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Immigration lawyer Chantal Desloges has received the Diamond Jubilee Medal for her work in the field.

Desloges, who’s among the 60,000 expected recipients of the new award for their contributions to Canada, received the honour at a ceremony in Mississauga, Ont., last month.

The award is part of the 2012 celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne.

“Being an immigration and refugee lawyer has never been just a job for me,” said Desloges.
“It is really an honour to be recognized for something that I have always been passionate about.”

The federal government has appointed two lawyers to the bench in a series of changes at the Ontario Superior Court.

Robert Goldstein, a lawyer with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, becomes a Superior Court judge in Toronto. He replaces Justice Duncan Grace, who in turn moves to London, Ont., to take the place of Justice Wolfram Tausendfreund.

The domino effect continues with Tausendfreund moving to Kingston, Ont., to replace Justice Douglas Belch, who became a supernumerary judge in March. Goldstein had been with the federal government since 1990.

In addition, Ian Leach, a partner with Lerners LLP in London, joins the Superior Court bench in Woodstock, Ont.

He replaces Justice Thomas Heeney, who becomes regional senior justice for the southwest region following the departure of Justice Edward Ducharme to the Ontario Court of Appeal on April 5. Leach had been with Lerners since 1991.

An educational charity aimed at addressing Canada’s constitutional democracy launched last week with a conference and reception in Ottawa on June 4.

The charity, Your Canada, Your Constitution, conducts research and hosts educational programs about the history and ongoing development of Canada’s Constitution and governments, according to the organization’s press release.

“I am very happy to announce the launch of Your Canada, Your Constitution and its national education efforts to inform and foster a very public discussion about Canada’s constitutional history and future,” said Carl Turkstra, president of the new organization.

Laurie Pawlitza will wrap up her final duties as treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada this month.

In her final report to Convocation last month, Pawlitza thanked the law society and members of the profession and reflected on her “hectic” but “very exciting and rewarding” term.

“It has been a great honour to serve as treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada,” said Pawlitza.

Thomas Conway, current chairman of the law society’s articling task force, will become treasurer on June 28.    

The results of last week’s Law Times poll are in.

Fifty-two per cent of respondents opposed changing the criteria for judicial appointments to encourage diversity.
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The Superior Court of Justice has quashed an order committing criminal defence lawyer Hal Mattson for trial on a charge of attempting to obstruct justice.

Mattson was accused of trying to influence the testimony of a potential Crown witness prior to a hearing in an attempted murder case in 2010.

The Kitchener, Ont., lawyer was committed for trial following a preliminary hearing that included testimony from Tyson Holmes, the man Mattson allegedly counselled in 2010 during a case that involved five people charged with attempted murder and drug offences.

According to Her Majesty the Queen v. Mattson, Mattson allegedly counselled Holmes to not identify the principal accused in the matter by his street name, Chico.

But Superior Court Justice John Sproat ruled the allegation that Mattson had counselled Holmes would require “impermissible speculation” on the part of a judge.

“Clearly, Mattson knew something about the case against Hinojosa (the man accused along with Holmes of attempted murder in the 2010 case) and others,” wrote Sproat.

“There is, however, nothing in the evidence to suggest he knew about the content of Holmes’ statements to the police and the significance of the name Chico to the prosecution. To draw that inference would require impermissible speculation on the part of the trier of fact.”

Holmes received a one-year sentence for drug trafficking. The attempted murder charges against him were dropped.

Mattson didn’t represent anyone involved in the attempted murder case.
For more, see "Arrested lawyer decries police tactics."

The Superior Court of Justice has sentenced disbarred lawyer Lee Fingold to 14 days in jail for contempt of an order that prevented him from acting as a lawyer or paralegal.

According to Law Society of Upper Canada v. Fingold, Fingold wrote a letter to try to resolve a suit brought by the Toronto-Dominion Bank against his friend, Beau Scott, in 2010.

In the letter, he referred to himself as a paralegal, contrary to an order against him by Justice Cary Boswell that same year that prevented him from acting as a lawyer or paralegal.
“In all the circumstances, I find that a fit and appropriate penalty is incarceration.

A short but sharp jail term is necessary to impress upon Mr. Fingold the seriousness of his contempt and, ultimately, how his contemptuous conduct is further rejected and denounced by the court,” wrote Superior Court Justice Guy DiTomaso.

“Both general and specific deterrence are primary factors in arriving at the appropriate penalty. Court orders are meant to be obeyed.”

Fingold was found guilty of 12 counts under the Provincial Offences Act last year for the unauthorized practice of law. He had been disbarred for misappropriating funds from his real estate practice 14 years prior.


Tax lawyer Bernie Katchen has joined Shibley Righton LLP’s Toronto office as counsel.

Katchen was a member of the firm between 1979 and 1984 before creating tax-related entrepreneurial structures and returning to law in 2001.

“Bernie brings an entrepreneurial background along with extensive legal experience and will be a great addition to our team,” said Sandra Dawe, Shibley Righton’s managing partner.

“While effective tax planning always requires extensive knowledge of the Income Tax Act, Bernie’s experience from the business world will also be invaluable to us.”

The number of cases completed in adult court increased by two per cent in Ontario between 2010 and 2011, a report by Statistics Canada shows.

The report notes the number of cases completed in adult courts declined in British Columbia by seven per cent and by six per cent in Alberta and Quebec. The number of cases in Saskatchewan, meanwhile, increased by five per cent.

Adult criminal courts in Canada completed nearly 403,000 cases between 2010 and 2011.
Of those, 77 per cent involved non-violent offences.

The report notes the courts’ caseload nationally was largely the same as the previous year following three consecutive annual increases.

The Association of Justice Counsel has named Lisa Blais its new president.

Blais, a lawyer in Ottawa for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, won the post by acclamation. She’ll serve in the role for five years.

Others on the association’s executive committee include Ed Bumburs as vice president of finance, Sid Restall as vice president of labour relations, Francis Descôteaux as vice president of communications, and Margaret McCabe as vice president of compensation and working conditions.
Blais succeeds Marco Mendicino in the president’s role.

The Canadian Board Diversity Council has created a diversity database for board of director positions at Canada’s top 500 organizations.

According to a press release by the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, senior-level professionals can apply to be in the database before June 22.

The council’s goal is to increase the number of visible minorities, people with disabilities, women, aboriginals, and people from the gay and lesbian community who sit on Canada’s corporate boards.

An information session will take place on June 4 by teleconference.
For more information, see

The number of cases completed by youth courts in Canada between 2010 and 2011 fell in every province except Manitoba, Statistics Canada reports.

The largest decline in the number of cases occurred in Nova Scotia, where they fell by 15 per cent. By comparison, completed cases in Manitoba increased by three per cent from the previous year.
In Canada, youth courts completed roughly 52,900 cases between 2010 and 2011.

Some of the largest declines occurred in cases of fraud, mischief, and uttering threats. By comparison, the number of completed cases increased in the areas of criminal harassment, breach of probation, and failure to appear, according to the report released last week.

Roughly 60 per cent of completed cases in Canada involved older youth aged 16 to 17, the report noted. Males were involved in three-quarters of all cases. About 57 per cent of youth cases resulted in a finding of guilt.
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University of Ottawa law professor Adam Dodek was one of 16 educators to receive the Capital Educators’ Award on May 17.

Dodek received the award for his contribution to public education and his work as a teacher at a gala this month.

Dodek was the only law professor to receive the award. The Ottawa Network for Education hosts the event in collaboration with 10 participating educational institutions.

Ontario had the lowest rate of police-reported family violence in 2010, according to a new report by Statistics Canada.

The report released on May 22 shows Ontarians reported 196 incidents of family violence per 100,000 population to police last year.

Prince Edward Island followed closely behind with 234 reported incidents per 100,000 population. By comparison, Saskatchewan and Manitoba reported the highest rates at 644 and 430 incidents respectively.

The report made the rates of police-reported family violence in individual metropolitan areas available for the first time. It found rates were highest in Saint John, N.B., Saskatoon, and Kelowna, B.C., in 2010.

In Ontario, the lowest rates of police-reported family violence were in Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, the Kitchener, Cambridge, and Waterloo area, and Guelph.

The Law Society of Upper Canada honoured nine members of Ontario’s legal profession last week.

This year’s recipients of the Law Society Medal were Margaret Bloodworth, Bruce Carr-Harris, James Caskey, Mary Fox, Vern Krishna, and Doug Lewis.

The Law Society Medal honours lawyers who have excelled in their particular practice area, academic sphere or other professional capacity.

“Throughout their careers, these nine outstanding individuals have continued to enrich their profession, as well as their communities,” said LSUC Treasurer Laurie Pawlitza.

“They serve as true role models for the province’s lawyers and paralegals and we are extremely pleased to honour them with the law society’s highest awards of recognition.”

Keith Jobbitt received this year’s Lincoln Alexander Award for his commitment to the public and the legal community.

The Laura Legge Award went to Mary Weaver for her work as a woman in the legal profession.

In addition, Brian Lawrie received the Distinguished Paralegal Award for his professional achievements and commitment to the practice of law.

The nine received their awards during a reception at Osgoode Hall in Toronto on May 23.

The federal government has appointed Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP strategic adviser Lawrence Cannon as Canada’s ambassador to France.

Cannon took office on May 16 following the inauguration of French President François Hollande.
Cannon, who served as minister of foreign affairs in the past, joined Gowlings last year.

Dan Caldarone has left the in-house department of Cara Operations Ltd. to join The Second Cup Ltd.

Caldarone will serve as general counsel, corporate secretary, and vice president of human resources in his new role at The Second Cup.

“At Second Cup, there is a senior management team of seven and the general counsel is one of the people that make up the senior management team, so for me it’s not only a step up into a general counsel role but also a step into the executive management team,” Caldarone told Legal Feeds last week.
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Nesathurai & Luk LLP has merged with Toronto law firm Devry Smith Frank LLP.

Nesathurai & Luk is a cross-border boutique law firm that focuses on business law, tax litigation, and Canadian and U.S. matters.

“In this ever more complex age of transnational businesses, it is important to provide small- to medium-size enterprises and individuals transacting business both domestically and internationally with reliable tax, immigration, business, and litigation services.

By merging with Devry Smith Frank LLP, Nesathurai & Luk LLP will be able to offer a greater breadth of legal services to both firms’ ever growing client base,” said Hari Nesathurai, a founder and principal of Nesathurai & Luk.

Following the merger, the firm will continue under Devry Frank Smith name.

The LawPRO board of directors has announced the appointment of Susan McGrath as its new chairwoman.
McGrath will replace former chairman Ian Croft, who will continue as the board’s vice-chairman.

McGrath became a Law Society of Upper Canada bencher in 2007 and has served on several law society committees, including access to justice and government relations.

The Association of French Speaking Jurists of Ontario will host its annual conference in Collingwood, Ont., next month.

The event, to take place June 21-23, will feature training and networking opportunities. Topics of the conference will include harassment and violence in the workplace as well as administrative law.
For more information, see

LawPRO has combined its claims prevention and stakeholder relations’ programs into one department.

LawPRO vice president Dan Pinnington will run the department. It will also include Ray Leclair, LawPRO’s vice president of public affairs.

Pinnington, who has served as director of practicePRO for the past 11 years, will oversee LawPRO’s risk-management efforts and its stakeholder relations portfolio in his new role.

In addition, Leclair will be responsible for LawPRO’s government relations and other outreach activities.

The ADR Institute of Ontario Inc. has created a new training course to help alternative dispute resolution professionals resolve ethical dilemmas during the course of their work.

“As mediation becomes more mainstream, it is important that we raise the standards of the profession,” says Joyce Young, president of the ADR Institute of Ontario.

“The course is intended to make mediators and arbitrators think about what they would do if faced with an ethical dilemma. Mediation is done out of the public eye, so it’s very important that we set the right standards to ensure the process is ethical.”

Elaine Newman, a mediator and arbitrator in Toronto, said the course will also provide participants with a roadmap of potential ethical dilemmas.  

“The objective of ethics training is to provide the practical tools necessary to assist the reflective mediator to increase his or her awareness of the issues in a case,” said Newman.

“The code of ethics governing members of ADRIO will be strengthened when paired with focused, interactive training of mediators through this course.”

The ethical issues and dilemmas in mediation and ADR course is available online. For more information, see

An Oakville, Ont., lawyer has been targeted in a computer hacking scam.

According to practicePRO, someone who identified himself as Mason Saunders contacted a law firm on the morning of May 11 and asked to speak directly to the lawyer.

The caller, who appeared to be calling from a Florida area code, then told the lawyer he had been asked to create a web site for the law firm. He noted that due to privacy issues, the web site could only be accessed by creating identification numbers for the lawyer.

According to practicePRO, this was a ploy to have the lawyer access an external web site that would download malware. The malware would then give the scammer access to the law firm’s information.

Lawyers Feed the Hungry will hold its annual Bugsy & Ken Charity Golf Tournament next month.

The event on June 13 will raise money for the Toronto Lawyers Feed the Hungry program and Camp Oochigeas, a camp for kids with cancer.

For more information, see

Three law students are on the list of recipients of the Trudeau Foundation Scholarship.

The three are Kerri Froc of Queen’s University, Lisa Kerr of New York University, and Michael Pal of the University of Toronto.

Every year the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation presents the doctoral award to 15 students. It supports students focused on researching and sharing innovative ideas aimed at solving issues of importance to Canadians.

“This group of students demonstrates a remarkable engagement and an immense curiosity for the current state of the world,” said foundation president P.G. Forest. “The Trudeau scholarship will enable them to act upon their lively interest.”
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The Ottawa Police Services Board and the Ontario Human Rights Commission have reached a settlement that will require police in the nation’s capital to begin collecting race-based data on traffic stops.

The settlement requires Ottawa police to begin collecting data for a minimum of two years. At the end of that two-year period, Ottawa police will share the information with the commission.

The commission will study the data and make recommendations to Ottawa police if necessary.
“This is another exciting step forward in our work with Ontario’s police services and is truly groundbreaking,” said Barbara Hall, chief commissioner of the commission.

“Data collection allows organizations to measure what they do and then manage appropriately. People in every community need to feel confident in their police services. And collecting data can help police operate with transparency so that they can maintain trust in the communities they serve.”

The settlement stems from a human rights complaint launched by Ottawa resident Chad Aiken. Officers pulled him over in 2005 while he was driving his mother’s Mercedes-Benz. Aiken alleged they stopped him because of his race.


Lawyers are getting ready to take to the stage at the Berkeley Street Theatre Downstairs next month.

This year’s instalment of the The Lawyer Show takes place June 7-9. It will feature 35 Toronto-area lawyers and legal professionals performing William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

Tickets are $55 and include a partial tax receipt. For more information, see

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has named George Dolhai deputy director of public prosecutions.

Dolhai had been acting deputy director of public prosecutions since December 2006. He began working with the Department of Justice in 1992 after an earlier posting with McCarthy Tétrault LLP.
Nicholson appointed Dolhai to the post last week.

The Law Society of Upper Canada has named Toronto paralegal Brian Lawrie the recipient of this year’s Distinguished Paralegal Award.

The award recognizes paralegals who have contributed to the development of the profession, have a history of community service, and excel professionally.

Lawrie will receive the award on May 23 along with other honourees of the Law Society Medal, Laura Legge Award, and Lincoln Alexander Award.

The University of Toronto Faculty of Law has created a free LSAT preparation course for low-income people.

The course, which runs once a week from June to October, includes workshops on the admission process and offers a breakdown of what law students can expect from their degree.

“Law schools need to be more sensitive to certain demographics; we need to proactively identify these groups and find out why they are not applying to law school,” said Alexis Archbold, assistant dean of students at the faculty.

“We know that students who don’t have familial support or any familiarity with second-degree programs find the application process daunting. That’s why some don’t bother applying or don’t seem to do so successfully.”

The program is part of the school’s efforts to level the playing field, says Archbold.
For more information, see
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The Ontario Court of Justice is implementing new criminal rules as of July 1.

“The Ontario Court of Justice hears the vast majority of all criminal matters in Ontario,” said Ontario Court Chief Justice Annemarie Bonkalo.

“The court constantly looks for ways to be more responsive to the needs of our modern society and to increase accessibility and demystify the criminal justice process.

These new criminal rules will clarify the court’s criminal procedures and provide clear, simple, consistent, and relevant direction to everyone involved in criminal proceedings in our court across the province.”

The existing rules date back to 1997. There are a total of five new rules and three new forms. For more details on the new rules, see


LawTechCamp will take place at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law this week.

The event on May 12 will include several speakers who will discuss topics ranging from digital legacy to knowledge management in law firms and the role of technology in the legal workforce.

For more information, see

Norton Rose Canada LLP chairman Norman Steinberg is the new group chairman of the Norton Rose Group.

Steinberg's new role is part of the global management of the Norton Rose Group.
“Having a Canadian group chairman is a reflection of the globalization of the practice.

With his significant management and client relationship experience, Norman is a natural choice for this position,” said Peter Martyr, the Norton Rose Group’s group chief executive.

“He will continue to build our international practice as his predecessor, Stephen Parish, did. I would like to thank Stephen, who has significantly contributed to our success in becoming a truly international legal practice.”

Steinberg will continue in his current role with Norton Rose Canada.

The Law Society of Upper Canada has suspended Aurora, Ont., lawyer David Peirce for acting in a conflict of interest and failing to account for money held in trust.

According to the law society’s disposition, the lawyer acted for a client on his 1998 and 1999 investments in a company that Peirce had an interest in and failed to make sure his client’s interests were protected through adequate disclosure and independent legal representation.

Peirce also personally guaranteed a loan and couldn’t account for $6,500 of his client’s money that was being held in trust, a hearing panel found.

The LSUC has suspended Peirce for four months. He must also pay $8,000 to complainant V.D. and $20,000 in costs to the law society.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson is publicly backing MP Parm Gill’s proposed criminal organization recruitment act.

The private member’s bill, which would create a new indictable Criminal Code offence prohibiting recruiting or encouraging a person to join a criminal organization, would come with a maximum sentence of five years in jail and carry a mandatory minimum penalty of six months if the person recruited is less than 18 years old.

“Our government is committed to keeping our streets and communities safe, which is why our government will vote in support of this private member’s bill,” said Nicholson.

“I applaud Parm Gill for his efforts to help protect youth from the threat posed by organized crime groups.”

The bill follows a number of reforms to the criminal justice system, including the hotly contested Safe Streets and Communities Act and the Tackling Violent Crime Act.
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Legal Aid Ontario is launching consultations this week on discretion requests for additional compensation above the regular hourly tariff.

From May 1-25, LAO will seek feedback from criminal, family, and refugee lawyers on the process for discretion requests. They apply in exceptional circumstances involving vulnerable clients or complex cases.

The goal, LAO noted, is to make the process clearer for lawyers and, ultimately, streamline the system.

LAO received about 15,000 requests for discretion a year. Just under 10 per cent of certificates involve discretion payments.

LAO will provide dates and locations for the consultations on its web site at this week.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson plans to change the Criminal Code in order to make victim surcharges mandatory for all offenders.

“Our government is delivering on our promise to double the victim surcharge and make it mandatory in every case, without exception,” said Nicholson.

“This legislation will ensure that victim support services receive the funding that they require and deserve.”

Nicholson made the announcement April 24. If passed, the act would double the victim surcharge that offenders must pay and automatically apply it in all cases.

Under the proposed act, victim surcharges would amount to 30 per cent of any fine imposed or $100 for summary convictions without a fine. It would also impose a $200 surcharge for conviction on an indictable offence without a fine.

Currently, offenders who can prove undue hardship may request a waiver of the victim surcharge under the Criminal Code. The changes would eliminate that option.

“Canadians deserve a justice system that sentences offenders in a way that reflects the severity of their crime and respects victims of crime,” said Sen. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu.

“By doubling the victim surcharge and ensuring that it cannot be waived, our government is sending a signal that offenders must pay for the harm they cause to victims.”

The Canada’s Top 100 Employers project of Mediacorp Canada Inc. has named Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP one of the country’s greenest employers for 2012.

“It is a great honour to be recognized as one of Canada’s greenest employers,” said John Rider, FMC’s chief client officer. “We are very proud of everyone at our firm who is involved in our environmental initiatives.”

FMC was the only law firm in Ontario to receive the honour this year. The project recognized the firm for its environmental efforts, success in reducing its environmental footprint, and employee involvement.

“In addition to FMC’s corporate environmental policies, our green committee has worked to establish grassroots initiatives that contribute to the sustainability of the firm’s offices across Canada,”

said Karen Tuschak, FMC’s director of professional development and practice support and a member of the Toronto green committee.

“The committee meets frequently to determine priorities in sustainability and works to educate and motivate all firm members to move toward green practices.”

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has found legislation requiring people to have surgery before they can change the sex designation on their birth
registration to be discriminatory.

Writing in XY v. Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, HRTO vice chairwoman Sheri Price found the requirement reinforces the stereotype that transgendered persons must have surgery in order to live in their felt gender and adds to the disadvantage and stigma they feel.

“Transgender people’s rights are human rights,” said Barbara Hall, chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, which intervened in the case. “This decision is a welcome step forward in recognizing and promoting the dignity and equality of trans people.”

Price’s order gives the government 180 days to revise the criteria for changing the sex designation on a birth registration.

“My client and I are delighted at the careful consideration the tribunal gave to both the lived reality of transpeople’s lives and the legal arguments with respect to the Vital Statistics Act’s discriminatory impact on that community,” said Susan Ursel, counsel for XY.

“We need to do so much more to build our understanding of this community’s issues and how we can better respond to their legitimate call for self-actualization without oppressive treatment by others. This decision is an important step along that journey to

Miller Thomson LLP has signed an affiliation agreement with French business law firm FIDAL in a bid to secure a stronger foothold in Europe.  

“This affiliation agreement is the latest in a series of strategic steps designed to extend and deepen Miller Thomson’s offering and reach,” said Gerald Courage, chairman of Miller Thomson.

“France is a major investor in Canada and our relationship with FIDAL gives us a substantial foothold in Europe.”

“This alliance reflects our firm’s desire to support the global activities of our clients by providing access to the legal expertise of top-flight multidisciplinary and independent local firms,” said Jean Gousset, chairman of FIDAL’s executive board.

“Miller Thomson and FIDAL share the same values and high standard of service quality, making our affiliation a natural development.”

For more, see "Victim surcharges needed change."
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A Law Society of Upper Canada panel has determined disbarred Thorold, Ont., lawyer Dennis Gross isn’t of good character and has dismissed his application to practise once again.

Gross’ licence was revoked more than 10 years ago following his conviction on five counts of defrauding various members of the public and was disbarred for misappropriating funds from multiple clients.

During his hearing before the LSUC panel last year, Gross admitted to taking the home he and his mother co-owned and live in through a series of mortgage transactions.

He used the money he took to feed the expensive tastes of his younger girlfriend, the hearing panel heard.

“With great respect to Mr. Gross and his very helpful presentation to the panel, and while recognizing the strides he has made in leaving behind the serious misconduct he committed more than a decade ago, we have concluded for the reasons outlined above that he has not satisfied this panel of his good character as of the time of this proceeding,” a three-member hearing panel wrote in the reasons for its decision.

The panel found Gross’ efforts at rehabilitation weren’t strong enough to warrant reinstatement.

The Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers will hold its gala at the Hart House Great Hall in Toronto on May 8 to celebrate the achievements of the Asian-Canadian legal community.

“It is the biggest night for the Asian legal community,” said Julia Shin Doi, general counsel at Ryerson University and FACL president.

“We look forward to celebrating FACL’s fifth anniversary and recognizing the many achievements of Asian-Canadian lawyers.”
For more information, see

The provincial government named a new judge to the Ontario Court of Justice last week.

Alain Perron will become the court’s newest judge on April 25 and will hold a bilingual position in Parry Sound, Ont.

Perron was called to the bar in 1994 and began serving as a deputy judge in the Small Claims Court in 2004.

He also worked as managing partner at Wallace Carr Klein & Trenker. During his time at the firm, he focused on criminal and family law.

Perron has also acted as a standing federal Crown for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada and has been a part-time prosecutor for the Ministry of Transportation in the district of Nipissing.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced several changes to the temporary foreign worker category last week as part of a series of sweeping reforms to Canada’s immigration policy.

Under the changes, temporary foreign workers applying for permanent residence will see their work experience requirements significantly reduced.

Currently, temporary foreign workers seeking status under the Canadian experience class must have 24 months of full-time work experience within the last 36 months of their application for permanent residence.

Under the proposed changes, that requirement would shrink to 12 months of experience.
“Thousands of highly skilled foreign nationals are working successfully in Canada on a temporary basis,” said Kenney.

“Expediting their transition to permanent residence would help Canada retain bright and talented people who already have Canadian work experience and the ability to communicate in English or French. In many cases, they already have a job lined up. Such newcomers are set for

Last year, about 6,000 people immigrated to Canada under the Canadian experience class, an increase of more than 50 per cent from 2010.

This year, the government expects 7,000 permanent residents to come in through that category.

In-house counsel feel they’re highly respected and valued but would like to devote more time to big-picture ideas, a survey by the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association and Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP revealed last week.

According to the survey, almost 97 per cent of in-house counsel in Canada were likely to recommend corporate practice as a career path to friends or colleagues.

Many cited a better work-life balance.
Similarly, 93 per cent of in-house counsel surveyed reported feeling their organizations value their work.

The 2012 In-House Counsel Barometer Survey focused on the attitudes and opinions of Canadian corporate counsel throughout Canada.

“The survey provides a unique and valuable window into the in-house counsel experience in this country,” said CCCA chairman Geoff Creighton.

“It is noteworthy that respondents ranked the most important challenge facing in-house counsel as ‘the day-to-day workload leaves little time for big-picture thinking or the development of initiatives which would benefit the organization as a whole.’

The survey is of immense importance for CCCA in developing products and services that assist our members with keeping the ‘big picture’ in mind, while they address their day-to-day responsibilities.”

The CCCA released the survey results during its spring conference last week in Montreal.

A Call to Action Canada will host its fourth annual conference on May 8 at the Sheraton Hotel on Queen Street West in Toronto.

Conference speakers include Joseph West, president and CEO of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, and former prime minister Paul Martin.

For more information, see

Halifax general counsel Robert Patzelt is the recipient of the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association’s 2012 Robert V.A. Jones Award.

“Robert Patzelt has been a member of the Canadian Bar Association since his first week of law school, and a member of the CCCA since its founding in 1988, the same year he took on his first job as in-house counsel,” said Geoff Creighton, CCCA chairman.

“Over the past decades, Robert has volunteered in a multitude of capacities within the CBA and CCCA — including as head of CCCA — always giving 100 per cent for the benefit of the organization and the in-house counsel community.

It is particularly fitting that Robert is awarded the Robert V.A. Jones Award since, in his early years as chair of the corporate counsel chapter in Nova Scotia, he worked closely with (Robert) Bob Jones.”
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Alan Sweatman, founding member of Winnipeg law firm Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP, has died at the age of 91.

Sweatman joined Thompson Dorfman Sweatman in the 1970s after returning from naval service in 1945 and developing a successful business practice in Manitoba.

During his time at the firm, Sweatman served on the boards of several national corporations and developed a large commercial law practice.

He was known for his intelligent and hardworking approach and eternal curiosity that Thompson Dorfman Sweatman partner James Ripley says was the key to his success as a lawyer.

“His principles set him apart,” says Ripley. “He had very high principles and was totally fearless when it came to defending something that he knew in his heart was right.

But he didn’t do it in a sanctimonious way. He was a card-on-the-tables type of guy who had a remarkable ability to peer into the future.”

Sweatman also believed lawyers should develop a broad view of the world and understand things beyond the practice of law, Ripley adds.

“He was a very accomplished skier and sailor and a great reader. Even very close to the time of his death, he was reading everything from bestselling novels to Homer. He even skied until he was 80. Alan really influenced a lot of lawyers at our firm over the years.”

Sweatman, a Winnipeg native, retired from Thompson Dorfman Sweatman in the 1990s.
A funeral service will take place April 16 at 1 p.m. at the Westminster United Church in Winnipeg.

Miller Thomson LLP, Ryerson University, the Ryerson Students’ Union, and Pro Bono Law Ontario are teaming up to offer pro bono legal services to students.

The services will be available to full- and part-time students through a monthly legal clinic and will focus on business startups, employment law, personal tax, and consumer issues.

Lawyers from Miller Thomson will also oversee teams of Ryerson commerce students who will provide advice to student entrepreneurs.

“Many students face uncertainties surrounding the legal implications of money, taxes, and employment,” said Gerald Courage, chairman of Miller Thomson.

“This effort will provide important guidance for students working hard to keep their studies on track and supports young entrepreneurs. Offering legal services to students on a pro bono basis is part of our overall effort to support this country’s future business and civic leaders.”

The clinics take place on the third Thursday of each month.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson made two appointments to the Ontario Court of Appeal last week.

Superior Court Justice Edward Ducharme, regional senior judge for the southwest region, and Justice Sarah Pepall are joining the appeal court bench.

Ducharme replaces Justice Michael Moldaver, while Pepall takes the spot of Justice Andromache Karakatsanis. Moldaver and Karakatsanis moved to the Supreme Court of Canada last year.

Other appointments include Justice James Turnbull, who becomes regional senior judge for the Superior Court’s central south region as of April 30. He replaces Justice Stephen Glithero, who now becomes a puisne judge of the Superior Court in Simcoe, Ont.

Lastly, Siskinds LLP lawyer Denise Korpan joins the Superior Court’s family division in London, Ont. She replaces Justice M.E. Marshman, who became a supernumerary judge last year.

York University won’t proceed with plans to establish a program in international law through a partnership with the Centre for International Governance Innovation.

York vice president Patrick Monahan made the announcement in light of the university’s conclusion that it couldn’t establish the program without the “necessary support” of faculty.

Over the past several months, York and CIGI worked on a partnership agreement to set up a graduate program in international law along with 10 chairs and funding for 20 students.

Several members of the university’s faculty had spoken out against the corporate partnership due to concerns over the impact on academic freedom.

“We know for this initiative to be successful, however, it required broad support from the university, including Osgoode Hall Law School,” said Monahan.

“The outcome of the Osgoode faculty council meeting today indicates that the necessary support is not present and, accordingly, we cannot proceed.”

The Canadian Bar Association is calling for nominees for its John Tait Award of Excellence.

The award recognizes the accomplishments of a public-sector lawyer or law office that has made significant contributions to social justice and community affairs.

The deadline for nominations is April 30. For more information, see

The annual real estate law summit takes place this week at the University of Toronto.

The two-day program will cover issues related to small developers, business owners, buyers and sellers of residential and recreational property, mortgage lenders, and borrowers.
For more information, see
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One of the founders of Bereskin & Parr LLP, Richard Parr, died last week following a battle with Parkinson’s disease and other illnesses he lived with for almost 10 years.

“He continued to work hard until the end,” the intellectual property firm noted on its web site last week. Parr died on April 2.

“For us, Rick’s wisdom and moral character have shaped our firm in innumerable ways,” the firm noted. “His values live on and are his enduring legacy.

We are indeed privileged to have had him as a partner, mentor, and friend for over 45 years.”

The Sault Ste. Marie courthouse has resumed all proceedings after a fire caused significant damage to the building last year.

The fire broke out in the east end of the courthouse’s basement last August in offices used by the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service and Ontario Provincial Police, according to a press release by city police Sgt. Lisa Kenopic. Authorities, who have yet to determine the cause of the fire, classified it as suspicious at the time.

The courthouse has undergone seven months of renovations and repairs since then, with court cases moved to several downtown locations in the interim. Court services officially resumed on April 2.

The Law Society of Upper Canada has revoked Windsor, Ont., real estate lawyer Kevin Fanick’s licence after the regulatory body found he had engaged in professional misconduct related to a conviction for tax offences last year.

Last June, Fanick pleaded guilty to evading more than $23,000 in taxes. The LSUC had indefinitely suspended Fanick’s licence since 2011.

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP     will host a fundraiser for the Shakespearience Performing Arts this month.

The event on April 23 will benefit the group’s literacy programs for at-risk kids and will feature actors Colm Feore, Jennifer Dale, and Ted Dykstra, members of the cast of the musical War Horse, a live auction, and artistic-themed prizes.
For more details, see

Organizers hoping for strong participation in this month’s bowling fundraiser for the Lawyers Feed the Hungry program got their wish.

The fourth annual law firm bowling challenge raised $140,000 this year, surpassing its original goal of $125,000.

“This event remains an important component of the overall fundraising efforts of the program because it brings Toronto lawyers together in the spirit of charity, fun, and renewal of our sense of community and commitment to helping this city’s most vulnerable,” said Joseph Neuberger, co-chairman of the event.

The Ontario Bar Association has announced the winners of its 2012 awards.
Former Superior Court chief justice Patrick LeSage of Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP will receive the President Award for his contribution to the advancement of justice in Ontario and elsewhere.

The Linda Adlam Manning Award goes to Mark Berlin for his volunteer activities with the OBA.
In addition, the OBA is honouring Patricia DeGuire, J. Alex Langford, J. André Marin, and Jamie Trimble with its Award for Distinguished Service.

The OBA will honour the recipients at its awards gala on April 26 at the OBA Conference Centre.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have laid charges against a Windsor, Ont., lawyer after she allegedly counselled individuals to misrepresent themselves to the Immigration and Refugee Board.

Sandra Zaher and her assistant Diana Al-Masalkhi are facing one count of counselling misrepresentation, one count of misrepresentation, and one count of fabricating evidence.

“The RCMP is committed to pursue charges against those responsible for the fraudulent abuse of Canada’s immigration system,” said Sgt. Steven Richardson of the RCMP’s Windsor Detachment.

“We want to ensure that the integrity of our national programs are maintained.”
Zaher and Al-Masalkhi will appear in court on April 26 in Windsor.

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP has reached a settlement for $1.25 billion on behalf of First Quantum Minerals Ltd. following a dispute over its operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

As part of the deal, the parties agreed to settle all outstanding disputes related to three mining properties in the country on April 3.

“This outcome demonstrates Fasken Martineau’s ability to advance a multidisciplinary and international approach to meet the client's needs,” said John Turner, leader of Faskens’ global mining practice group.

The Law Society of Upper Canada will host a program on employment law and social media this month as part of its 2012 special lectures series.

The program will feature practical advice on how to advise clients on matters related to social media and the workplace. It takes place April 25 and 26 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Speakers include Adrian Ott, CEO and founder of Exponential Edge Inc., and lawyer, blogger, and author Nicole Black.
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The Canadian Corporate Counsel Association will hold two back-to-back conferences in Montreal this month.

The 2012 CCCA World Summit will take place April 13-15 just prior to the CCCA national spring conference on April 15-17.

Speakers will include author Richard Susskind and lawyer Lucien Bouchard on April 15. Ernst & Young Global leader and partner Trevor Faure will speak on the same day.

In addition, Air Canada president and CEO Calin Rovinescu will speak on April 16.

Each conference will involve plenaries and concurrent sessions on a range of topics, including discussions about what the global economic crisis means for business in the European Union.

The event will also feature the announcement of the recipient of the Robert V.A. Jones Award for excellence in corporate counsel service.

Both conferences will take place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Montreal.

Aird & Berlis LLP has donated one million Aeroplan miles to the Air Canada Foundation.

The new foundation, launched Feb. 29, will use the firm’s donation to provide flights to children and their parents who need medical care at pediatric hospitals such as the Hospital for Sick Children.

“We are grateful to Aird & Berlis LLP for their generous donation of one million Aeroplan miles to the newly launched Air Canada Foundation,” said Priscille Leblanc of the Air Canada Foundation.

“These miles will directly benefit the hospital transportation program which uses donated Aeroplan miles to transport ill children and a parent to centres offering medical treatment unavailable in their community.”

The program uses Aeroplan miles to send people to 15 pediatric hospitals across Canada.
“At A&B, we are committed to making a difference in the communities in which we live and do business,” said David Malach, a partner and member of the firm’s executive committee.

“Our lawyers and staff are passionate about being able to help those who are less fortunate, particularly children who are in need. We are delighted to have the opportunity, thanks to Aeroplan and the Air Canada Foundation, to donate our Aeroplan miles and know that they are being used for such a worthy cause.”

The federal government introduced amendments to the Criminal Code targeting nuclear terrorism last week.

The changes would create a number of new offences, including possessing or trafficking nuclear or radioactive materials or devices; committing an act against a nuclear facility with the intent to compel someone to do or refrain from doing something; committing an indictable offence to obtain access or control of a facility; and the threat to commit those offences.

“This bill would improve our existing approach to counterterrorism by punishing those who aspire to commit acts of nuclear terrorism,” said Sen. Raynell Andreychuk, who introduced the amendments on behalf of Justice Minister Rob Nicholson.

The Ontario government has announced that former Federal Court of Appeal justice Allen Linden and professor Kent Roach are the recipients of the David Walter Mundell Medal.

Former attorney general Ian Scott created the award in 1986 to honour exceptional contributions to legal writing. The attorney general awards the medal on the recommendation of a selection committee led by Chief Justice Warren Winkler.

In announcing the honour, the government noted Linden’s many books and articles, including Canadian Tort Law. It also noted Roach’s work as a “prolific author.” His most recent book examined counterterrorism efforts around the world.

“Each exemplifies the depth of understanding, lurid analytical thinking, and ability to convey sophisticated concepts simply, that are the hallmarks of the award,” Attorney General John Gerretsen said of the two recipients.
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The Lawyers International Food Network will host a live musical variety show to raise awareness of and funding for child poverty in Africa.

The show will take place at the Lula Lounge in Toronto on May 24.
Featured bands will include the Tokyo Giants, The One Shot Band, Mo Vista, Notorious Road, and Quammie aka Greybeard.

Tickets are $100 with a tax contribution made to either World Vision or the Stephen Lewis Foundation.  

Founded in 2010 by Shields O’Donnell MacKillop LLP partner Malcolm MacKillop and Lax O’Sullivan Scott Lisus LLP litigator Jonathan Lisus, the network aims to address poverty among children in sub-Saharan Africa by raising awareness and funds among fellow lawyers and judges.

Osgoode Hall Law School professor Stephanie Ben-Ishai has been named the OHLS LCO scholar in residence for 2012-13.

Ben-Ishai will conduct research related to her work on the debt-relief industry in Ontario and will focus on debt regulation and non-profit credit counselling organizations.

Ben-Ishai will also conduct consultations and organize a symposium during her research and hopes to produce background and final papers with law reform proposals.

The Ontario Bar Association has created a task force on justice sector effectiveness and is seeking input from the bar.

The task force will focus on cutting spending and increasing revenues in the province’s justice sector and will provide advice to the government on potential savings.

The task force will conclude with a report to Ontario’s attorney general later this year that will detail the OBA’s and participants’ ideas.

Members of the bar will have the option of being on the list of report participants if the task force uses their idea.

To submit an idea, e-mail with a description of a cost-saving idea and an explanation of how it will save the province money. For more information, see

Legal Aid Ontario has extended the expiry time for its online certificates.
Starting March 18, LAO is extending the certificate expiry period to 180 days from 90 days from the date of issuance.

After 180 days have passed, unacknowledged certificates will automatically expire and a notice will be sent to the client. The case will be closed the following day.

The Law Society of Upper Canada is asking paralegals, paralegal students, and representatives of paralegal organizations and associations to join its equity advisory group.

The group provides advice to the law society on equity issues and is responsible for identifying, reviewing, and reporting on diversity matters in the legal profession.

The law society is seeking applicants with a background in issues related to, among others, aboriginals, racialized communities, and women.

The group meets each month in person or by teleconference.
For more information, contact the LSUC’s equity initiatives department.

The Ontario Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association are holding a conference in two countries this week.

The event will take place on March 28 in Toronto and March 29 in Buffalo. The agenda includes programs related to mergers and acquisitions, immigration, employment law, child support, estate planning, tax law, health-care data privacy, and alternative dispute resolution.

Speakers include New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman and Ontario Chief Justice Warren Winkler during a plenary session on professionalism and access to justice on Wednesday afternoon in Toronto.

For more information, see
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Nearly two in five lawyers plan to hire full-time legal staff during the second quarter of 2012, a quarterly Robert Half Legal survey shows.

That translates to a 37-per-cent net increase in hiring activity compared to the first quarter of this year.

The most in-demand positions were lawyers, legal secretaries, and law clerks.
Of the lawyers interviewed for the survey, half of them expect no change in staff levels over the next three months, while one per cent of them anticipate reductions.

More than three in four lawyers also said it was a challenge to find skilled legal professionals.
“Hiring is expected to remain active this quarter with many law firms adding full-time positions to pursue business development opportunities and bolster growth,” said John Ohnjec, division director of Robert Half Legal in Canada.

The U.S. Department of Justice is seeking a suspended Ontario lawyer in connection to an alleged multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

A federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted William Wise last month along with Jacquline Hoegel, 55, for conspiracy and mail and wire fraud following allegations the pair had operated an extensive Ponzi scheme in the United States and Canada, the Toronto Star reported.

U.S. authorities allege that Wise, 62, and Hoegel marketed and sold more than $126.5 million in fraudulent certificates of deposit to nearly 1,200 people in Canada and the United States, according to the Star. None of the allegations have been proven.

According to an agreed statement of facts filed with the Law Society of Upper Canada in November 2007, Wise hasn’t been in Canada since 2006 and currently lives in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Wise has also been known to work in Raleigh, S.C., where he operated a bank he allegedly used to defraud investors.

The law society received a complaint from the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions in 2006 that alleged that Wise’s financial group was fictitious or unlicensed. The LSUC conducted an investigation into Wise shortly thereafter.

During the investigation, the law society requested several documents and records linked to Wise’s financial group. But according to the agreed statement of facts, Wise refused to produce the records.

Wise argued that because he was no longer practising law, held no money in trust, wasn’t properly advised of the allegations against him, and had no trust accounts, the law society’s requests were irrelevant to the allegations against him and he couldn’t reasonably produce the documents. He also denied any wrongdoing.

“Continuing your investigation in the face of Mr. Wise’s clear denials of wrongdoing will put him in the impossible position of having to submit to an open-ended investigation based on vague allegations to preserve his membership in the law society while at the same time being entitled to preserve his rights in the face of a threat of criminal prosecution,” Wise argued.

The law society suspended Wise in July 2008 for a period of one month and indefinitely thereafter until he co-operated with its investigation. That suspension is still in effect.

Wise argued he had provided materials within his control, had answered the law society’s request for documents to the best of his knowledge, would submit to written interrogation, and had co-operated with the investigation.

Wise unsuccessfully appealed the LSUC suspension in 2009.
A year later, the law society also issued an interlocutory suspension against Wise after it found there was reasonable suspicion to believe he was a risk to the public.

“In 2010, after additional information came to our attention, in particular with respect to the proceedings initiated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the law society sought and obtained an interlocutory suspension to protect the public,” says LSUC spokeswoman Susan Tonkin.

Wise is currently at large with a warrant out for his arrest. Hoegel, meanwhile, has pleaded not guilty and is out on a bond.

Norton Rose Canada has appointed four new partners at its Toronto office.

Kevin Ackhurst practises in the areas of antitrust, competition, regulatory law, business ethics, and anti-corruption.  

Suzana Lobo, meanwhile, handles asset-based lending, corporate and commercial matters, and debt financing.

Marc Kestenberg works in the areas of administrative and public law; arbitration and alternative dispute resolution; business ethics and anti-corruption; class actions; litigation; and product liability.

In addition, Jennifer Teskey focuses on administrative and public law, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution; class actions; energy; litigation; and product liability.

In Ottawa, Wayne Yan becomes counsel in the areas of intellectual property law, mining and resources, and patents.

“It’s exciting to welcome our new partners to Norton Rose Canada. They add depth to many of our key practice areas and demonstrate our new reach as a truly global law firm in Canada,” said John Coleman, managing partner of Norton Rose Canada.

“They are leaders who will continue to help our clients grow domestically and around the world through our commitment to client service excellence. We are very proud to welcome them to the partnership.”

Besides the Ontario appointments, the firm also named four new partners in Calgary; one in Caracas; and two in Montreal.

Statistics Canada has released a study that looks at the number of older Canadians victimized by crimes in 2009.

The study found two per cent of people aged 55 or older were the victim of a violent crime in 2009. The study also found older Canadians reported the lowest rate of violent victimization. They reported at about one-tenth the rate of those aged 15 to 24.

Older Canadians often experienced the same type of victimization as their younger counterparts but reported the incidents more often to police, the report noted.

The rate of household victimization for older Canadians was also less than half of the rate reported by younger households. At the same time, theft of household property was the most common type of non-violent crime reported by both younger and older Canadians.

Still, the study found 91 per cent of older Canadians said they felt satisfied with their personal safety from crime. That rate fell to 83 per cent among older Canadians who had been a victim of violent crime during the past year.
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Alan Belaiche has left his role as general counsel at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto to open a new law practice after working in-house for seven years.

Belaiche’s practice will operate under the name Belaiche Law and will focus on health, corporate and commercial, privacy, access-to-information, and employment law, as well as conflict management and dispute resolution in the health-care environment.

In his place, Michelle Moldofsky will take over as interim general counsel at the hospital. Moldofsky is a policy and legal adviser there.

Besides the hospital, Belaiche has also worked at the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

For more, see "Former St. Mike's GC sets up niche practice."

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP has appointed three lawyers to its national insurance corporate and regulatory group in Toronto after snagging them from Blaney McMurtry LLP.

Crawford Spratt, national head of the group, has more than 30 years of experience in insurance matters.

Jill McCutcheon, meanwhile, becomes regional head of the group.

In addition, Kelly Morris becomes a partner at BLG. Morris specializes in regulatory, compliance, governance, distribution, and market conduct matters, as well as privacy law and issues related to money laundering.

“The insurance industry is evolving with new market entrants and a trend towards consolidation,” said Bob Hutchison, a partner and national business department leader at BLG.

“Combined with the firm’s existing financial services group and extensive insurance litigation and coverage practice, our insurance corporate/regulatory group makes BLG a full-service firm for insurers, reinsurers, intermediaries, and other sector participants.”

In addition, BLG announced the hiring of associate Jim Hinton at its office in Waterloo, Ont. Hinton had previously articled at Bereskin & Parr LLP.

Dennis Tobin is a new partner with Blaney McMurtry LLP’s corporate/commercial, corporate finance and securities, and real estate and leasing practice groups.

Tobin focuses on corporate/commercial law as well as commercial and retail leasing and will continue his work at the firm’s Toronto office.

He’s also involved in mergers and acquisitions, venture capital transactions, and shareholder agreements and startups. Through his work, he has represented landlords and tenants as well as major retail centres.

“The addition of Dennis Tobin further strengthens the capabilities of our corporate/commercial practice, reflecting the firm’s continuing commitment to respond to our clients’ needs for sophisticated legal advice across a broad spectrum of business law,” said Michael Bennett, managing partner at Blaneys.

Lawyer Dale Fitzpatrick is the newest Ontario Superior Court judge.

Fitzpatrick, formerly a partner with Furlong Collins Fitzpatrick, becomes a judge in Milton, Ont. He replaces Justice A.J. Goodman, who has moved to London, Ont., to fill the open spot following the death of justice T.D. Little.

Fitpatrick had been a partner with Furlong Collins Fitzpatrick since 1999. His activities include participation in the Law Society of Upper Canada’s lawyer mentoring program. His main areas of practice were family law and civil and criminal litigation.
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Lawyers are hoping for strong participation in next month’s bowling fundraiser for the Lawyers Feed the Hungry program.

The fourth annual Law Firm Bowling Challenge takes place on April 1 at Playtime Bowl at 33 Samor Rd. in Toronto.

“This program is in such demand that the financial requirements to keep it running are considerable,” said event co-chairman Joseph Neuberger.

The goal is to raise $125,000 this year. Each month, the program provides 9,000 meals for free at Osgoode Hall. For more information on the fundraiser, see

York University and Research In Motion Ltd. co-founder Jim Balsillie are nearing a $60-million deal to create 10 research chairs and 20 graduate scholarships within the next several weeks.

The partnership, which includes the Centre for International Governance Innovation, would involve $30 million from Balsillie and another $30 million in provincial funds from Ontario’s 2010 budget for research at the university into the modern challenges of international law.

The centre has faced criticism from some of the university’s faculty members about threats to academic freedom and autonomy. But Balsillie has put his name to a protocol that he said will “promote and protect academic freedom.”

The chairs and scholarships will be open to any faculty members proposing an international law project, according to the university’s web site. Two-thirds of the chairs will be based in Waterloo, Ont., and will commute to York.

Areas of research could range from international finance regulation to global environmental law.

The Canadian Bar Association is raising concerns about proposed amendments to federal immigration legislation that it says unfairly targets people seeking refugee status in Canada.

Bill C-31, protecting Canada’s immigration system act, would allow Canada to designate irregular arrivals as suspicious and would limit the appeal process in such cases in an effort to curb fake refugee claims.

But CBA member Mario Bellissimo said that while the bill’s objective of deterring fraudulent claims is well intended, it might create problems that could unfairly target claims by refugees genuinely seeking protection.

“We laud the objective of the legislation to deter fraudulent claims,” said Bellissimo, who’s also treasurer of the CBA’s national immigration law section.

“Unfortunately, what is proposed will profoundly alter the landscape for refugee protection by limiting rights and privileges and impeding access to the appeal process for legitimate immigrants and refugees.”

Specifically, the CBA says it considers the penalty scheme in bill C-31 to be overly harsh. It argues the denial of detention reviews breaches international agreements as well as protections in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“Bill C-31 has removed the objective criteria introduced in the previous draft legislation with respect to designation of countries whose nationals are subject to expedited claims processing and loss of appeal rights,” said Joshua Sohn, chairman of the immigration section.

“The proposed legislation lacks clear qualitative thresholds and raises serious concern about excessive ministerial discretion.”

In addition, the CBA says the bill could undermine or eliminate the rights and privileges of some claimants, including their ability to apply for and retain permanent resident status.

But Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said during a parliamentary debate on the bill last month that it would make Canada’s immigration system fairer and less arduous.

“With the reform we are proposing, the system will continue to be the fairest in the world. Canada is going to provide protection for real refugees within two months instead of two years under the current system.

At the same time, we are going to address the wave of fake claims for asylum from democratic countries,” said Kenney.
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Norton Rose Canada LLP has appointed five new members to its leadership team in Calgary.

Bob Engbloom was named deputy chair of Norton Rose Canada and has been with the firm for more than 13 years practising in mergers and acquisitions and corporate and securities law. He’s also a member of the firm’s management committee.

Jack MacGillivray, who previously served as a member of Macleod Dixon LLP’s executive committee before its merger with Norton Rose OR LLP last year, has also been with the firm for more than 13 years practising corporate and commercial law. MacGillivray will now serve as managing partner at the firm’s Calgary office.

“It is an honour and privilege to begin this new role at such an exciting time. With the recent Macleod Dixon and Norton Rose OR merger to form Norton Rose Canada, our newly strengthened firm has remarkable prospects for our clients, lawyers, and staff,” said MacGillivray.

“I look forward to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead and to working closely with the other managing partners and leaders around the world at Norton Rose Group."

Jennifer Kennedy, who joined Norton Rose Canada nearly 20 years ago, will become the firm’s new Alberta business law practice group leader.

Randal Van de Mosselaer, who will become the Alberta litigation practice group leader, practises primarily in insolvency, restructuring, and commercial litigation.

In addition, former Macleod Dixon managing partner Bill Tuer becomes a member of the Norton Rose Group’s global executive committee.


West Coast Environmental Law has held a moot competition that allows students to argue their cases entirely through Twitter.

Billed as the world’s first Twitter moot court, the competition featured five teams from law schools across Canada that argued a mock appeal of a recent precedent-setting environmental case, West Moberly First Nations v. British Columbia (Chief Inspector of Mines).

The case focuses on the survival of an endangered caribou herd threatened by coal mining and ongoing industrial development.

The teams included two students from Dalhousie University, the University of Ottawa, the University of British Columbia, the University of Victoria, and York University.

Osgoode Hall Law School students Nikki Petersen and Emelia Baack represented West Moberly First Nations in the appeal and argued that the treaty right to hunt should extend to protecting a particular herd of caribou from the effects of coal mining.

“Twitter is a great way to let many people share their views,” said Petersen. “I see the moot as a spark to get a discussion going about environmental law issues in Canada. The response to team Osgoode has been very positive.”

The competition took place on Feb. 21 and featured judges William Deverell, Omar Ha-Redeye, and Kathleen Mahoney. The Osgoode team won first place in the competition.

“140 characters is a great way to focus legal arguments and ideas,” said Osgoode dean Lorne Sossin.
“This is a novel and timely initiative. Congratulations to West Coast Environmental Law for initiating the project and good luck to the mooters, especially team Osgoode.

We’ll be following this groundbreaking moot with great interest.”
For more information, see!/twtmoot.

The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation has selected 10 community members, including two lawyers, to mentor a group of doctoral students identified by the organization as future leaders.

The lawyers include Ontario’s John Sims, a former deputy minister of justice and deputy attorney general of Canada.

The other lawyer named is Bernard Richard, who previously served as New Brunswick’s minister of intergovernmental affairs and education, opposition leader, and ombudsman. Richard is a strong advocate of children’s rights, the foundation noted in announcing his selection.

“The transfer of knowledge and experience from current leaders to future leaders has never been more important than it is now, and the Trudeau mentorship program addresses this need by creating remarkable pairings that collaborate for up to three years,” said Pierre-Gerlier Forest, president of the foundation.

“By connecting Trudeau scholars with highly accomplished Trudeau mentors, we aim to nurture, test, and activate concrete solutions to issues of major societal importance to Canadians.”

The Canadian Bar Association has found a “disturbing” trend in the federal government’s response times to Judicial Compensation and Benefits Commission reports.

Created under the Judges Act, the commission makes recommendations every four years to the federal minister of justice about the salaries and benefits paid to the federal judiciary.

The law requires the minister to respond to the commission within six months.
But the CBA claims responses to both the 2004 and 2008 commission reports went well beyond the statutory time frame of six months, according to a CBA press release.  

The result, according to the release, could affect the judiciary’s independence.
“Canadians need to know that when they appear in court, the judge is going to be impartial,” said CBA president Trinda Ernst in her remarks to the 2012 Judicial Compensation and Benefits Commission.

“Individuals must have confidence that when their case is decided, judges have no financial incentive in the outcome.

This means not only that judges have no personal or financial interest in the case but also that they are not worried about whether the outcome of the case will please or displease the government that provides their remuneration.”

Unexplained delays are not only disrespectful but they also undermine the integrity of the process, according to Ernst.

“The judicial compensation review process only succeeds if all parties respect and comply with the statutory time requirements. Unexplained delays by one party are disrespectful of the other parties and undermine the integrity of the process.”

Ernst appeared before the commission last week.
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The Divisional Court has upheld the disbarment of former lawyer and lobbyist Peter Budd, who was convicted of sexually exploiting two teenage sisters between 1998 and 2004.

Writing in an endorsement of an order by a Law Society of Upper Canada appeal panel, Associate Chief Justice Douglas Cunningham for a three-judge panel rejected Budd’s appeal to set aside the law society’s decision and replace his disbarment with a suspension. He ruled there would not be a new hearing and the disbarment would remain.

Budd was a close neighbour and friend of a family identified as “D” by the law society until 2004 when they learned he had entered into sexual relationships with the family’s three female children, who were all in their early to mid teens, according to the decision.

Budd was charged with sexual assault and sexual exploitation of each child, but was acquitted of the sexual assault charges, and convicted of sexual exploitation of two of the sisters. Budd was sentenced to nine months in jail as a result.

He later appealed the conviction and sentence to the Court of Appeal. That appeal was dismissed. He sought an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, which was denied.

Budd also appealed the law society’s hearing panel’s decision revoking his licence to practise. An LSUC appeal panel dismissed his appeal.

Writing in his endorsement of the law society’s decision, Cunningham noted of the severity of Budd’s actions and its role in each dismissal.

The law society panel “found that notwithstanding Mr. Budd’s outstanding career, and his many good qualities, collectively they did not mitigate the distrustful, deceptive, and prolonged nature of the sexual exploitation that had been established,” Cunningham wrote in Budd v. LSUC.

The ruling went on to say: “The decisions of disciplinary bodies imposing penalties on a professional colleague are entitled to respect.

Here, after two lengthy hearings, eight of Mr. Budd’s peers, after careful and thoughtful review, and acknowledging his admirable professional reputation, have concluded that revocation is the only penalty that adequately addresses the enormity of his misconduct.

In our opinion, that penalty is well within the range of what is reasonable on the facts established.”

The Federal Court has dismissed an appeal by a Sudbury, Ont., real estate lawyer to clear several years worth of tax debts from his name after a 25-year legal battle with the Canada Revenue Agency turned sour.

Justice Johanne Trudel made the ruling Jan. 25. She found to be false claims by lawyer Hugh Doig that the trial judge had erred in finding Doig had failed to make the necessary payments “on account of tax arrears” between several periods between the 1971 and 1984 taxation years.

“The appellant alleges that the Judge erred in law in the application of the burden of proof in respect of the 1971-1973 taxation years. We disagree.

The Judge dealt with this period at paragraphs 42 to 44 of his reasons,” wrote Trudel in Doig v. Her Majesty. “In view of the evidentiary record in front of him, we find no error in the Judge’s application of the burden of proof.”

Doig sought a declaration from the Federal Court in 2009 that he had no tax debt between the 1971 and 1984 taxation years, saying he had paid the debt but hadn’t been given credit for the payment by the Canada Revenue Agency or its predecessor.

As of June 2009, Doig owed $323,738.31 in unpaid taxes, interest, and penalties “from taxation years prior to and including 1982 to 1989, and 1991 to 1993,” according to the decision. Doig doesn’t dispute the amounts claimed by the CRA in 1985 or the following years, but disputes claims for the years prior.

The appeal was ultimately dismissed with costs.

Robert Half Legal has released the results of a survey showing increased professional demands and social media have taken a bite out of Canada’s power lunch with 50 per cent of lawyers breaking bread with clients less often than they used to.

Robert Half, the legal staffing firm that developed the survey, used an independent research firm to conduct the survey and interviewed 150 lawyers at the largest law firms and corporations in Canada.

In the survey, lawyers were asked about how common power lunches are now compared to three years ago and how often lawyers meet clients for power lunches each month.

They found while lawyers often met with their clients an average of two times per month, compared to three years ago, the number of power lunches conducted by lawyers has steadily declined.

“Considering today’s hectic work environment, it is becoming more difficult for legal professionals to find the time for a business lunch,” said John Ohnjec, Robert Half Legal Canada division director.

“This is prompting lawyers to more frequently use e-mail and social media to stay in touch with their contacts, rather than having face-to-face meetings.”

To hold more productive in-person meetings, Robert Half Legal offered the following advice to lawyers:

•    Choose a restaurant you’re familiar with, is easy to find, is relatively quiet, and has a varied menu.

•    Don’t be late. Make every effort to be on time, or ideally, get there early. You can select a table that’s conducive to a business discussion and greet everyone as they come in.

•    Cut to the chase. Remember that people have busy schedules and can spend only limited time away from the office.

•    Turn off electronic devices. Cellphones should be silenced when you enter the restaurant.

•    Mind your manners. Few things are more uncomfortable than dining with someone who is condescending to the waitstaff.

Williams McEnery partner Jaye Hooper has been named president of the County of Carleton Law Association.

Hooper will serve in the position for one year and was first elected to the CCLA’s board of trustees in 2006 in the “young lawyer” position.

In her new role, Hooper will be the youngest president in the CCLA’s history and the first female president with a young family.

Hooper previously served as the vice president of the organization.

The CCLA is the second-largest not-for-profit legal association in Ontario with membership that includes judges, lawyers, paralegals, and law students. It is governed by a group of elected volunteer lawyers who sit on the board of trustees.
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The Toronto Lawyers Association is awarding retired Supreme Court justice Ian Binnie its 2012 Award of Distinction.

Binnie will receive the award during a reception on March 1 at One King West in Toronto. The association is honouring him for his contribution to the law and the legal profession.

Binnie joined the Supreme Court bench in 1998 and retired in October 2011.
Past recipients of the award include Superior Court Justice Colin Campbell and former Ontario chief justice Roy McMurtry.

For information about the reception and the award, visit

Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP promoted six lawyers to partner at its Toronto office this month.

Tim Andison, who joined Blakes in November 2010, practises in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, and other financing transactions.

Andrew Pollock, a member of Blakes’ business group and its China practice, will also join Andison in the firm’s Toronto office as a partner.

practice involves mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance and governance with specialties in mining operations and railway transportation law.

Cynthia Sargeant, who practises corporate and securities law, advises clients on financing, corporate governance compliance obligations, and commercial transactions.

Kurt Sarno, who previously practised at a large law firm in New York before joining Blakes, focuses on mergers and acquisitions and private equity.

Antonio Turco handles litigation related to intellectual property rights, including disputes over patents, copyright, trademarks, industrial design, and trade secrets.

In addition, Laura Weinrib handles matters related to the pharmaceutical, medical devices, natural health products, food, and consumer products industries.

“I am pleased to announce our latest group of partners,” said Rob Granatstein, managing partner at Blakes.

“Each of these individuals has worked very hard for this next achievement in their legal careers. It is this dedication to our clients on the part of all of our professionals that makes Blakes the success that it is.”

The Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia started its second wave of service withdrawals this month in an effort to convince the provincial government to invest $100 million in additional legal aid funding.

The second wave, which will end on Feb. 14, leaves 53 provincial courthouses without duty counsel. That represents nearly two-thirds of all courthouses in the province.

The association hopes the service withdrawals will force the government to help more individuals qualify for legal aid and increase the number of services offered by the province.

A tax on legal fees currently generates $140 million annually but less than half of that goes to the province’s $68-million legal aid budget.

“The first phase of service withdrawals went very well in terms of support,” said Marc Kazimirski, president of the association.

“The lawyers involved are headed into Phase 2 with greater awareness already achieved for this important issue, and a strong sense of purpose remains.”

The association plans to withdraw services again during the first three weeks of March as well as during the entire month of April.

For related content, see "LAO not living up to boycott bargain, lawyers say."

An equity capital markets team is leaving Cobbetts LLP to join Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP’s London, England, office.

Included in the team are Cobbetts’ partners Andrew Wright, Charles Bond, Sefton Collett, and Dominic Prentis, as well as directors Susan Johnston and David Brennan.

They’ll make the switch to Gowlings at the end of this month and will join the firm’s energy, infrastructure, and mining industry group.

“We are sorry that Andrew and our colleagues are leaving and wish them the best of luck with their new global venture,” said Daniel O’Gorman, head of Cobbetts’ equity capital markets group.
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    Access to Justice The Action Group on Access to Justice (TAG) strives to inform the public on the importance of the people having access to legal resources and…
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  • Jane-Finch community gets employment law help
    Jane-Finch community gets employment law help Osgoode Hall Law School's Community Legal Aid Services Programme recently opened an employment law division for Toronto's Jane-Finch community.Phanath Im, review counsel for the division,…
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Law Times poll

After the Supreme Court set out a framework to assess the independence of expert witnesses, litigators have different opinions about whether it’s too difficult to exclude expert evidence on the basis of bias. What do you think?
Yes, it remains very hard to get this evidence excluded, but this may change as trial court judges pay more attention to the backgrounds of expert witnesses.
No, it is not hard to get this evidence excluded, as the courts continually refine the role of experts in both criminal and civil litigation.