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Monday, February 17, 2014

BOB RAE JOINS ABORIGINAL LAW FIRM

Former Ontario premier and Liberal leader Bob Rae has joined aboriginal law firm Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP as senior counsel.

The Toronto law firm represents aboriginal communities across Canada on matters of land rights, treaty negotiations, and other issues. Rae’s daughter, Judith, is an associate with the firm.

“We are excited to have Mr. Rae join our team,” said the firm’s managing partner Renée Pelletier in a press release. “He brings decades of experience at the highest levels of government as well as a strong background in negotiations, strategy, community and economic development. He’s also demonstrated a strong commitment to Aboriginal rights, and to the critically important task of reconciliation between Aboriginal peoples and all Canadians.”

Rae is currently serving as chief negotiator in talks between First Nations and the Ontario government on the development of Ring of Fire, a planned multi-billion dollar chromium mining project in Northern Ontario.

“I am delighted to be joining OKT— I have admired their work for many years, and am now honoured to be joining as a partner.” said Rae. ”I am looking forward to continue to work with First Nations and aboriginal people to advance their rights and prosperity.

“I am also very pleased to have the opportunity to work with my daughter Judith, and to practise with the many talented aboriginal lawyers at this firm.”

LAW FIRMS MAKE 2014 BEST DIVERSITY EMPLOYER LIST

Some of Ontario’s largest law firms were named in this year’s list of Best Diversity Employers in Canada.

The list, produced annually by Mediacorp Canada Inc., includes Stikeman Elliott LLP, McCarthy Tétrault LLP, and Dentons Canada LLP.

According to Mediacorp Canada, the law firms were chosen for their workplace diversity initiatives that included women, minorities, people with disabilities, and LGBT individuals. Stikeman and Dentons earned the title for the fourth consecutive year, while McCarthys made the list for the second time.

“Being named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for the fourth year in a row is a great honour for all of us at Dentons,” said Dentons Canada CEO Chris Pinnington in a press release.

Stikeman Elliott’s chair William Braithwaite also said the firm is “incredibly proud” to be recognized for its diversity.

“This acknowledgment represents the collective achievements of all of our firm members in advancing our diversity objectives and creating an inclusive environment in which we can all thrive,” said Braithwaite. “It is this exceptional work environment that allows us to consistently deliver top tier service that meets the increasingly diverse needs of our global clients.”

For Marc-André Blanchard, chairman and CEO of McCarthys , the recognition is a result of hard work.

“We have worked hard as a firm to foster a truly inclusive environment and we are grateful to receive this honour once again,” he said. “Our focus remains on sustaining diversity through the reinvention of our programs. We believe our successes — and our clients’ successes — are due in large part to having a supportive environment that attracts a wide range of the best and the brightest professionals.”

LSUC DISBARS LINE

A Toronto lawyer has lost his licence to practise law after he was found to have misappropriated client trust funds.

Lawyer John Line also lied to his clients about the steps he had taken in a Small Claims Court matter in addition to failing to file a statement of defense on their behalf, a Law Society of Upper Canada hearing panel said.

In what was likely the last straw, Line continued to practise law after his licence was suspended in June 2012, the law society said.

In addition to nearly $18,000 in costs to the law society, Line was also ordered to pay $4,500 to LSUC’s compensation fund.

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LAW TIMES POLL[/span][/strong]

The results for the latest Law Times online poll are in. Seventy-one per cent of respondents believe Heenan Blaikie LLP’s troubles are a sign of bigger problems to come in the legal industry.

Partners at Heenan Blaikie, a 500-lawyer law firm, decided two weeks ago to wind down the firm amid falling revenues and lawyer departures. It is the largest failure of a Canadian law firm.

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