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Monday, September 15, 2014


Michal Fairburn of Stockwoods LLP has received The Advocates’ Society’s Catzman award for professionalism and civility.

Fairburn, a criminal lawyer, received the award from Ontario Chief Justice George Strathy at the annual opening of the courts ceremony in Toronto last week.

Fairburn is “universally recognized for her persuasive advocacy and for her fairness and civility,” The Advocates’ Society said in announcing the award. Fairburn joined Stockwoods last year after more than two decades with the Ministry of the Attorney General’s criminal Crown law office where she was general counsel.

The Catzman award honours the late Ontario Court of Appeal justice Marvin Catzman. According to The Advocates’ Society, the award recognizes individuals who demonstrate the qualities exemplified by Catzman throughout his career: knowledge of the law, integrity, fairness, civility, generosity of time and expertise, and dedication to the highest ideals of the legal profession through writing and lecturing.


Last week, Law Times reported on law firms and lawyers who did the ice bucket challenge.

One of those firms, Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, has made a fairly significant donation to the ALS Society of Canada following the challenge.

“It was incredible how quickly our team came together to take the challenge and donate,” said Scott Jolliffe, Gowlings’ chairman and chief executive officer, who presented the firm’s donation of about $60,000 on Sept. 8. “The firm-wide response was overwhelming and speaks to our commitment to finding a cure for ALS and supporting families who are living with this devastating disease.”

The $60,084 donation included individual contributions from lawyers and staff — which the firm matched — as well as a $10,000 lump-sum donation.


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

According to the poll, about 65 per cent of respondents feel a requirement for dual signatures on trust accounts would be impractical for sole practitioners and feel the legal profession shouldn’t implement such a rule.

The debate on whether a single lawyer should be able to sign for funds held in a trust account followed Toronto lawyer Meerai Cho’s arrest on fraud charges in connection with millions of dollars in missing deposit fees for a North York condominium building. Proponents of a dual-signature rule say it would prevent similar situations from happening.

Cho, who was holding the deposits in trust, said she transferred the money to the condo developer by mistake. She blamed her inexperience for what happened, but police believe otherwise. She faces 75 charges related to fraud and breach of trust. None of the allegations have been proven in court. Cho is to appear on the charges in early October.

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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?