A Manitoba judge embroiled in a sex scandal has stepped aside while the Canadian Judicial Council investigates a complaint against her.
Lori Douglas, associate chief justice of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench family division, will continue in an administrative capacity until the complaint is dealt with.
Alexander Chapman, a former client of Douglas’ husband, Winnipeg lawyer Jack King, claims King showed him naked pictures of his wife performing sex acts posted on the Internet and pressured him to have sex with her.
Douglas and King were both lawyers at Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP in Winnipeg at the time. According to reports, Chapman signed a confidentiality agreement with King in 2003 in return for $25,000. Douglas was appointed to the bench two years later.
King’s lawyer, Bill Gange, told the CBC Douglas was unaware of the online pictures and King’s attempts to solicit his client to have sex with her.
Bruce Ryder, an associate professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, believes there’s a real chance Douglas will be removed from office but worries it will be for the wrong reasons.
He says the details so far show no evidence of misconduct on Douglas’ behalf and argues the allegations about her private life have no bearing on her integrity and independence as a judge.
“It’s obviously a tragic situation for her. Other judges may find the whole episode embarrassing and may feel it’s appropriate to restore public confidence in the judiciary by having her removed.
Frankly, I think it’s more important for us to educate the public about why there’s no reason to have any lack of confidence in her ability as a judge.”
FALCONER ELECTED BENCHER
Human rights lawyer Julian Falconer has been elected as a bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada.
Falconer, who was named one of the 25 most influential lawyers in Canada in the August edition of Canadian Lawyer magazine, was elected by benchers at a special Convocation held on Aug. 25.
He fills the spot vacated by Laurie Pawlitza when the Torkin Manes LLP partner was elected treasurer of the law society earlier this summer.
“Well, it’s an honour, thank you very much. I look forward to working with all of you,” Falconer told Convocation immediately after his election.
U OF T LAW PROF TO HEAD OSC PANEL
The Ontario Securities Commission has named University of Toronto law professor Anita Anand as chairwoman of its investor advisory panel.
Anand, an expert in securities law, will lead the panel created earlier this year to give investors a voice in the OSC’s work.
“I am pleased to have the opportunity to chair the investor advisory panel. The panel looks forward to contributing the perspectives of Ontario investors to the development of rules and policies that seek to protect their interests,” Anand said.
Lincoln Caylor, a commercial litigation partner at Bennett Jones LLP, was among six other appointees to the advisory group. They’ll each serve a two-year term on the panel, which holds its first meeting in September.
PRICHARD TO HELM TORYS
Torys LLP has a new chairman, Robert Prichard.
Prichard, who took over the newly created role on Sept. 4, is tasked with representing the firm, serving clients, and developing strategic opportunities for the future.
The former law professor served as president of the University of Toronto before moving to Torstar Corp. as president and CEO and then to Metrolinx to perform a similar role in 2009.
“I have tremendous respect for Rob and look forward to working with him,” said Torys managing partner Les Viner. “His broad experience in law and business makes him a terrific resource as an adviser to our clients, a mentor to our younger lawyers, and a member of our leadership team.”
For his part, Prichard noted his long-standing connection to the firm. “Since my days as a law student, I have had a long and close relationship with Torys and have always had the highest regard for the quality of the firm and its lawyers,” Prichard said.
“Torys has a special culture of fostering collegiality and professional excellence in the interest of serving clients exceptionally well.”
DOUG SCOTT MOVES TO FASKENS
Doug Scott has joined Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP as a partner in the firm’s Toronto office.
Scott made the jump from Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP, where he was national co-chairman of its mergers and acquisitions group.
Scott’s commercial law practice focuses on acquisitions and dispositions, private equity transactions, joint ventures, and corporate reorganizations. He also advises foreign clients on establishing or acquiring businesses in Canada.
“Doug is well known in the M&A market and will be a terrific addition to our local and global M&A practice,” said Faskens’ Ontario managing partner Wally Palmer.
“His experience leading large transaction teams and advising foreign companies on doing business in Canada is a great match with our firm’s growing M&A practice.”