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Monday, February 14, 2011

6 NEW SUPERIOR COURT JUDGES

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has appointed six new judges to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

Law Society of Upper Canada Bencher Glenn Hainey becomes a judge in Toronto. The civil litigator has practised with Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP since 2001 and was called to the bar in 1976.

Christopher Bondy takes up a position in Windsor, Ont., after 30 years at Wolf Hooker Professional Corp. in Essex, Ont., the firm he co-founded in 1980. He has been the chairman of the Canada Pension Plan/Old Age Security review tribunals since 2008.

Robert Reid, a lawyer with Lancaster Brooks & Welch LLP in St. Catharines, Ont., is appointed to the Superior Court in Hamilton, Ont. Reid had been a partner with the firm since 1982 after he was called to the bar in 1978.

Victor Mitrow is appointed a judge of the Superior Court''s family division in London, Ont. He has been a partner at London firm McKenzie Lake Lawyers LLP since 1998 with his main area of practice focusing on family law.

Former Ontario Bar Association president Carole Brown decamps from Ottawa, where she practised with Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, to take up a position in Toronto.

Brown was called to the bar in 1984 and had practised at BLG since 1985. Her main areas of practice involved professional negligence, insurance defence work, personal injury, and Supreme Court agency work.

Brian Abrams, a partner at Templeman Menninga LLP in Kingston, Ont., is appointed a judge of the Superior Court''s family division.

Abrams was admitted to the bar in 1998 after a 17-year career with the RCMP that involved postings in Canada and abroad.

For a complete list of all the new judges appointed by the justice minister, see the Legal Feeds blog post "All manner of new judges."

BRAMPTON LAWYER SUSPENDED

Brampton, Ont., lawyer Charles Amissah-Ocran has had his licence suspended on an interlocutory basis until the completion of a Law Society of Upper Canada investigation into his real estate practice.

The law society is investigating seven complaints about 14 suspect mortgage transactions. Amissah-Ocran blames one of his real estate employees, Claire Graham, for tricking him into involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme.

In the meantime, the law society had earlier warned him to stop using Graham for real estate services over her role in fraudulent mortgage transactions that resulted in another lawyer's disbarment.

Amissah-Ocran stopped using Graham for new mortgage files but continued to employ her for litigation support and to clean up old mortgage files she had previously been involved in.

"The decision by the lawyer, which he describes as foolish, is more appropriately described as reckless," Bencher Mark Sandler wrote on behalf of the three-person panel.

Amissah-Ocran had offered to voluntarily restrict his practice to civil litigation, family law, and criminal defence, but the panel wasn't swayed by the proposal.

"Deep concerns about the lawyer's involvement in extensive fraudulent activities, his continuing relationship with Graham and her associates, and his candour with the society are raised by his evidence and are not addressed through restrictions on his practice," the panel wrote.

Peel police Det. Bob Lusty, who deals with mortgage fraud investigations, says Amissah-Ocran's complaint about the matter is the subject of an investigation but notes there have been no arrests.

"We have received allegations of criminal behaviour, and the investigation is ongoing," Lusty says. "I can't say much more than that."

For more on this story, see "Staff ruined me: lawyer."

LEADING LAWYER JOINS CASSELS BROCK

Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP has recruited structured finance lawyer Martin Fingerhut to play a leading role on the firm's securitization team.

Fingerhut, who has 40 years of experience behind him, becomes a partner at the Toronto firm.

"The securitization team at Cassels Brock is highly talented and leverages the members' multidisciplinary capabilities across a number of key areas," Fingerhut said. "I think it's a progressive model and I'm excited about our future plans."

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