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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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TWO NEW PARTNERS  AT CASSELS BROCK
Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP has taken on two new partners.

Wendy Berman, formerly a partner with Heenan Blaikie LLP’s litigation group, will practise commercial litigation with an emphasis on securities-related and regulatory matters.

Lara Jackson, also a former lawyer at Heenan Blaikie, also joins Cassels Brock. Her practice will focus on commercial and securities litigation, class actions, and insolvency.

“Cassels Brock has one of the largest and most active public markets practices in Canada,” said Mark Young, Cassels Brock’s managing partner.

“To fully support our issuer and underwriter clients in today's increasingly complex and litigious environment, we saw a strategic need to expand our advocacy capabilities in the area.

Wendy and Lara have outstanding reputations, and their expertise is a perfect complement to our existing platform.”

OMNIBUS CRIME  BILL TAKES EFFECT
Four components of the omnibus crime bill will come into force over the next five months.

The first, involving increased penalties for sexual offences against children, will come into force Aug. 9.

The second, dealing with harsher penalties for violent and repeat young offenders, will follow on Oct. 23.

The last two components that target serious drug crimes and eliminate house arrest for serious and violent offences will come into effect Nov. 6 and Nov. 20, respectively.

HISTORY AWARD  WINNERS NAMED
The Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History has awarded two scholars the R. Roy McMurtry Fellowship in Legal History and the Peter Oliver Prize in Canadian Legal History.

York University graduate Patrick Connor received the fellowship on June 26 for his work to further the understanding of the country’s legal history. He’ll use the fellowship to complete the first comprehensive history of crime and criminal justice in Upper Canada.

Edward Cavanagh, who’s entering a doctoral program at the University of Ottawa, received the Peter Oliver Prize for his article about the Hudson’s Bay Co.

“We applaud both award recipients for enriching Canadians’ understanding of the country’s legal history,” said Jim Phillips, editor-in-chief of the Osgoode Society.

“Through their work, this year’s award recipients have helped promote the public’s interest in the history of law and the legal profession.”

POLL RESULTS
The results of last week’s Law Times online poll are in.
Sixty-five per cent of respondents believe the government should appeal a recent assisted suicide ruling.

The Supreme Court of British Columbia struck down parts of Canada’s law banning assisted suicide after ruling they infringed a woman’s right to life, liberty, and the security of person.
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FORMER GG HONOURED
The Law Society of Upper Canada has awarded former governor general Michaëlle Jean an honorary doctor of laws degree.

The LSUC honoured Jean for her work as a journalist, broadcaster, lecturer, social activist, and governor general from 2005 to 2010 during its call to the bar ceremony in Ottawa on June 19.

“Throughout her remarkable career, she has been very active in her support for abused women and children at risk,” said law society Treasurer Laurie Pawlitza.

“Her work with disadvantaged and underprivileged youth carries on through the Michaëlle Jean Foundation.”

JUSTICE MINISTER HOSTS GLOBAL TALKS
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson met with several attorneys general from across the globe in Ottawa on June 15 to discuss a variety of legal topics.  

The discussions centered on topics including cybercrime, legal co-operation, and national security.

New Zealand Attorney General Chris Finlayson, British Attorney General Dominic Grieve, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, and Jason Clare, Australia’s minister for home affairs and justice, attended the meeting.

“The global nature of crimes such as terrorism, cybercrime, and organized crime make co-operation with key allies a critical component in Canada’s response to these evolving issues,” said Nicholson.

“Today’s meeting provides a unique opportunity for our government to share knowledge and information with these key countries to ensure co-ordinated efforts in the fight against terrorism and other transnational crime.”

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

Almost 82 per cent of respondents indicated they support MPP David Orazietti’s private member’s bill to require presiding justices of the peace to have five years’ experience as a lawyer.

Orazietti, an MPP for Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., introduced the bill on May 31.

If passed, the bill would create
a two-tier system that would allow presiding justices of the peace to oversee complex legal matters but would require them to have experience as a lawyer before entering the position.

GREENSPAN HONOURED
Edward Greenspan received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Brock University on June 7.

A native of Niagara Falls, Ont., Greenspan, in his address to graduates, noted he could have easily been an alumnus as well.

“Had I finished high school two years later on or if Brock had opened one year earlier, I would have had my degree from Brock in 1967,” said the criminal lawyer, who noted he instead had to wait 45 years to get one.

NATIONAL ABORIGINAL HISTORY MONTH
National aboriginal history month kicked off last week with a legal education program and reception at the Law Society of Upper Canada.

The event on June 20 featured a number of panellists who discussed how to build successful business relationships with members of the aboriginal community.

Clint Davis of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business led the first panel during which lawyers Maxime Faille, Tiffany Murray, and Kelly LaRocca discussed how to create an aboriginal corporation.

A second panel featured lawyer Cynthia Westaway as well as Erin Strachan in a discussion on aboriginal co-operatives and consortiums.

Lastly, Dean Jacobs, former chief of the Munsee-Delaware Nation, and Mike Rosen of Tree Canada discussed joint ventures with aboriginal communities.
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WINKLER HONOURED BY YORK UNIVERSITY
York University has honoured Ontario Chief Justice Warren Winkler with a doctor of laws degree.

Winkler received the honorary degree for his work in the legal profession on June 14 at York’s Keele campus.

In announcing the honour, OsgoodeHall Law School dean Lorne Sossin revealed planning is underway for a new Winkler Institute for Dispute Resolution.

The institute will also house a group of Winkler fellows who will give public lectures, collaborate on research papers, and develop pilot projects.

“Chief Justice Winkler has made tremendous contributions to the development of dispute resolution in Ontario,” said Sossin.

“Given Osgoode’s rich tradition of leadership in the field, it is fitting that a leading global institute on dispute resolution should be launched here, and we are honoured that the chief justice has agreed to be its namesake.”

THREE LAWYERS APPOINTED TO BENCH
The province has appointed three lawyers to the Ontario Court of Justice bench.

Franco Giamberardino will become a judge at the Ontario Court of Justice in Cornwall, Ont. Giamberardino has been a sole practitioner in Ottawa since 2001.

Joining him at the court is Steven Harrison, a sole practitioner in Peterborough, Ont., who will become a judge in Owen Sound, Ont.

In addition, Carolyn Jones, a family lawyer at Di Cecco Jones, becomes a judge in Toronto.

The three will take their posts on June 20.

2012 ESSAY WINNERS NAMED
The Law Society of Upper Canada has announced the winners of the 2012 Rueter Scargall Bennett LLP prize in legal ethics.

Jeremy Tatum, a law student from the University of Windsor, received the top prize for his essay on using truthful evidence to discredit truthful testimony.

Joining Tatum were Megan Seto, a law student from the University of Ottawa, and Kaitlyn MacDonnell, also of the University of Windsor.

Seto, an online columnist for Canadian Lawyer 4Students, wrote about depression as an institutional, workplace, and professionalism problem, while MacDonnell wrote about ethics among class counsel.

RIGHTS CODE TURNS 50
Ontario’s Human Rights Code turned 50 last week.

Celebrations for the anniversary of the code, the first of its kind in Canada, took place June 11 to 15 with a commemorative plaque and a proclamation project across Ontario.

As part of the project, the Ontario Human Rights Commission invited municipalities to declare last week Ontario Human Rights Code Week or June 15 as Ontario Human Rights Code Day.

“Municipalities provide direct services that affect people’s lives in their homes and communities, so they are often the first level of government to see barriers or discrimination,” said commission chief commissioner Barbara Hall.

“By celebrating this anniversary, they all celebrate the important role they have played along this historic road.”

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

Fifty-nine per cent of respondents agreed with the findings of a Law Society of Upper Canada interim task force report on articling that the majority of lawyers don’t want to see major changes to the current articling system.

The report indicated that the majority among the bar was opposed to significant changes to articling despite the growing shortage of positions.

50TH ANNIVERSARY OF HUMAN RIGHTS CODE
Ontario’s Human Rights Code turned 50 last week.

Celebrations for the anniversary of the code, the first of its kind in Canada, took place June 11 to 15 with a commemorative plaque and a proclamation project across Ontario.

As part of the project, the Ontario Human Rights Commission invited municipalities to declare last week Ontario Human Rights Code Week or June 15 as Ontario Human Rights Code Day.

“Municipalities provide direct services that affect people’s lives in their homes and communities, so they are often the first level of government to see barriers or discrimination,” said commission chief commissioner Barbara Hall.

“By celebrating this anniversary, they all celebrate the important role they have played along this historic road.”

Proclaimed in 1962, the code initially prohibited discrimination in signs, services, facilities, public accommodation, and employee and trade-union membership because of race, creed, colour, nationality, ancestry, and place of origin.

Subsequently, legislators added more prohibited grounds of discrimination, such as age, disability, and sexual orientation. In addition, it now includes systemic discrimination.

TORONTO LAWYER HONOURED
The Law Society of Upper Canada has honoured trial lawyer Brian Greenspan with an honorary doctor of laws degree.

Greenspan, a founding partner at Greenspan Humphrey Lavine in Toronto, received the degree on June 13 for his contributions to the legal profession and commitment to legal education. The LSUC also commended him for his work as a trial and appellate advocate.

Greenspan received the honour from law society Treasurer Laurie Pawlitza during its call-to-the-bar ceremonies last week. Others receiving the honour included Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi.

NEW PRESIDENT OF ADVOCATES’ SOCIETY
Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP managing partner Peter Griffin is the new president of The Advocates’ Society.

“It’s an honour to lead such an organization that plays such an important role in advancing the practice of advocacy in Ontario and increasingly across Canada,” said Griffin.

“The Advocates’ Society is the premier organization for litigators in Ontario.”
Griffin began his one-year term following the organization’s end-of-term dinner.

NEW OTLA PRESIDENT
The Ontario Trial Lawyers Association has named Andrew Murray as its president.

Murray, who was elected on June 8 at the association’s annual general meeting in Toronto, has served on its board of directors since 2006. He has also been a member of its executive committee for the past four years.

Murray will oversee the organization during the 2012-13 year.
“We will continue to work shoulder to shoulder with like-minded organizations — both in and outside of Ontario — who share our concerns,” said Murray.

“We will use our collective wisdom as positive agents for change not only for our association members but for the clients we represent.”
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LAWYER RECEIVES JUBILEE MEDAL
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.”

TWO LAWYERS APPOINTED TO BENCH
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.

EDUCATIONAL CHARITY LAUNCHED
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.

PAWLITZA THANKFUL AS SHE WRAPS UP TERM
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.    

POLL RESULTS
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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COURT TOSSES CASE AGAINST HAL MATTSON
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."

DISBARRED LAWYER SENTENCED TO 14 DAYS
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.

SHIBLEY RIGHTON SNAGS TAX LAWYER

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.”

ONTARIO ADULT COURT CASES RISE: STATSCAN
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.

NEW HEAD OF FEDERAL LAWYERS’ ASSOCIATION
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.

NEW DIVERSITY DATABASE CREATED
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 cabl.ca.

COMPLETED YOUTH CASES FALL: STATSCAN
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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OTTAWA LAW PROF LAUDED
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.

STATSCAN REPORT ON FAMILY VIOLENCE
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.

LSUC MEDALS HANDED OUT
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.

GOWLINGS ADVISER NAMED AMBASSADOR
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.

NEW GC AT SECOND CUP
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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TORONTO FIRM MERGES WITH CROSS-BORDER BOUTIQUE
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.

MCGRATH BECOMES LAWPRO CHAIRWOMAN
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.

CONFERENCE NEXT MONTH
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 ajefo.ca.

CHANGES AT LAWPRO
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.

NEW ADR ETHICS COURSE
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 adrontario.ca.

OAKVILLE LAWYER TARGETED IN HACKING SCAM
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 EVENT
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 lawyersfeedthehungry.ca.

LAW STUDENTS AMONG TRUDEAU SCHOLARS
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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SETTLEMENT IN RACIAL PROFILING MATTER
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.

THE LAWYER SHOW  NEXT MONTH

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 nightwoodtheatre.net.

GEORGE DOLHAI NAMED TO DEPUTY JOB
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.

PARALEGAL HONOURED BY LSUC
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.

FREE LSAT PREPARATION COURSE
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 law.utoronto.ca.
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NEW CRIMINAL RULES INTRODUCED
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 ontariocourts.ca/ocj/criminal-rules.

LAWTECHCAMP THIS WEEK

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 lawtechcamp.com.

LOCAL LAWYER BECOMES CHAIRMAN OF NORTON ROSE GROUP
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.

AURORA LAWYER SUSPENDED
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.

NEW BILL TARGETS GANG RECRUITMENT
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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LAO SEEKING FEEDBACK ON DISCRETION REQUESTS
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 legalaid.on.ca this week.

VICTIM SURCHARGE TO BECOME MANDATORY
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.”

FMC LAUDED FOR GREEN EFFORTS
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.”

HRTO RULING ON TRANSGENDR RIGHTS
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
understanding.”

MILLER THOMSON SIGNS DEAL WITH FRENCH FIRM
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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