Monday, October 25, 2010

Brampton, Ont., lawyer Amrik Birdi has been disbarred for his role in a mortgage fraud scam.

A Law Society of Upper Canada panel found that between February 2003 and April 2006, Birdi acted for parties in 11 fraudulent mortgage transactions worth a total of $3.3 million. In six of those cases, he represented the vendor, purchaser, and lender without the consent of his lender clients.

Birdi was called to the bar in 2000, nine years after he arrived in Canada from India, where he was also a real estate lawyer.

The law society probe into Birdi’s conduct was stymied when he went missing from his practice. Investigators haven’t had contact with him since an interview in 2007.

The hearing proceeded without him after the panel decided the LSUC’s attempts at service were good enough to go ahead.

Birdi was also ordered to pay $57,000 in costs to the law society.

The province has nominated Howard Wetston, a former Federal Court judge, as chairman and CEO of the Ontario Securities Commission.

Wetston, who was a judge between 1993 and 1999, left the bench to join the OSC, where he served as its vice chairman until 2003.

Since 2003, Wetston has been chairman and CEO of the Ontario EnergyBoard. His appointment, which must be confirmed by the legislature,puts him in charge of administration and enforcement of the SecuritiesAct.

He will also work with the Canadian Securities Transition Office as it attempts to establish a national securities regulator.

“Howardknows the OSC, the quality of its people, and its work as an effectivesecurities regulator,” said outgoing OSC chairman and CEO David Wilson.

“I offer my best wishes to him in the role of guiding the OSCthrough the immediate challenges of regulating the province’s capitalmarkets.”

Ogilvy Renault LLP is going mobile.

The firm has launched a series of mobile applications delivering content to clients through BlackBerrys, iPhones, and other smartphones. The BlackBerry application is a first for a Canadian law firm.

“We go where our clients go. Many are mobile, and the number is growing,” said Lise Monette, Ogilvys chief marketing officer.

“Our applications will allow them to get the information they want about us quickly and in the way they want it. If we’re able to use a current technology to provide value to our clients, we’ll make the most of it.”

BlackBerry and iPhone devices will each have a dedicated mobile application, allowing access to resources including publications, videos, biographies, and news.

A third platform is a mobile version of the firm’s web site that users can access through any smartphone browser. The new applications can be downloaded from the firm’s web site at

Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree as part of the fall convocation ceremonies at Ryerson University.

Last Wednesday, the first female chief justice received the degree and gave the convocation address to students. She was first appointed to the top court in 1989 and was made chief justice 11 years later in 2000.

Stikeman Elliott LLP has been named one of Canada’s 100 top employers for the third year running. It is the only law firm to make the list.

The annual survey by Mediacorp Canada Inc. identified the top employers based on factors such as training and mentorship, diversity, and social responsibility.

“This recognition is a tremendous reflection of our people,” said Stikemans chairman Pierre Raymond.

“To be selected three years in a row is testament to their dedication, commitment, and creativity, particularly in recent years, where employers and employees are finding their way in a changed world economy."

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP has elected Martin Denyes as the firm’s Ontario regional managing partner.

Denyes will replace Wally Palmer when his term expires in February after four years in the job. Palmer will return to his practice at the firm.

“Martin is a terrific choice to now take on this leadership role, having already distinguished himself in our labour and employment practice and as a member of our finance committee and U.S. business development initiative,” said David Corbett, Faskens’ managing partner.

“I am delighted to have been selected by my peers to lead our Ontario offices,” Denyes said.

Federal Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart has won the Ontario Bar Association’s Karen Spector Memorial Award for Excellence in Privacy Law.

She picked up the award at a ceremony in Toronto last Monday as the OBA’s privacy law section singled her out for her role in establishing Canada as a leading regulator on privacy issues.

“During her tenure as privacy commissioner of Canada, Commissioner Stoddart has transformed the Office of the Privacy Commissioner into a pre-eminent privacy regulator in Canada and around the world,” said Laura Davison, chairwoman of the OBA’s privacy law section.

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