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Monday, November 30, 2015

From the discipline files

Lawyers Brian Radnoff and Chris Moore have successfully defended Nepean, Ont., lawyer Luigi Savone in front of a Law Society of Upper Canada Appeals Tribunal.

The Law Society revoked Savone’s licence last March, after a hearing panel concluded that Savone knowingly participated in a mortgage fraud between 2000 and 2003, and ordered him to pay $10,000 in costs.  

However, on appeal, the hearing panel ruling was set aside on the issues of disclosure, professional misconduct, and penalty, and a new hearing was ordered.

Toronto lawyer Remy G. Boghossian has had his licence suspended on an interim basis in advance of a Law Society hearing into his case. Boghossian made the news earlier this year after being found guilty of a nearly $2-million fraud involving the Royal Bank of Canada and a scheme to purchase unique gold bars.

In that case, Judge A.J. O’Marra disagreed that the corporate lawyer was duped. “I am satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Remy Boghossian was a knowing participant in the presentation of the fraudulent bank draft to the Royal Bank of Canada on February 10, 2011 and subsequently possessed gold knowing it had been obtained by a criminal offence.”

Also having their licences revoked were Woodstock lawyer Peter David Snyder and Toronto lawyer Golnaz Vakili.

Snyder was found to have engaged in conduct unbecoming after being convicted of defrauding four individuals. He was also ordered to pay $5,380 in costs.

Vakili was kicked out for misconduct and knowingly assisting in dishonesty or fraud in connection with 13 property transactions and   failing to be honest and candid with her lender clients. She was ordered to pay $50,000 in costs.

Big gets bigger

In a three-way hookup, fast-growing Dentons, Singapore’s Rodyk, and Australian law firm Gadens are joining forces to create a dominant global law firm in the Pacific Rim. Rodyk, a 200-lawyer firm, dates back to 1861. It is Singapore’s first law firm and one of the largest full-service law firms with a strong regional practice.

Its focus is corporate, finance, intellectual property and technology, litigation and arbitration, and real estate. Gadens is a leading Australian law firm with more than 500 lawyers and 550 professional staff across its seven Australian locations.

The new firm, which is expected to launch in 2016, will be big, with 130 offices in 50 countries. It will include more than 7,300 lawyers, 9,000 timekeepers, and nearly 13,000 people. Good thing The Inside Story doesn’t have to do the payroll!

Poll results

The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in and the findings? Lawyers like it! Readers overwhelmingly voted in the affirmative when asked whether they supported the Public Participation Act, the Wynne government’s effort to eliminate SLAPP in Ontario. SLAPP involves strategic lawsuits designed to curtail public participation.

More than 83 per cent voted that the legislation was long overdue, versus 16 per cent of those who felt it would curtail legitimate actions from moving forward.

According to the Ministry of the Attorney General, the new law amends the Courts of Justice Act, the Libel and Slander Act, and the Statutory Powers and Procedures Act to allow “the public to participate more freely in public discussions without fear of retribution.”

It creates a fast-track review process to identify and deal with strategic lawsuits, and includes new protections from defamation when someone airs his or her views on public matters through third parties, such as the media.

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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?