Legal Aid Ontario president and CEO Bob Ward has announced he will retire by the end of this year.
“I have concluded that now is the right time for me to begin to transition to retirement after a career in public service of nearly 42 years,” Ward wrote in a memo to staff. “This would enable LAO to pass the torch to a new generation of leadership to chart the course and commit to the long term effort required to continue to further the interests of our clients.”
Ward said he has advised the LAO board he intends to step down 11 months from now. The exact date of his retirement is yet to be determined.
In his memo, Ward thanked staff for working to improve legal aid in Ontario by “reflecting the highest principles of both public service and social justice.” He also said LAO has benefited from strong political support over the years.
“Successive attorneys general have all well-understood the needs of the legal aid system and each one of them was successful in securing significant additional funding for legal aid,” he said. “To these Ministers and to their able deputies and officials, who worked diligently and effectively behind the scenes on these initiatives and many others, much gratitude is owed.”
Ward also said there is still a lot to be achieved in legal aid.
“The many stubborn barriers to access to justice that persist need our constant attention to overcome; the evolving nature of the justice system requires continual re-thinking to ensure our clients are well-served,” he wrote.
“The changing dynamics of poverty requires us to be updating our programming all the time; and the welfare of our dedicated colleagues in the private bar and clinic system, who all do so much to further our clients’ interests, merits particularly innovative, ongoing support.”
New regional JP appointed
Justice of the Peace Linda Leblanc has been appointed the regional senior justice of the peace for the east region of the Ontario Court of Justice.
Leblanc was originally appointed as justice of the peace in 2005. In her new role, she replaces regional senior JP Bernard Swords, who was appointed as senior advisory JP in December 2014.
As regional senior JP, Leblanc will assist the chief justice, the co-ordinator of justices of the peace, and the regional senior judge in all matters related to justices of the peace.
Shapiro to lead Canadian practice at Dickinson Wright
Dickinson Wright LLP has appointed lawyer Mark Shapiro to lead its Toronto-based Canadian practice.
Dickinson Wright, a business law firm with offices on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border, says Shapiro will be responsible for providing “overall strategic direction of the practice” and managing the firm’s internal committees.
“Mark brings over 19 years of legal and management experience and is a recognized leader within the firm. As we continue to grow our presence in Canada, I am confident that Mark possesses the leadership and management skills to lead our Canadian practice,” said William Burgess, CEO of Dickinson Wright, in a press release.
Shapiro, for his part, said he is looking forward to his new role.
“I’m honoured and excited to lead Dickinson Wright’s Canadian practice,” Shapiro said. “Our practice has grown significantly over the last seven years and now includes so many well-respected and recognized lawyers. I look forward to leading the firm as we continue to serve both our Canadian and U.S. clients in a wide variety of transactional and litigation matters across a range of industries and legal practice areas.”
Construction Lien Act goes under review
The Ministry of the Attorney General has launched a review of the Construction Lien Act to look into payment issues within the construction sector.
The government selected Borden Ladner Gervais LLP senior partner Bruce Reynolds to conduct the review, which comes in response to “stakeholder concerns related to prompt payment and effective dispute resolution in Ontario’s construction industry, such as encouraging timely payment for services and materials, and making sure payment risk is distributed fairly,” the MAG said in an announcement.
Another BLG lawyer, Sharon Vogel, will assist Reynolds with the review, which is expected to conclude by the end of this year. It will involve “extensive consultation” with the construction industry and a report to the province.
Liberals call for diversity on the bench
Two Liberal MPs are calling for greater diversity of the judiciary. MPs Irwin Cotler and Sean Casey say “there is no shortage of meritorious candidates” for the bench who come from minority backgrounds.
“Canada’s judiciary should be made up of highly qualified people who reflect our country in all its diversity. It is therefore unacceptable that, according to the government, statistics about the diversity of judicial appointments are ‘not readily available,’” the MPs said in a statement released last week.
“While merit and judicial excellence must clearly be prerequisites when making appointments to the bench, there is no shortage of meritorious candidates from minority communities. In fact, as a whole, the judiciary can only be truly excellent if it reflects the society it is entrusted to judge.”
Canadians are more likely to have confidence in the legal system “if judges share our variety of experiences and backgrounds,” the MPs said.
“Moreover, in the words of Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, judges ‘arrive at the bench shaped by their experiences and by the perspectives of the communities from which they come.’ A broader range of judicial perspectives can only enhance the quality of court decisions.”
The MPs cited a 2012 investigation by The Globe and Mail found that just two of 100 new judges named by the federal government were visible minorities.
Law Times poll
The results for the latest Law Times online poll are in. Respondents are divided about what the Law Society of Upper Canada should do about the Law Practice Program in light of law students’ concerns about it.
Law students recently wrote to LSUC treasurer Janet Minor with concerns that unpaid placements under the LPP could affect paid articling positions. They also said there are significant equity concerns as disadvantaged groups are more likely to turn to the program.
But 37 per cent of poll participants said the law society should do nothing now as the program is a pilot project and should be left to run its course. Another 35 per cent of respondents suggested scrapping the project altogether and coming up with something better.
Still another 20 per cent of respondents said the law society should mandate paid work placements to address the concerns about affordability and equity, while eight per cent said LSUC should provide more financial assistance to students.
Former lawyers at Heydary Hamilton PC have lost a motion to reverse an order that allowed clients of deceased lawyer Javad Heydary to garnish funds from his LawPRO insurance coverage.
The lawyers claimed the policy applied to them as well as Heydary and that the garnishment of the insurance, with a limit of $1 million, would leave them without coverage should they face a lawsuit.
Last year, Superior Court Justice Michael Penny found Samira and Hasan Abuzour should receive the amount remaining from Heydary’s $1-million coverage under LawPRO’s “innocent party” insurance.
The moving parties asked the court to vary that order, saying the Abuzours must commence a new proceeding specifically alleging negligence or fraud against Heydary before any indemnity obligation arises on LawPRO’s part.
“I am unable to agree,” Penny wrote in his recent decision on the matter.
“There is not the slightest hint in all the material before me that Heydary had any defence or lawful excuse for not paying the money.”
He added: “It would be formalistic in the extreme, to the point of absurdity, to require the applicants at this stage to commence and obtain judgment against Heydary in yet another proceeding before being able to make a claim to the benefit of Heydary’s LawPRO coverage.”
Heydary disappeared in 2013 amid allegations of $3.6 million in missing client funds. He was later declared dead.
For more, see "LawPRO ordered to indemnify Heydary's victims."
NO PARALEGAL LICENCE FOR KOPYTO
Disbarred lawyer Harry Kopyto doesn’t have the good character required to become a paralegal in Ontario, according to the Law Society Tribunal.
The law society disbarred Kopyto in 1989 after finding he had overbilled legal aid by $150,000. In recent years, he has faced the good-character proceedings as he seeks a licence as a paralegal.
According to a ruling issued by the tribunal’s hearing division last week, Kopyto has admitted to practising law after his disbarment.
“Mr. Kopyto acknowledges that he is not rule-observant. As he explains this, he is governed by his conscience and refuses to obey the law when to do so would lead to an unjust result. He counsels his clients to obey the law unless a higher moral duty calls upon them to breach it. He testified that the public interest comes first, not his clients. Mr. Kopyto asks us to stand up against the narrow ideology and sanctioned perceptions of the legal profession, and to disregard his breaches of the rules governing paralegals’ scope of practice. He characterizes his unauthorized practice as political activism promoting access to justice, an area where, he claims, the society has utterly failed to achieve its mandate.”
Kopyto, who likened himself to rule breakers like Rosa Parks and Mahatma Gandhi, pointed to his “empathetic qualities,” the panel noted. “We have no difficulty concluding that Mr. Kopyto is sincerely devoted to pursuing his clients’ causes, and that he has great empathy for them. He is generous, he is appreciated by his clients, and he is dedicated to them.
“And although these qualities denote good character, they do not justify permitting an individual to provide legal services who considers himself to be exempt from applicable laws and rules, including those regulating his profession, whenever his conscience finds it to be convenient.”
For more, see "Kopyto's long battle with LSUC."
NEW APPOINTEES TO ORDER OF ONTARIO
Several lawyers and judges were among the recent appointees to the Order of Ontario.
Among those honoured by Lt.-Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell were former Ontario chief justice Warren Winkler and Sidney Linden, who served as chief justice of the Ontario Court of Justice, as well as lawyers Gilles LeVasseur and Eva Marszewski. The appointees also include former Ontario Court justice Maryka Omatsu.
Winkler, a former labour lawyer, has joined Arbitration Place since leaving the office of the chief justice of Ontario. Linden, who was Ontario’s first information and privacy commissioner, also served as chairman of Legal Aid Ontario as well as commissioner for the Ipperwash public inquiry.
LeVasseur is a lawyer and a professor at the University of Ottawa’s business department. According to the government of Ontario, he has spent “more than 25 years working to protect, promote, and enhance the constitutional and language rights of Ontario’s francophone community.”
Marszewski, meanwhile, is the founder and executive director of Peacebuilders International. Omatsu, Canada’s first Asian-Canadian female judge, was a member of the negotiation team for the National Association of Japanese Canadians in its quest for Canadian redress for the internment during the Second World War.
NEW PARTNERS AT DENTONS
Dentons Canada LLP has admitted four new lawyers to the partnership at its Ontario offices.
The four are among 17 lawyers who made partnership across six offices in Canada. In Toronto, the new partners include financial services lawyer Kori Williams, employment lawyer Andy Pushalik, and commercial real estate lawyer Scott Martyn. The sole new partner at the Ottawa office is Rob Davis, a lawyer who advises clients on venture capital, private equity financing, and cross-border transactions.
FORMER FEDERAL JUDGE JOINS OSLER
Former Federal Court of Appeal justice Karen Sharlow has joined Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP’s tax practice group.
At Osler, Sharlow will be advising on case strategy. Her addition will enhance the firm’s ability to deliver “unparalleled tax litigation services to our clients,” said Monica Biringer, co-chairwoman of Osler’s tax department.
Biringer also said Sharlow would serve as a mentor at the firm. “Now more than ever, clients require a singular level of expertise in tax advocacy. Karen brings a unique perspective to tax litigation — an area of business critical importance to our clients,” said Biringer.
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.
According to the poll, the majority of respondents aren’t welcoming the recent Ontario rule change allowing parties up to five years to set an action down for trial. In fact, 65 per cent of respondents said the change from two years to five years would lead to files languishing for too long.
As of Jan. 1, Ontario repealed Rule 48.15 of the Rules of Civil Procedure and replaced it with a provision that says the court will dismiss matters not been put down for trial after five years without further notice to lawyers.
A lawyer’s plan to challenge the Beer Store in court has quickly fizzled out.
“The application has been discontinued in light of an expert opinion on the low chance of success and high cost,” said Toronto lawyer Michael Hassell.
“Fundraising was to occur next, but no one is going to fund the litigation in light of the expert opinion.”
Last month, he put the province on notice that he would be bringing a legal challenge to s. 3(e) of the Liquor Control Act that grants Brewers Retail Inc. monopoly status as the only private company able to sell beer to the public without brewing it. The draft notice called it “an unreasonable restraint of trade, contrary to equitable principles of fairness and contrary to public policy.”
The quick change of heart follows a recent Law Times online poll on the issue. According to the poll, 80 per cent of participants feel it’s time for Ontario to end the Beer Store monopoly.
CRIME RATE LOWEST SINCE 1969
Keeping up with the trend for the last 20 years, the police-reported crime rate in Canada fell even lower in 2013.
According to Statistics Canada, the rate was at its lowest point since 1969 at 5,191 crimes per 100,000 population, a decline from 5,632 per 100,000 population the previous year.
“Experts have not reached a consensus on why crime has been declining since the 1990s, but several factors have been cited as possible explanations,” according to Statistics Canada’s report on crime trends.
“These factors include an aging population, changing policing practices and strategies, the rise of technology, shifts in unemployment, variations in alcohol consumption, neighbourhood characteristics, or changing attitudes towards illegal and risky behaviour.”
Homicide represented less than one per cent of all violent crimes in 2013. In total, there were 505 homicides that year, which was 38 fewer than 2012.
“The homicide rate, due to its consistent and reliable reporting to police, is often used as an indicator of the level of violence in a society,” according to Statistics Canada.
REAL ESTATE LAWYER DISBARRED
The Law Society Tribunal has revoked Toronto real estate lawyer John Paul Abbott’s licence as of Feb. 21.
The hearing panel found that in seven instances, the lawyer had participated in “fraudulent or dishonest conduct” to obtain mortgage funds under false pretences.
He also failed to “serve and perform legal services undertaken on behalf of his lender, purchaser, and vendor clients to the standard of a competent lawyer in the transactions,” according to a summary of the tribunal decision.
In other tribunal news, Law Times reported last week on the Law Society of Upper Canada’s move to suspend Windsor, Ont., lawyer Claudio Martini on an interlocutory basis. While the story noted a delay in the proceedings until April, it didn’t point out that the tribunal had already issued an interim interlocutory suspension on Jan. 5.
BARRY LEON HEADS TO CARIBBEAN COURT
Ottawa arbitration and litigation lawyer Barry Leon is moving to the Caribbean to become a commercial judge of the High Court of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.
The court is a Superior Court for the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States. Leon’s appointment takes effect in March. He’s currently a partner and head of the international arbitration group at Perley-Robertson Hill & McDougall LLP. Aaron Rubinoff will now replace Leon in that role.
“The firm is excited for Barry to have been appointed to this prominent international position with the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court,” said Rubinoff in a statement.
The Law Society of Upper Canada awarded Ontario Court of Appeal Justice Karen Weiler an honorary doctor of laws at its call to the bar ceremony last week.
The LSUC said it was recognizing Weiler for “her initiatives to improve access to justice for litigants in need and for her equity work to combat racism and discrimination.”
Law society Treasurer Janet Minor awarded the honorary degree to Weiler at a ceremony that saw 183 new lawyers called to the bar on Jan. 23.
After her call to bar in Ontario in 1969, Weiler became the first woman to practise law in northwestern Ontario when she moved to Thunder Bay, Ont., for work. Before becoming a judge, Weiler served as policy counsel at the Ministry of the Attorney General, where the law society says her work led to reforms in family law with the enactment of the Family Law Reform Act, the Children’s Law Reform Act, and the Succession Law Reform Act.
PAUL CARENZA JOINS GOWLINGS
Former Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP tax lawyer Paul Carenza has joined Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP.
Carenza, whose practice focuses on domestic and cross-border corporate acquisitions, reorganizations, and financings, joins the Toronto office of the firm as a partner.
“Paul is a highly skilled tax professional who delivers creative solutions to meet the business needs of his clients,” said Scott Jolliffe, chairman and chief executive officer of Gowlings.
“His particular expertise in executive compensation matters, including plan design and drafting, adds further depth to Gowlings’ award-winning practice. We are thrilled to welcome him to the firm.”
NEW REGIONAL SENIOR JP FOR CENTRAL WEST
The province has appointed justice of the peace Brett Kelly as the regional senior justice of the peace for the centralwest region of the Ontario Court of Justice.
Kelly first became a justice of the peace in 2009. In his new role, he replaces regional senior justice of the peace John Creelman.
FORMER JUDGE TO MEDIATE FAMILY LAW MATTERS
Former Superior Court justice MaryJo Nolan has taken up a new post-retirement gig as a family law mediator in Windsor, Ont.
Nolan, who retired from the court in July 2014, took the job after Legal Aid Ontario’s director general for the Essex, Lambton, and Kent district asked her if she’d like to mediate family law settlements.
“I often say that part of my job as a mediator is to turn the kaleidoscope,” said Nolan.
“I use that analogy because you see a pattern in a kaleidoscope. If you turn it, all the pieces are still the same but it looks different. In mediation, the facts are the same but you look at them differently. Learning settlement skills has been emphasized at judges’ seminars lately. I think being a mediator is an important role for a judge in this day and age.”
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.
According to the poll, it’s a fairly even split on the issue of allowing cameras in courtrooms. The poll found 51 per cent of respondents felt the justice system should get with the times and loosen the rules against cameras and other electronic devices in court. The remaining participants felt that allowing them in court would be disruptive and unhelpful.
The Law Foundation of Ontario has a new chairman with Paul Schabas taking over the role from Mark Sandler.
Schabas took on the role on Jan. 1 after serving as a trustee since 2007. A media lawyer and partner at Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP, he has also served as chairman of Pro Bono Law Ontario and a director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. He’s currently a bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada as well.
“I look forward to building on the significant achievements of my predecessor,” said Schabas of his new role.
16 NEW PARTNERS AT GOWLINGS
Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP has admitted 16 new partners at its offices across Canada and Britain.
Five of the new partners are in Ontario. Commercial litigation lawyer Brent Arnold, corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions lawyer Rob Blackstein, and restructuring and insolvency lawyer Frank Lamie have joined the Toronto office. Procurement lawyer Stephanie Pearce is now a partner at the Ottawa office while the Hamilton, Ont., office of Gowlings has welcomed business lawyer Pam Vermeersch to the partnership.
“We pride ourselves on having the top talent at Gowlings,” said Scott Jolliffe, Gowlings chairman and chief executive officer. “Our new partners are exemplars of the outstanding depth of experience and expertise we offer across Canada and internationally. They are also highly attuned to what our clients expect from their external counsel — trusted legal advisers who consistently deliver exceptional service, value, and results.”
RICHARD MAHONEY JOINS HANSELL LLP
Public policy lawyer Richard Mahoney has joined Hansell LLP.
Firm founder Carol Hansell said Mahoney, who was previously an adviser to former prime minister Paul Martin, is an important addition to the firm.
“Richard will add a valuable new dimension to the advice we provide. Government is an important stakeholder for many of our clients. Richard’s deep public policy experience will be an enormous asset,” she said.
Mahoney focuses on public policy, issue management, regulatory affairs, and governance matters.
He has made previous attempts at federal office under the Liberal party banner in the past and, according to the Ottawa Citizen, he’ll be seeking the Liberal nomination in Ottawa West-Nepean for the upcoming federal election.
NEW ADDITION AT JAMS
Former Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP partner Timothy Unwin has joined JAMS in Toronto.
Unwin will serve as an arbitrator and mediator at JAMS. “Tim has a reputation for efficiently grasping and managing complex matters,” said Chris Poole, president and chief executive officer of JAMS.
“His varied experience working with corporations and parties to reach resolution makes him an excellent addition to our panel in Toronto.”
For his part, Unwin said he has been a proponent of mediation and arbitration for many years. “I look forward to continue doing this important work and joining the supremely capable team in Toronto.”
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.
According to the poll, more than half of respondents are optimistic about legal business prospects in 2015 with 54 per cent agreeing that the coming year couldn’t get worse for the industry than 2014. But the rest of participants weren’t so sure about that, saying the headwinds remain strong this year as well.
Lawyers, staff, and litigants at the busy courthouse in Brampton, Ont., are getting some relief.
Last week, the Ministry of the Attorney General announced plans to add space at the courthouse. The goal is to meet projected demand for the next 25 years, according to the ministry. The first two floors of the six-floor addition will contain new courtrooms and support spaces such as judicial chambers with the remaining areas to accommodate future courthouse developments. The aim is to complete the addition by December 2017.
“This courthouse expansion showcases our government’s commitment to enhancing access to justice for Ontario communities,” said Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur.
During construction, additional courtroom space will be available in Milton, Orangeville, and Kitchener, Ont.
TORONTO LAWYER DISBARRED
A Law Society Tribunal hearing panel has disbarred Toronto lawyer Tim Leahy.
Last month, the panel disbarred Leahy and ordered him to pay almost $21,000 in costs after finding, among other things, that he practised law and held himself out as someone entitled to do so despite his suspension in December 2012. It also found he practised law through a business entity, Forefront Migration Ltd., that didn’t have a certificate of authorization from the Law Society of Upper Canada.
In the case of Toronto lawyer George Allan Marron, the hearing panel allowed him to surrender his licence by Jan. 9, failing which the LSUC would revoke it on Jan. 10.
Among several acts of misconduct, the panel found he had failed to serve five clients and acted dishonourably by not complying with two court orders.
NEW PARTNER AT LERNERS
Regulatory lawyer Bonni Ellis has joined Lerners LLP as a partner.
A lawyer with more than a decade of experience in professional regulation, Ellis brings a “unique and specialized skill set,” according to the firm. “Her expertise and regulatory professions practice adds a new level of expertise to our litigation practice in Toronto,” said Brian Grant, managing partner of the firm’s Toronto office.
CHANGES AT PALLETT VALO
There’s new leadership at Pallett Valo LLP as Bobby Sachdeva takes over as managing partner from Anne Kennedy.
Sachdeva, who took over the role on Jan. 1, has been with the firm since 1995 when he filled in for a maternity leave. Since then, he founded the firm’s insolvency group and has also served as deputy managing partner.
Kennedy will continue as deputy managing partner.
“Pallett Valo has established itself as a top regional firm, is poised to build on that reputation and with Bobby’s leadership I know great things are ahead,” she said.
Other changes at Pallett Valo include the appointment of Craig Ross as a partner.
STIKEMAN ELLIOTT NAMES 4 NEW PARTNERS
Stikeman Elliott LLP has started the year with the appointment of four new partners.
The changes include three new partners at the firm’s Toronto office: Maria Konyukhova, Jonah Mann, and Tim McCormick.
Konyukhova is a member of the firm’s litigation group who practises insolvency law. Mann, a member of the corporate group in Toronto, focuses on mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and governance, and securities law compliance. McCormick is also a member of the corporate group who practises business law with an emphasis on corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions.
Besides the Toronto appointments, the firm also named a new partner in Calgary: tax lawyer Julie D’Avignon.
Following a string of Ontario judicial appointments in mid-December, the federal government made one more announcement on Dec. 19: the elevation of Justice Eugene Rossiter as chief justice of the Tax Court of Canada.
Rossiter, who had been associate chief justice of the Tax Court since 2008, replaces Justice Gerald Rip, who’s now a supernumerary judge.
A lawyer since 1978, Rossiter became a judge in 2006 after a career in private practice that included a stint as chairman of the partnership board at Stewart McKelvey.
FREE MASSAGES FOR STRESSED LITIGANTS
In a bid to ease the stress of representing yourself in court, the national self-represented litigants project has a unique solution: massage therapy at the courthouse.
On Jan. 9, 23, and 30, the project, which aims to raise awareness about the phenomenon of self-represented litigants, is helping bringing free massage therapy in co-ordination with the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Canadian College of Health Science and Technology’s massage therapy program. Students from the program will offer short massage sessions on the fifth floor of the Ontario Court of Justice in Windsor, Ont.
“This is a wonderful gift for people undergoing the immense stress of court,” said Marilyn Weller, manager of specialized services for the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Windsor-Essex County branch.
KIMBERLY MURRAY TAKES NEW ROLE AT MAG
The Ministry of the Attorney General’s new aboriginal justice division is moving forward with the appointment of Kimberly Murray as its lead.
“I welcome Kimberly to our senior management team and I look forward to working together,” said Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur in announcing the appointment last month.
Murray, who starts in the new role on April 1, is the first assistant deputy attorney general of the aboriginal justice division. She’s currently executive director of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and was previously head of Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto.
The creation of the new division was among the recommendations by former Supreme Court of Canada justice Frank Iacobucci in his report on First Nations representation on Ontario juries.
SEVEN LAWYERS AMONG ORDER OF CANADA APPOINTEES
Seven lawyers were among a group of 95 Canadians appointed to the Order of Canada last month.
Gov.-Gen. David Johnston named the appointees on Dec. 26.
He named Donald Malcolm McRae of Ottawa and Dick Pound of Montreal companions of the Order of Canada, a promotion within the order.
Officers of the Order of Canada included Jean-Louis Baudouin, an internationally renowned legal scholar and senior partner with Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP in Montreal recognized for his contributions to the advancement of civil law in Canada as a professor and judge for the Quebec Court of Appeal.
As well, Peter Milliken becomes an officer of the Order of Canada for his public service and commitment to parliamentary democracy as Canada’s longest-serving Speaker of the House of Commons. Milliken was a member of the House of Commons from 1988 until his retirement in 2011. He served as Speaker for 10 years.
Former Liberal minister of foreign affairs and defence Bill Graham becomes a member of the order. The announcement recognized the former lawyer and law professor’s many years of political service.
Also named a member of the order was retired senator and Vancouver lawyer Jacob “Jack” Austin. Another former senator, Michael Meighen, becomes an officer of the Order of Canada for his contributions to public life as a lawyer, politician, and philanthropist. He’s now counsel at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP in Toronto.
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.
According to the poll, respondents aren’t losing sleep over artificial intelligence usurping lawyers’ roles in legal work. Just 39 per cent of respondents felt it could have a significant impact on lawyers’ prospects. A further 61 per cent felt artificial intelligence is too far off and lawyers have to embrace innovation anyway.
The report follows recent Law Times stories about the emergence of artificial intelligence and the possibility it could perform many of the tasks of lawyers.
The Ontario Trial Lawyers Association is urging the Law Society of Upper Canada to reject the adoption of alternative business structures.
In a submission to the law society, the OTLA cites lack of empirical evidence to support a move toward ABS.
“We have studied ABS from the time it was first raised by the law society in the summer of 2013, through the release of the CBA Futures report, to the LSUC paper released just this past fall,” said Charles Gluckstein, immediate past-president of the OTLA. “As an association, we do not accept that there are any compelling reasons to move ahead on ABS.”
“The proof is just not there,” added Gluckstein. “No matter where it’s been implemented —– whether it’s Australia or the United Kingdom — ABS has not resulted in greater access to justice, lower costs for consumers, nor has it facilitated technological advancements and innovation in the profession.
“Despite what the main proponents suggest, ABS is no panacea for any real or perceived ills within the legal profession,” he said.
The OTLA is calling on all candidates in the upcoming bencher election to take a stand against what they call an “ill-advised proposal” until there is further evidence on the efficacy of ABS.
“We are encouraging all Ontario lawyers to demand that bencher candidates declare their position on ABS today,” Gluckstein said.
LAO STAFF CAN'T ACCEPT CHRISTMAS GIFTS
If you were planning on rewarding that hardworking Legal Aid Ontario lawyer with something special this holiday season, there’s some disappointing news for you.
Legal aid is reminding staff they cannot accept presents from clients or lawyers in accordance with its ethics policy.
“To avoid a conflict of interest, please remember that under Legal Aid Ontario’s (LAO) internal policies and the Public Service of Ontario Act, we cannot accept gifts of appreciation from lawyers, clients or contractors,” LAO said.
“While LAO values its business relationships, accepting gifts or amenities that could influence or give the appearance of influencing those relationships is prohibited.”
NEW PARTNERS AND OF COUNSEL AT NORTON ROSE
Sixteen Norton Rose Fulbright Canada lawyers and patent agents will join the firm’s partnership or become of counsel in the new year. Of the 16 new admissions, nine will become partners.
“Congratulations to our new partners and our new counsel. We are very proud of them, the outstanding job they do for our clients and the way they exemplify our values and our global business principles of quality, unity and integrity,” said John Coleman, managing partner for Norton Rose Fulbright Canada.
A bulk of the newly admitted partners and of counsel are in Ontario.
In Toronto, the new partners are litigation lawyer Rahool Agarwal, employment and labour lawyer Daniel McDonald, intellectual property lawyer Jill Daley, and mergers and acquisition lawyers Evelyn Li and Heidi Reinhart. Patent and intellectual property expert André Thériault has been promoted to of counsel.
In Ottawa, the new of counsel are employment and labour lawyer Daphne Fedoruk and Alison FitzGerald, who works in international arbitration, international trade, business ethics, and anti-corruption.
GOWLINGS WELCOMES DOJ ABORIGINAL LAWYERS TO TEAM
Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP has brought on board two new aboriginal lawyers at its Ottawa office.
The new lawyers, Robert Winogron and Jeremy Bouchard, both hail from the Department of Justice, where they served as legal counsel in the aboriginal affairs portfolio and worked in the area of claims.
“Robert and Jeremy bring impressive skill sets, and considerable experience, knowledge and insights in regard to Aboriginal claims, economic development and the inner workings of government,” said Scott Jolliffe, Gowlings chair and CEO.
“These strengths will further enhance our work on behalf of our First Nations, Métis and Inuit clients, as well as private- and public-sector organizations seeking to do business with indigenous communities across Canada.”
Winogron, who served as Canada’s legal representative on the Assembly of First Nations/Canada Joint Task Force, joins the firm as a partner while Bouchard, who is of aboriginal ancestry, is an associate.
“Coming to Gowlings and working with a top national aboriginal law team provides a wonderful opportunity to continue providing outstanding services to First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities,” Winogron said.
OODLES OF JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS IN ONTARIO
After months of cries for judicial appointments to fill up 32 vacancies in Ontario, the federal government made a whooping 22 appointments on Dec. 16, 17 of them new judges.
Ontario Superior Court Justice David M. Brown, has been elevated to the Court of Appeal for Ontario to replace Justice Stephen Goudge, who went supernumerary on Jan. 31, 2014.
Brown, who is the president of the Ontario Superior Court Judges’ Association, was appointed to the Superior Court in 2006. At the time, he was a partner with Stikeman Elliott LLP in Toronto, where he practised civil and commercial litigation. He was called to the bar in 1983.
Grant Huscroft, is one of two Western University law professors appointed to the bench. He goes directly to the Court of Appeal, replacing Justice Marc Rosenberg, who became a supernumerary judge on March 5, 2014.
Huscroft has been a member of the Ontario bar since 1987 and is a past member of the High Court of New Zealand. He has been a professor at Western since 2002 and was the associate dean, academic, from 2006 to 2008. He taught at the Faculty of Law, University of Auckland, from 1992 to 2001and was a visiting professor at McGill University’s law school as well as a counsel for the Ontario Ministry of Labour.
In Thunder Bay, Superior Court Justice Douglas C. Shaw becomes the new Regional Senior Judge for the Northwest Region. He replaces Justice Helen M. Pierce, who resigned as RSJ July 31.
Shaw was appointed to the Superior Court in 2005. He was called to the bar in 1975 and practised with Atwood Shaw Labine until he became a judge.
In the usual musical chairs of the RSJ role, Pierce goes back to the regular judicial complement in Thunder Bay filling in Shaw’s spot. She has been a Superior Court judge since 2001 and RSJ since 2009. She was called to the bar in 1982 and previously was a a sole practitioner in Sault Ste. Marie.
Superior Court Justice C. Frederick Graham has been appointed to the Family Court Branch in Barrie, where he replaces Justice Lydia Olah, who went supernumerary on Oct. 21.
Graham was first appointed to the bench in 2004. Prior to that he was a senior assistant Crown Attorney for Simcoe County.
Justice Wendy L. MacPherson is also appointed to the Family Court Branch. She has been transferred to replace Justice J. Wilma Scott in St. Catharines, who became a supernumerary judge Nov. 10.
MacPherson was appointed in Kitchener in 2009 and before that was a partner with Martin Sheppard Fraser LLP in Niagara Falls and practised family law. She was called to the bar in 1985.
Ivan S. Bloom, a lawyer with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada in Toronto, has been appointed to the Superior Court to replace Madam Justice Silja S. Seppi in Brampton. Seppi went supernumerary Jan. 8, 2014.
Bloom was called to the bar in 1976 and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1991. He was Crown counsel since 1980, practising criminal and constitutional law. Prior to that he was in private practice in Hamilton.
Well-known Windsor labour lawyer George W. King, has been appointed to the Superior Court to replace Justice Steven Rogin, who went supernumerary April 11.
King joined the McTague Law Firm after being called to the bar in 1982 and has been there doing management-side work ever since.
Grant R. Dow, of Flaherty Dow Elliott & McCarthy LLP in Toronto, joins the Superior Court to replace Justice Ruth E. Mesbur, who elected to become a supernumerary judge as of June 30.
Dow is a certified specialist in civil litigation and has been a member of the Ontario bar since 1981.
W. Danial Newton, a lawyer with Thunder Bay’s CARREL+Partners LLP, replaces Oshawa’s Justice Bruce A. Glass, who went supernumerary at the end of July and his position was transferred to Thunder Bay.
After being admitted to the Ontario bar in 1984, Newton joined CARREL+Partners, where he practised civil litigation. He was elected a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers in 2012.
London-based McKenzie Lake LLP lawyer Russell M. Raikes joins the Superior Court bench replacing Justice Joseph Donohue of Sarnia, who became a supernumerary judge in May.
Raikes has been a lawyer with McKenzie Lake since 2012 and had previously been with Cohen Highley LLP. He practised civil and commercial litigation, real estate, Aboriginal, and employment law. He was called to the bar in 1984.
Ministry of the Attorney General lawyer Suhail A.Q. Akhtar is appointed a judge of the Superior Court to replace Justice George Czutrin, who became the Senior Family Judge on Dec. 31, 2013.
Akhtar practised law in England before being admitted to the Ontario bar in 1998. He has been with the Crown Law Office (Criminal) since 2013. Prior to that, he was with the Scarborough Crown Attorney’s Office as well as working with MAG’s guns and gangs initiative.
Sean F. Dunphy, a lawyer with Russell Hill Advisory Services Inc. in Toronto, replaces Brown who has moved up to the appeal court bench.
Dunphy was called to the Ontario bar in 1985 and in British Columbia in 1992. He has been the principal at Russell Hill Advisory Services Inc. since 2012, where he was co-head of the firm’s national insolvency and restructuring practice. Before that he was with Stikeman Elliott LLP.
Toronto’s Mario D. Faieta, a lawyer with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, joins the Superior Court bench. He replaces Justice Gertrude F. Speigel who went supernumerary July 22.
Faieta practised environmental law since his call in 1986, first with the firm Piscelli & Faieta then became a government lawyer with a variety of ministries and boards.
Master Benjamin T. Glustein now becomes a judge of the Superior Court, replacing Justice Nola Garton in Toronto. She went supernumerary in April.
Glustein was called to the Quebec bar in 1990 and in Ontario in 1993. In 1990, he clerked with Supreme Court justice Claire l’Heureux-Dubé. He has been a master since 2006, and had been previously with Borden Ladner Gervais LLP in Toronto and an associate with Ogilvy Renault (now Norton Rose LLP) in Montréal.
J. Michal Fairburn, a lawyer with Stockwoods LLP in Toronto, is appointed to the Superior Court in Brampton to fill the spot left in October 2013 by Justice Katherine van Rensburg, who was appointed to the Court of Appeal.
Fairburn joined MAG’s Crown Law Office when she was called in 1992 and was a Crown from 1992 to 2007 then general counsel until 2013, when she left to become a partner with Stockwoods.
The second Western law prof appointed in this round is Bradley W. Miller. He replaces Superior Court Justice Andrew Goodman in London. Goodman was transferred to Kitchener to replace Justice Patrick J. Flynn, who becomes supernumerary on Jan. 16. Miller’s appointment is effective that same day.
Miller is a member of the B.C. and Ontario bars. His academic focus was in the areas of constitutional theory, constitutional law, and philosophy of law. Prior to 2005, he was in private practice focusing on the ares of commercial litigation, class actions, administrative, constitutional, and human rights law.
Another Crown, Alexander D. Kurke of Sudbury, has been appointed to the Superior Court in Sault Ste. Marie. He replaces Justice Edward Koke, who was transferred to Parry Sound to replace Justice J. Stephen O’Neill, who elected to go supernumerary judge April 14, 2014.
Kurke was called to Ontario bar in 1994 and has been an assistant Crown in Sudbury since 1994 and held various team leader positions. His main area of practice was criminal and quasi-criminal law.
Crown attorney Robin Y. Tremblay of Kapuskasing has been appointed to the Superior Court bench to replace Justice Cindy MacDonald in Cochrane. She was transferred to Timmins to replace Justice Robert Riopelle, who went supernumerary Jan. 8, 2014.
Tremblay is bilingual and was called in Ontario in 1996. He has been a Crown for the District of Cochrane North since 2001 and had been an assistant Crown attorney from 1999 to 2001. Prior to that, he was a partner with Perras Gauthier Mongenais Tremblay in Kapuskasing.
Toronto Crown Laura A. Bird replaces Justice Edwin Minden on the Superior Court bench in Newmarket, as he elected to become a supernumerary in June 2014.
Called to the bar in 1996, Bird had been general counsel at the Metro West Crown Attorney’s Office in Toronto since 2012 and held various positions with the Crown’s office since 1996.
Federal Crown Catrina D. Braid of Kitchener is appointed to the Superior Court bench to replace Justice Wendy MacPherson in Hamilton.
Braid had been senior counsel and team leader for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada in Kitchener since 2005, and was previously legal counsel on the Major Case Team, Superior Court Team, and appellate counsel at the Ontario Court of Appeal with the Department of Justice, Federal Prosecution Service, in Toronto.
Hicks Morley LLP lawyer William M. Le May of Toronto replaces Justice Lorna-Lee Snowie in Brampton, as she elected to become a supernumerary judge in May.
Le May joined Hicks Morley after his 1998 call and became a partner there in 2004. He practised labour, employment, and insurance law.
Two lawyers will join the bench of the Ontario Court of Justice this week.
Ferhan Javed, the former managing partner of Javed Frost Trehearne, will preside in Oshawa, Ont. Prior to his appointment, Javed prosecuted federal matters as a standing agent of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada in Durham Region. Previously, he managed his own criminal defence practice at Simcoe Chambers in Toronto.
The other new appointee, Kimberly Moore, was a Crown attorney for the Ministry of the Attorney General prior to her appointment. Before that, she was an assistant Crown attorney for 13 years doing prosecutions in both the Ontario Court and the Superior Court of Justice. She’ll preside in Brockville, Ont.
GALATI GETS $5K IN COSTS FOR NADON CHALLENGE
The Federal Court of Canada has awarded lawyer Rocco Galati just $5,000 in costs after calling his $51,000 request “excessive” in relation to his constitutional challenge of Justice Marc Nadon’s appointment to the Supreme Court.
Galati provided the court an account showing 56.4 hours of services at the hourly rate of $800.
“The respondents submit that these bills of costs are excessive and unwarranted given that the application was stayed at such an early stage,” wrote Federal Court Justice Russel Zinn in Galati v. Canada (Prime Minister) last month. “I agree. As one example, Mr. Galati’s claim for 7.6 hours to ‘review, research, Attorney General’s motion for stay’ in light of the reference is excessive and unwarranted.”
Galati’s application was stayed as the federal government referred two questions to the Supreme Court in relation to Nadon’s appointment.
LAW SOCIETY A TOP EMPLOYER
The Law Society of Upper Canada has made the list of the Greater Toronto Area’s top employers for the ninth time.
“Garnering this recognition for the past nine years is a remarkable achievement that I am proud to share with the employees who continue to make the law society a great place to work," says the law society chief executive officer Robert Lapper.
The list, compiled by Mediacorp Canada Inc., recognizes leading employers in the Toronto, York, Halton, Peel, and Durham regions. It ranks employers on criteria such as physical workplace, work atmosphere, benefits, communications, and skills and training development.
“We value the diversity of our workforce and our employees’ range of skills, knowledge and life experiences. Our diversity helps us connect with and serve our stakeholders and it fuels our commitment to promote equality in our workplace and more broadly in the profession,” said Lapper.
PROVINCE VOWS NEW INFORMATION SYSTEM BY 2016
After the cancellation of the Crown Management Information System, the Ministry of the Attorney General is getting ready to launch another court information management system called SCOPE, according to the recently published auditor general’s report.
SCOPE, which stands for Scheduling Crown Operations Prepared Electronically, is to launch across the province by 2016, according to the report. The system has been in use at one of the 54 Crown offices for years and has been “re-engineered” for use across the board, the report noted.
The system will capture data on the number of matters that are diverted, number of bail release applications, specificity on bail release conditions, information on bail release violations, disposition types, and reasons for stays, withdraws, and adjournments among other intelligence,” according to the auditor general’s report last week.
“SCOPE will also make a number of business processes more efficient. For example, it allows more than one person to work on a case file at a time. As well, electronic case supporting materials can now be stored as part of the case file and will not go missing as did paper files.”
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.
According to the poll, the majority of respondents don’t agree with unpaid articling positions. Sixty-four per cent of respondents said it’s wrong to have people do unpaid legal work for so long.
Meanwhile, another 25 per cent of participants didn’t agree with the practice but felt law graduates need that option in order to meet their requirements. For the remaining 11 per cent, unpaid articling is fine since it’s legal.
Recently, a Greater Toronto Area legal clinic created controversy when it advertised a pro bono articling job that would require the suitable candidate to work for 10 months without pay and own a car.
Family lawyer Bill Sullivan has received Legal Aid Ontario’s Sidney B. Linden award for his service to clients living in poverty.
Sullivan received the award on Dec. 4.
LAO board chairman John McCamus said Sullivan has devoted much of his career to representing society’s poorest.
“He is widely respected for his skillful advocacy, his compassion and humanity, and his generosity in mentoring many junior members of the family law bar,” said McCamus.
Sullivan’s commitment to legal aid started during his time at the Dalhousie University Faculty of Law, where he worked at the school’s legal clinic. After graduating, he articled at Toronto’s Parkdale Community Legal Services.
He then started a sole practice focusing on immigration, family law, and representing women who have experienced domestic violence.
BANK PREVAILS IN BAD-CHEQUE CASE
The Ontario Court of Appeal has cleared a bank of liability in relation to a bad-cheque scam that duped two lawyers.
Lawyers Junaid Kayani and Jack Zwicker separately deposited counterfeit certified cheques into their respective trust accounts and followed a fake client’s instruction to issue trust cheques payable to Nithiyakalyaani Jewellers, a sham company appropriating the name and address of a corporation that had previously carried on business under the name of Nithiyakalyaani Jewellers Ltd.
After finding out about the fraud, the lawyers sued the Toronto-Dominion Bank for negligence and conversion.
While the trial judge had ruled in favour of the lawyers, the Court of Appeal disagreed in its Dec. 3 ruling.
Whether the bank was liable hinged on whether the payee had been a fictitious or non-existent party all along.
“The focus of the trial judge’s analysis was whether the bank could avail itself of the defence in s. 20(5) of the Bills of Exchange Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. B-4, (the ‘act’) which provides that ‘where the payee is a fictitious or non-existing person, the bill may be treated as payable to the bearer,’” wrote Justice William Hourigan in Kayani LLP v. The Toronto-Dominion Bank.
“The trial judge found that the payee was not fictitious as both Mr. Zwicker and Kayani made their instruments payable to Nithiyakalyaani Jewellers, which they believed was an existing entity, and which was an existing entity at the time the instruments were negotiated,” Hourigan continued.
But the Court of Appeal found that conclusion didn’t make sense since the lawyers weren’t aware of Nithiyakalyaani Jewellers Ltd.’s existence until they found out Nithiyakalyaani Jewellers was a fake company. The appeal court concluded the payee was non-existent and the bank wasn’t liable. “The payee is not the name of any real person known to the respondents at the time they drew the instruments,” wrote Hourigan. “The payee is, therefore, non-existing.”
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.
According to the poll, the majority of respondents say they don’t believe the Ontario attorney general’s new Better Justice Together effort will make a difference.
The attorney general introduced the new program last month to promote court efficiency, support individuals with mental illness when they come into contact with the criminal justice system, make it easier for family law litigants to use mediation, and create an integrated system that “allows justice partners and participants to better share and access the information they need.”
But 58 per cent of poll respondents felt the program was “just more rhetoric” while the rest said the program was a sign that the current minister is ready to deliver on improvements to the justice system.
The Ontario Superior Court has ordered a Gravenhurst, Ont., lawyer to pay $57,000 to a former clerical worker after a judge found he shut down his practice without proper notice to her.
Virginia Zeats, who worked for lawyer Lyle Sullivan for 33 years, took him to court alleging lack of notice and vacation pay owed to her.
Despite the lawyer’s argument that Zeats should have seen “the writing on the wall” about the firm’s impending closure, Superior Court Justice Margaret Eberhard found Zeats should get 18 months’ notice.
“The statement of defence asserts that the plaintiff should have known the office was necessarily going to close as the defendant declined in his involvement and that this should have been notice to her,” wrote Eberhard in Zeats v. Sullivan.
“I have no authority to support the assertion that a loyal employee should have seen the ‘writing on the wall’ and that the notice period should thereby be reduced.
“To the contrary, authority cited by the Plaintiff included numerous cases where the termination was in the context of a shutdown of the business, albeit for financial not personal reasons. Neither the financial performance of the business nor the employer’s subsequent bankruptcy reduce the notice period.”
POWERFUL WOMEN LAWYERS NAMED
Lawyers have made their mark on the list of Canada’s 100 most powerful women released last week.
At least 14 lawyers are on the list the Women’s Executive Network produces each year to highlight the professional achievements of women across the country.
The names on the top 100 for 2014 include:
• Julia Shin Doi, general counsel and secretary of the board of governors, Ryerson University.
• Anne Kirker, partner, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP.
• Lisa Borsook, executive partner, WeirFoulds LLP.
• Heather Treacy, office managing partner, Calgary, Davis LLP.
• Norie Campbell, group head, compliance and anti-money laundering and general counsel, TD Bank Group.
• Jane Gavan, chief executive officer, Dream Office REIT.
• Anne Giardini, former president, Weyerhaeuser Co.
• Joanne Alexander, senior vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary, Precision Drilling Corp.
• Kate Chisholm, senior vice president, legal and external relations, Capital Power Corp.
• Samantha Horn, partner, Stikeman Elliott LLP.
• Emily Jelich, vice president and associate general counsel, operations and disputes resolution, RBC.
• Monique Mercier, executive vice president, corporate affairs, chief legal officer and corporate secretary, Telus Communications Co.
• Cheryl Reicin, partner, head of the technology and life sciences practice groups, Torys LLP.
• Julia Deans, chief executive officer, Futurpreneur Canada.
CONWAY CELEBRATES LAUNCH OF LITIGATION BOUTIQUE
Former Law Society of Upper Canada treasurer Tom Conway is part of a new Ottawa litigation boutique that celebrated its launch last month.
Conway Baxter Wilson LLP celebrated its launch on Nov. 13 after partners Conway, Colin Baxter, and David Wilson formed their bilingual litigation practice earlier this year.
The firm, which restricts its practice to litigation only, will serve clients in the areas of commercial and administrative law.
Conway Baxter Wilson’s lawyers raised a glass with clients and colleagues at the launch party last month at Play Food & Wine restaurant in Ottawa’s ByWard Market.
LAWYER INDUCTED TO ORDER OF OTTAWA
The City of Ottawa has named Dentons Canada LLP lawyer Gregory Kane to the Order of Ottawa for his contributions to the city.
Kane, who has practised law since 1973, is a former adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa and former counsel to the General Legal Council in Ghana. He has also served as associate general counsel to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.
“This honour is so well-deserved. Greg is a highly respected lawyer and volunteer — he works very hard to make a difference for our city and in the lives of so many,” said David Little, managing partner of Dentons’ Ottawa office.
“We congratulate Greg on this wonderful recognition and we are very proud to have him as part of our team at Dentons.”
Dentons says Kane dedicates “countless hours” volunteering with the Ottawa Hospital Foundation, the National Arts Centre Gala, the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards Foundation Gala Committee
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.
According to the poll, 58 per cent of respondents say Ontario Court Justice Gethin Edward got it wrong when he allowed an aboriginal family to take their daughter with cancer off chemotherapy.
The decision, based on the constitutional right of aboriginal people to pursue traditional medicine, created an instant controversy. Some lawyers told Law Times they found the decision “shocking” while others said it “rolls back time to a pre-scientific era.”
“What is glaringly absent from the decision is any meaningful consideration of the child’s best interest,” said Toronto health lawyer Alan Belaiche.
“And in lieu, the judge appears to have decided that a constitutional principle will trump all other considerations, including, most importantly, the best interest of the child.”
Two Toronto lawyers were among the honourees of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners founder’s awards for outstanding achievement this month.
Paul LeBreux, president of Globacor Tax Advisors, and Margaret O’Sullivan of O’Sullivan Estate Lawyers PC were among six winners recognized for their contributions at the organization’s global congress in Miami. The organization recognized LeBreux for his service since its inception in 1998, including his role as chairman from 2004-07. It honoured O’Sullivan for her service as a leader and mentor to other members.
“Paul and Margaret represent two outstanding members not only of STEP, but of the industry in Canada today,” said society chief executive David Harvey.
“Paul is regarded as one of Canada’s pre-eminent international tax practitioners and his experience and acumen has made him a highly sought after adviser by high-net worth clients domestically and overseas.”
Of O’Sullivan, he said: “Margaret has written extensively in the area of trust and estate planning and often devotes volunteer hours to special projects including the STEP Canada diploma program.”
ONTARIO LOOKS AT ELECTRONIC SIGNING
The Ontario government is looking to modernize real estate transactions by setting out the rules for electronic signatures on documents such as agreements of purchase and sale.
On Nov. 14, the province announced consultations on the issue to last until the end of the year. The changes would allow it to implement an amendment to the Electronic Commerce Act passed in 2013. The 2013 changes removed a provision in the act exempting electronic signatures for land transactions. The act itself dates back to 2000 as an effort to remove legal barriers to the use of electronic communications.
The proposed changes include a draft regulation the government is considering for agreements of purchase and sale. It stipulates several requirements, including that the method used is reliable for the purpose of identifying the person who signs; ensures that the electronic signature is permanent; and is accessible so as to be usable for subsequent reference by anyone entitled to have access to the document or authorized to require its production.
Some real estate lawyers, such as Toronto’s Lisa Laredo, are greeting the latest chapter in electronic signatures with some skepticism, especially in light of the concern over the definition of reliability and the fact that other documents involved in the process would be on paper anyway. “We really do not live in a paperless world when it comes to real estate,” said Laredo.
As well, she wonders how much effort electronic signatures would save given that, in her case, she generally only meets clients once and has to meet with them in person at some point anyway. “You have to be able to identify the person,” she said, noting if she were to adopt electronic signatures, she’d still need the client to come to the office to do it on her own system.
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.
According to the poll, the majority of respondents don’t believe the government should relent on its cuts to refugee health care.
In an October ruling, the Federal Court of Appeal declined to stay a Federal Court decision that deemed the cuts to be cruel and unusual. But 65 per cent of poll respondents agreed the government has a right to restrict services to failed refugee claimants.
In her decision earlier this year, Federal Court Justice Anne Mactavish said she was “satisfied that the affected individuals are being subjected to ‘treatment’ as contemplated by section 12 of the Charter, and that this treatment is indeed ‘cruel and unusual.’”
The provincial government has appointed five lawyers as judges of the Ontario Court of Justice.
Frank Crewe, Kate Doorly, Stuart Konyer, Riun Shandler, and Gerri Wong are the latest additions to the provincial court bench and will begin their new roles Nov. 19.
Crewe, a former criminal lawyer in sole practice, taught advocacy at Osgoode Hall Law School and volunteered with the Ontario Justice Education Network. He’ll preside in Toronto.
Doorly is a Crown attorney who has held a variety of positions at the Ministry of the Attorney General over the past 23 years. A volunteer with the Lawyers Feed the Hungry program, she has also been an active fundraiser in her community. She, too, will preside in Toronto.
Konyer, a former criminal defence lawyer at May & Konyer Associates, was also president of the Defence Counsel Association of Ottawa. He’ll preside in Lindsay, Ont.
Shandler worked as Crown counsel for the last 17 years and has taught mental health and criminal justice at Osgoode Hall Law School. He’ll sit in Toronto.
Wong managed her own law firm as a sole practitioner focusing on child protection matters. She has also practised family law and mediation in the past. A former member of the bench and bar committee for the Ontario Court, Wong taught at the University of Windsor Faculty of Law as well. She’ll preside in Chatham, Ont.
‘THICK SKIN’ DEFEATS ROBBERY CHARGE
In an interesting decision on the distinction between bank robbery and theft, a Superior Court judge has found a man who told a bank teller to hand over cash committed theft but not robbery.
“When someone walks into a bank and hands a teller a note demanding money, it is usually considered to be a robbery. But in the unique circumstances of this case, it was just a theft,” wrote Justice Gary Trotter in R. v. Oliveiros Ortega.
Trotter found that due to the absence of any threats during the incident, there was no robbery.
The judge made that finding even though the accused, Jorge Luis Oliveiros Ortega, had approached the bank counter and displayed a note that said: “This is a robbery, give me the money, my mother is sick.”
When the teller hesitated, Ortega, speaking in a calm voice, said, “Give me the money.”
“The teller testified that, during the incident, she did not fear for her own safety, or that of anyone else,” wrote Trotter.
“She agreed that she gave the accused the money because he asked for it and also because she felt sorry for him, given that he looked so young and his mother was sick.”
Although the Crown argued the crime in this case shouldn’t be dependent on the subjective reaction of the victim, the judge said that just as the thin-skulled victim argument can advance a prosecution, a person’s resilience could assist the defence as well.
“Far from having a thin skull, the teller in this case had a thick skin. While others might have reasonably been frightened, she did not experience any fear at all. In these unique circumstances, a properly instructed jury, acting reasonably, could not find that there was an implied threat that was accompanied by a reasonable apprehension of harm. There was no robbery.”
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.
The majority of respondents say they’re happy with the province’s recent changes to legal aid eligibility.
Last month, the provincial government announced $95.7 million in funding over three years to increase the eligibility threshold for certificates, duty counsel, and legal clinic services.
According to the poll, 54 per cent of respondents felt the announcement was great news as the changes are long overdue while the remaining participants felt there’s still a long way to go to ensuring people can get legal assistance.
The minister of veterans affairs has awarded Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP lawyer Patrick Shea a commendation for his work in piecing together the stories of 59 law students who died in the First World War.
As a result of Shea’s work, which included writing a book of biographies of the students, the Law Society of Upper Canada will hold a posthumous call to the bar ceremony on Nov. 10.
“He has dedicated hundreds of hours of research, including multiple trips to the archives in Ottawa, to prepare biographies and photos of these 60 soldiers,” the announcement of Shea’s commendation said.
The law society ceremony begins at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 10 at Osgoode Hall in Toronto.
For more, see "Posthumous call for students killed at war."
LEADERSHIP CHANGE AT NORTON ROSE
Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP has announced Charles Hurdon will become the firm’s new managing partner in the new year.
Hurdon, currently managing partner of the firm’s Ottawa office, will replace John Coleman. Coleman didn’t seek re-election after the end of his three-year term, according to the firm.
Hurdon said it’s an “exciting” time to lead the firm.
“It’s a very exciting time to be in this role. We have grown tremendously as Norton Rose Fulbright in Canada in the past several years as a legal practice and with our clients,” he said.
“This growth will continue as Canadian companies keep expanding their reach globally and even more international businesses invest here. We have a very bright future ahead of us and I look forward to building on our success.”
EQUALITY EFFECT HONOURED
International law firm Clifford Chance has named the Equality Effect the winner of its annual Access to Justice award.
Equality Effect, an organization based in Canada, uses human rights law to advocate for girls’ and women’s rights around the world with a particular focus on education, health, and sexual violence.
The award comes with a donation from the Clifford Chance foundation and 500 hours of pro bono work. The charity says it will use the funds to implement a landmark court ruling by the High Court of Kenya that
ordered “prompt, effective, proper, and professional investigations” into child-rape cases.
Fiona Sampson, executive director of the Equality Effect and one of Canadian Lawyer’s top 25 most influential lawyers this year, says the law can serve as “a crowbar to pry open justice” for women and girls.
“Women and girls around the world suffer unthinkable oppression and disadvantage, including sexual violence, lack of education, and the inability to own property,” she said.
“We know that the law can be used as a crowbar to pry open justice for these women and girls, empowering them and achieving social justice. With this award, we will be able to expand our successful projects including ‘160 Girls,’ our legal knowledge, and our contacts.”
NEW BOOK PROBES DIFFICULT CRIME CASES
Some of Canada’s most prominent criminal lawyers will tell the stories of some of their most difficult cases in a new book set to launch this month.
Tough Crimes: True Cases by Top Canadian Criminal Lawyers includes insights from several lawyers on some of the major cases they’ve worked on. The 19 lawyers featured include Edward Greenspan, Marie Henein, Bill Trudell, and John Rosen.
The book is about cases that had “weird or surprising turns, or that presented personal and ethical challenges,” according to the publisher. The launch takes place in Toronto on Nov. 27 at the Spoke Club from 5 to 10 p.m.
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.
According to the poll, 51 per cent of respondents believe Ontario should regulate short-term rentals through web sites such as airbnb.com.
There’s currently no law in Ontario around short-term rentals, but as indicated in a recent Law Times article, condominium corporations are battling with whether to include provisions that prohibit them. Several other jurisdictions, such as Quebec, have been taking action to regulate such situations, but lawyers have indicated they don’t expect Ontario to follow suit even as it looks to amend the province’s Condominium Act.
Fewer lawyers took advantage of the Law Society of Upper Canada’s parental leave assistance program this year after the regulator restricted the program to those whose net practice income is less than $50,000 a year.
The law society’s 2015 budget projects the program will end the current year with a balance in excess of $350,000. That’s because the program paid out less money this year to assist lawyers on leave from their law practices due to childbirth than the year before.
“Likely attributable to the implementation of the means test in January 2014, payments for 2014 are significantly below previous years, $101,000 compared to $243,000 at this time last year,” according to law society budget documents.
The sharp decrease reflects “a reduction in the number of applicants for the program,” said bencher Peter Wardle, co-chairman of the law society’s audit and finance committee, during Convocation on Thursday.
In 2013, there were 54 successful applicants under the program. Until mid-October this year, there were 28 successful applicants under the new criteria.
Meanwhile, there’s some good news for lawyers in the law society’s budget for 2015: annual lawyer fees won’t be going up.
On Thursday, benchers voted to approve a budget that keeps the annual lawyer contribution at the current $1,866.
The fee freeze for 2015 is a result of money available from accumulated fund balances, according to the budget.
“The  budget utilizes a combined total of $2 million (2014: $1.5 million) from accumulated fund balances to mitigate fee increases comprising $1.4 million from the lawyer fund balances and $618,000 from the paralegal fund balances,” according to budget documents. “If these funds were not utilized, lawyers’ annual fees would increase by $35 and paralegals’ by $132.”
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.
According to the poll, 55 per cent of respondents feel Ontario should eliminate civil jury trials.
Some commentators, such as Law Times social justice columnist Alan Shanoff, say juries are sometimes unable to fully understand and assess complex evidence in civil matters. In a recent column, Shanoff said the majority of civil jury trials involve litigation arising from motor vehicle accidents and suggested insurers choose such proceedings for “tactical reasons.”
“One would think insurance companies would do everything in their power to avoid jury trials. Surely, they’d want to have more predictability and consistent results. But insurers know there are tactical advantages to electing jury trials,” he wrote.
Some lawyers, however, have criticized those arguments, suggesting juries are more likely to come to fair decisions than judges in civil matters.
KINGSTON LAWYER DISBARRED
The Law Society Tribunal has disbarred a lawyer for, among other things, sexually harassing a client.
Kingston, Ont., lawyer Joseph Farant sexually harassed a client “with verbal and physical contact of a sexual nature,” a hearing panel has found.
The panel also found Farant withdrew trust funds he held on behalf of a client as payment for services before he delivered an account.
Besides taking away his licence, the panel ordered Farant to pay $41,000 in costs.
CBA FLAGS CONCERNS WITH BILL C-36
The Canadian Bar Association is flagging constitutional shortcomings in the federal government’s prostitution law.
The CBA says bill C-36 undermines the spirit of the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling in Canada (Attorney General) v. Bedford, a case in which the top court deemed Canada’s current prostitution laws unconstitutional.
“Bill C-36 introduces a number of measures which on their face appear to comply with the central aspects of the Bedford decision,” said Ian Carter, an executive member of the CBA’s national criminal justice section.
“However, the practical application of some of these provisions undermines the spirit of the
The CBA says the Supreme Court’s key consideration in Bedford was whether the prostitution law makes working conditions for prostitutes more dangerous and therefore violates s. 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The legislation puts limits on communications about sex work. The CBA says the provision may contravene freedom of expression guarantees in the Charter.
ONTARIANS URGED TO MAKE A WILL
The Ontario Bar Association is partnering with the Alzheimer Society of Ontario to urge Ontarians to make a will this month.
The two organizations are collaborating this month to create and publicize information about end-of-life planning.
“A recent LawPRO survey has shown that less than half of Canadians have a valid will,” said OBA president Orlando Da Silva.
“The OBA has an obligation to improve the public’s awareness of this important legal tool and to help people overcome the intimidation they may feel in starting the planning process.”
Organizers say they’ll dispel common myths about making wills and give people the resources they need to get started.
“Many are unaware of just how affordable making a will can be or of the emotional and financial cost to families that can result from the failure to make one,” said Vince De Angelis, chairman of the OBA’s trusts and estates section.
A Toronto lawyer has surrendered her licence to practise law after a Law Society of Upper Canada hearing panel found she had sent “unsolicited correspondence” to judges.
The panel allowed Jeunesse Hosein to surrender her licence, which she did during an Oct. 14 hearing.
Hosein sent “unsolicited correspondence in relation to previously litigated matters to two judges, despite having been specifically asked not to do so by the regional senior justice of the central west region,” according to the panel.
The panel also found the lawyer guilty of failing to co-operate with a law society investigation. It ordered her to pay $2,500 in costs to the law society.
Meanwhile, the law society disbarred another Toronto lawyer, Edmund Peterson, for failing to provide information to the regulator about “the disposition of his law practice.”
According to the order, the law society had sought documents from Peterson through a letter in January 2013.WALK OF FAME HONOURS LOUISE ARBOUR
Renowned former Supreme Court of Canada justice Louise Arbour was one of six Canadians inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame recently.
Arbour, who recently became a jurist in residence at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, sat on the top court from 1999 to 2004. She also held various positions at the United Nations, including a high-profile role as high commissioner for human rights. Arbour currently sits on several Canadian and international advisory committees.
Having her name on Canada’s Walk of Fame along with actress Rachel McAdams is a different type of honour for Arbour, who has received 40 honorary doctorates from Canadian universities and has been a companion of the Order of Canada since 2007.
“We are proud to welcome these six new outstanding honourees to Canada’s Walk of Fame,” said Melanie Hurley, chief executive officer of Canada’s Walk of Fame.
“Each have impacted Canada’s social and cultural heritage across the country and around the world. They are inspiring and remind us that anything can be achieved with hard work.”BENCHER ELECTION NOMINATIONS OPEN
Nominations are officially open for the Law Society of Upper Canada’s 2015 bencher elections.
To qualify as candidates, lawyers wanting to run in the April 30 election must not have held the office of elected bencher for 12 or more years on June 1, 2015; have a home or business address within Ontario on the records of the law society; and not be under suspension at the time of signing the nomination form.
Nomination forms are due by Feb. 13, 2015, at 5 p.m. More information is available at lsuc.on.ca/bencher-election-2015.LISA MUNRO NAMED BUSINESS ‘TRAILBLAZER’
Lerners LLP’s Toronto office co-managing partner Lisa Munro has won Profiles in Diversity Journal’s Women Worth Watching award, the law firm announced.
The publication named Munro one of 160 “executive trailblazers” as part of its awards celebrating the accomplishments of women in business.
“Nominated by her colleagues for her outstanding passion and influence, Munro has played a critical role at Lerners, both in and outside of the workplace,” Lerners said in a press release.
“Creating a work environment that not only fosters retention but also encourages loyalty, Munro is a strong force at Lerners. As a member of the executive committee, her contributions on matters such as strategic planning, succession, and fostering the development of young talent have had a positive effect on both Lerners’ financial performance and culture.”POLL RESULTS
The results of the latest Law Times poll are in.
According to the poll, 88 per cent of respondents say they disagree with the Canadian Bar Association’s initial decision to intervene in the Chevron Corp. matter at the Supreme Court of Canada.
The CBA pulled the plug on its intervention just a day before the deadline for its factum amid controversy over its decision to intervene in the case. The CBA maintained it would be a neutral intervener in the oil company’s dispute with indigenous Ecuadorans who are trying to enforce a local judgment for $19.5 billion against Chevron in Ontario.
But some members of the bar threatened to withdraw their CBA memberships over the issue, arguing the case wasn’t an appropriate one for the organization to intervene in. Other lawyers have noted there are important corporate law principles at stake in the Chevron case.
In the end, the CBA said its own legislation and law reform committee had concluded the case didn’t meet the specific requirements of its intervention policy.
Bennett Jones LLP litigator Jeffrey Leon has received the Ontario Bar Association’s civil litigation award.
The award goes to a litigator who has made exceptional contributions through outstanding advocacy skills, professionalism, integrity and civility, and teaching. Throughout his 25-year career, Leon has “generously given back to his profession and the community it serves,” according to the OBA, which recognized Leon’s efforts as chairman of Pro Bono Law Ontario, a mentor, and a contributor to law school courses.
“Jeff Leon personifies everything this award is meant to recognize. His outstanding advocacy skills are matched only by his integrity and civility,” said Chris Jaglowitz, a partner at Gardiner Miller Arnold LLP in Toronto and chairman of the nomination and selection committee.
Mervyn Abramowitz, a partner at Kronis Rotsztain Margles Cappel LLP and chairman of the OBA civil litigation section, praised Leon’s work as well.
“Jeff Leon is the consummate professional. He has given back to the profession through his involvement in the OBA and countless other endeavours, including chairing the board of Pro Bono Law Ontario. He is a tribute to civil litigation and to our organization,” said Abramowitz.
Leon received the award on Oct. 16.
LAW UNION URGES MEMBERS TO QUIT CBA
The Law Union of Ontario has been asking members to resign from the Canadian Bar Association amid the controversy arising out of the CBA’s now-reversed decision to intervene in Chevron Corp. v. Daniel Carlos Lusitande Yaiguaje at the Supreme Court of Canada.
Although the CBA was seeking to be a neutral intervener in the multinational oil company’s legal battle with a group of Ecuadoran indigenous people, some members had told Law Times they were considering giving up their memberships with the organization because of the position it was taking in the Supreme Court matter.
In a letter to the CBA, the law union said: “Your intervention flies in the face of any concern for the environment; your stated commitment to access to justice; your own members’ objections; and our profession’s ethic requiring us to act in the public interest, unless acting for a party to litigation.”
The CBA had said its intervention would relate to foundational corporate law principles, specifically the corporate veil, and denies its action amounted to backing Chevron.
The thrust of the case against Chevron is that the company had caused extensive pollution in the Lago Agrio region of Ecuador. The villagers had obtained judgment for $9.51 billion in a local court against Chevron and they’re now seeking to enforce that decision against the company’s assets in Ontario.
As Law Times reported on page 1 this week, the CBA announced on Thursday its decision not to proceed with its intervention in the case.
The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.
According to the poll, the majority of respondents aren’t too eager to sign up for a dot-lawyer domain name for their web sites.
Eighty-three per cent of poll respondents said a domain name with the word “lawyer” on the right side of the dot is a cash grab that won’t do much for them.
The new generic top-level domain names like dot-lawyer and dot-attorney will be available only to those who can prove they’re lawyers, according to Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers.
Lawyers can also preregister for domain names like dot-law and dot-legal that will become available later.
The Law Society of Upper Canada, in partnership with Ontario’s Office of the French Language Services Commissioner, is establishing new procedures to address complaints about the LSUC’s French-language services.
“This is an important confirmation of the rights of Ontarians, as well as a confirmation of the Law Society’s continuing commitment to access to justice in French,” said Janet Minor, the law society’s treasurer, in a release.
Under the new protocol, the FLSC will forward any complaints to the LSUC, which will then open a file and investigate every complaint.
While the procedures guarantee communication between the LSUC and the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner, the law society alone will determine what actions should be taken to resolve the complaint.
The law society and the commissioner will also meet at least once a year in order to discuss how the LSUC has been handling complaints.
New LAO family law partnership in Durham
In a new access to justice initiative, Legal Aid Ontario will be partnering with a Durham Region organization for women who have suffered domestic violence.
LAO will invest $600,000 over three years in the new partnership with Luke’s Place, an Oshawa, Ont., centre devoted to helping abused women and their children navigate the family law system.
LAO opened a new family law service centre in Oshawa in September.
“Women will receive holistic, wrap-around services based on Luke’s Place successful clinic model of lawyer/legal support worker team approach,” said Carol Barkwell, the executive director of Luke’s Place, in a release.
The new initiative will provide women who have experienced domestic violence with a variety of services. Staff lawyers will give legal advice and help drafting any documents needed for family court. Women will also have access to support workers, group support sessions and safety planning sessions.
The partnership is part of LAO’s broader family law strategy, which it announced in March.
Feldberg named managing partner at Faskens
Calgary energy lawyer Peter Feldberg will become the new firm managing partner of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP next Feb. 1.
Feldberg, who is currently chairman of the firm's partnership board, succeeds David Corbett who has served three terms in the position since 2006.
“I look forward to maintaining Fasken Martineau's strong client-service focus,” said Feldberg in a statement. “Our clients come first, and we understand that our success depends on their success.”
Ex-privacy commissioner joins Dentons
Chantal Bernier, the former interim Privacy Commissioner of Canada, will be joining Dentons Canada LLP’s privacy and security practice as counsel in Ottawa.
Bernier served as interim privacy commissioner from December 2013 to June 2014 and had worked as assistant commissioner for the five years proceeding her appointment.
During her brief tenure at the helm of the agency, Bernier made waves by criticizing the government for monitoring and collecting data from Canadians’ social media profiles.
Before working in the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, Bernier served in a number of government agencies and ministries including Public Safety Canada, the Privy Council Office, the Department of Justice, and the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.
“In the digital age, when privacy risks and concerns are on the rise, Ms. Bernier’s perspective and insight as a seasoned regulator and senior executive will be a tremendous asset to our clients, in Canada and around the world,” said Chris Pinnington, Dentons Canada’s chief executive officer.