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Monday, June 13, 2016


The idea to start his own firm came to Gavin MacKenzie when he was out for his Sunday morning run a few months ago.

At the beginning of June, the litigant left his job working for DLA Piper (Canada) LLP and decided to start a boutique firm, called MacKenzie Barristers with his daughter, Brooke MacKenzie.

Gavin MacKenzie was first called to the bar in 1977 and has since worked for a number of big firms, but he says the timing was right to start a firm with his daughter as she had come to the end of a one-year leave of absence with McCarthy Tétrault LLP, after practising with the firm for three years, which included the one-year leave of absence.

“I’ve been very lucky that she and I are very close,” he says. “We are both interested in the same type of work and thought it would be fun and challenging to practice law together.”

This version of the article clarified Brooke MacKenzie’s professional experience prior to starting the new firm.


Legal Aid is set to get a boost from the federal government.

Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould announced last week that the federal government would spend an additional $30 million per year on top of the $88 million it already committed to spend over the next five years in the 2016 budget.

But that extra $30 million will not kick in until 2021-2022.

“All Canadians — no matter their means — should have the right to a fair trial and access to a modern, efficient justice system,” Wilson-Raybould said in a statement.

The Department of Justice currently distributes $128 million among the provinces and territories for legal aid programs.

Of the $88 million promised in the 2016 budget, $9 million will be forked out in 2016-2017. The federal government said that in addition to making legal aid more available to those who need it, the new funding would be used to develop new ways to deliver monies.


The provincial government has honoured Cohen Highley LLP with a David C. Onley Award for Leadership in Accessibility. The award is given to “Ontarians who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to improving accessibility for people with disabilities.”

Cohen Highley LLP, which has people on staff with disabilities, was awarded the honour for its work to lift barriers for employees with disabilities and for fostering greater inclusion in the legal profession.

The firm, which advises clients on the province’s accessibility standards and laws, has offices across southwest Ontario in London, Kitchener, Sarnia, and Chatham.


Law Times reported recently that the past president of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association, Steve Rastin, says he hopes the Law Society of Upper Canada will adopt an aggressive approach to regulating advertising.

Readers were asked if this regulatory move is way overdue.

About 70 per cent of respondents indicated yes, the law society should be tackling these regulations in the near future, and it’s a crucial area that needs oversight.

The remaining 30 per cent said this should not be a priority for the law society, as there are other pressing matters.

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Law Times Poll

Ontario’s recent provincial budget calls for changes in benefits for catastrophically injured patients, including a ‘return to the default benefit limit of $2 million for those who are catastrophically injured in an accident, after it was previously reduced to $1 million in 2016.’ Do you agree with this shift?