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Monday, March 21, 2011

LAWYER RAPPED FOR INCIVILITY

A Law Society of Upper Canada hearing panel has found Toronto lawyer Ernest Guiste guilty of professional misconduct for uncivil behaviour.

Guiste had admitted to much of the law society’s account of his conduct in an agreed statement of facts but denied it constituted misconduct. The panel, however, sided with the LSUC in finding four particulars of misconduct.

One stemmed from a mediation session in which Guiste replied to a settlement offer by telling opposing counsel to “shove it up your ass.”

He also swore during the meeting. The panel rejected Guiste’s claim that the confidentiality agreement signed by the parties should have shielded him from prosecution.

“The panel is asked by the lawyer to subscribe to the proposition that closed mediation cannot occur with total adherence to professionalism and good conduct in accordance with the Rules of Professional Conduct,” adjudicator Adriana Doyle wrote on behalf of the panel. “The panel does not agree with that proposition.”

Two other findings concerned chains of correspondence between Guiste and the same opposing lawyer that the panel decided were abusive and offensive. He called his opponent’s client a “cash cow” and told one associate she would “burn in hell” for failing to consent to his late filing of a document.

Guiste claimed he found the opposing firm difficult to deal with and was trying to make light of a difficult situation.

“The lawyer appears to have lost respect for his opposition which, in his view, grants him the right to use a condescending tone when dealing with other lawyers on the file and the assistant,” Doyle wrote.

The panel also found Guiste guilty of failing to treat the court with courtesy and respect for comments made to a judge after the lawyer missed a judicial pretrial.

The court found the comments “sarcastic and offensive and discourteous,” according to the decision.

A penalty hearing will take place at a later date.

For more on this story, see "LSUC civility crusade sparks debate."

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LAWYERS NAMED TO PAROLE BOARD[/span]

Two Ontario lawyers are among eight new appointments to the Parole Board of Canada unveiled on March 8 by Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.

Douglas Hummell of St. Catharines, Ont., has been appointed as a part-time member of the board. He has worked for law firms in St. Catharines, including Pedwell and Makowy and Freeman Frayne & Hummell.

Between 2008 and 2011, he also sat on the advisory committee on judicial appointments for Ontario west and south.  

Another part-time appointment, Theodore Nemetz of Toronto, was previously chairman of the Consent and Capacity Board of Ontario and acted as its senior lawyer in the adjudication Mental Health Act issues. He has also worked as a part-time Crown attorney and adjudicator for the Indian residential schools project.

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FORMER TAX JUDGE DIES[/span]

Former Tax Court of Canada judge Murray Mogan died last week at the age of 81.

According to a notice in the Toronto Star, he died peacefully at home on March 13.  

Mogan grew up in Paris, Ont., and was called to the bar in 1958 after graduation from the University of Toronto.

He practised law at government departments in Ottawa before joining Miller Thomson LLP in 1969. After 30 years as a tax lawyer, he was appointed a judge of the Tax Court of Canada in 1988.

“His keen mind, joie de vivre, wise counsel, and passion for life will be greatly missed,” reads the notice.

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CASSELS BROCK LAWYER HONOURED[/span]

Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP partner Deborah Grieve has won the International Women’s Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation’s 2011 Fetner Award.

The organization, a global network of more than 1,000 professionals, fosters business relationships, advanced education, and leadership development in the area of insolvency and restructuring for women in a variety of fields, including law, accounting, finance, and turnaround management.

The Fetner Award honours a distinguished member who has provided an exceptional contribution to the organization over the past year.

Grieve is currently president of the organization’s Canadian network.

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UWO DEAN GOES WEST[/span]

Ian Holloway, dean of law at the University of Western Ontario, is going west to take a post at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law.

The much-travelled Holloway collected degrees at Dalhousie University, the University of California at Berkeley, and the Australian National University before becoming associate dean there in 1999.

He took up the dean’s job at Western in 2000 and has also been a visiting professor at the National University of Singapore and a visiting scholar at the University of Cambridge.

“Dr. Holloway brings demonstrated leadership at a decanal level and an outstanding commitment to excellence in teaching and research,” said Elizabeth Cannon, president and vice chancellor at the University of Calgary.

Holloway, whose research focuses on administrative law and legal history, begins his term on July 1.

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UPCOMING SEDONA EVENT[/span]

The Sedona Conference is now accepting applications to register for its third annual international program on cross-border discovery and data privacy.

This year’s program will take place June 22-23 at the Penha Longa Hotel in Estoril, Portugal.

Leading jurists, government officials, in-house counsel, and private practitioners will tackle issues associated with processing and transferring information in cross-border litigation and regulatory matters.

The program is designed for in-house counsel, litigators, chief privacy officers, and others who routinely deal with the cross-border exchange of data. Only 70 spots are available for selected invitees.

To apply for the program, visit thesedonaconference.org/conferences/intl/20110622.

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FASKENS’ P3 GROUP RECOGNIZED[/span]

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP’s infrastructure and public-private partnerships group has been recognized as a leader in its field by Infrastructure Journal’s annual league tables and awards.

Faskens was ranked the top firm in North America for public-private partnerships and also placed in three other categories.

Based in Britain, Infrastructure Journal offers insight and data services for global infrastructure and project finance. The league tables measure market activity for legal, technical, and finance professionals engaged in the investment in and development of infrastructure assets.

“Our team is composed of multidisciplinary lawyers in Europe and North America. These tremendous results speak volumes about the depth of our team,” said David Corbett, Faskens’ managing partner.

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