Monday, April 26, 2010

Disgraced high-profile Montreal lawyer Claude F. Archambault was disbarred for four years on April 12 as penalty for being found guilty last summer of 111 counts of appropriating about $160,000 in retainers paid by 26 clients between 2002 and 2007 and then failing to place that money in a trust fund.

In handing down the 53-page decision, the Barreau du Québec''s disciplinary committee said it wants to "warn and prevent a recurrence (of Archambault''s actions), to meet the exemplary objective set for members of the profession, and to ensure the protection of the public."

Archambault, 68, was disbarred for six months in 1991 after being convicted by a disciplinary committee of inciting a witness to commit perjury and fabricate evidence. He successfully appealed and had that ban lifted.

The Criminal Lawyers’ Association has called for an inquiry into Ontario’s court interpretation services.

The move comes after the Ministry of the Attorney General revealed 34 per cent of 225 court interpreters tested were now unaccredited because they failed its new proficiency test and a further 31 per cent had gained only conditional accreditation because of a partial failure.

“The dismal results of these proficiency tests risk bringing the administration of justice into disrepute,” said Paul Burstein, president of the CLA. “In a very real sense, a person who does not understand the proceedings because of inadequate interpretation does not get a fair trial.”

Burstein wants the ministry to identify cases where inadequate interpretation may have led to miscarriages of justice.

“The ministry could start by simply identifying those cases in which interpreters who have failed the tests had provided the interpretation at trial,” he said.

Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP has been named Canadian firm of the year for patent prosecution for the third time running by a leading British legal publication.

Managing Intellectual Property Magazine handed out its North American awards in Washington on April 15, where Gowlings also won copyright case of the year for its involvement in the recent satellite royalties case.

Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP has added two new partners at its Toronto office.
Sandra Walker joins FMC’s national competition and antitrust group, while Vivek Bakshi takes his place in the national energy and corporate/commercial groups.

“Sandy’s depth of experience in competition, antitrust, and foreign-investment review law make her an ideal fit for our firm and our clients,” said Barry Zalmanowitz, a member of FMC’s national partnership board.

After graduating from Oxford University, Bakshi worked for an international law firm in London and Tokyo before immigrating to Canada.

“Vivek’s global experience and knowledge of the energy sector will be of great value to our diverse client base,” said Douglas Crowther, head of the firm’s national energy group.

The Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) will celebrate its 25th anniversary with an event honouring 15 female lawyers who have helped advance legislation promoting gender equality.

The event on Equality Day this Tuesday will also pay tribute to LEAF’s seven founders.
Equality Day marks the day in 1985 when s. 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into force, guaranteeing every individual equality before the law.

The event, to take place at the Toronto Reference Library’s Bram and Bluma Appel Salon from 6:30-9:30 p.m., will recognize lawyers who played important roles in landmark legislation, such as pay equity, sexual harassment, and maternity leave benefits.

In its 25 years, LEAF has intervened in more than 150 cases before the Supreme Court of Canada to challenge laws and policies that discriminate against women.
For a list of honourees, visit

A cast of lawyers will tread the boards for two nights in a fundraiser for a Toronto theatre company.

The Lawyer Show will feature 28 lawyers performing William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream on June 11 and 12 at the Berkeley Street Theatre. The proceeds will go to the Nightwood Theatre, which is devoted to the promotion of women’s theatre.

The production of the classic play features both men and women, drawing its cast from all sections of the legal profession, including sole practitioners, Bay Street lawyers, and paralegals.

In addition to ticket sales, a silent auction held after the show will raise funds for Nightwood. For tickets, call 416-944-1740, extension 5.

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