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Monday, October 22, 2012

TORONTO LAWYER JOINS DIVERSITY PROGRAM

Baker & McKenzie LLP partner Donna Walwyn is the first Canadian participant in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity’s fellows program.

The council, a U.S. organization involving top general counsel and managing partners, launched the fellows program as a structured mentoring effort aimed at identifying high-potential lawyers from diverse backgrounds.

The goal is to encourage a diverse generation of promising lawyers with strong leadership and relationship skills and a commitment to diversity at their firms and within the profession.

"We are proud to have Donna represent our office and our firm in the prestigious LCLD program," said Kevin Coon, managing partner of Baker & McKenzie’s Toronto office.

"Donna is a highly skilled and talented pensions and employee benefits lawyer and a person of great character."

For Walwyn, the opportunity is an honour. "I am truly honoured to be the first Canadian selected for the LCLD fellows program," she said.

JOT STATS ACROSS ONTARIO

As Law Times once again took a look at the Justice on Target project last week, particularly in regards to several Toronto-area courthouses reviewed during an earlier evaluation, the province also released statistics on how it fared at individual courthouses across Ontario.

While the project has fallen short of its ambitious targets overall, in some towns and cities there have been striking improvements in criminal court efficiency.

In Oshawa, Ont., for example, the average days to disposition is down to 169 from 231 in 2007. The average number of appearances, meanwhile, has fallen to 8.5 from 10.9 five years ago.

That's according to the latest statistics released by the Ministry of the Attorney General about the project launched with the aim of reducing both days to disposition and appearances by 30 per cent by 2012.

Attorney General John Gerretsen credits simple things for the improvements at courthouses like the one in Oshawa.

"The signage is a lot better," he says, noting efforts to provide more information to the accused from the outset, particularly when it comes to disclosure, have been making a difference in terms of ensuring court appearances are more meaningful. As well, technological improvements have played a role.

Other courthouses that have seen significant success include Kingston, Ont., where the average days to disposition was 125 this year. That’s down from 177 in 2007.

Appearances have fallen as well to 6.9 from 9.7. The courthouse in Barrie, Ont., has also shown positive results with days to dispositiondown to 171 from 240.

Some cities, however, saw worsening numbers. In Ottawa, days to disposition increased slightly to 208 from 207 and appearances rose to 9.3 from 9.2.

But that situation pales in comparison to Hamilton, Ont., where days to disposition skyrocketed to 237 from 157 five years ago and appearances rose to 9.3 from 8.5.

FMC LAUNCHES MICROSITE ON PRIVATE BUSINESS

Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP has launched a new microsite aimed at private business owners.

The new site, canadianprivateenterprise.com, will provide insights and news on matters such as intellectual property and tax and estate planning.

Lawyers Anna Balinsky, Laurence Geringer, and Ted Shoub will write and edit content on the site.

POLL RESULTS

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

According to the poll, many Law Times readers aren’t on board with Windsor Law’s policy on who its legal aid program will represent in domestic violence cases.

Recently, the law school found itself in hot water following reports its Community Legal Aid program would no longer represent accused men in such cases but would continue to provide services to accused women. The school has since said it would represent neither gender in such cases.

Readers, however, are skeptical. According to the poll, 73 per cent of respondents answered no to the question of whether the school had the right policy.

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The Law Society of Upper Canada’s governing body has approved a proposal to create a new licence for paralegals that would train them in some aspects of family law such as form completion, uncontested divorces and motions to change. Do you agree with this move?
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