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Monday, Nov. 8, 2010

DISBARRED LAWYER COULDN’T GET HELP

Toronto lawyer Selwyn Milan McSween has been disbarred for his part in a mortgage fraud.

McSween was found to have knowingly assisted in fraudulent transactions on 10 properties that all took place within two years of his call to the bar in 2003.

After a contested hearing, McSween said he should be allowed to resign because he had acknowledged his ignorance of real estate law and had made attempts to get help from other members of the bar.

“I went to other lawyers, senior lawyers,” he told a Law Society of Upper Canada disciplinary panel at a penalty hearing. “I asked them for help. I wasn’t able to get help.”

But Bencher Ross Murray, writing for the panel, rejected his request.

“While we have no doubt that Mr. McSween is remorseful, his case does not raise circumstances that would allow us to simply permit him to surrender his licence.

Mr. McSween contested the hearing, blamed others, and continues, to an extent, to try to deflect blame for his actions.”

McSween was also ordered to pay $10,000 in costs, although counsel for the law society had asked for almost $70,000. McSween said he could afford only $5,000 because child support payments were eating into his $90,000 salary.

PROVINCE NAMES TWO NEW JUDGES

The province has announced two new appointments to the Ontario Court of Justice effective Nov. 10.

Justice Sheilagh O’Connell will preside in Milton, Ont., after almost 20 years in family law. She was a sole practitioner focusing on child protection.

In 1999, she joined Legal Aid Ontario, where she served most recently as director of family law services for the Greater Toronto Area.

Justice Kevin Sherwood will serve in Simcoe, Ont., following 26 years of practice in criminal law, family law, and civil litigation. He was a partner at firms in Port Elgin, Ont., before moving into solo practice in 2004.

FMC ON THE MOVE

Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP has relocated its Toronto office as it continues its corporate rebranding.

After 30 years at First Canadian Place, the firm is making the leap across King Street to the Toronto-Dominion Centre, where it will occupy floors two to seven. The move follows the launch of its new FMC brand in September.

“Moving to our new facility, iconic in Canada and among North America’s largest commercial centres, is another bold step FMC is taking on its journey of ongoing transformation to achieve our firm’s vision and long-term strategic goals,” said FMC CEO Chris Pinnington.

“The move is part of our motivation to serve and connect with our clients and our people in ways that are relevant and meaningful to them, while delivering superior business solutions to our clients’ legal challenges.”

BENNETT JONES TOPS EMPLOYER LIST

Bennett Jones LLP has been named one of the 10 best places to work in Canada.

The firm placed eighth in the 2011 best employers in Canada survey conducted by Aon Hewitt for Maclean’s and Queen’s University School of Business.

It’s the fifth consecutive year Bennett Jones has made the top 10 in the survey, which collects information from 134,000 employees at 251 organizations.

Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP also made the list, coming in 36th overall.

“It’s all about our people - great people - working together, doing great things,” said Scott Jolliffe, Gowlings’ chairman and CEO.

FEDS APPOINT THREE NEW JUDGES

Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has appointed three new judges to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

Justice Paul Henderson, a bencher with the Law Society of Upper Canada, becomes a judge with the family division in London, Ont.

He was called to the bar in 1983 and has been a sole practitioner since 2000 with a focus on family law, civil litigation, and wills. He became a bencher in 2006.

Also joining the bench is Justice Andrew Goodman, who will sit in Milton, where he has been an assistant Crown attorney since 2000. He was called to the bar in 1993 after 16 years with the RCMP.

In addition, Justice John McDermot, a partner with Craig Boswell McDermot in Barrie, Ont., will serve as a judge in Bracebridge.

He was called to the bar in 1982 and practised in family law, alternative dispute resolution, real estate, civil litigation, and wills at firms in Ontario and Alberta before joining Craig Boswell McDermot in 1998.

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