Monday, April 16, 2012

Alan Sweatman, founding member of Winnipeg law firm Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP, has died at the age of 91.

Sweatman joined Thompson Dorfman Sweatman in the 1970s after returning from naval service in 1945 and developing a successful business practice in Manitoba.

During his time at the firm, Sweatman served on the boards of several national corporations and developed a large commercial law practice.

He was known for his intelligent and hardworking approach and eternal curiosity that Thompson Dorfman Sweatman partner James Ripley says was the key to his success as a lawyer.

“His principles set him apart,” says Ripley. “He had very high principles and was totally fearless when it came to defending something that he knew in his heart was right.

But he didn’t do it in a sanctimonious way. He was a card-on-the-tables type of guy who had a remarkable ability to peer into the future.”

Sweatman also believed lawyers should develop a broad view of the world and understand things beyond the practice of law, Ripley adds.

“He was a very accomplished skier and sailor and a great reader. Even very close to the time of his death, he was reading everything from bestselling novels to Homer. He even skied until he was 80. Alan really influenced a lot of lawyers at our firm over the years.”

Sweatman, a Winnipeg native, retired from Thompson Dorfman Sweatman in the 1990s.
A funeral service will take place April 16 at 1 p.m. at the Westminster United Church in Winnipeg.

Miller Thomson LLP, Ryerson University, the Ryerson Students’ Union, and Pro Bono Law Ontario are teaming up to offer pro bono legal services to students.

The services will be available to full- and part-time students through a monthly legal clinic and will focus on business startups, employment law, personal tax, and consumer issues.

Lawyers from Miller Thomson will also oversee teams of Ryerson commerce students who will provide advice to student entrepreneurs.

“Many students face uncertainties surrounding the legal implications of money, taxes, and employment,” said Gerald Courage, chairman of Miller Thomson.

“This effort will provide important guidance for students working hard to keep their studies on track and supports young entrepreneurs. Offering legal services to students on a pro bono basis is part of our overall effort to support this country’s future business and civic leaders.”

The clinics take place on the third Thursday of each month.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson made two appointments to the Ontario Court of Appeal last week.

Superior Court Justice Edward Ducharme, regional senior judge for the southwest region, and Justice Sarah Pepall are joining the appeal court bench.

Ducharme replaces Justice Michael Moldaver, while Pepall takes the spot of Justice Andromache Karakatsanis. Moldaver and Karakatsanis moved to the Supreme Court of Canada last year.

Other appointments include Justice James Turnbull, who becomes regional senior judge for the Superior Court’s central south region as of April 30. He replaces Justice Stephen Glithero, who now becomes a puisne judge of the Superior Court in Simcoe, Ont.

Lastly, Siskinds LLP lawyer Denise Korpan joins the Superior Court’s family division in London, Ont. She replaces Justice M.E. Marshman, who became a supernumerary judge last year.

York University won’t proceed with plans to establish a program in international law through a partnership with the Centre for International Governance Innovation.

York vice president Patrick Monahan made the announcement in light of the university’s conclusion that it couldn’t establish the program without the “necessary support” of faculty.

Over the past several months, York and CIGI worked on a partnership agreement to set up a graduate program in international law along with 10 chairs and funding for 20 students.

Several members of the university’s faculty had spoken out against the corporate partnership due to concerns over the impact on academic freedom.

“We know for this initiative to be successful, however, it required broad support from the university, including Osgoode Hall Law School,” said Monahan.

“The outcome of the Osgoode faculty council meeting today indicates that the necessary support is not present and, accordingly, we cannot proceed.”

The Canadian Bar Association is calling for nominees for its John Tait Award of Excellence.

The award recognizes the accomplishments of a public-sector lawyer or law office that has made significant contributions to social justice and community affairs.

The deadline for nominations is April 30. For more information, see

The annual real estate law summit takes place this week at the University of Toronto.

The two-day program will cover issues related to small developers, business owners, buyers and sellers of residential and recreational property, mortgage lenders, and borrowers.
For more information, see

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