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This Week's Issue

Prof touts ABS plus

Yamri Taddese - Monday, March 2, 2015

Adding fuel to an already-raging debate on alternative business structures, the Law Society of Upper Canada has released a report laying out the wide-ranging perspectives it has received from the profession so far on whether to let non-lawyers own law firms.
Some, like Cognition LLP, said alternative business structures would allow them to lock in capital more easily, thereby insulating firms from cash-flow troubles. Others, like the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association, said the role of alternative business structures in fostering innovation is “overstated.” Still others conjured up a new concept, dubbed “ABS plus,” that the law society should be considering.

According to University of Ottawa Faculty of Law Prof. David Wiseman, new models will only have a “trickle-down” benefit for poor Ontarians who lack access to just...

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Focus: Sniffer dogs next frontier in workplace drug testing

For the past five years, the mining company that owns a potash operation outside of Saskatoon randomly brought drug-detection dogs to the site. The purpose was to sniff staff employees, contract personnel, and even managers for traces of illegal drugs. If the dog alerted, the company would take the employee to a private backroom for questioning. Employees would have to empty their pockets and any lunch pail or bag.

Trade Matters: Canadian consumers already benefiting from Korean trade deal

Canadian consumers are already benefiting from the Canada-South Korea free-trade agreement that came into force on Jan. 1.

Speaker's Corner: OTLA’s ABS submission couches own interest as protecting the public

The Ontario Trial Lawyers Association’s submission in response to the Law Society of Upper Canada’s discussion paper on alternative business structures reads like a self-interested protectionist stance for the status quo for a cottage industry.

Social Justice: Bell Mobility deserves punitive damages for arrogance in 911 case

It’s difficult to imagine a more egregious case of corporate arrogance than Bell Mobility’s move to charge subscribers a monthly fee for a non-existent service and attempting to justify it in class action litigation. That’s the story of the ongoing litigation commenced in 2007 by two Yellowknife residents who objected to a charge of 75 cents a month for a 911 service that didn’t exist.

Editorial: Bricks and bouquets

With lots of positive developments as well as some questionable decisions in the legal world lately, it’s a good time to toss a few bouquets to those who deserve some praise and bricks to those who are off the mark:

Largest law firms in Canada

What are the 20 largest law firms in Canada?

Move towards online dispute resolution gathers steam

A report prepared by legal futurist Richard Susskind for Britain’s Civil Justice Council suggests online dispute resolution is emerging as the latest threat to lawyer participation in the provision of legal services.

Arbitrator’s removal reignites debate over med-arb

A mediator-arbitrator removed from a case for apprehension of bias says he was simply giving the parties what people sign up for when they choose that particular method of alternative dispute resolution.

Bencher election: Experienced benchers offer insight into campaign strategies

As we continue our coverage of the Law Society of Upper Canada bencher election, some seasoned benchers talk about what they've done to win. Read more on our bencher election web site at

Inside Story

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Canadian Bar Association has recognized a number of lawyers through its 2015 awards.

The awards recognize CBA members who, among other contributions, work to advance equality for gays and lesbians, demonstrate exceptional service to the association’s goals, offer pro bono legal services as a young lawyer or show outstanding efforts as a student member.

Geoffrey Creighton, who recently retired as general counsel at IGM Financial Inc., took home the Douglas Miller award while Stewart McKelvey partner William Ryan received the Louis St-Laurent award. The CBA is also honouring Christian Whalen, senior legal counsel with the New Brunswick office of the child and youth advocate, with the John Tait award.

The awards also recognized several academics. University of Toronto law professor Stephen Waddams receives the Ramon John Hnatyshyn award while the Touchstone award goes to another professor, Martha Jackman of the University of Ottawa.

Other professors honoured include University of Ottawa law Prof. Nicole LaViolette, who...

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What should the federal government do in light of the Supreme Court of Canada's ruling on assisted suicide?
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