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Monday, November 1, 2010


The fight between paralegals and family lawyers over the scope of paralegal practice looks set to go to another round at next year’s Law Society of Upper Canada annual general meeting.

In an open letter to paralegals, Marshall Yarmus, who tabled and later withdrew a motion to expand paralegal practice into family law at the law society’s annual meeting in May, said he’s not satisfied with the LSUC’s promise to study the issue and will therefore reintroduce his proposal next year.

He said he wrote to new Treasurer Laurie Pawlitza after her election in June but got no indication the issue would be raised at Convocation before next year’s annual general meeting.

“I have no intention of withdrawing next year’s motion,” he wrote.

He went on to suggest that paralegals have no power in the law society with only three benchers out of a total of 40 at Convocation. Even on the LSUC’s paralegal standing committee, he noted his colleagues are in a minority.

“What is the purpose of having a paralegal chair of the committee if she cannot even set the agenda for the meetings?” Yarmus asked.

For more on this issue, see "Paralegals call truce over law society motion."



Adding to the ongoing debate, Sedona Canada released its commentary on proportionality in electronic disclosure and discovery last week.

The paper defines the concept of proportionality in Canada and provides guidance and solutions for discovery disputes.

“This timely paper and the comments it will generate will add to the growing awareness of the need for proportionality in discovery, particularly dealing with electronically stored information,” said Justice Colin Campbell of the Ontario Superior Court who’s also a member of the advisory board for the Sedona Conference.

The commentary builds on the 2008 Sedona Canada principles addressing electronic discovery. Copies are available for download at


Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP has hired Tyler Bond as a senior associate in the firm’s national insolvency and restructuring group based in Calgary.

Bond’s practice is focused on the mortgage lending industry in relation to both lending and collection matters. He has experience in real estate and litigation with a particular emphasis on foreclosures.

“Tyler’s extensive real estate and litigation experience will broaden our team’s bench strength, which will not only enhance our already-accomplished group, but will also be of great value to our clients with real estate interests in Western Canada,” said David Mann, national co-chairman of FMC’s insolvency and restructuring group.


The chief justice of Ontario’s advisory committee on professionalism is presenting a two-day program on the history of legal professionalism in the province.

The 13th Colloquium on the Legal Profession will take place in Toronto on Nov. 1 and 2.

Speakers will include people from the judiciary, the legal academic community, the Law Society of Upper Canada, and various legal organizations.

Former Ontario chief justice Roy McMurtry will be a featured speaker.

The first day takes place at Osgoode Hall with events showcasing legal legends, their legacies, and the lessons from their lives.

The second day’s events will take place at the University of Toronto Centre for the Legal Profession and will continue to explore the history of legal professionalism in Ontario.


Patrick Case has been appointed chairman of the board of directors of Ontario’s Human Rights Legal Support Centre.

Currently the director of the University of Guelph’s human rights and equity office, Case also has four years of experience as a commissioner with the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

He has also chaired the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and was co-chairman of the equality rights panel of the Court Challenges Program of Canada.

Case takes over from Raj Anand, who has served as chairman since March 2008. Anand oversaw the implementation of the legal support centre, which opened in June 2008.

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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?