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Monday, August 17, 2009

HEENAN BLAIKIE MAKES A GREEN MOVE

Heenan Blaikie LLP has moved its Toronto office to what it calls the city’s “most environmentally friendly office tower.”

The firm says its move to the 1.1-million-square-foot, 51-storey Bay Adelaide Centre was a no-brainer.

“It is important to keep our working environment modern and fresh to inspire creativity and good work,” says Norman Bacal, the firm’s co-managing partner.

“We have also factored environmental improvements into our decision-making process regarding the build-out and furnishing of the new office. This is one of the many ways the design of the new office space is allowing us to reinforce our values and reflect the personality of Heenan Blaikie today and for the future.”

The building was constructed with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold standards in mind. Heenan Blaikie is its first occupant, and its 170 lawyers and over 190 support staff will take up five floors and 120,000 square feet.

BEWARE OF UNPAID OVERTIME

The Conference Board of Canada says companies are reconsidering their overtime practices in light of legal challenges to unpaid work hours.

Two-thirds of those who participated in a survey by the board said that over the past year, overtime compensation fears have been raised: 11 per cent by employees; 20 per cent said management had raised concerns; or both at 33 per cent said.

“Organizations should have three goals in managing overtime,” says the Conference Board’s Michael Bloom. “First, they should seek ways to make the most efficient use of overtime to optimize organizational performance.

“Second, employers need to mitigate any potential liabilities resulting from claims of unpaid overtime.

“Third, organizations can implement policies - for example, around the use of personal digital assistants - that help ensure employees achieve a suitable work-life balance.”

The survey was taken by 130 mid-to-large-sized organizations, according to the Conference Board.

The full report is available online at www.conferenceboard.ca.

LITIGATOR ZARNETT GRABS OBA AWARD

Goodmans LLP partner Benjamin Zarnett will need to clear some room on his trophy case after being named the recipient of the Ontario Bar Association’s 2009 Award for Excellence in Civil Litigation.

“Ben has contributed to the legal profession as a litigator, an educator and a leader,” says Audrey Ramsay, chairwoman of the OBA civil litigation section.

“He has been lead counsel in some of the highest profile commercial cases that have come before our courts. He has also served in numerous volunteer roles within the profession, including as president of The Advocates’ Society.”

Zarnett’s practice focuses on commercial cases for public and private companies, financial institutions, and governments.

The OBA’s civil litigation award goes to an individual who has excelled with outstanding advocacy skills; shown a high level of professionalism, integrity, and civility; taught and practiced civil litigation; or enhanced the practice area.

Zarnett received the Law Society Medal in 2006, and in 2007 was given the Award of Distinction by the Toronto Lawyers’ Association.

ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR FOR HENNICK CENTRE

Archana Sridhar has been plucked from her post as assistant dean for research and special projects at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law to take on the role of associate director of Osgoode Hall Law School’s new Jay and Barbara Hennick Centre for Business and Law.

Sridhar’s other experience includes a stint at Sullivan & Worcester LLP in Boston as a tax and non-profit law practitioner. She also completed a Fulbright Fellowship in Guatemala City in 2006 and 2007, in which she researched philanthropy and tax reform.

Her long list of accomplishments also includes co-founding the South Asian Philanthropy Project. The charity pushes for philanthropy and board service among South Asians in North America.

RAPHAEL BARRISTERS NOW IN THORNHILL

The personal injury law firm Raphael Barristers is also on the move, shifting its downtown Toronto operations from University Avenue to the bedroom community of Thornhill, just north of the city.

The move will help the firm better serve its clients, according to a release, with close access to toll Highway 407, free parking, and public transportation.

Raphael Barristers began in 1963 as the Windsor law firm of Bert and Stan Raphael, which grew to 

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