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Monday, February 9, 2009

PRO BONO IN HAITI FOR McCARTHY TETRAULT LAWYERS

A pair of McCarthy Tétrault LLP lawyers are off to Haiti for their first pro bono mission with Lawyers Without Borders, packing with them an immense knowledge of environmental law that will help the country’s legal community.

“Giving back to the community is a fundamental part of McCarthy Tétrault’s identity and values,” says the firm’s Quebec managing partner, Marc-André Blanchard, in a release.  “Our partnership with Lawyers Without Borders gives us an excellent opportunity to contribute to the progress of human rights initiatives around the world.”

The firm noted that environmental issues have become a human rights issue in Haiti, and the Universite d’Etat d’Haiti has sought help for the creation of an educational program in environmental law.

McCarthy lawyers Cindy Vaillancourt and David-Emmanuel Roberge are answering the call. They will visit the country from Feb. 3 to 17, offering training to students and jurists.

The effort is part of the firm’s three-year partnership with Lawyers Without Borders. McCarthy Tétrault has received the organization’s highest donor status, “Partner Without Borders.”

“We are very proud to undertake this first mission with McCarthy Tétrault,” said LWB Canada executive director Pascal Paradis. “The firm’s contribution of its expertise, dynamism, and resources to our Haiti project and to our organization is invaluable.”

LCO CONSULTING ON FAMILY LAW

The Law Commission of Ontario has issued a consultation paper that seeks input on a potential family law reform project.

The commission envisages two possible projects in the paper. The first would see it consider an “overarching process issue within the family justice system - the need to clarify the roles” of system users and workers for enhanced efficiency, said the LCO in a release.

The second proposed project relates to the matrimonial home. “The project would analyze how different pieces of legislation regulate ownership and use of matrimonial homes in Ontario and also look at the impact of this legislation on specific groups such as common law couples and aboriginal women,” said the commission.

“Previous LCO consultations made clear that there are widespread concerns in the area of family law in Ontario,” read the release.

“Issues range from specific substantive issues such as the non-deductibility of the matrimonial home at the date of marriage in the Family Law Act to overarching process issues such as the interaction between public and private dispute mechanisms.”

LCO executive director Patricia Hughes said it’s important for a wide range of Ontarians to participate in the consultation.

“We want to be sure our work is informed by different perspectives on and experiences with family law,” she said.

CALLAGHAN GETS TOP BLG POST

Leading corporate lawyer Frank Callaghan has been elected Borden Ladner Gervais LLP’s regional managing partner for the firm’s Toronto office.

“Frank is a leader by nature and BLG will benefit from his extensive management experience being on both the firm’s Toronto regional management committee and national council, as well as his role as Toronto’s business department leader,” said Sean Weir, the firm’s national managing partner, in a release.

“Frank came to the firm in 1980 as an articling student, and knows the firm inside out. He is highly regarded as a mentor by his associates.”

Callaghan was named one of the best lawyers in Canada in the area of corporate law in Lexpert’s 2009 American Lawyers Media Guide.

“It is my privilege to serve the firm in this role and I look forward to working with my colleagues in Toronto, and nationally, as we continue building on our successes,” said Callaghan.

MOVES ON MCCARTHYS PARTNERS BOARD

Two Toronto lawyers are again part of McCarthy Tétrault LLP’s board of partners following their recent re-election.

Garth Girvan and Philip Moore, both corporate lawyers at the firm’s Toronto office, have been named to the 11-member board, along with Quebec/Montreal corporate lawyer Marc Dorion.

“In the seven years since we pioneered a new governance model, our clients have enjoyed exceptional results,” said the firm’s chairman and CEO Iain Scott.

“By operating as a single, unified partnership, we complement our clients’ own business structures and ensure clients have quick access to the full knowledge and resources of our firm.”

CANLII ADDS LEGISLATION

Legal researchers will be glad to hear that CanLII has expanded its service for legislative information resources.

“These new resources provide more advanced functionalities and the content itself has been checked much more thoroughly than what was previously published on CanLII,” reads a blog posting on the CanLII web site, found at www.canlii.org. “In short, this is the best resource for legislative material CanLII has ever presented to you.”

The new legislative information service offers point-in-time access, point-in-time searching, version comparison, weekly updates, RSS feeds, and better note up.

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