Monday, February 23, 2009

Law firms are searching for talent in the areas of insolvency, litigation, and labour and employment as the economy turns sour, reports Robert Half Legal.

The legal staffing company recently released its 2009 Salary Guide, reporting that firms are moving to beef up their presence in those areas to make the most of new opportunities.

“Law firms are in need of top talent to enhance their service offerings and grow revenue in a highly competitive business environment,” said Jonathan Veale, division director of Robert Half Legal in Toronto, in a release.

“While some firms are consolidating resources - in part as a response to contracting budgets - others are hiring experienced lawyers who can contribute to building niche practice groups.”

The report suggests that corporations will seek lawyers with at least three years of general corporate and securities law experience who have litigation management experience.Meanwhile, law firms will pursue lawyers with five or more years of experience dealing with complex bankruptcy matters.

Also, with organizations shrinking their staffing levels to cut costs, lawyers with at least three years of labour and employment experience will be in high demand, according to the report.

Mediacorp Canada Inc. has again named Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP one of “Canada’s Best Diversity Employers,” making it the only law firm on the list.

“Diversity in any workplace is important and Blakes has made equity and diversity a top priority,” said firm chairman Brock Gibson, in a release.

“A diverse workplace with people from different cultures and with different perspectives makes us more effective when representing our multinational clients and competing in an international marketplace.”

Mediacorp has named Blakes one of “Canada’s Top 100 Employers” for the past six years and one of “Greater Toronto’s Top 75 Employers” for the past three.

Blakes’ equity and diversity initiatives include projects such as the periodically published Blakes Bulletin on Equity & Diversity, relevant seminars, and many other initiatives.

The International Bar Association has unveiled a new, wiki-style web site that aims to improve access to non-judicial methods of resolving disputes between companies and society.

“This comprehensive and interactive web site will benefit many in global society by spreading information about dispute resolution resources to those who need it,” said John Sherman, co-chairman of the IBA corporate social responsibility committee, in a release.

“The beneficiaries will include companies and the people and communities they affect, as well as lawyers, courts, dispute resolution professionals, non-governmental organizations, environmental bodies, academics, and government officials.

Over time, the increased information will help to reduce the critical deficiency in awareness and facilitate the prompt and fair resolution of disputes between business and society.”

The web site,, also will serve as a learning centre for anyone interested in how to resolve these disputes outside a courtroom.

The IBA said it will increase public understanding as to how the various mechanisms are viewed by key stakeholder groups, what patterns are emerging in settled disputes, and how these might impact the development of policies, procedures, and standards in order to prevent future disputes.

William G. McMurray has been appointed Vice-chairperson of the Canada Industrial Relations Board effective March 31.

“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. McMurray,” said Labour Minister Rona Ambrose in a release. “The Canada Industrial Relations Board will certainly benefit from his extensive knowledge and valuable experience in labour and employment law.”

McMurray has practised administrative law since 1986, specializing in labour and employment law. He has acted as counsel for some of Canada’s largest employers in the federal transportation and telecommunications sectors.

He has appeared before and successfully handled a number of complex cases before the Canada Industrial Relations Board, the Canada Appeals Tribunal, the Canada Transportation Agency and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

McMurray studied common law and civil law at the University of Ottawa and studied political science at Université Laval. He has been teaching law course at McGill University since 2000.

McCarthy Tétrault LLP has announced the firm has promoted 11 of its lawyers to equity partnership.
“I am delighted to recognize the accomplishments of these lawyers and their outstanding commitment to client service,” said W. Iain Scott, the firm’s chairman and CEO in a release.

“Their commitment to helping our clients succeed, and their exceptional team and legal skills will enhance our capacity to handle the most complex international, national and local matters, and to maintain our leadership position in the Canadian legal market.”

The new equity partners are:
Paul Armitage (Vancouver) Business

Steeves Bujold (Montreal) Litigation
Frédéric Cotnoir (Montreal) Business
Tina Giesbrecht (Calgary) Labour & Employment

Peter Goode (Calgary) Business

Trevor Lawson (Toronto) Labour & Employment

Greg Liakopoulos (Calgary) Real Property & Planning

George Maziotis (Montreal) Business

Ian Michael (Toronto) Business

Sven Milelli (Vancouver) Business

Dan Sears (Calgary) Business

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