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Monday, October 5, 2009


The Law Society of Upper Canada has refilled Convocation benches with the addition of Fort Frances sole practitioner Larry Eustace and Point Edward small firm lawyer Carl Fleck.

Both new benchers unsuccessfully ran in the 2007 election but were called upon to replace a pair of departed benchers. Melanie Aitken left Convocation earlier this year to become Canada’s new competition commissioner, while University of Ottawa assistant law professor Joanne St. Lewis departed to focus on other work.

Eustace, who is a past chairman of the County & District Law Presidents’ Association, runs a general law practice. Fleck - who works mainly on family, criminal, and general civil litigation matters at Fleck & Daigneault - is a past director of the Ontario Bar Association executive.


People without the means to afford civil law representation at Ottawa’s Superior Court of Justice can now lean on a new resource from Pro Bono Law Ontario.

The organization recently unveiled a new self-help legal resource centre through its Law Help Ontario project. It will be based in the same building as the 161 Elgin St. Superior Court.

PBLO rolled out a similar centre in Toronto in late 2007, which last year helped nearly 3,000 people get free legal assistance. The centre’s popularity continues to grow with more than 6,000 people served in the first half of 2009. The Ottawa centre was created thanks to the US$50,000 Emil Gumpert Award from the American College of Trial Lawyers, which PBLO received for its enhancement of the administration of justice.


A penchant for integrity, fairness, civility, and dedication to the ideals of the legal profession have helped Heenan Blaikie LLP counsel Stanley Fisher land an award from The Advocates’ Society.

“The first thing that comes to mind when you think of Stan is his dedication,” said the firm’s national co-managing partner, Norman Bacal.

“From serving as director of the Canadian Friends of Shalom Hartman Institute, to his work with the Gilda’s Club of Greater Toronto, his dedication to the community, to his clients, and to the firm is remarkable.”

Fisher is the first recipient of The Advocates’ Society’s Catzman Award for Professionalism and Civility. The award was created in honour of the late justice Marvin Catzman, a former Ontario Court of Appeal judge.


Former Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario chairman Michael Gottheil has been nominated to lead the province’s environment and land use planning cluster, the Ministry of the Attorney General has announced.

He will be replaced by David Wright, who will act as interim chairman of the tribunal.

The nomination must be reviewed by the standing committee on government agencies before becoming official.

Gottheil has headed up the tribunal since April 2005. He is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School and was called to the bar in 1987.

He co-founded the Engelmann Gottheil law firm in Ottawa, where he worked on labour, employment, and human rights law. He also served as a professor at Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa Law School.

Wright moves to the interim position from his role as vice chairman of the tribunal. He received his law degree from McGill University in 1998 and his master of laws from New York University in 2000.

He previously practised labour, administrative, and human rights law in Toronto and worked as an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall.


Police-reported crime rates in the province’s capital city remain lower than the Canadian average, but Statistics Canada has released a report suggesting those numbers vary among the city’s neighbourhoods.

The study looked at crime rates in 2006. It showed that police-reported violent crime is higher in the downtown core, east, and northwest areas of the city.

The study noted that neighbourhoods in these areas tend to have higher levels of socio-economic disadvantage and residential mobility as well as greater population density.

Rates of property crime, meanwhile, are higher in areas of the city with more commercial activity, such as shopping malls near city centres, Statistics Canada said.


A new survey suggests the idea of working on foreign soil is appealing to one in three lawyers.

Staffing firm Robert Half Legal reports that most lawyers would think twice about relocating their practice, but 35 per cent would jump at the opportunity.

“With the growth of globalization in the past decade, international litigation and cross-border transactions are fairly ubiquitous,” said Charles Volkert, executive director at the company.

“As the economy begins to recover, and more organizations establish a multinational presence, overseas employment opportunities for lawyers will increase.”


Toronto’s Gardiner Roberts LLP is expanding its intellectual property offerings with the addition of Carol Hitchman of the Hitchman & Sprigings law firm.

“We are really pleased to have Carol join Gardiner Roberts,” said the firm’s managing partner of operations, David Fine. “Carol brings a wealth of experience to our firm.”

Hitchman, a registered patent agent and trademark agent, will lead a team of patent and trademark litigators, said the firm.


The Law Foundation of Ontario has given a boost to three community leaders in the province, announcing those selected as 2009-10 Community Leadership in Justice fellows.

Richard Elliott, executive director of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, will partner with the University of Toronto Faculty of Law focusing on research supporting proposed reforms to Canada’s access to medicines regime.

Michael Janigan, executive director of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, will work with the Carleton University Department of Law on the creation of course material to help students work to protect vulnerable consumers.

Allan McChesney, senior legal researcher at Reach Canada, will join the University of Ottawa Human Rights Research and Education Centre on various efforts related to legal issues.

The fellows will spend a term at the schools working on the projects. The fellowships aim to expand faculty and students’ educational experience with “innovative and facilitative approaches to teaching and learning,” said the LFO.

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