Monday, October 4, 2010

Toronto lawyer Karim Nurdin Mohamed has been disbarred for his role in a number of fraudulent mortgage deals.
A Law Society of Upper Canada panel found he had knowingly assisted vendor or purchaser clients to obtain mortgage funds under false pretences in transactions on eight properties.

It also found he had paid out the proceeds from sales to parties with no interest in the transactions and acted for multiple parties despite a conflict of interest.

The decision released last week also ordered Mohamed to pay $15,000 in costs to the law society.

Toronto lawyer Dunstan Dan Senjule has appealed the Law Society of Upper Canada’s revocation of his licence less than a month after he was disbarred for his role in mortgage fraud.

Senjule claims the hearing panel breached the standards of natural justice twice by refusing him brief adjournments for medical reasons during his hearing.

On the second occasion, the panel said it would only agree to the adjournment if he agreed not to practise law until the final disposition of the matter.

Senjule was disbarred after the panel found he was a knowing participant in 23 fraudulent mortgage transactions worth a total of $5.9 million. 

Senjule also claims the panel failed to provide adequate reasons for accepting the evidence of an expert witness who said a reasonably competent lawyer “would have either known or suspected” the fraud given the number of repeated red flags in the deals.

For more on this story, see "Disbarred lawyer''s scams began within months of call."

University of Toronto Faculty of Law professor Sujit Choudhry has won the $225,000 Trudeau Foundation fellowship prize for his contributions to Canadian and international public policy.

Choudhry, an expert in comparative constitutional law, has provided advice to post-conflict constitutional processes in Nepal, Sri Lanka, and South Africa.

He’s also on the United Nations mediation roster, a global panel of advisers the world body turns to for rapid deployment during ceasefire, peace, and constitutional negotiations.

“Professor Choudhry’s work is very exciting, and we are proud to see him advancing the faculty’s public mission in this way,” said U of T law dean Mayo Moran.

Kim Ozubko has left McMillan LLP to join McCarthy Tétrault LLP as counsel in its pensions, benefits, and executive compensation practice group.

Ozubko has experience in matters relating to the legal and regulatory aspects of pension, group benefit, and profit-sharing plans, including implementation, administration, governance, funding, and windup.

She joins Randy Bauslaugh, who continues to shape the pensions team after joining McCarthys earlier this month to head up the group.

“Kim’s practice and experience have established her as a top pensions and benefits lawyer, and her talents are exactly the type we need,” Bauslaugh said.

Ozubko also sits on the executive of the Ontario Bar Association’s pension and benefits section. “I’m excited to work with McCarthy Tétrault’s team to build the practice and help clients keep up with this constantly evolving field,” Ozubko said.

Heenan Blaikie LLP’s John Morden will head up the independent civilian review into matters relating to the G20 summit.

The review, initiated by the Toronto Police Services Board, will look at the roles played by the board and the Toronto Police Service in the policing of the G20 meeting of world leaders held earlier this year in Toronto.

The terms of reference provide 35 questions, issues, or matters that relate to the events both before and during the G20 summit. Ryan Teschner, a lawyer in Heenan Blaikie’s litigation department, will serve as counsel to the review.

Morden joined Heenan Blaikie in 2004 after retiring from the Ontario Court of Appeal. He acts as general counsel for the firm, advising chiefly on civil, commercial, and public law matters. From 1990 to 1999, he served as associate chief justice of Ontario.

Bennett Jones LLP has announced the opening of a Beijing representative office.

Senior adviser Margaret Cornish, a former executive director of the Canada China Business Council, will help serve both existing and prospective clients in investment, trade, and other transactions.

“We are excited to add Beijing to our platform,” said Bennett Jones’ chairman and CEO Hugh MacKinnon. “Our new office will build on Bennett Jones’ commitment to serve clients engaged in building Canada-China trade, investment, and financial relationships.”

Dozens of awards were handed out last week at Lexpert’s Zenith Awards celebrating pro bono legal work, but Borden Ladner Gervais LLP’s David Scott was the man of the night.

The firm’s Ottawa-based co-chairman and past president of Pro Bono Law Ontario, was handed the Lifetime Achievement in Pro Bono Award. He was recognized for his work with PBLO, including giving his time freely as duty counsel through the Law Help Ontario project.

Scott also serves as co-chairman of BLG’s national pro bono committee and helped usher in a policy at the firm that counts pro bono time as billable.

Other top honourees included:
• Torys LLP’s Patricia Jackson, Andrew Bernstein, and Jennifer Conroy received the platinum award for civil liberties work on behalf of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

• Mena Bellofiore, Kim Harle, Peter MacGowan, Lauren Temple, and Larry Winton of Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP were recognized in the environmental category for their work on behalf of Evergreen Brick Works.

• Brian Segal and Randall Schwartz of Baker & McKenzie LLP received the top nod for their international human rights work on the German Ghetto Work Payment Program.

The gala dinner and awards presentation was held at Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York Hotel and included a keynote address by Dr. Samantha Nutt, founder and executive director of War Child Canada.

She spoke passionately about the need for better human rights protections in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Check out to watch video of the 2010 Lexpert Zenith Awards.

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