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Heenan severance packages 'really shady'

|Written By Yamri Taddese

Support staff at Heenan Blaikie LLP say they have at last received information about their severance packages, and they're not happy about it.

Some employees say they are being told they’ll receive their entitlements through salary continuation rather than a lump sum.

One staff member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, says not receiving a lump sum puts her and her colleagues in a risky situation in case Heenan Blaikie files for bankruptcy.

“What they’re doing is really shady,” she says.

Some employees were told they are entitled to a six or eight-week pay continuation, but feel they deserve more, another source said. The last day of employment for the remaining Heenan Blaikie support staff is Feb. 28. Tomorrow, computers will be taken away, phone lines cut off.

“We’re basically packing boxes now,” a source said.

After Law Times published an article yesterday about support workers being “pissed off” at how the law firm’s wind down is being managed, more Heenan staff went online to air their frustration.

“I was assured at the town hall meeting that this downslide was only temporary and there were no planned lay offs, etc,” one commenter wrote. “I took out an RRSP loan which I am now responsible for and they only [g]ave me six weeks severance. Had they let me go any other time last year I would have been entitled to four months’ pay.

“They dropped us on our heads and then threw us under the bus.”

Another commenter wrote: “We were strung along and then treated worse than garbage.”

Support staff also said they felt information about their severance package was delayed as Heenan Blaikie’s transition committee waited until employees found new jobs and found employment, which would mean they wont have severance entitlements.

So far, about 217 lawyers have found other positions. We last updated the moves list in the middle of last week. Here are the reported moves we’ve gathered since then.

# of lawyers law firm city lawyers
1 Emond Harnden LLP Toronto
Kevin D. MacNeill
3 BLG Calgary Barrie Pomerance, Neal Wang, and Edward Wooldridge
1 Wildeboer Dellelce LLP Toronto Richard Lewin
9 MEP Business Counsel   Arthur Evrensel, Ryan M. Patryluk, Marshall Pawar, Jesse Ahuja, Christina Bulbrook,
Lindsay Keele, Maria Kourelis,    
Rachel Ricketts, Sonja Sun
2 De Grandpré Chait Montreal Gary Rosen, Lawrence Witt
3 Aitken Klee Toronto Jon Stainsby, Bill Mayo and Lesley Caswell
1 Cain Lamarre Montreal Stephane Duval
2 Miller Thomson Toronto Catherine Bate, Eva Schmieg
1 McMillan Toronto Geza Banfai
2 Faskens Montreal Neil Wiener, Sébastien Bellefleur
1 BLG Vancouver William (Bill) Skelly
1 Osler Toronto Rhonda Shirreff
5 Osler Toronto? Partner Adam Kardash and Associates Joanna Fine, John Salloum, Rachel St. John, Bridget McIlvee
1 Groia & Co Toronto Bonnie Roberts Jones
13 Lavery de billy Montreal Magali Cournoyer-Proulx , Norman A. Dionne,Véronique Iezzoni, Simon Gagné, Sylvain Poirier, Philippe Tremblay, Patrick A. Molinari, Amélie Bélisle, Laurence Bich-Carrière, Rhonda Grintuch, Jérôme Laflamme, Mélanie Sauriol, Charles Olivier Thibeault
1 Hicks Morley Toronto Samantha Seabrook
1 Aird & Berlis Toronto Monty Warsh
3 Sheen Arnold McNeil Vancouver/ Victoria Marcia McNeil, Peter Sheen, and Susan Arnold
9 Faskens Montreal Carl Belanger, Kadiatou Sow. Robert Dupont, Stéphane Fillion, Rhéaume Perreault and Simon Laberge will join the firm as partners, while Alexis Charpentier, Alexandra Meunier and Valérie Gareau-Dalpé will join as associates.
8 Langlois Kronström Desjardins Montreal/QC Litigation: Karen M. Rogers, Bernard Jolin, Nicolas Roche. Occupational Health and Safety: Francine Legault. Insurance Law: Véronique Roy. o Labour Law: Nicola Di Iorio, Geneviève Beaudin, Marie Cousineau

Please contact us at clb.cleditor@thomsonreuters.com with any new moves or others that we might have missed.


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