Gail J. Cohen
Alexandra Darraby of Los Angeles, Calif., and Irma Russell, dean of the University of Montana School of Law at the American Bar Association reception held by Fasken Martineau LLP in Toronto. Photo: Robert Todd
Bill Choyke from Washington, D.C. and Tuscon, Ariz. Judge Leslie Miller at the reception hosted by Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP. Photo: Robert Todd
(l to r) Bo Landrum, executive director of the Birmingham Bar Association, Nancy Lloyd of Birmingham Al., Jim Lloyd, president of the Birmingham Bar Association, Peter Villani of Fasken Martineau LLP's Montreal office at the reception held by his firm. Photo: Robert Todd
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP lawyers Charetina Lougheed, left, and Christine Fotopoulos at the firm's reception for the American Bar Association conference. Photo: Robert Todd
David Riley of Seattle, Wash., Jonathan Levin of Faskens in Toronto, Pandora Strasler of New York, N.Y. at Faskens' reception. Photo: Robert Todd
Enjoying the Weir Foulds LLP reception are: Back row (l to r): Helene Daniel of Tampa, Fla., Mary Sharp of Beaufort, S.C., Jeanne Collins of El Paso, Tex., Andrea Kramer of Boston, Mass, and Diane Rynerson, executive director of the U.S. National Conference of Women's Bar Associations. Front row (l to r): Heather Segal of Guberman Garson in Toronto, Marjorie O'Connell of Washington, D.C., Rebecca Pontikes of Boston, Mass, and Andrea Carlisle, of Oakland, Calif. Photo: Gail J. Cohen
(l to r) Law Society of Upper Canada Treasurer Laurie Pawlitza, Ontario Superior Court Justice Andrea Pollak, Ruth Woodling from Atlanta, Ga., and Weir Foulds LLP managing partner Lisa Borsook at the recpetion hosted by her firm. Photo: Gail J. Cohen
(l to r) Law Society of Upper Canada Treasurer Laurie Pawlitza, Toronto-based adjudicator Patricia de Guire, Rear Admiral Nan De Renzi of the Department of the Judge Advocate General, United States Navy, and Patricia Lane, managing partner of Taylor McCaffrey in Winnipeg at the reception hosted by Weir Foulds LLP for the Association of Women Bar Association's meeting. Photo: Gail J. Cohen
(l to r) Geraldine Roszkowski of Woonsocket, R.I., Alpha Blue of South San Francisco, Calif., Bernice Donald of Memphis, Tenn., Joseph Roszkowski of Woonsocket, get acquainted at the reception hosted by Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP. Photo: Robert Todd
(l to r) Gerry Stobo and Vince DeRose of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP's Ottawa office, Aaron Silberman from San Francisco, Calif., and Matthew Alter of BLG in Toronto at the firm's ABA reception. Photo: Robert Todd
James Skorich of the U.S. Air Force and Regina Benike of Deloitte enjoy the hospitality at the Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP reception. Photo: Robert Todd
(l to r) Kate Broer of Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP's Toronto office and Osgoode Hall Law School's Sonia Lawrence enjoy the FMC reception. Photo: Robert Todd
(l to r) Borden Ladner Gervais LLP lawyers Mukundan Chakrapani from Ottawa and Norman Letalik Manoj Pundit of Toronto at the firm's ABA reception. Photo: Robert Todd
Munish Sharma or New Delhi, India, and Sunny Sodhi of Fasken Martineau in Toronto at his firm's ABA reception. Photo: Robert Todd
(l to r) Sajai Singh from Bangalore, India, and Vivek Bakshi of Fraser MIlner Casgrain LLP at his firm's reception to welcome American Bar Assocation members to Toronto. Photo: Robert Todd
Sanjeev Dhawan of Hydro One Networks Inc., Karen Lorimer, Canadian Lawyer's group publisher, and Paula Rietta of Ford Credit Canada Ltd. at the Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP's reception. Photo: Robert Todd
(l to r) Sean Weir, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP's national managing partner, host American Bar Association president Stephen Zack, Laurel Bellows of Chicago, Il, and Ivo Greiter from Innsbruck, Austria at his firm's party. Photo: Robert Todd
William Sellay of New York, N.Y., left, and Robert Bell of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP in Toronto meet at his firm's ABA reception. Photo: Robert Todd
The CJC launched a full investigation of a sexual harassment and discrimination complaint against Douglas in January. A review panel of five judges has concluded that the matter may be serious enough to warrant the judge’s removal from office and has that an inquiry committee should investigate the matter, says the CJC.
In accordance with council’s Inquiries and Investigations By-laws, the inquiry committee will have an uneven number of members, with the majority being CJC members. The minister of Justice will appoint one or more members, who must be lawyers with at least 10 years of experience.
The CJC says an independent lawyer will be selected to present the evidence at the inquiry. More details about the panel will be coming down the road.
This is the first inquiry committee taking place since changes were made to the CJC’s bylaws and procedures in October 2010. These changes were made to streamline some of the key steps for reviewing complaints against federally appointed judges.
Douglas stepped aside from her courtroom role last summer after the complaint arrived at the CJC. The allegations come from Alex Chapman, who was a client of the judge’s husband, Winnipeg lawyer Jack King.
Chapman claims King pressured him to have sex with Douglas, and showed him naked pictures posted online of the judge performing sex acts. King said Douglas was unaware both of the photos being posted online and his actions with Chapman.
Earlier this year, King pleaded guilty to professional misconduct and received a reprimand. He admitted sharing photos with Chapman, but his lawyer said his client was acting without his wife’s knowledge.
Wednesday marked the opening of Neeson Arbitration Chambers, with a reception welcoming many of Toronto’s legal luminaries. The chambers, which offers a new option for the arbitration and mediation market, is built on a membership model offering independent offices with the opportunity to share office and administration services and access to well-appointed boardrooms.
Thursday was double-header with the Law Society of Upper Canada hosting its annual Pride Week reception. The reception was preceded by a great discussion on immigration laws and policies as they pertain to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender immigrants and refugees. Human rights lawyer and recent Law Society Medal recipient Cynthia Petersen gave the keynote address at the reception, which looked back at all the members of the Canadian bar who have worked tirelessly over the years — and will continue to work — to bring about equality for LGBT Canadians.
That same night, the labour and employment section of the Ontario Bar Association hosted a fundraiser for the Lawyers' International Food Enterprise, an organization of lawyers with the mission to raise awareness within the legal profession of child poverty around the world and to further advance the profession’s commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility by encouraging the legal community to provide financial support to several charities. The funds raised at the silent auction will go towards World Vision and The Stephen Lewis Foundation.
Kimberley Neeson, of Neeson & Associates and members of Neeson Arbitration Chambers, played host to a crowd of well-wishers at their grand opening on June 22. Photo: Karen Lorimer
Kimberley Neeson and Gary Luftspring, a partner at Ricketts Harris, at the reception celebrating the grand opening of Neeson Arbitration Chambers. Photo: Karen Lorimer
The Law Society of Upper Canada held its annual Pride Week reception at Osgoode Hall in Toronto on Thursday, June. 23. Ontario Superior Court of Justice Master Robert Muir, left, and Mark Berlin, corporate counsel at the Institute on Governance in Ottawa and incoming chairman of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Conference of the Canadian Bar Association. Photo: Gail J. Cohen
Immigration lawyer Michael Battista and his spouse Keith Maidment at the LSUC Pride reception. Photo: Gail J. Cohen
LSUC Pride reception organizers Rudy Ticzon, right, of the LSUC, and Ontario Bar Association SOGIC chairman Milé Komlen, centre, along with Pride at Work Canada executive director Brent Chamberlain. Photo: Gail J. Cohen
After being acclaimed for her second term as treasurer of the law society, Laurie Pawlitza welcomes guests to the Pride reception on June 23. Photo: Gail J. Cohen
Human rights lawyer and recent recipient of the Law Society Medal, Cynthia Petersen, of Sack Goldblatt Mitchell, gives the keynote address looking back on all those involved in the legal fight for LGBT equality in Canada. Photo: Gail J. Cohen
(l to r) Adrian Lomaga of Howie Sacks & Henry; Joseph Hillier of Norton Rose; and London, Ont. lawyer Nicole Nussbaum all enjoy the LSUC Pride reception. Photo: Gail J. Cohen
The labour and employment section of the Ontario Bar Association hosted a successful fundraiser for the Lawyers' International Food Enterprise (LIFE) on Thursday, June 23. (l to r) One of the organizers, Elaine Newman of Newman Arbitrations; lawyer Hugh Scher; Dave Toycen, president of World Vision Canada; and Margaret Wright, director of operations for The Stephen Lewis Foundation. Photo: Gail J. Cohen
Stuart Rudner, of Miller Thomson, another of the LIFE fundraiser organizers gets some cognac tasting tips from Jason Englishman of Select Wines & Spirits. Photo: Gail J. Cohen
Event planner Brian Huskins, left, yuks it up with lawyers Arleen Huggins of Koskie Minsky and Fasken Martineu partner Andrew Alleyne at the LIFE fundraiser. Photo: Gail J. Cohen
Sarnia, Ont. lawyers and partners Pascale Daigneault and Carl Fleck, of Fleck and Daigneault, got down to business and came out on top with a number of the silent auction items at the LIFE fundraiser hosted by the OBA. Photo: Gail J. Cohen
Is that mediator/arbitrator Jules Bloch wearing the cap of his arch-nemesis Barry Fisher? Why yes! All had a good laugh with event organizer Stuart Rudner. Photo: Gail J. Cohen
LIFE founder Malcolm MacKillop with pal Erin Kuzz, of Sherrard Kuzz, sporting her new string of pearls from the auction at the LIFE fundraiser on June 23. Photo: Gail J. Cohen
Beyond that, practically every adult Canadian at some point banks online, checks their credit card statements online, uses a debit card, takes advantage of online e-mail services like Gmail or Hotmail, has bills or statements sent to them electronically, files their taxes online. And if you’re not doing it yourself, your credit card company, bank, online music or video service, and more are maintaining and/or transmitting your personal information electronically. Even the pictures and signatures on our driver’s licences or passports are now transmitted across the country electronically.
I want to believe my information is safe, but I cannot. I’m not alone and this is probably not news not anyone. So I am big supporter of Canada’s Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart, who is at the forefront of identifying online privacy issues.
Yesterday, she released her annual report to Parliament that focuses heavily on online privacy. Stoddart and her office are making a difference on this front internationally, not just within our own borders, which is absolutely necessary as the Internet is borderless. In the last year, the privacy commissioner’s office has stepped in and been instrumental in changes at Google Buzz and Wi-Fi, eHarmony, and Facebook.
In a bit of a bombshell in the report, Stoddart reported that consumers’ social insurance numbers, banking information, and tax records were discovered on used electronics being resold by Staples Business Depot. It chastised the office supplies chain for not fully deleting data on returned devices such as laptops and USB hard drives, leaving customers at risk of identity theft or fraud.
However, as privacy expert Michael Geist points out on his blog today, why do consumers have to wait for the annual report to find out about these things?
While these are important privacy developments, the release of this information weeks or months after the investigation or audit was concluded points to a significant flaw in the current reporting approach. I recognize that that is how the system currently functions - the OPC reports to Parliament on audit findings and only occasionally publicly reports on PIPEDA investigations - yet there is something fundamentally flawed with a system that keeps consumers in the dark for months about privacy risks. This is particularly ironic given the OPC’s emphasis on data breaches and the need for the private sector to disclose breaches as quickly as possible. The same should be true for audits and investigations to allow the public to react to newly identified privacy risks.
In 2006, Law Times reported that the privacy commissioner was seeking more power to force organizations to make changes if they’re found to have breaches of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. The role of the commissioner was and still is much more of an ombudsman than an enforcer. Just last month, she commented at the Canada 3.0 conference — citing the case of Sony and its PlayStation Network — that her office should have the power to fine large companies over their ever-increasing privacy breaches. Even the latest updates of PIPEDA, which died when the federal election was called, did not include such powers.
The privacy commissioners role is increasingly important in today’s wired (or rather wireless) society. She should have more flexibility and power in order to position that role at the level is should be.
We are very proud of the journalism we do here at Canadian Lawyer and once again I am happy to announce that at last night's KRW Awards, which recognize the best in the Canadian business press, that our magazine took home a gold and two silver awards.
|Art director Bill Hunter, staff writer Robert Todd, and editorial director Gail J. Cohen celebrating our success at the KRW Awards last night. Photo: Heather Gardiner|
The silver awards came for staff writer Robert Todd’s “Legal aid: a system in peril,” a critical look at the state of legal aid across this country in the October 2010 issue. That same issue was honoured in the best cover category with art direction by Bill Hunter and illustration by Darren Booth.
Canadian Lawyer also received honourable mentions for the June 2010 Money Issue cover; for our former Back Page columnist Ezra Levant in the best regularly featured column or department category; in the best feature category for Bruce Livesey’s article “When Temptation Bites” and Todd’s “Greener pastures”; artist Anthony Tremmaglia got a nod for his Canadian Lawyer InHouse October 2010 cover illustration; and Hunter along with photographers Roth & Ramberg for the opening spread of the article “A Major undertaking.”
I look forward to continuing our history of excellence with a great team of staff and freelance contributors who work hard every day to bring great content to our readers. Please join me in congratulating our dedicated team.
The self-regulatory system for lawyers in Canada needs an overhaul, University of Calgary law professor Alice Woolley argues in a paper released today.
There has been some (really not enough) debate in the legal profession in Canada about the future of self regulation. There are critics who call for it to be abandoned entirely and have the courts regulate and discipline lawyers as is done in many U.S. states.
Woolley maintains that independence of the bar is paramount, but does not wholly subscribe to the theory that lawyers must regulate themselves in order to be independent. “Rather, the things that independence should protect — the ability of lawyers to be zealous advocates for clients within the bounds of legality — should be used to assess the adequacies of any regulatory scheme. Does regulation ensure that lawyers fulfill their duty of zealous advocacy? Does regulation ensure that lawyers remain within the bounds of legality? Does regulation ensure access to justice?”
She is not calling for the abandonment of the system where lawyers regulate other lawyers, she argues it can be modified to both help ensure accountability and protect clients’ rights. She looks at the changes that have been made to the systems in England and Wales, saying: “Canadian regulation of lawyers could be improved and made better to ensure that lawyers act as zealous advocates within the bounds of legality.”
The paper, “Rhetoric and realities: What independence of the bar requires of lawyer regulation,” makes a number of proposales including the creation of a legal regulatory review office in each province to oversee law society activities. Lawyers and non-lawyers alike would govern it and “have the power to make recommendations to the provincial law society when it believes the law society has failed to discharge its legislative mandate fairly and properly.”
There is definitely a large chunk of the public that think having lawyers discpline each other actually means lawyers protecting their own rather than meting out real discpline and protecting the public. From that point of view, Woolley’s most important proposal is to separate the dispute resolution function of the provincial law societies into a distinct regulatory entity. This would mean that clients could appeal directly to this body with their client-service complaints.
Finally, the paper calls for a greater commitment from the Supreme Court of Canada to facilitate access to justice. Regulating billing, standardizing lawyer services and restoring legal aid funding would all help in this regard. “If clients cannot access lawyers then the rule of law is impaired,” Woolley writes.
The 39-page paper should defiinitely get the bar talking more about this issue. Canadian Lawyer addressed it in a less formal way in the January 2009 cover story but even just a couple of years ago, while ther was still dissatisfaction with the system, very few practising lawyers were interested in debating the issue. Perhaps now is the time — the rest of the common law world is addressing the matter, so should Canada. The future of lawyer regulation affects each and every practitioner in this country, no matter where, no matter what type of law. And lawyers should care about it.
Addendum: On this same note, today, the Law Society of British Columbia started a campaign inviting the public to apply to sit on disicipline and credentials hearing panels. It arises, in part, from “growing public scrutiny of self-regulatory organization,” said LSBC president Gavin Hume. This and other “proactive measures” are being taken “to maintain confidence in the law society’s regulatory process.”
|This blog post written from the relaxed editor’s home office.|
For many the biggest benefit of working from home is cost savings. Greater flexibility, such as choosing which hours to work, working on their own terms, and reducing stress, was the second-most popular benefit for workers. This was followed closely by the ease of caring for others. Nearly nine in ten of those who work from home at least once per week agree they are more productive. There are many fewer distractions when working from home.
Most lawyers and law firms are already set up so work can be done from anywhere. You’d be hard pressed to find a lawyer who can’t get their e-mail or log in to do work from the beach in Jamaica, never mind their home office. So giving people the flexibility to work from home one day a week, or even one day a month, using that already-in-place technology shouldn’t cause much of a stir.
The need to be seen shouldn’t be an issue. With the tracking of billable hours and the need to get work done for clients, it’s not like lawyers are going to shirk their responsibilities if they’re not shackled to their desks one day a week. The work will always get done. What it would mean, quite likely, is happier lawyers.
First and foremost, letting lawyers work from home one day a week shows a level of trust, particularly with younger lawyers, that can be very important in retaining talent (which means saving money for the law firms on the recruiting side). It will also reduce stress — not sitting in traffic or on public transit for an hour each way can make all the difference in a day but also flexibility to get other things done that can’t always be squeezed in when you’re at work from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Not to mention the being-more-productive part.
When asked what the likelihood of switching jobs if given the option of working from home, the Workopolis study shows nearly three of every four Canadians said they would seriously consider it. And if presented with two job opportunities with all other things being equal, 88 per cent said they would choose the one offering the option to work from home.
So lawyers, you’ve got a week to convince your bosses and co-workers that it’s time for a work from home day. Check out the Workopolis Facebook page for compelling stats and other useful information to make your business case for working from home.
|Quebec Chief Justice J.J. Michel Robert will retire Aug. 30. Photo: Gail J. Cohen|
He notified Chief Justice of Canada Beverly McLachlin on Friday, the same day the news came out that justices Ian Binnie and Louise Charron would be moving on.
Robert has sat on the Court of Appeal bench since May 9, 1995 and has been chief justice of Quebec since June 25, 2002.
He raised some eyebrows, and brought calls for his resignation from the Bloc Quebecois, in a 2005 interview with the National Post in which he said sovereigntists should be disqualified from federal judicial appointments and jobs including governor general, chief of defence staff, and RCMP commissioner.
“We must apply the Canadian Constitution, it is our first duty as judges,” Robert said in the interview. “So it seems to me that if one doesn’t want to apply the Canadian Constitution one should not exercise judicial functions.”
He was first called to the bar in 1962 and stayed in private practice until 1995 when he became a judge.
In 1974, Robert became bâtonnier of the Barreau du Québec and in 1975, president of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. He also served as a member of the Security Intelligence Review Committee, from 1991 to 1995.
With Robert’s post open, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has the opportunity to appoint another judge into a particularly influential position.
Organized by John McMillan, the Law Society Foundation and the League of Rock, "Rockin’ the Courthouse" on May 6 was a sold-out event. The funds raised at the show will provide approximately 2,800 meals to Toronto’s residents in need through the Toronto Lawyers Feed the Hungry Program.
The concert, which featured lawyer bands and a showcase band from League of Rock, was the first of its kind for the Toronto Lawyers Feed the Hungry Program. Thanks go to all sponsors and participants.
The event was sponsored by McMillan Law Professional Corporation; Gardiner Roberts; Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP; and Paliare Roland Barristers.
All photos by Phil Brown.
Hung Jury, (l to r): John Sorensen, Chris Trussell, Peter Wilcox, and Graham Walsh.
Tycho Manson, of the lawyer band The Margins, at Rockin’ the Courthouse.
The Loopholes (l to r) Rockin' the Courthouse organizer John McMillan, Stephen Katz, and Ken Moyer.
Tortious Conduct (l to r): Adam Wagman, Neil Sacks, and Jordon Wagman.
John McMillan plays Led Zeppelin on his harp guitar.
Luis Moreno-Ocampo walks a fine line. As chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court his job is as much about politics as it is about brining criminals to justice.
|Luis Moreno-Ocampo, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo: Koenraad Swaef|
The 95-minute documentary Prosecutor, directed by Toronto-based Barry Stevens, is quite compelling. It covers a seminal year at the ICC: 2009 in which the court opened its first trial against alleged Congolese war criminal Thomas Lubangaas well as indicting a sitting head of state, Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir. It is based in part on the book The Sun Climbs Slow: The International Criminal Court and the Struggle for Justice by Erna Paris.
It doesn’t shy away from addressing some of the controversies and frustrations that continue to plague the court today, even as Moreno-Ocampo begins an investigation of embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. There are claims that the prosecutor won’t challenge U.S. power and that’s why there’s been no investigations of alleged war crimes by U.S. or even Canadian forces in Afghanistan or of Israeli actions in Gaza. There’s also the thorny issue of whether indicting alleged war criminals gets in the way of peaceful resolution to conflicts. To top it all off, the ICC and Moreno-Ocampo don’t have any enforcement powers and must wait for sovereign states to arrest those that have been indicted.
Through all the controversy and political wrangling, you see Moreno-Ocampo — who prosecuted former political and military leaders in his home country of Argentina in the 1980s — maintaining his focus on justice and working toward changing behaviours “without war.” Despite setbacks and frustrations, the prosecutor says he’s got a “mountain of energy” and will continue to fight for what he believes in but other consider a pie-in-the-sky idealistic dream.
Prosecutor is produced by the National Film Board and White Pine Pictures in association with TVO. It premiers tonight at 9 p.m. ET on TVO with an encore presentation at 11 p.m. on May 15. It’s well worth the watch. As well, Moreno-Ocampo will be interviewed by Steve Paikin on The Agenda immediately preceding the documentary tonight.
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Gail J. Cohen