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Monday, June 7, 2010

OTLA ELECTS NEW PRESIDENT

The Ontario Trial Lawyers Association has elected Dale Orlando as its new president.

Orlando has served on the association’s board of directors for seven years and was elected to his new position on May 28 at the association’s annual general meeting in Toronto.

Orlando is a partner with McLeish Orlando LLP in Toronto with a practice dedicated exclusively to personal injury and wrongful death cases.

He has also published numerous articles about personal injury law and is a contributing author of the Oatley-McLeish Guide to Personal Injury Practice in Motor Vehicle Cases.

ELECTRONIC REPORTS NOW MANDATORY

Ontario lawyers and paralegals must now file their annual reports electronically after the Law Society of Upper Canada amended its bylaws at Convocation last month.

Lawyers previously had the option of filing their annual reports electronically or in paper form. About 25 per cent of them still do so by paper, accounting for 90 per cent of the production costs of the lawyer annual report.

When paralegals began submitting in 2009, paper forms were only provided on request, which boosted their electronic filing to 91 per cent.

The professional regulation committee said paper reports would still be available but only in exceptional circumstances.  

CLASS ACTION PAVES WAY FOR NEW FUND

The Law Foundation of Ontario has launched a $14.6-million access-to-justice fund, which will be used to improve access to justice nationally.

The fund was created as a result of cy pres awards in the class action suit Cassano v. Toronto-Dominion Bank.

Cy pres awards are funds left over when not all of the money provided for in a class action settlement or award can be distributed directly to the plaintiffs. The courts can then distribute these funds to charitable causes.

It’s the first time a cy pres award has gone to the law foundation, which will direct the fund to law-related projects with a connection to one or more of five themes: linguistic minorities and people living in rural and remote areas; aboriginal people; individuals without legal representation; family violence; and consumer rights.

“Access to justice is at the core of our mission,” said law foundation chairman Mark Sandler. “So it is exciting to be able to make substantial additional funding available for projects where the need is so great and the potential impact so high.”

LSUC TREASURER TALKS CIVILITY

Law Society of Upper Canada Treasurer Derry Millar presented his proposals to improve civility to Convocation on May 27.

Millar’s key recommendations included increasing the availability of mentoring; providing education on civility as part of continuing professional development; developing an urgent response mechanism to respond to immediate issues; implementing an annual session on civility held by the chief justice’s advisory committee on professionalism; and increasing information to the public.

“It is essential for the administration of justice and the public’s respect for our system of justice that lawyers and paralegals act with civility and professionalism in their dealings with clients, each other, and the courts,” Millar said.

The proposals came after 11 meetings held across the province attracted more than 900 lawyers, paralegals, students, and judges to discuss the issue.

“The objective of the meetings was to provide an open forum to promote dialogue among lawyers and paralegals on the importance of civility,” Millar said.

“I am gratified that a great number of lawyers and paralegals participated in the meetings, demonstrating their ongoing commitment to best practices.”

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