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Monday, September 29, 2014


Lawyers are once again getting a break on their LawPRO premiums next year.

Last week, benchers of the Law Society of Upper Canada approved a freeze of the base premium lawyers must pay. It’s the fifth consecutive year of a premium freeze, LawPRO said last week.

The insurer touted strong financial results and moderating claims for the continuing premium freeze at $3,350. “In recent years, we have seen an upward trend in the number of open claims files as well as an increased number of large claims,” LawPRO said in its report to Convocation.

“This trend may now be reaching a plateau with count and cost remaining at a similar level as last year.”

Despite the generally positive outlook, LawPRO noted changes to the main solvency test for insurance companies, the minimum capital test, might affect its financial situation. “Fortunately, there has recently been announced a three-year phase-in period that will allow LawPRO to take appropriate action over time to moderate the effect of these changes,” LawPRO said in its report. “It should be noted, however, that our capital reserves will be under extra scrutiny during this period.”


This year’s recipient of the Law Foundation of Ontario’s 2014 Guthrie award is Kimberly Murray.

Murray, executive director of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, is also a member of the Kahnesatake Mohawk Nation as well as co-director of Osgoode Hall Law School’s intensive program in aboriginal lands, resources, and governments.

“Kimberly Murray is an exceptional community leader and advocate for aboriginal access to justice, with a two-decade history of dedication to this cause. It will be an honour to present her with the 2014 Guthrie Award,” said Mark Sandler, chairman of the Law Foundation of Ontario.

“Ms. Murray has demonstrated an unwavering devotion to the advancement of human rights and access to justice for aboriginal people. She fights tirelessly to promote a fair and just application of the rule of law in Canada,” said lawyer Margaret Froh, who nominated Murray for the award.

The Guthrie award recognizes people for their contributions to access to justice and excellence in the legal profession.


Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP says the former head of BlackBerry Ltd.’s global regulatory team has joined the law firm.

Stephen Whitney, who oversaw the regulatory as well as the devices and emerging solutions teams at BlackBerry, has joined the firm as counsel and will be working in the Waterloo, Ont., region.

“Stephen is an outstanding addition to our technology and innovation team,” said Andrew Fleming, managing partner of Norton Rose Fulbright’s Toronto office.

Fleming touted Whitney’s BlackBerry experience as “a tremendous fit for our clients.”


The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

According to the poll, 89 per cent of respondents say the legal profession doesn’t do enough to support lawyers with mental illness in light of the stigma and pressures of law practice.

Recently, the Ontario Bar Association’s new president, Orlando Da Silva, spoke openly about his struggles with depression in an interview with Law Times.

Da Silva said he decided to open up about his mental illness to encourage other lawyers with similar struggles to seek help. He said he did so against the advice of some of his closest friends but emphasized he wants others to know about the success he has enjoyed despite his depression.


Lydia Wakulowsky has joined Borden Ladner Gervais LLP as a partner.

Wakulowsky is joining BLG as a partner in its health-sector services group.

“It is fantastic that Lydia Wakulowsky decided to join BLG. As a new partner, she will bring considerable corporate, governance, privacy, regulatory and transactional experience to the health sector services group,” said Frank Callaghan, partner and national group head of corporate and capital markets at BLG.

“Her expertise will help solidify BLG’s health practice as the leading health sector services group in Canada.”

Wakulowsky, formerly of McMillan LLP, often acts for hospitals, long-term care facilities, health-care agencies, health-related charities, and other public health-care organizations. John Morris, national leader for health law at BLG, said Wakulowsky comes with a good reputation among the health sector.

“She is highly respected by health professionals and providers in Canada and outside the country among those expanding into the Canadian marketplace,” he said.

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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?