous gift which will allow us to recruit or retain an outstanding faculty member in the area of corporate law,” said Western Law dean Iain Scott.

Beattie, president and CEO of the Woodbridge Co. Ltd. and deputy chairman of Thomson Reuters, said he has high hopes for the new chair and forum.

“Great students and faculty come to where other great students and faculty are, and our hope is that the Beattie chair and Torys corporate law forum act as catalysts to build a sustained business law capability in Canada.”

MARLYS EDWARDH HONOURED
The Advocates’ Society has honoured Toronto lawyer Marlys Edwardh with the Advocates’ Society Medal.

About 300 people gathered to honour Edwardh at a dinner at the Toronto Hilton on Sept. 5.
Edwardh is the third woman to receive the medal. It honours leaders of the bar who have made a significant contribution to the legal profession and the broader community.

Edwardh, who practises at Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP, has been counsel in a number of leading constitutional cases and high-profile criminal matters. She has also served as counsel to and before several commissions of inquiry.

GREGORY KANE JOINS FMC
Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP is welcoming veteran lawyer Gregory Kane to its ranks in Ottawa.

Kane joins the firm as counsel in its communications law and public policy, government relations, and regulatory affairs practice groups. He had previously been senior partner at Stikeman Elliott LLP.

“Greg has made significant contributions to the legal profession in Canada, and I am delighted to welcome him to our team of talented and hardworking professionals in Ottawa,” said Tom Houston, FMC’s managing partner in Ottawa.

For more than 30 years, Kane has been advising clients in a number of areas, including telecommunications, regulated health care, transportation, federal lobbying, conflicts, and ethics.

LAWYERS NAMED TO OSC COMMITTEE
The Ontario Securities Commission has named four private firm lawyers to its new exempt market advisory committee.

The lawyers are Julia Dublin, Andrea Johnson of Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP, Michael Smith of Kaye Scholer LLP in New York, and London, England, and Vaughn MacLellan of Wildeboer Dellelce LLP.

The committee will advise OSC staff on regulatory approaches to the capital-raising segment of the exempt market. In particular, it will provide advice on potential new capital-raising prospectus exemptions for business enterprises.

They’re under consideration as part of the OSC’s broadened exempt-market review.

POLL RESULTS
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

Almost 83 per cent of respondents said they’ve known a colleague in the legal profession who has dealt with alcoholism or other addictions.

The survey followed a story in the Sept. 3 edition of Law Times that highlighted some of the factors that may lead to alcoholism and other addictions among lawyers.
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LFO FELLOWSHIP TO EXPLORE SOCIAL RIGHTS
The Law Foundation of Ontario has awarded its community leadership in justice fellowship to Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario program director Tracy Heffernan.

Heffernan will spend her fellowship at Osgoode Hall Law School. As part of the fellowship, she’ll explore the potential to reduce homelessness using the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and other tools.

“We clearly need to do more on the homelessness front,” said Heffernan. “One of my key current interests is the use of a rights-based approach to address homelessness and the lack of adequate housing.

This fellowship allows me to research the right to housing in other countries and to analyze how those strategies might apply in Canada.”

Heffernan’s fellowship will culminate in a symposium next year during which a group of international experts will consider the potential steps towards the establishment of a right to housing in Canada.

“The Charter has had a profound impact, but its role in developing social rights is in its infancy,” says Osgoode dean Lorne Sossin.

“While at Osgoode, Tracy is going to explore the concept of a positive Charter right to adequate housing, one of the most significant social challenges we face.”

NEW STAFF AT LAO
Lawyer Emmanuelle Jean is joining Legal Aid Ontario in the northeast district’s north Cochrane corridor.

Also among the new staff is legal aid worker Hélène Savage.

“Emmanuelle and Hélène can provide more timely and convenient service to this community’s most marginalized people than would be possible if staff duty counsel had to travel from Timmins every few weeks,” said Louise Huneault, district area director for LAO’s northeast district.

“They are highly qualified bilingual professionals who live and work in the north and can travel to courthouses within this part of the district.”

Jean is a family and criminal lawyer who was called to the bar in 2009. Before joining LAO, she worked in a rural private practice in eastern Ontario.

Savage has been an LAO employee in Hamilton, Ont. for the past two decades and is returning to her home community.

IMMIGRATON BACKLOG MATTER MOVES AHEAD
Members of Toronto’s Bellissimo Law Group will head to Ottawa on Sept. 18 to argue that a stay should remain in effect preventing Citizenship and Immigration Canada from terminating federal skilled-worker applications filed prior to Feb. 27, 2008.

The group is part of a legal proceeding currently before the Federal Court of Canada headed up by Bellissimo Law Group, Quebec law firm Campbell Cohen, and other Canadian immigration lawyers such as Lorne Waldman.

Legal Feeds reported in July that the group and the Department of Justice had reached an agreement stipulating that Citizenship and Immigration Canada wouldn’t return processing fees in relation to federal skilled-worker applications for 90 days.

The group’s lawyers are now expected to ask the Federal Court for certification of the matter as a class proceeding following the successful resolution of a handful of cases last month.

According to the Bellissimo Law Group, the potential outcomes could include a stay for the entire class of federal skilled-worker applicants, a stay for only those applicants before the court or the proceedings continuing without a stay in effect.

Bellissimo Law Group will be accepting new applicants until Sept. 5.

POLL RESULTS
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

It appears some Law Times readers aren’t too happy with Legal Aid Ontario’s new discretion guidelines. According to last week’s question, almost 67 per cent of respondents don’t agree with the changes.

LAO announced the changes last month after consulting with the bar this spring on changes they wanted to see.
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GUY PRATTE BOWS OUT
Guy Pratte, the independent counsel at the proceedings related to Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas, has resigned, a move that leaves the Canadian Judicial Council scrambling to find a replacement for him.

Norman Sabourin, executive director and senior general counsel at the council, wouldn’t comment on Pratte’s reasons for resigning and would say only that the hunt is on for an immediate replacement.

“We hope that within a few days we can announce an appointment,” Sabourin told Legal Feeds.
Toronto lawyer and legal commentator James Morton says the proceedings have faced a lot of difficulties.

“The details involving his resignation don’t appear to have been made clear yet.  But it appears as though he was not at all content with the way things were proceeding.”

A council committee is looking into the conduct of Douglas, whose husband posted sexually explicit photos of her online in 2003 when the couple were family lawyers at a Winnipeg firm.

POLL RESULTS
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

Fifty per cent of respondents said they haven’t thought about succession planning for their law practice because they don’t plan to retire anyway.

The results follow an Aug. 20 Law Times article that indicated that many lawyers hadn’t thought much about succession planning.

By comparison, 31 per cent of respondents said they had thought about succession planning for their practice while almost 19 per cent said retirement was too far in the future to think about the issue.

CBA FEE CHANGES
The Canadian Bar Association has changed its fee structure.

The base membership rate will now be a flat fee of $540 a year with a 60-per-cent discount applied during the first three years of call. The fee will be increase annually based on the consumer price index and discounts will be available to associate and retired members. Law students will pay $20.

The CBA hopes the new fee will help small firms and sole practitioners who said they found it difficult to justify CBA membership costs. It’s also hoping to encourage member participation.
Previously, the CBA based its fee structure on year of call.

“The current fee structure, based on year of call with incremental increases up until five years in practice, was no longer resonating with members, and actually ranked second last by members in a survey undertaken by the CBA in 2011,” the CBA said in a statement.

“The last time the CBA reviewed membership fees was in 1994.”

IMAX MOTION DISMISSED
Superior Court Justice Katherine van Rensburg has dismissed a motion for summary judgment in relation to the plaintiffs’ statutory claims for secondary-market misrepresentation in the class
action case of Silver v. Imax.

“No public interest would be served by permitting a cause of action to be defeated by delays inherent in the litigation process,” wrote van Rensburg in a decision that contrasts with other rulings that went against plaintiffs in similar circumstances where lengthy proceedings had delayed matters.

The Imax litigation stemmed from allegations the company made misrepresentations that led to a precipitous decline in its share price a few years ago. The U.S. action began in 2007. Shortly after, Dimitri Lascaris of Siskinds LLP in London, Ont., filed a parallel case in Ontario.

Last month, the court denied certification to plaintiffs in a secondary-markets securities class action involving CIBC and its subprime mortgage exposure even though Justice George Strathy indicated he saw merit in the case.

On July 3, Strathy ruled in Green v. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce that the plaintiffs had failed to obtain the required leave to proceed with the action within the mandated three-year period.

The court also rejected the plaintiffs’ request to certify common law claims for negligent misrepresentation. However, Strathy indicated that had he found that the limitation period hadn’t expired, he would have granted leave and certified the action as a class proceeding.
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LABARGE WEINSTEIN EXPANDS TO B.C.
LaBarge Weinstein LLP will open an office in Vancouver, British Columbia on Sept. 4.

The technology law boutique is currently headquartered in Ottawa and has satellite offices in Toronto and Waterloo.

“We’re very excited to build on our growing practice in western Canada,” said LaBarge Weinstein LLP co-founding partner, Debbie Weinstein. “The B.C. technology market is strong and is gaining momentum. Although we’ve been serving clients in the region for years, we thought our 15th anniversary marked the perfect time to make our presence permanent.”

Mark Longo, who will join the firm as a partner next month, will lead the new office. Longo has worked in corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, and technology law in the Vancouver region for 20 years.

“The excitement in the Vancouver tech sector is palpable and we believe that LW’s style of practice is well suited to meet the needs of these young and growing companies,” said LaBarge Weinstein LLP co-founding partner Paul LaBarge.

NEW LAWYERS JOIN DICKINSON WRIGHT
Dickinson Wright LLP has added four new lawyers to its Toronto office.

Toronto corporate lawyer Douglas Benson will become a member of the firm. His practice will focus on public-private partnerships and other types of infrastructure transactions.

Joining him is Mark Redinger, a corporate lawyer formerly at Fogler Rubinoff LLP. His practice will focus on mergers, acquisitions, and corporate and financial solutions.

Henry Chong, a former senior rulings officer with the Canada Revenue Agency, will join the firm as counsel and with a focus on taxation.

Lastly, Toronto-area lawyer Robert Farmer will join the firm as an associate and will focus on business, corporate, and banking and financial services.

CONVOCATION UPDATE
The Law Society of Upper Canada has submitted a series of changes during special Convocation Aug. 21 that would change the make up of its compensation committee.

Under the proposed changes, the size of the committee would be increased from four to five people by adding an elected bencher or elected benchers.

“It is also proposed that the committee be increased in size to five people with addition of an elected bencher where the co-chairs are members or two elected benchers where the chair is a member. This will complement the current membership and provide additional assurance for quorum,” the law society motion reads.

Convocation approved the changes on Aug. 21. The changes will take place immediately.

Several appointments were also made at the meeting.

Alan Silverstein received a recommendation for nomination to the LawPRO board of directors. Silverstein is currently vice chairman of the law society’s finance committee and practises as a real estate lawyer in Toronto.

James Scarfone, founding partner of Scarfone Hawkins LLP, also received a recommendation to be appointed to the law society’s committee of benchers. Scarfone became a law society bencher in May 2011.

Law society Treasurer Tom Conway was named chairman of the articling task force, the compensation fund, the law society awards, the law society LLD advisory board, the priority planning committee, and the working group on the retention of women.

For a complete list of appointments, see www.lsuc.on.ca

POLL RESULTS
The results of the latest online Law Times poll are in.

Sixty per cent of respondents said the courts got it right in recent labour decisions that held there’s no Charter protection for traditional collective bargaining.

The results follow a recent Law Times article about the decision in Association of Justice Counsel v. Canada (Attorney General).

The Court of Appeal upheld the validity of the Expenditure Restraint Act in the case. The act limits wage increases for federal employees between 2006 and 2011.

The decision reflected recent developments in the courts that reinforce the government’s ability to take an aggressive bargaining stance in the face of employee demands for higher wages as long as it’s acting in good faith in negotiations.

LSUC SECURITY GUARDS SHOW UNION SUPPORT
The majority of Law Society of Upper Canada security guards have voted in favour of representation by the Service Employees International Union Local 2 in their future “employment relations” with the law society.

The vote follows a successful application for certification filed on Aug. 7 that covered the law society’s 13 security guards.

The Ontario Labour Relations Board ordered and supervised a corresponding representation vote on Aug. 9, where the majority voted in favour of representation by the union.

“The matter is presently before the Ontario Labour Relations Board and, as this is an ongoing legal process, we will not make any further comment on that process,” said law society spokesperson Susan Tonkin.
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CBA TO TACKLE ACCESS TO JUSTICE
The Canadian Bar Association has launched three efforts aimed at improving access to justice, assisting the legal profession to prepare for the future, and helping law firms measure diversity.

“These projects centre on a vision for justice and how that can be achieved,” said outgoing CBA president Trinda Ernst.

“The initiatives are at the heart of what the CBA is all about and will enhance our association’s offering both to members and to the public.”

As part of the new efforts, the CBA’s access to justice committee will look at the legal needs of low- and middle-income people, how the profession can do its part to improve access to justice while keeping governments accountable, and how to assess the viability of the current legal system.

It will also take part in a national summit on access to justice and provide regular reports and updates on its web site.

Other activities include a study on the current legal environment, shifts in client demands, and how to train the next generation of lawyers.

Lawyers, academics, regulators, judges, and consumers of legal services will conduct the study.

In addition, the CBA will create an online guide for measuring diversity at law firms to help them assess their performance on that issue.

POLL RESULTS
The results of the latest online Law Times poll are in.
 
Forty-eight per cent of respondents said it might be appropriate to reveal a client’s HIV status.
 
The comments follow a Law Times article that discussed R. v. Butt.

The decision in the recent criminal case included the judge’s comments on a defence lawyer who disclosed her client’s HIV status to the court.

The judge praised her for doing so. The lawyer’s actions led to HIV testing of a 12-year-old victim and the discovery that he wasn’t HIV positive.

INBOUND REFERRALS DRIVE PROFITS: SURVEY
More than one in 10 Canadian law firms earn half of their total annual income from inbound referrals, a new survey by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell shows.

According to the results, 55 per cent of Canadian law firms surveyed that earn at least 20 per cent of their total annual income from inbound referrals get new business from other firms in the same province, territory or city.

The survey found the referrals often occur for litigation, arbitration or dispute resolution, real estate law, and general corporate work.

“Even from these headline results, it is clear that revenue via referrals from other lawyers is very important for many law firms,” said Canadian Bar Association chief executive officer John Hoyles.

“In the continued challenging economic climate, they help to provide firms with welcome support to help achieve new business targets when other sources of new business are more static.”

The survey took place between February and March 2012. It was released on Aug. 12 at the CBA’s Canadian legal conference in Vancouver.

LAO CHEQUE SCAM ALERT
Some members of the public are receiving counterfeit Legal Aid Ontario cheques as part of a mystery shopper scam, LAO is reporting.

Some members of the public who have applied for a job as a mystery shopper or customer service evaluator are receiving counterfeit LAO cheques for their work in the amount of $3,991.17.

LAO said in a statement the cheques are fake and people shouldn’t cash them.

It’s not clear at this time how many members of the public are victims of the scam.
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NEW JUDGE APPOINTED
Melanie Dunn has joined the Ontario Court of Justice bench in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
Dunn was called to the bar in 2000 and has served as past regional director for the Criminal Lawyers’ Association.
Most recently, Dunn had been a sole practitioner in association with Sault Ste. Marie law firm Dunn Tremblay-Hall.
Dunn will take the position on Aug. 15.

PARALEGAL REVIEW ANNOUNCED
D.J. Morris & Associates Ltd. managing director David Morris will examine paralegal regulation in Ontario as part of the next phase of the province’s five-year review.
Morris, a professional writer, will review the current status of paralegal regulation in Ontario, analyze feedback from the public and stakeholders, and make suggestions for ways to improve paralegal regulation. Morris will also consider the Law Society of Upper Canada’s recent five-year report on paralegal regulation.
The law society’s report found paralegal regulation was effective and beneficial to the public. However, it noted some concerns from paralegal students who felt their education and training should be more rigorous. Some paralegals also argued they should be able to provide a greater range of services, the report found.
The government amended the Law Society Act in 2006 to provide for paralegal regulation in Ontario. Full paralegal regulation began in May 2007.
The legislation calls for several reviews of paralegal regulation in Ontario. It also requires the appointment of a person who’s not a lawyer or a paralegal to review paralegal regulation.
Morris is expected to provide his report to the Ministry of the Attorney General on Nov. 1.

POLL RESULTS
The results of the latest online Law Times poll are in.
Almost 79 per cent of respondents said outsourcing mediating will fix the case backlog at the Financial Services Commission of Ontario.
The results come as the Ontario Court of Appeal considers a number of cases stemming from the backlog. Some observers have cited outsourcing as a possible solution to it.

LEGAL CLIENTS PUSHING TECHNOLOGY: SURVEY
Clients may be the main catalyst pushing lawyers to adopt the use of technology, according to a new report that predicts big spending on information technology by law firms and corporate departments over the next two years.
The study from Robert Half Legal, “Technology's transformation of the legal field,” looks at how emerging technologies are affecting management strategies at law firms and corporate legal departments and changing the delivery of legal services. The report is part of Robert Half Legal’s 12th annual Future Law Office project.
“Certainly, in the last two or three years, there’s been close to an explosion in terms of what firms and companies are doing. Whereas two or three years ago it might have been a pipe dream, it’s now being implemented,” said John Ohnjec, division director of Robert Half Legal.
As clients in large companies use enterprise hardware and software tools to better manage their own businesses, law firms are feeling the pressure to keep up and they’re seeing the economic benefit as they do so.
“There’s certainly a recognition of how this can be very cost-effective for a firm. Sometimes, the corporations firms are working with may be more advanced as a whole in their operations, and all of a sudden it has leached into the legal field and firms realize they have to keep up to date and service their technology-savvy corporations,” said Ohnjec.
The report also shows that while there will be an investment in information technology, it might result in a reduction in staff as firms and corporate departments will be able to minimize employee numbers through advances in technology. Law firm office size is already shrinking with mobile devices and wireless networks enabling lawyers to work remotely from any location.
Technology is also levelling the playing field. With firms of all sizes using similar services and tools, small firms and sole practitioners are able to establish a bigger presence online and, in some cases, better compete with larger firms.
“Technology has also allowed some smaller- and mid-size firms to catch up,” said Ohnjec. “Some smaller shops that are technologically advanced can take on work that in the past they may not have been able to due to volume. Not only is using an iPad or BlackBerry fun, but it’s far more reaching and can have results on the bottom line which obviously everyone is most concerned with.”

 

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LAO DEVELOPING MENTAL-HEALTH STRATEGY
Legal Aid Ontario will create a new strategy to improve services for clients with mental-health issues, the organization announced in a statement.

Currently, LAO’s strategy provides extra funding to criminal lawyers whose legal aid clients have mental-health issues. LAO also funds legal clinics that support clients who have mental-health issues as well as duty-counsel assistance in court.

According to LAO’s press release, the new strategy will build on those efforts in order to provide more efficient and effective client services.

“The board is enthusiastic about this important opportunity to work in consultation with our stakeholders to improve our services to our clients,” said LAO chairman John McCamus.

NOTED LAWYER DIES

Ontario lawyer John Plater died late last month.

Among his many pursuits, Plater served as co-chairman of the ministerial advisory council on the federal initiative to address HIV-AIDS in Canada.

According to a release by Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, Plater was a “tireless representative of people living with HIV, AIDS, and hepatitis C from across Canada and around the world.

“John dedicated his time and energy in the service of others. He will be missed and will be an inspiration to many for years to come.”

POLL RESULTS    
The results of the most recent Law Times online poll are in.

Nearly 64 per cent of respondents said there should be a national case management judge to schedule overlapping class actions across Canada.

The issue arises as the Ontario Superior Court dealt with the dilemma of 10 class actions filed in multiple provinces in the case of McSherry v. Zimmer GMBH on July 13.

CHARTER APPEAL DISMISSED
There was no violation of the rights of an Ontario man when he was segregated from fellow psychiatric patients at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in 2009, the Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled.

Dismissing Paul Conway’s appeal, the appeal court ruled in Conway (Re) that although the appellant believed his rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms were violated, that he was held unlawfully when he was transferred to the south pod unit of CAMH in 2009, and that he should be conditionally discharged for the alleged violation, the move was necessary because he posed a significant threat to the public, staff, and other patients at the facility.

“Suffice it to say, the appellant’s behaviour and conduct made it impossible for him to remain with other patients.

Thereafter, a stalemate developed where the appellant continually rebuffed attempts by the staff to reintegrate him into the general population of patients,” wrote Justice Marc Rosenberg in his decision with justices Robert Sharpe and Russell Juriansz concurring.

“We are satisfied that the board’s finding that the transfer to south pod was necessary was reasonable.

We are also satisfied that the finding that the appellant remains a significant threat to the safety of the public is fully justified. The appellant suffers from a serious mental disorder for which he refuses treatment.”

Conway has been detained in various psychiatric facilities for almost 30 years since he was found not guilty by reason of insanity on a charge of sexual assault with a weapon, according to the appeal court’s ruling. He began residing at CAMH in 2005.

The Ontario Review Board ruled last year that Conway posed a significant threat to the public and that moving him to the south pod unit didn’t violate his Charter rights. The board also ordered his detention at a medium-security unit in Hamilton, Ont.

Conway argued his detention in the south pod unit was a form of “virtual segregation” that wasn’t the least onerous and restrictive measure and was contrary to the Charter.
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MCCARTHYS LAWYER TAKES RYERSON POST
McCarthy Tétrault LLP partner Grant Buchanan is taking his expertise in the telecommunications field to Ryerson University as a distinguished visiting scholar.

Buchanan becomes a visiting scholar at the RTA School of Media in the faculty of communication and design as well as with the law and business program at the Ted Rogers School of Management.
"I am delighted to accept this appointment," said Buchanan.

"Having the opportunity to work with the students, faculty, and administration at Ryerson University is truly a fundamental element in creating real-life experiences that are vital to the growth of tomorrow's leaders."

During his one-year appointment, Buchanan will work with the deans of the faculty and the school in a number of advisory and scholarly roles related to special projects and assignments. This includes ongoing work related to Ryerson's application for an FM radio licence.

VIOLENT CRIME DECLINES IN ONTARIO
Ontario saw a marked decline in violent crime last year, Statistics Canada is reporting.

The violent crime severity index dropped five per cent in 2011 over the previous year, the federal agency noted in a release on police-reported crime statistics last week. For Canada as a whole, the index dropped six per cent. The biggest decline provincially was in Newfoundland, where the index fell by 15 per cent.

Overall, police services reported two million Criminal Code incidents, excluding traffic matters, in 2011, according to Statistics Canada. That was about 110,000 fewer incidents than in 2010. The drop occurred for most offences, including attempted murder, major assaults, sexual assaults, robbery, break-ins, and vehicle theft.

But some offences saw an increase. They included homicides, sexual offences against children, child pornography, criminal harassment, impaired driving, and most drug offences. But while the homicide rate increased by seven per cent in 2011, the severity indexes declined for both violent and overall crime.

POLL RESULTS
The result of last week's Law Times online poll are in.

Eighty-seven per cent of respondents said their law firm offers flat fees or other alternative-billing options to their clients. The poll followed a Law Times story that indicated corporate counsel are likely to step up the pressure on firms to offer alternative-billing arrangements.

THREE INQUIRY LAWYERS APPOINTED
Three seasoned Ottawa lawyers will act as counsel to the commissioner of the inquiry looking into the collapse of an Elliot Lake, Ont., shopping mall that claimed the lives of two people and injured 20 others last month.

Justice Paul Bélanger, commissioner of the Elliot Lake inquiry, announced last week that Peter K. Doody, Bruce Carr-Harris, and Mark Wallace will serve as the three lead counsel. Doody and Carr-Harris are partners with the Ottawa office of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. Wallace is a partner at the Ottawa criminal law firm Carroll & Wallace.

The independent public inquiry into the collapse of the Algo Centre Mall will look at the cause of the collapse and the rescue effort. Lucie Aylwin, 37, and Doloris Perizzolo, 74, died and 20 other people were injured after part of the mall's roof crashed into the shopping centre on June 23.

"We're to find out how the collapse happened and why, then look at the history of it compared to the regulatory structure and policies that are supposed to govern those kind of structures," said Carr-Harris, who will serve as the commission spokesman.

The three lawyers will also examine the rescue effort and how it measured up against standards and make any recommendations they feel are necessary.

"The challenge in a construction collapse like this is to find out what happened. We really don't know what happened, all we have seen is what's been in the media. There is also the concern about the rescue mission so we're going to have to look at that, too," he said.
The terms of reference of the inquiry indicate it could take up to 18 months if necessary.

GROIA APPEALS, LSUC REBUTS
Calling one aspect of the disciplinary decision against him "an absurd result" and "an error of law that urgently requires correction," Joe Groia filed his notice of appeal last week of last month's civility ruling against him by the Law Society of Upper Canada.

In his notice, Groia is asking to set aside the June 28 finding of professional misconduct against him in relation to his handling of the defence of former Bre-X Minerals Ltd. vice chairman John Felderhof on allegations of insider trading and issuing false or misleading statements.

Those proceedings, which featured fierce legal debates between Groia and prosecutors for the Ontario Securities Commission, resulted in critical judicial comment in obiter against Groia that sparked the law society's disciplinary action for incivility.

Among the criticisms of the LSUC ruling, Groia's appeal notice counters the law society's assertions that he was attempting to relitigate allegations made against him during those earlier court proceedings by trying to defend himself against the charges of professional misconduct.

The hearing panel, the notice of appeal asserts, acknowledged that Groia wasn't actually a party to those earlier court proceedings since they related to Felderhof's trial.

The panel, he alleges, "made a serious error of law by creating a new and unprecedented basis for its finding that there would be an abuse of process if the lawyer was permitted to defend the allegations in this proceeding," the appeal notice states.

"It created a new and unprecedented legal fiction of a 'party in substance.' In effect, the panel concluded that the lawyer, as a 'party in substance,' was abusively relitigating the issues that had been before the courts by defending himself in these proceedings. This conclusion resulted in the failure of the panel to consider and give effect to the defence mounted by the lawyer and was a failure of natural justice."

As a result, the appeal notice alleges, the panel assumed Groia had the right to appeal the court rulings at the Supreme Court of Canada and that he should have done so even though it would have placed him in a conflict of interest in relation to his client.

"This is an absurd result and is an error of law that urgently requires correction," the notice states.

The notice also makes repeated reference to the broader issue of civility versus lawyers' duty to defend their clients with vigour. It raises alarm, for example, about the panel's finding that, as an officer of the court, he had an overriding duty to ensure the trial took place fairly and efficiently and in an atmosphere of calm.

"The lawyer had no such 'overriding' duty, nor does any counsel," the appeal notice asserts. "There can be no more alarming statement than for a law society to suggest that there is now an overriding duty on any defence counsel to sacrifice his or her client's substantive or procedural rights on the altar of 'efficiency' and calmness."

Groia is seeking four results from the appeal: dismissal of the LSUC's 2009 notice of application against him; an order that he didn't engage in professional misconduct; that a new hearing take place in the alternative before a different panel; and costs to him.

For its part, the law society rebutted some of the criticisms in a note on the case on its web site last week. "In its decision, the hearing panel confirms for the profession that zealous advocacy and civility are compatible," the posting states.

"The decision adds to the law society's jurisprudence about what constitutes incivility and provides insight into the expectations of licensees in relation to the administration of justice and their behavior in the court."
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WEIRFOULDS LAWYER GETS RYERSON POST
Ryerson University has named WeirFoulds LLP partner Frank Walwyn a distinguished visiting scholar at the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education.

“I am pleased to have one of Canada’s most brilliant legal minds join our university,” said John Isbister, interim provost and vice president academic at Ryerson.

“He will be a welcome addition to our university family with his extensive knowledge in legal matters.”
Walwyn’s appointment is effective immediately.

“I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues at the Chang School to build on their established reputation as Canada’s leading school for adults who are passionate about lifelong learning and improving their skills,” he said.

LONGTIME BENCHER DIES
Law Society of Upper Canada life bencher Robert Topp died on July 15.

Born in Regina, Topp worked as an Ontario Provincial Police officer in Dowling, Ont., before becoming a lawyer.

During his career, he became a law society bencher and earned life bencher status before his retirement.

A funeral service took place at the St. Jean de Brebeuf Roman Catholic Church in Sudbury, Ont., on Friday.

HARASSMENT CASE DISMISSED
The Superior Court of Justice has dismissed an action by a former CHRY Community Radio Inc. volunteer who sought damages for harassment by a colleague despite finding the actions would have been significant if they had happened at a private, for-profit company.

The Superior Court ruled in Moore v. CHRY Community that although non-profit radio station CHRY didn’t technically follow its harassment policies when addressing volunteer Donna Moore’s complaints, it complied with their spirit and shouldn’t have to live up to the same standards as a for-profit corporation in its duty of care owed to her.

“There is no doubt that the station failed to strictly apply its own policies and handled Moore’s concerns in what turned out to be ineffective from her perspective,” wrote Justice Kevin Whitaker in his decision.

“The station was well intentioned. The underlying motivation appears to have been to avoid conflict and to settle the discord by pursuing a mediated outcome without findings of wrongdoing.”

He continued: “Resources are limited and those that work or provide leadership are not professionals. In these circumstances, the station cannot be held to the same practical standards as a business operated by professionals.”

Moore claimed one of the radio station’s co-hosts began making rude and inappropriate comments on- and off-air, bullying, throwing items, yelling, and roughly touching her in 2005.

While Moore had several meetings with the station’s managers and the program was disbanded over the issue, the matter remained unresolved and she left the organization in the summer of 2007.

Moore argued the station had failed to enforce its harassment policies and sought an injunction requiring it to do so. She also sought damages.

While the station agreed it owed Moore some duty of care, it argued it had complied with its policies.

POLL RESULTS
The results of the most recent Law Times online poll are in.

Nearly 62 per cent of respondents said federal government lawyers should get a 15.25-per-cent wage boost.

The Association of Justice Counsel and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat reached a tentative agreement late last month spiking the wages of nearly 2,700 federal government lawyers by a total of 15.25 per cent from May 2011 to May 2014.

Federal lawyers argue it addresses a long-standing disparity with counterparts in other sectors.
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NEW PARTNERS AT NORTON ROSE
Four lawyers joined Norton Rose Canada LLP as partners in Toronto and Ottawa this month.
David McIntyre, a business lawyer with an international practice focused on the mining and natural resource sectors, has joined the firm’s Toronto office.

In his new role, he’ll have an active role in the firm’s activities in China. McIntyre previously worked as deputy general counsel and vice president of marketing at Vale, a large mining company.

Joining him in Toronto is Robert Mason, who will also become a partner. Mason represents issuers and underwriters on corporate finance transactions and mergers-and-acquisition mandates with an emphasis on the mining and natural resource sector.

In addition, Janet Howard, a lawyer with a focus on public and private merger-and-acquisition and corporate finance transactions in the mining and natural resource sectors, becomes a partner in Toronto along with Janet Lee, who specializes in a broad range of corporate and commercial work.

Lastly, Yufei Luo joins the firm’s Ottawa office. She focuses on representing Chinese clients investing in Canada’s resources sector.

“This is a top-flight group that is joining Norton Rose Canada,” said firm managing partner John Coleman. “They will bring significant depth to our mining and Asia practices and be an excellent fit in our Canadian and global platform.

The mining sector and Asian markets are key areas of growth in Canada and globally, and our new members are highly seasoned and experienced in both.”

INQUIRY JUDGE ANNOUNCED
The Ministry of the Attorney General has announced Justice Paul Bélanger will lead a public inquiry into the deadly collapse of the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake, Ont.

The mall’s roof collapsed, killing two women and trapping several others, on June 23. Rescue workers had been unable to enter the mall due to the structure’s unstable condition for several days, prompting outrage among residents.

“In leading the inquiry, Justice Bélanger will be asked to look into and report on events surrounding the collapse of the Algo Centre Mall and review the emergency management and response,” said Attorney General John Gerretsen. “He will report back publicly within a year of beginning the inquiry.”

Bélanger currently sits as a per diem judge and was a regional senior judge with the Ontario Court of Justice from 1996 to 2002.

The Ontario Provincial Police have also launched a criminal probe into the mall’s collapse.

FORT FRANCES COURTHOUSE REOPENS
The courthouse in Fort Frances, Ont., has been reopened to the public following flooding in sections of its basement last month.

On July 9, all scheduled court hearings and full customer service resumed. However, certain sections of the basement will remain closed due to damage caused by the flooding, according to the Ministry of the Attorney General. In the meantime, the court will reschedule hearings to other sections of the courthouse.

OTLA LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN AGAINST INSURANCE CHANGES
The Ontario Trial Lawyers Association is launching a campaign in co-operation with other groups warning about Ontario government plans to slash coverage for catastrophic injuries as part of new cuts to auto insurance benefits.

According to the association, accident victims with a catastrophic injury are currently eligible for medical and rehabilitation benefits of up to $1 million. But the changes the association believes are imminent would mean those denied under the new rules would only receive $50,000 in basic benefits.

“We estimate that the number of cases deemed catastrophic will be reduced by half if these changes are implemented,” said Andrew Murray, president of the association.
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NEW LSUC BENCHER NAMED
The Law Society of Upper Canada shuffled the deck during Convocation proceedings on June 28.
Thomas Conway assumed his post as treasurer of the law society. He replaces Laurie Pawlitza in the role.

That opened the door for Ross Earnshaw, a partner at Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP’s office in Waterloo, Ont., to take a position as bencher to fill the vacancy left by Conway.

ONTARIO COURT JUDGES APPOINTED
The province has appointed two lawyers as judges of the Ontario Court of Justice.
Cynthia Johnston, a deputy Crown attorney in Durham, joins the bench in Oshawa, Ont. Johnston will take the position July 11.

Allan Letourneau, a lawyer in Kingston, Ont., takes a position in that city on July 11.
In addition, Justice Martin Lambert becomes a regional senior judge in the northeast region. He took the position on June 27.

TORONTO LAWYER  DISBARRED
The Law Society of Upper Canada has made a finding of professional misconduct against Toronto lawyer Joseph Gouveia.

According to a June 11 decision, Gouveia abandoned his law practice some time around January or February 2011.

The order notes Gouveia failed to provide his current contact information to the law society, failed to advise an existing client in advance of his administrative suspension that he would be unable to complete her matter, and had the client sign an authorization and direction regarding settlement discussions and the release of funds.

Gouveia went on administrative suspension in September 2010.

FIRM TO GET FEE PREMIUM
The Ontario Court of Appeal has set aside an order by the Superior Court of Justice denying a Bay Street law firm a premium on its account in relation to a client.

The appeal court ruled in DeMichino v. Musialkiewicz that although the court should take the needs of Michele DeMichino, a man who suffered a catastrophic injury in 2003 following a car accident, into account, it should also consider the work of his former lawyers, Gary Neinstein and the law firm Neinstein and Associates LLP, in any settlement agreement.

“It goes without saying that any premium paid to counsel who helped a plaintiff in a tort action achieve a resolution of his or her claim will reduce the funds available to meet the plaintiff’s needs and otherwise compensate him or her for damages sustained,” wrote Justice Gloria Epstein in her decision.

“However, as important as those interests are, they must be balanced against the need to provide fair compensation for lawyers who assist in achieving the result.”

Because of DeMichino’s disability, court approval of any tort settlements in his case was necessary.
Superior Court Justice Lois Roberts ruled last year that Neinstein and the firm weren’t entitled to any premiums because it had transferred money out of DeMichino’s trust account into its general account prior to receiving court approval.

However, the firm didn’t attempt to hide the transfer and subsequently returned the money in full, Epstein noted.

As a result, Neinstein and the firm are to receive $216,000 plus $15,120 for fees and $29,512 for disbursements.

The appeal court has also ordered the respondent’s solicitors to pay more than $12,000 in interest.

BLG LANDS OSLER LAWYER
Andrew Powers has joined Borden Ladner Gervais LLP.

Powers previously practised at Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. His main areas of practice are securities and capital markets. He joins BLG as a partner.
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