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Monday, January 21, 2013

NEW LEGAL DIRECTOR AT LEAF

Kim Stanton has joined the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund as legal director.

While Stanton’s practice in Toronto focuses on aboriginal rights, human rights, and administrative law, she has significant experience on the international front as well. Previous stints include working with the United Nations in the Gaza Strip and the African Women Lawyers Association to address sexual harassment in Ghana. She also supported a legal team on the Bosnia-Hercegovina genocide case before the International Court of Justice.

TLA AWARDS NEXT MONTH

The Toronto Lawyers Association is gearing up for its awards of distinction next month.

Honourees this year are Tim Kennish and Ontario Court Justice Edward Ormston. The organization is honouring Kennish for his contributions to the development of competition law in Canada, his leadership in the Toronto legal community, and his record of exemplifying the highest standards of civility, service, and excellence in the profession.

Ormston, meanwhile, is receiving accolades for his advocacy in the area of mental health and the law.

The event takes place Feb. 26 at One King West in Toronto. For more information, contact events@tlaonline.ca.

POLL RESULTS

As the public eagerly awaits the Divisional Court’s ruling in Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s conflict of interest case, Law Times readers aren’t optimistic he’ll emerge victorious.

The Jan. 7 Law Times poll asked readers their thoughts on Ford’s chances of appealing last year’s Superior Court ruling that declared him to be in a conflict of interest for voting on a matter related to a council decision ordering him to repay $3,150 in donations to his football charity. According to the poll, 64 per cent of respondents believe Ford will lose his appeal.

LAWYER RAPPED FOR SEX WITH CLIENT

A Kingston, Ont., lawyer who had sex with a client while in a joint retainer with both her and her husband was in a conflict of interest, a Law Society of Upper Canada hearing panel has found.

“The respondent clearly violated his duty of loyalty to his client, Mr. M., in a manner that in fact adversely affected his judgment on behalf of Mr. M., when the respondent engaged in a sexual relationship with Mr. M.’s separated spouse, who had jointly retained the respondent as counsel to obtain a divorce,” wrote hearing panel chairman Raj Anand of lawyer Jehuda Kaminer.

The recently released ruling also found Kaminer violated his duty of loyalty to Ms. M. “because he exploited her vulnerability and failed to provide objective, disinterested advice and representation.”

According to the ruling, the law society relied on a request to admit. The panel accepted it as agreed as Kaminer didn’t answer it. “Thus, the parties agreed on most of the unusual fact situation that was put before us,” Anand wrote.

Besides the conflict of interest findings, the panel determined Kaminer failed to serve clients; failed to deposit funds in trust; failed to account for funds received in trust; and failed to provide a complete and substantive response to voicemail messages and letters sent by law society staff.

According to the ruling, Kaminer’s relationship with the client began after he asked her out on a date in October 2006. The dates included dinners, evenings at the casino, and time at his home. “Their relationship was sexual,” Anand noted, adding Kaminer ended the relationship after six weeks.

The panel has yet to determine penalty.

For more, see "Lawyer who had sex with family law client in joint retainer in hot water for disclosure."

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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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