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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

STRATAS ASCENDS TO THE BENCH

David Stratas, a partner with Heenan Blaikie LLP in Toronto has been appointed as a judge of the Federal Court of Appeal.

Stratas will take the spot vacated by Justice Pierre Blais, who was appointed chief justice of the court in September.

Stratas has been a partner at Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP as well as at Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP prior to joining Heenan.

His main practice areas are administrative law, constitutional law, aboriginal law, regulatory law, freedom of information, intellectual property, class actions, and commercial law.

FIRST LSUC PARALEGAL VOTE

The Law Society of Upper Canada is gearing up for paralegal elections in the new year.

For the first time, the province’s paralegals will vote for five representatives to serve on the LSUC’s Paralegal Standing Committee.

The committee, on which a number of benchers also sit, is charged with developing policy related to the governance and regulation of licensed paralegals. Two of the five paralegal representatives will also serve as benchers and can take part in Convocation.

The deadline for candidate nominations is Jan. 18, and voting takes place during the month of March.

$150 MILLION FOR LEGAL AID NOT ENOUGH

Legal Aid Ontario has submitted recommendations to the attorney general on how best to improve elements of Ontario’s justice system in light of increased provincial funding.

In September, the province announced an investment of $150 million over four years to legal aid.

Attorney General Chris Bentley asked LAO board chairman John McCamus to head up five different committees to examine the best use of the funding in the areas of major criminal cases, standard criminal cases, poverty law, family law, and immigration and refugee law.

The working groups, however, did not make any attempt to allocate costs to their recommendations.

“A common theme that was touched on by all of the committees was the insufficiency of $150 million over four years to deal with all of the problems that the committees’ recommendations are meant to address,” McCamus wrote in a letter to Bentley.

TOP LAWFIRM WEBSITES NAMED

The Canadian Bar Association has ranked the country’s best law firm web sites.

Several legal technology experts were asked to rank the sites in several different categories in the December issue of the CBA’s magazine National.

Ogilvy Renault LLP’s web site was ranked as the best among the big firms, while two Ontario firms, Hyndman Law and Neff Law Office Professional Corp. shared the small-firm award.

Torys LLP was named as having the best web site in Ontario, Hull & Hull LLP won in the multimedia category, and Davis LLP and Clark Wilson LLP were named as co-winners as having the best law blogs created and maintained by law firms.

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