No stranger to controversial jobs in government, Mark Johnson is taking on the role of general counsel at the embattled Toronto Community Housing Corp.
A report issued in January by the TCHC task force appointed by Toronto Mayor John Tory listed 29 recommendations to address the crisis facing the organization, which has a $2.6-billion repair backlog and ongoing turmoil at its headquarters.
Johnson says he has a certain appetite for taking on tough jobs in the public sector — he served as interim general counsel at eHealth Ontario in 2009, and led its legal team during a difficult time of restructuring.
“I like the action,” he says. “People have commented on that and I just say from a lawyer’s perspective and being part of the turnaround operation it’s interesting.”
The legal team at TCHC consists of about nine lawyers as well as procurement and insurance/risk management personnel who report up to him.
Johnson has a range of expertise in corporate law and has provided services to startups as well as large corporations such as Deutsche Bank, IBM, Nike, and Visa.
For the last five years, he has been general counsel at the global software consulting company Infusion.
Johnson says he was looking for a new challenge when he saw the position and was drawn back to the public sector by the idea of working at TCHC.
“I have a strong community service bent to me and the challenges in the organization appealed to me,” he says.
“I liked the public service component to it. Once you are bitten by working in the public sector, you do want to go back.”
OSGOODE NETWORK LOOKS TO BREAK DOWN BARRIERS FOR LAW STUDENTS
A network, set up by Osgoode Hall Law School to help first-generation law students, is looking for legal professionals to join its ranks.
The Osgoode First Generation Network wants to hear from legal professionals who were the first in their families to attend a post-secondary education institution.
The network aims to help reduce social and financial hurdles faced by such students by connecting them with established legal professionals in a mentorship program.
Those interested in getting involved can contact the network by emailing OFGN@osgoode.yorku.ca or by calling 416-432-9706.
[strong][span style="color: #108aa8;"]TLA TO HOLD SPEED MENTORING FOR YOUNG LAWYERS
[/span][/strong]Need a mentor? The Toronto Lawyers Association has you covered.
The TLA is set to hold a speed-mentoring event Sept. 22 at the TLA Lawyers Lounge that will connect young and new members with experienced legal professionals.
Participants will have 10 minutes with different mentors in an array of different areas to talk about where they want to be in the next five to 10 years.
Anyone seeking more information after the speedy sessions will get the opportunity to find out more at a question-and-answer panel afterwards.
Members can register for $10 online at www.tlaonline.ca/event/speedmentoring.
For more information, call 416-327-5700 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
LAW TIMES POLL
Law Times reported recently that Paul Schabas has been elected as the new treasurer for the Law Society, and says one of his top priorities is access to justice.
Readers were asked if they thought access to justice is one of the most pressing issues facing lawyers.
More than 51 per cent said yes, enhancing access to justice is a crucial priority for Ontario Lawyers and that these problems have an impact on their practice as well as the law profession in general.
The remaining 48 per cent said no, enhancing access to justice should not be treated as a top priority and that, while it’s a noble cause, it does not impact their practice.