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Monday, March 23, 2009


Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP senior partner Constance Sugiyama has been honoured for her role in promoting women in the capital markets.

The non-profit organization Women in Capital Markets recently awarded Sugiyama - whose practice focuses on corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate governance - its 2009 WCM Award for Leadership.

“Connie has been a tireless supporter of WCM since its inception and is a mentor for women in both the capital markets and the legal profession,” said WCM CEO Martha Fell, in a release.

“Not only has she advanced WCM’s mandate, but she’s forged a path for many women to reach new heights of leadership in both their careers and their communities.”

Sugiyama is a founding board member and member of the advisory council for WCM, and the founding chairwoman of the Heather L. Main Memorial Scholarship Fund.

She also was recently named chairwoman of the board of trustees for the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children, becoming the first woman to hold such a position, according to the release.

Sugiyama has over 30 years of practise experience, and served on Gowlings’ national executive committee from 2005 to 2007, and led its national corporate finance, securities, and public M&A group from 2002 to 2007.

The leadership award goes to a senior executive - male or female - who has shown both professional excellence and a commitment to advancing and supporting women in capital markets.

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The Law Society of Upper Canada has disbarred Vaughan lawyer Joseph Paradiso for professional misconduct related to his trust account.

In a March 5 hearing panel decision, the law society determined that the lawyer who was called to the bar in 1973 had engaged in professional misconduct by “disbursing trust funds held on behalf of his client, from his trust account, in contravention of a signed direction and to the detriment of an unrepresented party; misleading the law society when he asserted in a letter that he disbursed the above-noted trust funds in accordance with a signed direction, directing him to disburse the funds to a named party, when such direction was never signed and does not exist.”

Criminal charges relating to the incident were thrown out in November 2007 after a judge ruled 35 months was too long for Paradiso to wait for a trial.


The Canadian Bar Association has announced its support for Pakistan’s legal profession and judiciary in a letter expressing support for the “Long March” that began March 12 to push for judicial independence and the rule of law.

“We are with you in spirit,” said CBA president Guy Joubert, in a release.

“We believe that the rule of law is critical to a nation’s prosperity and security. We applaud your efforts to engage in peaceful protest so that judicial independence, a key element of the rule of law, will again exist in Pakistan.”

The CBA has long backed the fight for the rule of law in the country.

In November 2007, the association wrote a letter to the high commissioner of Pakistan in Ottawa, in which it condemned the imposition of emergency rule, the removal of the judiciary, and beatings and arrests of lawyers who protested on behalf of imprisoned Supreme Court judges.

The CBA also led a march of some 300 lawyers in Ottawa in support of their peers in Pakistan.


A global jury has singled out Ontario-based employer-side human resources law firm Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP for its efforts in rebuilding its brand.

The firm was recently named one of the world’s most effective rebrands in the fifth annual ReBrand 100 Global Awards. It is the highest recognition for brand rebuilding and redesign in the business arena, and also comes as good news to branding and communications agency Zync, which spearheaded the law firm’s transformation.

“We’re very proud of what we were able to accomplish in our partnership with Hicks Morley,” said Brad Breininger, principal and founding partner at Zync, in a release.

“The rebrand was built on solid strategy and creative, but it also brings the firm’s image forward and helps them remain dynamic in a changing world.”


A team from Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP came out on top of competitors in the legal bracket of a recent scrabble contest that raised funds for literacy.

The Scrabble Corporate Challenge brought together teams from corporations of Bay Street’s legal, financial, technology, and accounting sectors. The event raised funds for Frontier College, Canada’s original literacy organization.

“With more than 40 per cent of Canadians struggling to read and write, our Scrabble Corporate Challenge is the perfect antidote,” said Sherry Campbell, president of Frontier College, in a release.

“Having Bay Street executives roll up their sleeves to play Scrabble, shows corporate Canada’s desire to be part of the literacy solution.”

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