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Monday, September 5, 2012

U.S. FIRM OPENS KITCHENER OFFICE

New York firm Phillips Lytle LLP has set up shop in Kitchener, Ont.

The 177-year-old firm serves more than 200 Canadian clients with more than a dozen lawyers who will spend time in the new office providing U.S. legal counsel in areas such as corporate, tax, labour, and intellectual property law.

“Waterloo Region is a powerhouse of startup activity.

Phillips Lytle’s history with assisting innovative companies combined with our expertise in cross-border legal services makes this area in Ontario a natural fit for our first office outside of the U.S.,” said David McNamara, Phillips Lytle’s managing partner in Buffalo.

The office will be part of the Communitech Hub, an innovation centre that brings together entrepreneurs, multinational companies, and academic institutions to accelerate the development of digital media companies.

The hub, located in an old tannery in downtown Kitchener, already counts Google Inc. and Research In Motion Ltd. among its 28 tenants, as well as Canadian law firms Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP and Miller Thomson LLP.

U OF T PROGRAM LAUDED

The University of Toronto Faculty of Law’s Internationally Trained Lawyers program has won an international award for ingenuity in law.

The College of Law Practice Management awarded its 2011 InnovAction Award to the bridging program that helps internationally trained lawyers get qualified to practise law in Ontario.

The 10-month course, launched in 2010, gives students hands-on experience in the Canadian legal environment. It graduated its first class in March 2011.

The U.S.-based organization created the InnovAction Awards, now in their seventh year, to encourage creative thinking in the legal profession.

“Future survival of a vital and contributing legal profession now depends on the innovative, unstuffy thinking of a few individuals and organizations around the world.

It is the mission of the College of Law Practice Management to shine a spotlight on extraordinary thinking and impressive implementation to illustrate what can be accomplished when firms dare to take a risk,” said Merrilyn Astin Tarlton, past president of the college.

TORYS LANDS NOTED COMPETITION LAWYER

Dany Assaf has joined Torys LLP’s Toronto office as a partner in its competition and antitrust practice group.

Assaf, a leading lawyer in Investment Canada Act matters, was most recently at Bennett Jones LLP. He helped the firm launch its Abu Dhabi office.

Assaf speaks fluent Arabic and has developed relationships with sovereign wealth funds and other businesses in the Persian Gulf region as part of his practice.

Assaf is an adjunct professor of law at the University of Western Ontario and co-founded the first Islamic finance course at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management executive program.

LAWYER STYMIED IN LAKE SWIM

A London, Ont., lawyer was forced to abandon his bid to cross Lake Ontario last month with less than two kilometres left in his 50-kilometre endurance test.

Immigration lawyer Greg Willoughby entered at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., on the evening of Aug. 26 with a plan to arrive at Toronto’s Marilyn Bell Park 18 hours later.

The 41-year-old lawyer, who swam competitively in his youth, wore only a swimsuit and was covered in grease for insulation.

“This is kind of like my Mount Everest,” he told the Brantford Expositor before his swim. “It’s a big feat.”

But Willoughby had to abandon the swim 22 hours into it after he was unable to keep himself afloat. After a police boat picked him up, he was taken to St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

Willoughby has raised more than $7,000 so far for St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation. People can make donations at swim4mentalhealth.ca.

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