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Monday, February 11, 2013

BLAKES LAWYER JOINS FASKENS

Ottawa lawyer Cliff Sosnow has joined Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP as a partner.

Sosnow will continue to practise corporate and international trade law at Faskens. He had previously been at Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP, which significantly scaled back its Ottawa office last year.

“Cliff is a first-class international trade lawyer with a deep background and expertise.

We are delighted to welcome him to our firm and know that his experience will add significant value for our clients,” said Martin Denyes, Faskens’ managing partner for the Ontario region.  

Faskens, which has 770 lawyers across nine offices, also touted Sosnow’s “outstanding reputation in Ottawa.”

BATTLE WITH JUDGES NETS INCIVILITY FINDING

A Law Society of Upper Canada hearing panel has made a finding of misconduct against a sole practitioner for incivility towards six members of the family court bench in Hamilton, Ont.

The panel found Ann Bruce displayed “marked disrespect for the courts and colleagues.”

In June 2010, Superior Court Justice Cheryl Lafrenière found Bruce in contempt of court for threatening the court.

According to a transcript of the court proceedings, when Lafrenière told Bruce to move on from the point she was making, the lawyer replied: “Yes, I will, your honour. Yeah, I’ll move on with my report to the Canadian Judicial Council as well.”

The exchange was one of several heated interactions between the judge and the lawyer during the proceedings. Bruce argued she wasn’t making a threat and that it was lawful to say she was going to file a report to the Canadian Judicial Council against the judge.

“Ms. Bruce’s assertion that she is free to do as she pleases before the court provided it is lawful is problematic,” wrote panel chairman Jacques Menard. “She does not have blanket licence to do anything that is lawful while before the court.

“As an officer of the court, she is constrained by her obligation not to bring discredit upon the court, challenge the court’s authority or recklessly cast doubt on the fundamental presumptions of impartiality and judicial independence.”

The panel also challenged Bruce’s argument about judicial bias against her. Her interim suspension from practice will continue until the panel sets a penalty.

LSUC SEEKING LPP PROPOSALS

The Law Society of Upper Canada is seeking proposals for its law practice program.

According to a notice, the LSUC is seeking one or more organizations to design, develop, implement, and manage all aspects of the program set to begin in the 2014-15 licensing year.

The program will provide an alternative path to licensing for those unable to find an articling position. The law society settled on a law practice program as an alternative following a vigorous debate about the articling crisis last year.

The closing date for receipt of notices to submit a proposal is March 15. Proposals are due May 31.

POLL RESULTS

The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

The vast majority of poll participants agreed that the professional fees paid in the Nortel Networks Corp. bankruptcy proceedings so far are excessive. In fact, 96 per cent of respondents felt that way.

In January, Law Times reported on estimates that professionals involved in the proceedings have received $755 million in fees globally. The number includes $244 million in fees in Canada.

OSGOODE MIXES ART, LAW

Osgoode Hall Law School is looking to mix law and art through a new fellowship program that would allow students to undertake artistic projects that explore justice.

The artist in residence fellowship is now calling on interested students to apply.

“The law school welcomes artists of all disciplines and projects focused on interpreting legal history, on examining law’s realities today, and imagining law’s future, whether in Canada or elsewhere in the world,” said Osgoode dean Lorne Sossin.

“We are particularly interested in projects that will reflect and enhance the diversity of the Osgoode community, and involve engagement and interaction with Osgoode students.”

The chosen artist will spend up to four months at the law school during the fall or winter semester of the 2013-14 academic year. Sossin said the artist in residence fellowship is part of a larger Osgoode commitment to researching and teaching the law in context.

SUPERINTENDENT TO REVIEW NORTEL EMPLOYEE COMPLAINTS

The Office of the Superintendent of Bankrupcty will look into complaints against the court monitor in the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act proceedings involving Nortel Networks Corp., according to a Toronto independent financial analyst.

Diane Urquhart, who calculated the total amount of spending on professional fees in the case to be $244 million in Canada, said the office has responded to a request from former employees to look into the work of Ernst & Young, the court monitor in the proceedings.

Urquhart and the former employees say the amount paid to professionals is excessive and leaves little of Nortel’s assets for employee claims.

Federal superintendent of bankruptcy Bill James responded to the employees in a letter saying deputy superintendent Patricia Alférez will review their concerns, Urquhart said.  

MILLER THOMSON BOOSTS RYERSON PROJECT

Miller Thomson LLP has launched its second hands-on learning project at Ryerson University.

The project will assist third- and fourth-year business students at the Ted Rogers School of Management with practical information from Miller Thomson lawyers in business law and entrepreneurship.

The law firm began the project in the 2012-13 academic year. The lawyers will continue “guiding these future leaders through potential hurdles to aid in a successful launch of a business or issues facing their existing business startup,” the law firm said in an announcement.

The goal of the program is to help students become problem solvers and assist “budding businesses,” according to Miller Thomson.

NEW LAWYERS AT BLG

Three new lawyers are joining Borden Ladner Gervais LLP’s Ottawa office.

Kathleen McDormand will practise estate litigation while Karen Hogan brings her experience in family law to BLG. In addition, Alice Popovici will focus on civil law in her new role. The trio adds to the firm’s estate and family law litigation group.

“In addition to a passion for law and a dedication to their clients, respected lawyers Kathleen, Karen, and Alice bring specialized knowledge to the group in key areas of family and estate law, with the added skills of providing service in French in both the provinces of Ontario and Quebec,” said Katherine Cooligan, a partner and team leader of the estate and family law litigation group at BLG.

“Through our deep understanding of clients’ needs, our lawyers offer strategic advice to help navigate the complexities involved in obtaining necessary court determinations or consensual resolutions.”

10 LAWYERS ADMITTED TO BLAKES’ PARTNERSHIP

Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP has admitted 10 lawyers to the partnership at its Toronto office.

Anne Glover, Mark Johnson, Matthew Merkley, Edward Miller, Ryan Morris, Holly Reid, Melanie Sanchez, Brett Slaney, Andrew Spiro, and Catherine Youdan will serve the firm’s clients in a range of areas.

“Each one of these lawyers has worked very hard for their clients to get to this next stage in their career,” said managing partner Rob Granatstein.

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Law Times Poll


The Law Society of Upper Canada’s governing body has approved a proposal to create a new licence for paralegals that would train them in some aspects of family law such as form completion, uncontested divorces and motions to change. Do you agree with this move?
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