Monday, May 3, 2010

A Law Society of Upper Canada disciplinary hearing panel has revoked the licence of Anthony Stephen Rein and ordered him to pay $27,200 into the compensation fund in addition to the LSUC’s costs of $13,500. 

The panel found the Newmarket, Ont., lawyer had engaged in professional misconduct by misappropriating trust funds totalling $38,550 from 10 clients and failing to co-operate with the law society’s investigation.

The disciplinary hearing for two lawyers facing conflict of interest allegations related to the Conrad Black case got off to a sputtering start last week when Torys LLP admitted it had failed to provide the Law Society of Upper Canada with 41 CDs containing the equivalent of 168 boxes of relevant material.

Ronald Foerster, a partner at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP and counsel for Torys, called the error an “inadvertent omission.”

He went on to explain in excruciating detail to the law society panel how the materials could have fallen between the cracks while reiterating that all documents were now disclosed.

Darren Sukonick, a partner at Torys, and Beth DeMerchant, who is no longer practising, face charges related to their activities in the period between 2000 and 2003 when Black’s Hollinger empire sold its Canadian newspaper holdings to CanWest Global Communications Corp. and Osprey Media Holdings Inc.

Paul Stern, counsel for the law society, found out about the omission on April 19, a week before hearings were due to begin, when counsel for Sukonick and DeMerchant announced they planned to use documents contained in the 168 boxes.

“Assurances had been provided that productions had been made, where it turns out today they had not,” he said, calling the mix-up “a fiasco.”

William Simpson, chairman of the hearing panel, adjourned the matter until today, but a further meeting on Thursday revealed the parties would attempt to reconvene the hearing tomorrow.

“This has been set since last October, and it’s very unfortunate in this case that it was not until last week that it was discovered a number of documents were not produced,” Simpson said, noting the detriment to counsel, the lawyers facing the charges, the panel, and the public interest as a result of the delay.

For commentary on this issue, see "The Torys fiasco: who was doublechecking?"

Maclean’s and Canadian Business magazines have named Stikeman Elliott LLP one of Canada’s “Green 30” businesses.

The list honours organizations that incorporate environmental approaches into their business models and corporate culture.

Stikeman Elliott chairman Pierre Raymond pointed to the firm’s GoingGreen program as a contributing factor in the award. The program, which focuses on actions to reduce waste and improve energy efficiency, helped Stikemans become Canada’s first certified carbon-neutral firm in April 2009.

“We are thrilled that our firm members have embraced our organizational commitment to sustainable operations,” Raymond said. “Our people are the catalysts for many of the initiatives that we have undertaken.”

Andrew Fleming, a senior partner at Ogilvy Renault LLP, has won a 2010 Client Choice Award for banking in Canada.

The awards are handed out by the International Law Office to recognize law firms and partners around the world that stand apart for client care and service quality.

The organization whittled down a list of more than 2,000 individual assessments received from corporate counsel worldwide to name 201 winners.

The Ontario Bar Association is holding a town hall meeting with David McKillop, a vice president at Legal Aid Ontario, on Wednesday.

Members will have the opportunity to quiz McKillop on the transformation of legal aid currently underway. The event takes place from 12:30-2:30 p.m. at the OBA Conference Centre at 20 Toronto St. in Toronto.

Those wishing to register should call (416) 869-0513, extension 357. OBA members unable to attend can also participate via a no-fee provincewide interactive webcast.

Stikeman Elliott LLP has announced a change at the head of its national competition and antitrust group.
Paul Collins will leave the job to take up a senior post at the Competition Bureau, but will return to the position after his two-year stint there.

Lawson Hunter, who previously headed up the group between 1993 and 2003, will take over in Collins’ absence.

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