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Monday, April 14, 2014


Ten new judges will join the Ontario Court of Justice bench on April 16.

The appointees include Farquharson Adamson & Affleck LLP senior partner John Adamson, Barr & O’Brien partner Larry Bernard O’Brien, and assistant Crown attorneys Pamela Borghesan, Robert Wadden, and John Condon.

Howard Ryan Kelford Knott & Dixon partner Richard Knott, McAuley & Partners lawyer Sarah Trach, Webber Schroeder Goldstein Abergel senior partner Matthew Webber, Crown attorney Marquis Felix, and Catherine McDonald, who has had her own private practice for the past nine years, round out the list of new judges.


Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP has come out on top of the 2014 Canadian law firm brand index.

The index, compiled by Acritas US Inc., ranks law firms based on favourability among general counsel at Canadian organizations with revenues over $50 million.

Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP came in second place, followed by Stikeman Elliott LLP and Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. Also in the top five was Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP.

“As Canada’s most favoured law firm, Blakes’ popularity is testament to its success in creating a clear, differentiated offering built on practice areas directly relevant to the largest sectors of the Canadian economy,” said Blakes in a press release.

According to Elizabeth Duffy, vice president of Acritas US, the results are a sign of clients favouring some firms over others due to the budgetary restrictions they face.

“The 2014 index points to the wider trends affecting the market. The budgetary restrictions that in-house counsel have been facing are becoming more evident in the choices they are making about the firms they use.”


Former Heenan Blaikie LLP senior commercial litigator Angus McKinnon has joined Lerners LLP’s Toronto office, the law firm announced.

McKinnon has worked on high profile cases like the Bre-X Minerals Ltd. matter and the Krever commission on Canada’s blood system.

“Angus has been trial and appellate counsel on an impressive number of cases throughout his career and has appeared before all levels of the court in Ontario and before the Supreme Court of Canada,” said Brian Grant, managing partner of Lerners’ Toronto office.

“We are thrilled to have him on board at Lerners.”

 Lerners is “an ideal fit,” said McKinnon.

“Lerners LLP is comprised of well-respected and experienced lawyers, a number of whom I know and have practised with in the past,” he said.

“The firm is an ideal fit for what I was looking for; a regional law firm concentrating on Ontario whose focus is high-quality litigation at an affordable cost platform.”


The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

The majority of respondents believe the Law Society of Upper Canada should accredit Trinity Western University’s proposed law school despite its community covenant that includes a provision on abstaining from “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.”

While critics argue accrediting the law school would promote systemic discrimination, 55 per cent of poll participants felt not doing so would impinge on religious beliefs and freedoms. Convocation will decide on accreditation on April 24.     


There’s a new intellectual property law firm in town. IP lawyers Lorraine Fleck and Yuri Chumak announced they’ve launched Fleck & Chumak LLP on Bay Street in Toronto.

Until recently, Fleck was a lawyer and trademark agent at Perry + Currier Inc./Currier + Kao LLP. Chumak also worked at the same firm and had previously been at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP.

“The brand promise of our new firm is high quality, proactive, and approachable legal service,” said Fleck.

“We chose the tagline ‘Inspiration Partners’ for our firm, which evokes our vision of partnering with our clients to help them achieve their goals in their creative works and innovative projects. I see great synergy working with Yuri, as he has a solid reputation as being a practical lawyer with big firm experience. And, my clients see great value in having a litigator of his calibre in-house.”


The Centre for International Governance Innovation’s has named a University of Ottawa law professor as director of the international law research program.

Oonagh Fitzgerald, who teaches a course on international corporate governance and social responsibility, also served as national security co-ordinator for the Department of Justice.

“I am pleased to welcome Oonagh as the director of CIGI’s internationallaw research program. Her experience, expertise, and leadership of legal professionals and policy at the highest level make her an exceptional choice to shape CIGI’s newest research pillar,” said CIGI president Rohinton Medhora.

“She will drive this important initiative to the highest standards of achievement.”


In 2010, lawyer Yaroslav Mikitchook convinced a Law Society of Upper Canada hearing panel to terminate an indefinite suspension issued against him. Butafter slew of new complaints, a panel has ordered him to surrender his licence to practise law.

In 2010, a hearing panel terminated an indefinite suspension issued against Mikitchook after accepting evidence that his psychological disorders led him to ignore clients and defy the law society.

But with complaints that he continued to practise law during another suspension in 2012, the panel decided to order Mikitchook to surrender his licence.

“The panel finds that there is medical evidence that the lawyer suffers from ongoing psychiatric disorders, but no evidence was presented that there is a nexus between these disorders and the lawyer’s work-related activities,” the hearing panel said in an April 4 decision. “Given that there was a joint submission on penalty with which the panel concurs, the panel does not find it necessary to consider possible mitigation for medical reasons.”

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