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Monday, August 10, 2015

OSLER OPENS VANCOUVER OFFICE

Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP is expanding with the opening of a new Vancouver office this week.

The new office will initially have three senior partners, according to the firm. “Our clients have been encouraging us to establish a presence in this increasingly important market, with its links to industries of strategic importance to us and to the U.S. and Asia, and we’re delighted to do so,” said Dale Ponder, Osler’s managing partner.

“We’re launching our office with our newest partner, and Vancouver’s technology market leader, Mark Longo, as co-chair of our emerging companies practice. Mark will be joining Tom Isaac, the leader of our aboriginal practice, and Karen Sharlow, former justice of the Federal Court of Appeal, who is a member of our market-leading national tax litigation team. We anticipate the office will grow along with the needs of our clients.”

The new office, which will open on Aug. 12, will initially focus on emerging technology companies and investors, but the firm expects it to evolve quickly.

ROBERT BELL JOINS LERNERS

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP’s Robert Bell has left the firm to join Lerners LLP as a partner.

“Rob is a highly respected senior litigation counsel. We are honoured to have him join Lerners and add strength and depth to many of our practice areas,” says Brian Grant, managing partner of Lerners in Toronto.

“Rob brings a diverse practice and a solid reputation for collegiality and professionalism. In addition to his reputation for legal excellence, he is known as a trusted adviser and mentor to many.”

A civil litigator, Bell has expertise in product liability cases, class proceedings, and complex commercial and defamation matters, according to Lerners. “I’m joining a terrific group of litigation counsel,” said Bell.

“I am looking forward to contributing at a senior level on a wide range of mandates including class action defence and commercial cases.”

SUDBURY LAWYER DISBARRED

The Law Society Tribunal has disbarred Sudbury, Ont., lawyer Helen Florentis.

Florentis’ acts of misconduct include failing to serve five clients; misleading and failing to account to a client; practising while a suspension order was in effect during July and August 2011; and advising parties and counsel that she had obtained an order to transfer a matter to Sudbury when that wasn’t the case.

According to a summary of the July 21 order, Florentis also failed to co-operate with two investigations by the Law Society of Upper Canada.

POLL RESULTS

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

According to the poll, 49 per cent of respondents believe a recent constitutional challenge of Bill C-51 is likely to succeed.

The poll follows a July 27 story about the challenge brought before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Canadian Journalists for Free Expression. The challenge targets five components of Bill C-51: three sets of amendments to existing laws — the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, and the Criminal Code — and two new pieces of legislation — the Secure Air Travel Act and the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act.

Only 10 per cent of respondents felt the challenge is likely to fail while the remaining participants in the poll believe the courts will uphold some aspects of the law and reject others.

CLINIC FUNDING ANNOUNCED

Legal Aid Ontario has announced new funding for legal clinics based on the needs of the particular areas they serve.

Last month, LAO announced it would provide $1.5 million in funding to support legal clinics serving areas with the highest number of people living in

poverty.

The need-based allocation of funds means that, so far, clinics such as Kensington-Bellwoods Community Legal Services in Toronto have seen no increase in funding while the Community Legal Clinic of York Region is getting a 65-per-cent boost in financial support.

The allocation strategy recognizes the inequalities in funding that have developed as poverty has shifted, said Cynthia Harper, LAO’s director general for the Toronto central district.

“Poverty has moved,” said Harper. “The money is being allocated where the greatest need is.”

In the Greater Toronto Area, that means funding will follow poverty in areas such as Scarborough, Brampton, Etobicoke, North York, and Mississauga, according to Harper.

“Some clinics were finding that they had to serve this great number of people but they didn’t have the same financial resources per low-income person,” said LAO spokeswoman Genevieve Oger.

“So legal aid has opted to increase the financial resources of clinics that have the fewest resources per low-income person.” 

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