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Monday, February 29, 2016


The Canadian Bar Association has announced its roster of 2016 award winners. Awards recognize members who advance the cause of equality in the LGBQT communities, demonstrate strong participation and exceptional service to the objectives and goals of the CBA, are young lawyers involved in pro bono legal services, and those who make outstanding contributions to the law or legal scholarship in Canada. \

Awards are also for outstanding contributions by a student member, for those who demonstrate outstanding dedication to the CBA and team spirit, and for those whose career exemplifies preeminent public service.

The award winners are: University of Saskatchewan professor Beth Bilson, who won the Louis St. Laurent Award; University of Ottawa professor Jane Bailey, who won the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award; Public Service Alliance Canada senior legal counsel Lisa Addario, who won the Touchstone Award; Mark Aitken of the Northwest Territories/Yellowknife Department of Justice, who won the John Tait Award; O’Dea Earle Law Offices associate Kyle Reese, who won the Young Lawyers Pro Bono Award; University of Manitoba professor Roland Penner, who won the SOGIC Ally Award; Marie Laure Leclercq, counsel with De Grandpre Chait of Montreal, who won the SOGIC Hero Award; and University of Ottawa associate professor Adam Dodek, who won the 2015 Walter Owen Book Prize.


Lamenting that the legal podcast landscape is lacking, the folks at Counter Tax Lawyers are launching a monthly program to change that. The Building New Law podcast will be launched March 1, featuring interviews with lawyers, legal technologists, and like-minded people who are changing how the profession practises law. Pippi Scott-Meuser, producer of the podcast, said the goal is to better connect the legal community and speed up the evolution of legal services.

“Simply put, the podcast is a forum to talk about what is going on in the legal community to help push the discourse — and progress — a little further,” she said.  

March 1 will see four podcasts launched on iTunes, as well as Stitcher and Overcast. Firm lawyers Peter Aprile and Natalie Worsfold will be the co-hosts. A new podcast will then be released on the first Monday of each month thereafter.


Legal Aid Ontario is opening new offices to better cover Toronto’s north district, including Etobicoke, North York, and Scarborough. The official opening will take place March 15 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at 45 Sheppard Ave. East, located next to the North York Family Court House. LAO chair John McCamus, together with Vicki Moretti, vice president of the GTA region, and Tom Kelsey, director general of Toronto North, will lead the grand opening ceremonies.

Lawyers, legal professionals, and members of the community are invited to attend, but they are asked to register on the LAO web site to confirm attendance.


The majority of our readers are unsympathetic to the plight of disbarred lawyer Harold Spring and disagree with the Federal Court’s decision to allow another chance at a pardon. Last week, we asked our readers if they agree with Federal Court Justice Patrick Gleeson’s decision to allow him another shot at a pardon for his criminal fraud convictions.

Only 30 per cent of the respondents said yes, Spring deserves a second look for a pardon and that Justice Gleeson’s determination that the decision against him lacked “transparency and intelligibility” is important.

On the other hand, 70 per cent said no, pardons should only be granted in extremely rare and exceptional circumstances and that the Parole Board of Canada’s argument that the pardon might bring the administration of justice into disrepute is fair and reasonable.    

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The Law Society of Ontario is in the midst of a major overhaul of the role of paralegals in family law — and a proposal on the issue could become an imminent issue for the regulator’s newly elected benchers. Do you agree with widening the scope of family law matters that paralegals can address?