Monday, November 7, 2011

The Law Society of Upper Canada’s articling task force has found articling shortages to be a long-term and pervasive problem in Ontario, according to a report to Convocation on Oct. 27.

“The current articling shortages are not a short-term problem resulting from difficult economic times,” according to the report. It added that “the problem of unplaced candidates cannot be dismissed as ‘the market weeding out weak candidates.’”

Other concerns included the lack of lawyers and firms able or willing to offer articling placements outside of large firms and government programs.

“If one of the goals of articling is to enhance the competence of candidates for licence by offering experiences in a range of practice structures, then limitations on the type and number of available placements may undermine that goal,” the report found.

The task force will provide a consultation document on the issue in December or January. It will then submit a final report to Convocation by the spring of next year.

Former Superior Court justice Lee Ferrier joined Neeson Arbitration Chambers on Nov. 1.

In his new role, Ferrier will operate an independent practice and provide mediation and arbitration services.

Ferrier, who spent more than 25 years as a litigation counsel with a focus on family law, retired from the Superior Court this year.

Gregory Cooper, a family law counsel, also joined Neeson Arbitration Chambers on Nov. 1.

Karen Groulx and Brian Cohen are among two staff changes at Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP.

In her new role at the firm, Groulx will work as a partner in FMC’s construction law group, litigation, and real estate groups. She’ll also advise on e-discovery matters.

Previously, Groulx worked as an associate and partner in the litigation department of FMC’s Toronto office.

“Karen is a welcome addition to the FMC construction law group,” said Mike Kaplan, FMC’s managing partner in Toronto.

“With Karen’s experience in both negotiating construction contracts and construction litigation, she is perfectly placed to provide our clients with practical and strategic advice.”
At the same time, Cohen joined FMC’s wealth management group last month.

In his new role, Cohen will focus on estate planning, trusts, and personal taxation.
“Brian will be invaluable in helping to lead the firm’s growing tax and estate planning practice for high net-worth individuals,” said Kaplan.

“Brian’s extensive experience and commitment to his community greatly aligns with FMC’s values and is a significant asset to our firm. We are very pleased Brian has decided to join FMC.”

Cohen is also a contributing editor of Federated Press’ Personal Tax and Estate Planning Journal.

The Law Society of Upper Canada has disbarred an Ontario lawyer in part over her financial dealings with clients.

In an order issued Oct. 19, an LSUC panel found Cornwall, Ont., lawyer Donna Marie Jones had failed to properly account for money she’d received in trust from two of her clients; failed to immediately deposit funds into a trust account for three clients; and failed to pay a judgment or order of the Superior Court in September 2006.

Among other things, the panel found Jones had advised her client to “nab his preschool-aged children” from his estranged wife and have the woman criminally charged in order to gain an advantage in ongoing criminal and matrimonial proceedings.

The Law Society of Upper Canada approved an amendment to the Quebec mobility agreement late last month to extend rights to Quebec notaries.

The amendment will allow notaries to apply for a Canadian legal adviser certificate.
If approved for the certificate, they’ll be able to give legal advice on the laws of Quebec or federal jurisdiction, legal matters involving public or international law, and draw up certain documents for cases.

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