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Monday, September 23, 2013


Former Ontario premier Mike Harris has switched law firms by joining Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP.

Harris will serve as a senior business adviser at Faskens. “Mike Harris is very well respected in the business community and together with his background in politics and government, Mike will offer an unparalleled level of insight and experience to our clients,” said Martin Denyes, regional managing partner for Faskens in Ontario.

Harris had previously been at Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, a firm that also included one of his old political adversaries, former Liberal premier David Peterson. At Faskens, Harris will again be colleagues with an old political adversary as former NDP leader Howard Hampton has joined the firm since his retirement from the Ontario legislature.


Legal Aid Ontario is launching a pilot program to provide refugees with assistance from a full-time, in-house paralegal at a Toronto legal clinic.

The program will operate from the Rexdale Community Legal Clinic. The paralegal, working under the supervision of two refugee lawyers, will provide services such as interviewing claimants, preparing basis-of-claim forms, helping gather evidence, and representing clients at hearings before the refugee protection division of the Immigration and Refugee Board.

“LAO recognizes that licensed paralegals can provide a wide range of cost-effective, efficient, quality services to refugee claimants,” said Jawad Kassab, LAO’s executive lead for refugee transformation.

LAO will assess the project after a year.


The new Find-a-Lawyer application allows people to search for a lawyer who’s an OBA member according to name, firm, location, language spoken, and area of practice. The application will then display the results on a Google map with a listing of the contact details.

The new web site will also provide volunteers and section members with forums for discussions on practice issues and other matters. “The new OBA web site was built for the social age of the Internet,” said OBA president Pascale Daigneault.

“It will change the way we engage with our members, the profession, and the public.”


The Centre for International Governance Innovation has appointed Aaron Shull as its counsel and corporate secretary.

Shull, an expert in international, regulatory, and environmental law, primarily researches issues related to cyber security and Internet governance. Currently, he’s looking at the intersection between global copyright law and reform of Internet governance. He’s also exploring the legality of cyber espionage.

Shull takes on the new role just a few years after his call to the bar in 2009. The centre itself is a non-partisan think-tank on international governance that has existed since 2001.


Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin will lead a Sir John A. Macdonald-themed walk this week in Kingston, Ont.

“We are honoured that Chief Justice McLachlin has graciously agreed to lead our Sir John A. walk later this month,” said Arthur Milnes, commissioner of the Sir John A. Macdonald Bicentennial Commission.

The tour of downtown Kingston takes place Sept. 27. The event is part of the commission’s efforts to raise awareness of the 2015 bicentennial of Macdonald’s birth.


Advocates for War Child is hosting a fundraising event next week.

Money raised from the Sept. 30 event will go to War Child Canada’s access to justice project in northern Uganda. The event will include a concert by Our Lady Peace and a short speech by War Child Canada executive director Dr. Samantha Nutt.

War Child supports legal clinics in northern Uganda providing free legal assistance to victims of sexual and gender-based violence. It has also established programs to promote awareness of women’s and children’s rights.

The event takes place from 6-9 p.m. at the Virgin Mobile Mod Club at 722 College St. in Toronto.


Legal Aid Ontario is updating its funding for legal clinics this year.

According to LAO, added provincial funding of $3 million in 2013-14 will allow it to create two new funds for clinics: $2 million to strengthen their capacity and $1 million to modernize their services.

The $3 million comes from the $10 million in additional funding LAO received from the province in its recent budget.


The province has appointed Toronto-area Crown attorney Tony Loparco as director of the Special Investigations Unit.

Loparco takes on the job on Oct. 16 following the departure of current director Ian Scott. Loparco, currently head of the Scarborough Crown attorney’s office, has more than 23 years of experience in the justice system, according to the province.


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

According to the poll, almost 73 per cent of respondents believe Justice Minister Peter MacKay is on the wrong track with the victims bill of rights he has been touting. In recent weeks, MacKay has been attending events across the country discussing the idea of giving victims a more effective voice in the justice system andholding offenders accountable. A bill of rights will be a centerpiece of the government’s new crime legislation, but just over 27 per cent of pollrespondents agree with its approach.

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Law Times Poll

Lawyers have expressed concerns that of 38 justices of the peace the province appointed this summer, only 12 have law degrees. Do you think this is an issue?