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Monday, 23 February 2015 10:54

Youth want bigger voice at Convocation

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Solicitors aren’t the only ones concerned about their level of representation at Convocation. A few young lawyers running in the election say they also want in with one of them starting a Twitter hashtag, #younglawyerswantin, to press the issue.
Monday, 23 February 2015 08:00

IBC wants regulation for personal injury lawyers

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The Insurance Bureau of Canada says it would like to see regulatory oversight of how personal injury lawyers structure their contingency fees due to what it calls a major gap in transparency in the auto insurance system.
Highlighting the relationship between lawyers and their articling students, a Superior Court master, in upholding an order dismissing a personal injury action as abandoned, has taken issue with a law firm that laid blame on a student with mental-health issues.
Monday, 23 February 2015 08:00

Editorial: Defence lawyers’ outrage justified

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Lawyers are rightfully expressing outrage over the circumstances surrounding the arrest of defence counsel Laura Liscio at the courthouse in Brampton, Ont., this month.
In the Feb. 2 issue of Law Times in response to critics of Ryerson University’s Law Practice Program, editor Glenn Kauth suggested giving it more time before rushing to judgment. He referred to concerns about unpaid internships; the potential to reduce paid articling positions; the high proportion of racialized students more likely to turn to the Law Practice Program; and the issue of student loans. However, both Kauth’s editorial and public pronouncements by those for and against the program fail to mention the most significant element: the quality legal skills training gained by the participants.
Monday, 23 February 2015 08:00

Should lawyers deliver clothes to clients?

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What happened to Laura Liscio, a criminal defence counsel recently arrested at the Brampton, Ont., courthouse, could happen to any lawyer “but for the grace of God,” colleagues say.
While the use of social media in family law cases is common, questions linger over a spouse’s access to other digital information relating to a former partner as privacy and evidentiary considerations make snooping on someone’s online world a tricky and potentially costly exercise.
SUSPENSION AFTER $150K TAKEN FROM ORPHANS
The Law Society Tribunal has suspended a lawyer on an interlocutory basis for misappropriating funds belonging to orphaned children.

Lawyer Peter Borkovich misappropriated $150,000 in estate funds that belonged to children who had lost their parents, according to a hearing panel that considered the matter.

“In this case, the evidence of misappropriation is clear,” wrote hearing panel chairman Peter Wardle, who added that over a period of two years, Borkovich took funds belonging to the clients and used them for his own benefit.
“This was not an isolated event,” wrote Wardle.

“There were 36 separate withdrawals of funds on account of legal fees that were not earned.”

The lawyer paid his personal taxes through funds from the estate and used the money to make up for losses arising from “improper loan activity” that arose in another estate, according to Wardle.

“The victims of this misappropriation were orphaned minor children. The amounts are significant.”

The hearing panel decided to suspend Borkovich despite his co-operation with an ongoing investigation by the Law Society of Upper Canada and repayment of the funds he had misappropriated.

“This result may seem harsh,” wrote Wardle.

“The respondent has taken a number of positive steps to deal with his misconduct. Most importantly, he has acknowledged his wrongdoing and repaid the funds misappropriated. At a future discipline hearing these facts may be mitigating features for a hearing panel to consider. At this stage, however, they simply do not address the disturbing concerns about the respondent’s integrity raised by the misconduct in question.”

SECURITIES LAWYER JOINS GOWLINGS
Former Wildeboer Dellelce LLP securities lawyer Peter Simeon has joined Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP.

Simeon joins Gowlings’ Toronto office as a partner and a member of the firm’s corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions group.

“Peter is an exceptional securities lawyer with an impressive track record of success for his clients,” said Scott Jolliffe, chairman and chief executive officer of Gowlings.

“His expertise in corporate finance, coupled with his dedication to providing companies with practical, effective solutions, make him a great fit for Gowlings. We’re delighted to welcome him to the firm.”

Simeon advises clients on matters related to corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, and structured products. He said he’s excited to join “an innovative” team of lawyers at Gowlings.

“Gowlings’ corporate finance and M&A capabilities are second to none, but what’s just as important is the personalized, responsive service it offers to companies at all stages of development,” said Simeon.

“I’m excited to be a part of an innovative firm that Canadian and international businesses depend on to move their transactions forward.”

‘WE WIN OR IT’S FREE’ AD CRITICIZED
The Law Society Tribunal has disciplined a Toronto paralegal for advertising that declared “We win or it’s free” on his web site.

Paralegal Benito Zappia’s web site made the promise “without clarifying that he charged a small non-refundable administrative fee and that the offer of a contingency fee did not include criminal clients’ matters,” a hearing panel found.

“Mr. Zappia also admitted he did not use a trust account to hold money from clients on account of fees and disbursements not yet rendered,” wrote panel chairwoman Barbara Murchie.

“The panel agreed that he had engaged in professional misconduct, as alleged.”

The hearing panel reprimanded Zappia and ordered him to pay $2,500 in costs.
As nominations for the 2015 bencher election close, the real competition begins. And with the campaign officially underway, several lawyers have been quick to get their social media efforts up and running.
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