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Monday, September 9, 2013


Toronto has a new litigation boutique law firm after a group of lawyers left Black Sutherland LLP to found their own firm.

Patrick Monaghan, Christopher Reain, Clarence Lui, and Heather Taylor are the partners of the new Monaghan Reain Lui Taylor LLP located at 18 King St. E.

“I am delighted that we have been able to assemble a talented group of advocates all of whom share the same mind set,” said Monaghan.

The firm is a result of the partners seeking “an environment suitable for the dedicated pursuit of clients’ interests within a culture of like-minded professionals.”

The law firm will uphold a client-first principle, Monaghan added.

“The professional requirements of the practice of law will be best met by putting the clients’ interests first, the firm’s interests second, and one’s own interests third,” he said.

“This may not sound like a revelation but you would be surprised to see how often the priorities are reversed.”

Reain said the firm’s strategy will include collaboration among partners on clients’ matters.

“The litigation marketplace has changed. Practice silos just aren’t efficient or in the clients’ best interests. While each matter will enjoy the leadership of one of the partners, all partners are available to any client at any time,” he said.

Black Sutherland lawyer Christine Matthews is also joining the new firm as an associate.


Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP has welcomed two new partners.

Intellectual property lawyer Andrew Skodyn was formerly at Heenan Blaikie LLP and research partner Scott Rollwagen moved from Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP where he had worked for more than six years.

“We are pleased to welcome these two exceptional lawyers to our firm,” said Peter Griffin, managing partner of Lenczner Slaght.

“Both Andrew and Scott play key parts in high-profile, often precedent-setting cases. Our clients will benefit enormously from their breadth and depth of experience, and their insightful, pragmatic advice.”

Skodyn’s addition is a huge boost to Lenczner Slaght’s intellectual property practice, said Marguerite Ethier, who deals with life sciences and biotechnology matters at the law firm.

“Andrew has deep experience in patent actions in the pharmaceutical industry and in other sectors as well. With his strategic advice and proven courtroom skills, he offers clients the kind of specialized, highly effective advocacy that is our firm’s trademark,” she said.


The Ontario Bar Association will honour lawyer John Evans for excellence in civil litigation.

Lawyers say Evans, who has served as president of The Advocates’ Society, the Hamilton Law Association, and the Medical-Legal Society, is a deserving recipient of the award.

“No one is more deserving of this award than John Evans, who is one of the most respected and renowned civil litigation lawyers in Ontario’s history,” said Colin Stevenson, a partner at Stevensons LLP.

Fellow lawyer Guillermo Schible said Evans is “a lawyer’s lawyer and represents the very best of the civil litigation bar.”

The OBA says the award honours lawyers who have shown outstanding advocacy skills, professionalism, and integrity and have contributed to the enhancement of the practice.

Evans will receive the award at a gala dinner on Sept. 17.


Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP senior partner Carol Hansell has left the firm to pursue her career independently.

Hansell advises boards and their committees in transactions, conflict of interest issues, and investigations. According to The Globe and Mail, Hansell’s move follows a trend by board advisers who seek to work “independent of management and free of any possible conflicts of interest.”

“This may be the first, but it’s certainly not going to be the only one,” Hansell told the Globe.

“I think once we get going, people are going to say, ‘That does make sense.’”

Hansell’s clients have included many large public companies, but she has also worked with private and family-owned businesses.


Legal Aid Ontario has started issuing certificates for refugee claimants who are at risk of losing their status as convention refugees or people in need of protection.

“LAO isprotecting these vulnerable clients through access to legal services in light of recent changes to federal government legislation and policies,” the organization said in a press release last week.

The certificates will cover 16 hours in addition to attendance time, LAO said.

It will assess applicants for financial eligibility through a telephone interview. It willalso judge the merit of applications on the question of whether the risk oflosing status falls under the Immigration and Refugee Board’s cessation or vacation orders.


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

According to the poll, readers are split on the federal government’s position on the wireless spectrum auction. In response to concerns about rules tilted in favour of a U.S. conglomerate, 50 per cent of respondents said the rules are unfair and would cost Canadian jobs.

The other half said the incumbent providers are merely seeking to maintain their advantage. Thepoll follows this summer’s controversy about a possible Canadian expansion by Verizon Communications Inc. Last week, however, the company confirmed it wouldn’t be entering Canada’s wireless market.

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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?