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A Toronto law firm has obtained leave to appeal an order of a judge who removed it from a case on the basis of conflict of interest even if the traditional test for a conflict wasn’t met.
Monday, 15 December 2014 00:08

CBA offers tips on pandemic advice

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With the Ebola outbreak in west Africa on the minds of many people, the Canadian Bar Association has released a guideline to help lawyers advise employers on how to plan for pandemics.
Among the fundamental issues facing our profession are the proposal for non-lawyer ownership of law firms, the competence of new entrants, Law Society of Upper Canada investigations and transparency, the continued independence of the bar, access to justice in civil and family cases, and the important role of technology in the delivery of legal services.
The Ontario Bar Association has launched a mental-health effort after its president’s candid discussion of his own struggles with mental health struck a chord with many in the profession.
Monday, 15 December 2014 00:08

How can defence make social media their friend?

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While Canadians typically think of electronic evidence as something that normally helps the interests of the state in law enforcement matters, it can also help people defending themselves in such cases and the lawyers representing them.
NEW JUDGES APPOINTED
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.”

POLL RESULTS
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.
A proposal to allow prospective lawyers to skip the call to the bar ceremony started a heated debate among Law Society of Upper Canada benchers at Convocation on Nov. 28 with some calling the plan “the final coup d’état” of a profession that’s continually “dumbing down.”
Monday, 08 December 2014 08:00

Lawyer who overbilled LAO spared disbarment

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A Law Society of Upper Canada tribunal hearing panel has decided not to disbar a Grand Bend, Ont., lawyer found to have overbilled Legal Aid Ontario after concluding his actions weren’t intentional.
Monday, 08 December 2014 08:00

Editorial: A bit of optimism after annus horribilis

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There’s no question 2014 started out as and has continued to be an annus horribilis for many in the legal profession.
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Law Times poll

Do you worry about artificial intelligence replacing lawyers' role in legal work?
Yes, it could have a significant impact on our prospects.
No, it's too far off, things always work themsleves out anyway, and we have to embrace innovation.