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Monday, July 15, 2013

LSUC ORDERS EX-HOLLINGER EXEC TO PAY $10K IN COSTS

The Law Society has ordered one of the players from the long-running Hollinger International Inc. saga to pay $10,000 in costs as part of an order placing practice restrictions on him for two years.

The LSUC had already suspended Peter Young Atkinson for two years as of Aug. 30, 2008. “Effective Aug. 30, 2010, and continuing for a period of two years from the date of this decision and order, the respondent’s practice is restricted to e-discovery, specifically conducting document review, research, and analysis in the context of e-discovery,” reads a summary of a June 17, 2013, decision and order.

Atkinson, a former Hollinger executive, may only provide legal services as an employee of a licensee or pursuant to a contract with a licensee and can’t practise as a sole practitioner or a law firm partner. The hearing panel found him to have engaged in conduct unbecoming for committing the criminal offence of mail fraud as per the findings by the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

CLINICS’ CORE FUNDING CUT

Legal Aid Ontario is chopping core funding to legal clinics this year while offsetting the cut with a $4-million increase for information technology.

“Legal Aid Ontario (LAO)’s overall budget for clinic law services has increased from $67.8 million in 2012-13 to $70.9 million for 2013-14 — an increase of $3.15 million or 4.6 per cent,” LAO wrote in a letter to clinics this month.

“This increase includes $4.15 million in new funding for clinics which is offset by a $1 million reduction to core clinic funding as a result of a $3 million reduction to LAO’s overall transfer payment as detailed in the Ontario 2013 budget.”

According to the letter, LAO has been working with clinics on the implementation of a clinic information management system through a $3.25-million grant from the Law Foundation of Ontario. LAO will also add $900,000 from its own funding to upgrade aging technological infrastructure at clinics.

But balancing that off is the $1-million cut in core funding. The letter notes decreases in law foundation revenues that led to reductions in other areas of law while clinics have seen increases since 2009-10. “It is LAO’s view that the $1 million reduction represents an achievable and modest funding adjustment,” states the letter, which then goes on to suggest opportunities for savings, such as reducing office space per person.

ENVIRONMENTAL LITIGATOR JOINS GOWLINGS

Environmental litigator Rod Northey has joined Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP’s Toronto office.

“Rod is widely regarded as a passionate and relentless advocate with outstanding technical expertise,” said Scott Jolliffe, Gowlings’ chairman and chief executive officer.

Northey’s practice focuses on environmental regulatory approvals and hearings and assisting proponents and municipalities with infrastructure, energy, and resource extraction projects. Besides his work at the firm, Northey is an adjunct faculty member at Osgoode Hall Law School.

CLINICS CAMPAIGN AGAINST SPONSORSHIP CHANGES

Community agencies, including legal clinics, are organizing a campaign against new immigration sponsorship rules.

“These changes will be particularly detrimental to refugees since many of them flee their home country while their older siblings stay behind to play the role of surrogate parents to their younger siblings,” said Shalini Konanur, executive director of the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario.

Among the changes is a plan to limit the sponsorship of dependant children to those under 19 and impose a cap of 5,000 family sponsorship applications for processing in 2014. The changes take effect this January.

The clinics are part of a coalition of community agencies campaigning against the changes. They’ll be conducting research and lobbying MPs and are also urging people to participate in Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s consultations on immigration.

POLL RESULTS

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

According to the poll, 72 per cent of respondents feel it’s time for the government to crack down on unpaid internships. The poll follows a slew of recent media reports on the trend toward unpaid internships and the government’s role in enforcing rules against them.

NEW PARTNER AT DENTONS

Jeff Mitchell has joined the employment and labour group at Dentons Canada LLP.

Mitchell, who represents public and private sector employers in employment and labour relations matters, will be a “valuable asset” to the firm, according to Dentons’ Toronto managing partner Mike Kaplan. “Jeff is an exciting addition to our strong employment and labour group in Toronto,” said Kaplan.

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