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Monday, March 1, 2010

FORMER PREMIER JOINS CASSELS BROCK

Former Conservative premier Mike Harris is joining Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, the firm has announced.

The announcement came from Harris’ former political foe, Cassels Brock chairman David Peterson, a former Liberal premier.

The pair previously battled for the province’s top job in the 1990 election. “Even though we spent many years on opposite sides of the house, I have always respected Mike and I am delighted to have him with us at Cassels Brock,” Peterson said.

Petersen added Harris’ new role as a senior business adviser comes at the right time for the firm. “Over the past 10 years, Cassels Brock has gone through a period of growth that has transformed the nature of our practice and the level of service that we offer. Mike’s exceptional experience in business and government will be an invaluable resource to our clients.”

Harris added: “I’m excited about the opportunities at Cassels Brock and I very much look forward to making a contribution to the firm. They’ve got a great group of professionals, and I know we’ll enjoy working together.”

TRIBUNAL RULES AGAINST MONEY MART

Money Mart must amend its discrimination and harassment policy following an Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ruling against it last month.

The company also has to train its entire managerial staff about human rights after tribunal vice chairman Alan Whyte found that “numerous references in the evidence to the derogatory, insulting, and crude comments . . . created an uncomfortable, unwelcome, unprofessional, sexualized atmosphere.”

The victim was Marjorie Harriott who, according to the Human Rights Legal Support Centre that represented her, had told her district manager about the sexual harassment by her boss at a Toronto Money Mart office.

But in response, Whyte noted, the district manager “proceeded to attack the applicant about the validity of her complaint and whether she understood what sexual harassment was, despite the fact that she was the company representative who knew of the complaints that she had received in previous months from other female employees.”

Whyte added: “It must be borne in mind that sexual harassment is usually more about abuse of power and control than actual sexuality, and I find the applicant was very vulnerable to [the manager’s] authority and his ability to influence her job with the company.”

In addition to revising its policy, Money Mart must distribute it to every employee in Ontario. The tribunal also awarded Harriott $30,000 for the harm she suffered.

LECTURE ON GLOBAL CREDIT MARKETS

The University of Toronto Faculty of Law is holding an event about global credit markets this week.

The free public lecture and panel discussion will bring together leading players in the restructuring and insolvency fields to discuss the current conditions and outlook in global credit markets.

The guest speaker is New York University professor Edward Altman, while panellists include people such as Ken Coleman from New York firm Allen & Overy LLP and Dan Dowdall of Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP.

The event takes place on Wednesday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the law faculty’s Bennett lecture hall. For more information, see law.utoronto.ca.

SENIOR OFFICIAL RECEIVES OBA AWARD

Janet Minor, general counsel with the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, is this yearís recipient of the Tom Marshall Award of Excellence, the Ontario Bar Association has announced.

The award honours Ontario lawyers whose work focuses on representing the public interest. Minor, who has worked with the ministryís constitutional law branch since 1989, is involved in many activities in the legal community.

Besides serving as a Law Society of Upper Canada bencher, she is a trustee of the Law Foundation of Ontario and serves on the boards of the Ontario Lawyersí Assistance Program and the Ontario Justice Education Network.

Minor will receive the award at a dinner on April 19.

DAVIES GETS NEW LEADER

Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP gets a new managing partner this spring.

Shawn McReynolds, currently a member of the firm’s management committee, will take over the job on June 1.

He succeeds William M. O’Reilly, who retires from the position at the end of May. McReynolds has been a partner in the firm’s mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance and securities practices for more than 24 years.

LAWYERS GO BACK TO CLASS

The Law Society of Upper Canada has approved a new continuing professional development requirement that will have lawyers and licensed paralegals take 12 hours of educational activities a year.

Convocation voted in favour of the move last week.

“The introduction of the [continuing professional development] requirement confirms both the law society’s commitment to regulation in the public interest and the commitment of lawyers and paralegals to providing the highest level of service to clients,” said Treasurer Derry Millar.

The new requirement takes effect Jan. 1, 2011.

HOCKEY FUNDRAISER THIS WEEK

Howie Sacks & Henry LLP is hosting the fourth annual Personal Injury Bar Charity Hockey Challenge this Wednesday.

Last year, with more than 75 personal injury lawyers playing, the event raised more than $30,000 for spinal cord research. This year, it takes place at the Westwood arena in Toronto with the first game starting at 6 p.m.

For more information about getting involved or supporting the event, contact Michael J. Henry at 416-361-0889.

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