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Monday, August 24, 2009

NEW CBA HEAD LOOKS ABROAD

New Canadian Bar Association president Kevin Carroll - who took up his position at the association’s annual conference in Ireland - says advocating for the rule of law is top of his priority list.

“We are the leader and voice of the Canadian legal profession in a complex, changing world,” says the Barrie, Ont., lawyer.

“We are and will remain the determined advocate of the profession and the champion of the rule of law across Canada and around the world.”

Carroll specifically hopes to underline the CBA’s programs that back the rule of law in countries with justice systems that continue to bloom.

Backed by the Canadian International Development Agency, it has targeted eastern Africa and Southeast Asia as areas where access to justice programs would help. In the past, the CBA has carried out projects in 30 countries in Asia, Africa, central Europe, and the Caribbean.

“By doing the work we do abroad, we demonstrate the intrinsic value of respect for the rule of law, says Carroll. “We also show the practical value of an independent legal profession, an independent judiciary, and the dignity of the individual.”

Turning his attention back home, Carroll said he hopes to help lawyers by expanding the CBA’s continuing legal education offerings. He also would like to see new tools rolled out to help lawyers solve their clients’ problems more efficiently.

Watch Canadian Lawyer’s interview with Carroll at www.canadianlawyermag.com in the videos section.

BODE NEW REGIONAL SENIOR JUDGE

Justice Marc Bode has been plucked from the Ontario Court of Justice roster to serve as the court’s regional senior judge for the northwest region.

Bode arrived on the provincial court bench in January 2008, presiding in Thunder Bay.

He was called to the bar in 1980, and focused his practice on criminal, family, labour, and employment law. He also acted as Legal Aid Ontario’s area director for Thunder Bay, and spent time as president of the Legal Aid Ontario Area Directors’ Association.

Bode’s other contributions include serving on the Thunder Bay Youth Justice Committee, and as a member of the Ontario Bar Association council, where he targeted continuing legal education.

He also is a past president of the Thunder Bay Law Association.

“Mr. Justice Bode’s knowledge of the region and commitment to justice will serve him well in his new role,” said Attorney General Chris Bentley, in a release.

SOCIAL MEDIA ADVICE FOR FIRMS

Canadian law firms hoping to carve a niche in the social media market would do well to check out a white paper by CNW Group.

The news release service provider notes that most in the legal community still lack education on social media. For those who are completely bewildered by the term, it’s defined in the paper as, “a shift in how people discover, read, and share news, information, and content.

It is a fusion of society and technology, transforming monolog (one to many) to dialogue (many to many).”

It argues that social media can help law firms enhance internal and external communication.

“It helps build and solidify relationships with clients, prospects, and employees by increasing engagement and interaction between parties,” the paper states.

You can find the full white paper online at CNW’s new social media news release service, http://smr.newswire.ca/en.

CBA CONDEMNS CLEMENCY POLICY

The Canadian Bar Association made waves from across the Atlantic Ocean last week.

The CBA council passed a resolution at its annual conference in Dublin, Ireland criticizing Ottawa’s new “case-by-case” policy on clemency for citizens facing the death penalty abroad.

The admonishment follows the federal government’s announcement last month that it will now push for clemency based on a variety of factors. According to the policy, circumstances such as the strength of a country’s democracy and the nature of the crime could shape our government’s stance.

The CBA resolution points out that Parliament passed a resolution last year stating “the government should stand consistently against the death penalty as a matter of principle, both in Canada and around the world.”

It also noted that Canada’s policy, until 2007, was to seek clemency for all citizens facing the death penalty abroad.

The CBA urged the government to reinstate the previous policy, saying, “This case-by-case approach invites arbitrary and discriminatory decisions, implying that the death penalty may be appropriate for some Canadians.”

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