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Monday, March 14, 2011

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The Law Society of Upper Canada has revoked the licences of two Toronto lawyers following disciplinary hearings.

A panel found John Lawrence Burns had misappropriated almost $500,000 from funds held on behalf of four different clients between July 2004 and February 2008. Burns, who didn’t show up for his hearing, was also found guilty of failing to maintain proper books and records of his law practice.

In addition to a costs award of $20,000 against him, the panel ordered him to pay $93,000 to the law society’s compensation fund.

Meanwhile, the LSUC disbarred Arnold Fitzgerald Kelly for his role in a mortgage fraud scheme. A law society panel found he had obtained mortgage funds under false pretences and acted for multiple parties in transactions despite conflicting interests.

The panel also found he had failed to produce client files for investigators and hadn’t met them for an interview since November 2007. There was no costs award in the case.

In addition, the law society has also denied a paralegal licence for Maureen Boldt, a former North Bay, Ont., city councillor previously jailed for the unauthorized practice of law.

During a good character hearing, a panel found Boldt had “no moral compass” and posed a public risk. She served four months under house arrest in 2007 for contempt of court for the illegal practice of law after preparing a separation agreement.

That sentence also cost Boldt her seat on North Bay’s city council after she missed too many meetings.

In an interview with the North Bay Nugget, Boldt said she planned to appeal the ruling.

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Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has announced three appointments to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice bench.

In Kitchener, Ont., Justice James Sloan of Sloan Strype LLP in Waterloo takes up a position following 36 years at the firm. He has also been a deputy judge of the Small Claims Court since 1998. His main practice areas included family law, civil litigation, and wills and estates.

Justice Thomas Carey makes the move from his role as a sole practitioner in Mississauga, Ont., to join the Superior Court in Windsor. Carey has practised on his own since 1984 following his admission to the bar in 1979.

He has been a deputy judge of the Small Claims Court since 1992 and was certified as a specialist in criminal litigation by the Law Society of Upper Canada in 1989. He also had two spells as a bencher between 1988 and 1991 and then between 1994 and 2003.

Justice Deborah Chappel will sit in the Superior Court’s family division in Hamilton, Ont. A sole practitioner since 2006, Chappel had previously worked in several government roles, including for the federal Department of Justice and Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General.

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The Women’s Law Association of Ontario is hosting a dinner with Ontario’s chief justice at the King Edward Hotel in Toronto on March 30.

Chief Justice Warren Winkler will share insights on what it takes to be successful in the legal profession today during his keynote speech.

The registration deadline is March 25 and non-members are welcome. Call 416-410-7267 for more information or e-mail the association at

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Lawyers at Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP have had an eventful month so far after picking up three awards in the first two weeks of March.

Toronto partner Joseph Grignano won the NAIOP, Commercial Real Estate Development Association’s Developing Leaders Real Estate Excellence Award after peers in the industry singled him out for his leadership, professionalism, community involvement, and business accomplishments.

He picked up his award at the Real Estate Excellence Awards hosted by the association’s Toronto-area chapter on March 3.

Meanwhile, fellow Blakes partner Stephen Ashbourne received the International Law Office Client Choice Award in the area of securitization and structured finance.

The awards recognize lawyers around the world for excellence in client care and quality of service based on nominations by corporate counsel.

In addition, Paul Schabas, another partner in the Toronto office, has been named one of BTI Consulting Group Inc.’s 2011 Client Service All-Stars.

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