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Monday, September 28, 2015

FRAUD CHARGE OVER LAO BILLINGS

Police in Hamilton, Ont., have laid two charges over allegations of $15,000 in overbilling to Legal Aid Ontario.

Charged with fraud over $5,000 and using a forged document is Omar Shabbir Khan, a 44-year-old resident of Stoney Creek, Ont. Police began investigating following a review of invoices by LAO’s audit and compliance unit. The alleged overbillings occurred between 2009 and 2013, police said in a media release on Sept. 17. Police released Khan on a promise to appear with a scheduled court appearance on Oct. 13. None of the allegations has been proven in court.

NEW PARTNER AT NORTON ROSE FULBRIGHT

Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP’s Ottawa office has a new partner with lawyer Martin Masse joining the firm.

Masse’s areas of practice include competition, international trade, and procurement matters. He also serves clients in federal regulatory matters such as aboriginal and telecommunications law.

“Martin is an outstanding addition to our international trade group and our antitrust and competition team,” said Pierre-Paul Henrie, managing partner of the firm’s Ottawa office.

“Our clients will benefit from his ability to provide timely and practical advice on complex regulatory issues.”

LEGAL SALARIES PROJECTED TO RISE

Despite the pessimism about the economy in general, Robert Half Legal expects positive trends when it comes to the market and salaries for lawyers next year.

“Hiring in the legal field is gaining momentum as law firms and companies respond to rising demand for legal services,” said Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal, as it released its annual salary guide last week.

Among other things, it predicts average starting salaries for lawyers at law firms to increase by 3.5 per cent in 2016. Robert Half also expects a three-per-cent increase for first-year associates over 2015 projections. “Law firms are expanding practice groups to support growth in real estate, corporate law, and litigation while legal departments are building teams to manage more legal matters in-house,” said Volkert.

LAW FIRMS RAISE $170K FOR RBC RUN

Law firms came out in force for the RBC Run for the Kids this month, raising more than $170,000 to support the family navigation project at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

Among the law firms participating was Wildeboer Dellelce LLP, Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, Goodmans LLP, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP, Stikeman Elliott LLP, Thornton Grout Finnigan LLP, and Torys LLP. They surpassed their goal of raising $150,000 for the third annual run that supports the Sunnybrook program to help parents navigate the mental-health system.

TWO LAWYERS ALLOWED TO RESIGN

The Law Society Tribunal has allowed a Toronto lawyer to surrender his licence over misconduct related to his statutory accident benefits practice.

Among other things, it found Erwin Weisdorf had failed to supervise the paralegals in his statutory accident benefits practice and abdicated his professional responsibilities in connection to it. On Sept. 15, the tribunal’s hearing division allowed him to surrender his licence to practise law.

The hearing division came to a similar conclusion in the case of George Flumian. It allowed him to surrender his licence after making findings of misconduct that included misappropriating money from funds held in trust on behalf of eight clients and registering mortgages against real property owned by two clients without their knowledge or consent.    

ROBOTICS PROF SOUGHT

With artificial intelligence a hot topic, the University of Windsor’s faculty of law has posted an interesting job opportunity for a professor of law, robotics, and society.

The tenure-track position is a response to the growing impact of automation on law and society, the university said in its job posting. The position starts July 1, 2016, with applications due by Nov. 13, 2015.

POLL RESULTS

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

According to the poll, 66 per cent of respondents disagree with the idea of restrictions on former judges making the leap into politics. The poll follows Conservative attacks on NDP candidate Carol Baird Ellan, a former B.C. judge now seeking elected office. The Conservatives have used some of her past rulings to suggest she’s soft on crime, a situation a political science professor has said reflects the risks faced by judges who seek elected office after leaving the bench.

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