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Monday, 19 January 2015 08:00

Why is personal injury bar so against ABS?

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With alternative business structures promising to be a key focus of debate for the legal profession this year, it’s clear significant opposition will be coming from at least one part of the bar: personal injury lawyers. But what is it about the idea that has them so worried?
The Ontario Court of Justice says it’s taking steps to better assess estimates of trial times after a judge in Halton region lamented “a chronic problem” of counsel lowballing the time it would take to complete a matter.
Monday, 19 January 2015 08:00

Editorial: Beer battles brewing

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It’s turning out to be the year the Beer Store finally came under major scrutiny.
It has become accepted wisdom that Ontario’s civil justice system is in crisis. While some areas of civil procedure have recently received considerable attention from those looking at reform, most notably summary judgment, the discussions have largely ignored other aspects. One of them is the law on pretrial motions to resolve questions of law.
Monday, 19 January 2015 08:00

Guarded optimism for 2015

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As falling oil prices add another wrinkle to already-uncertain economic conditions, several law firms are expressing guarded optimism that they’ll be able to weather the storm and continue to adapt to changing markets this year.
The promise of a fledgling industry about to burst onto the Canadian scene has led many to startups lining up to cash in on green gold.
PAUL SCHABAS BECOMES LFO CHAIR
The Law Foundation of Ontario has a new chairman with Paul Schabas taking over the role from Mark Sandler.

Schabas took on the role on Jan. 1 after serving as a trustee since 2007. A media lawyer and partner at Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP, he has also served as chairman of Pro Bono Law Ontario and a director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. He’s currently a bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada as well.

“I look forward to building on the significant achievements of my predecessor,” said Schabas of his new role.

16 NEW PARTNERS AT GOWLINGS
Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP has admitted 16 new partners at its offices across Canada and Britain.

Five of the new partners are in Ontario. Commercial litigation lawyer Brent Arnold, corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions lawyer Rob Blackstein, and restructuring and insolvency lawyer Frank Lamie have joined the Toronto office. Procurement lawyer Stephanie Pearce is now a partner at the Ottawa office while the Hamilton, Ont., office of Gowlings has welcomed business lawyer Pam Vermeersch to the partnership.

“We pride ourselves on having the top talent at Gowlings,” said Scott Jolliffe, Gowlings chairman and chief executive officer. “Our new partners are exemplars of the outstanding depth of experience and expertise we offer across Canada and internationally. They are also highly attuned to what our clients expect from their external counsel — trusted legal advisers who consistently deliver exceptional service, value, and results.”

RICHARD MAHONEY JOINS HANSELL LLP
Public policy lawyer Richard Mahoney has joined Hansell LLP.

Firm founder Carol Hansell said Mahoney, who was previously an adviser to former prime minister Paul Martin, is an important addition to the firm.

“Richard will add a valuable new dimension to the advice we provide. Government is an important stakeholder for many of our clients. Richard’s deep public policy experience will be an enormous asset,” she said.

Mahoney focuses on public policy, issue management, regulatory affairs, and governance matters.

He has made previous attempts at federal office under the Liberal party banner in the past and, according to the Ottawa Citizen, he’ll be seeking the Liberal nomination in Ottawa West-Nepean for the upcoming federal election.

NEW ADDITION AT JAMS
Former Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP partner Timothy Unwin has joined JAMS in Toronto.

Unwin will serve as an arbitrator and mediator at JAMS. “Tim has a reputation for efficiently grasping and managing complex matters,” said Chris Poole, president and chief executive officer of JAMS.

“His varied experience working with corporations and parties to reach resolution makes him an excellent addition to our panel in Toronto.”

For his part, Unwin said he has been a proponent of mediation and arbitration for many years. “I look forward to continue doing this important work and joining the supremely capable team in Toronto.”

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

According to the poll, more than half of respondents are optimistic about legal business prospects in 2015 with 54 per cent agreeing that the coming year couldn’t get worse for the industry than 2014. But the rest of participants weren’t so sure about that, saying the headwinds remain strong this year as well.
Should members of the bar who haven’t been practising law for some time be eligible to join the bench, including the Ontario Court of Appeal?
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Should Ontario end the Beer Store monopoly?
Yes, it's time to allow true competition.
No, the government should focus on improving the current system.