Monday, October 3, 2011

More than 150 lawyers and academics have teamed up to launch the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers.

Lorne Waldman, a Toronto immigration lawyer and the new organization’s first president, said the group will promote just and consistent practices in the treatment of refugees across Canada.

“The treatment of detained refugee claimants on the West Coast and arbitrary detention proposed in recent government legislation were a call to arms for all those concerned about basic principles of justice,” he said.

“More than ever, lawyers and academics across Canada must co-ordinate their efforts to protect human rights, preserve the Charter, and defend asylum seekers.”

The association promises to intervene before the courts and Parliament and offer support to refugee counsel across Canada.

Jeffrey Lem, author of the The Dirt column in Law Times, is leaving Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP after more than a decade there as a partner in its Toronto real estate group.

Lem will continue his practice from the Toronto and Markham, Ont., offices of Miller Thomson LLP. 
Lem’s real estate practice includes the acquisition, disposition, leasing, development, and financing of several large real estate projects and portfolios. He’ll also be working on Miller Thomson’s global initiative in China.

“Miller Thomson has added enhanced capabilities, depth, and resources in many core and specialty areas of expertise in the firm,” said Nora Osbaldeston, office managing partner of Miller Thomson in Toronto and Markham.

“Having Jeff join us adds to our current bench strength and leaves us well-positioned to help domestic and international decision-makers with their real estate and other Canadian legal needs.”

Toronto lawyer John McKellar will pick up the Edmund C. Bovey Award for lifetime achievement in arts leadership this week.

The WeirFoulds LLP partner emeritus has spent 50 years advising, counselling, and volunteering in Canadian arts and culture. He’ll receive the award at the Business for the Arts gala on Oct. 6 at the Carlu in Toronto.

During his career, McKellar has chaired the Toronto Arts Council, was vice chairman of the Ontario Arts Council Foundation and the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, and has also served as a director on a number of boards.

“It is a great honour for me to receive this award, especially so because I knew Ed Bovey and greatly admired what he was able to do for the arts,” said McKellar.

“I also know many of the previous recipients and their accomplishments so I’m delighted to be considered worthy of joining them as winner of this award.”

Heenan Blaikie LLP has boosted its Paris office with the hiring of Jean-Jacques Essombè Moussio as partner.

Essombè Moussio will head up the banking and financing practice at the Paris office. He brings with him extensive knowledge of Africa and its financial institutions.

He has been advising French and international financial institutions for almost 20 years on topics such as lending, financing, restructuring, financial market regulation, and investment funds.

McMillan LLP is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its Montreal office.

“We’re delighted to mark this important milestone in the firm’s history,” said Charles Chevrette, McMillan’s office management partner in Montreal.

“We cherish our deep roots in Montreal and in the province of Quebec and look forward to serving this diverse and dynamic market for years to come.”
The firm traces its roots in Montreal back to 1951.

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