Michael McKiernan

Michael McKiernan

Monday, 07 January 2013 08:00

Drilling down - Part 1

Drilling down - Part 1In days gone by, an insurance defence firm may have sounded like a pretty niche outfit. But as boutiques in the area enter a second generation, they’re drilling down to even more precise specializations in order to stand out from the crowd. Most of the firms that made our list this year now have at least two decades of experience behind them, many after breaking away from larger, full-service firms. “It’s a mature market, and it’s not a new area of law, so the gross revenue is not increasing dramatically,” says Eric Dolden, co-founder of Vancouver firm Dolden Wallace Folick LLP. “You’re always going to have your auto cases and house fires, but that’s kind of static. The growth is in new areas where you couldn’t get insurance 10 years ago.”
Monday, 17 December 2012 08:00

Who carries the true duty to consult?

Who carries the true duty to consult?When members of the northern Ontario Wahgoshig First Nation stumbled across an exploratory drilling team preparing to clear forest and bulldoze access routes on its traditional land in the spring of 2011, the work crew was unwilling to disclose whom they were working for.
Monday, 12 November 2012 07:58

Getting beyond bias

Illustration: Mick Coulas
Illustration: Mick Coulas
Every culture has its taboos, and for expert witnesses the biggest of them all is the issue of bias. “It’s something people don’t seem to like speaking about out loud,” says Paul Okrutny, an associate at forensic service firm Giffen Koerth Inc. “If you do hear people talking about it, it’s to say of course they’re not biased. But it’s a big issue in the legal field, and I think maybe we don’t talk about it enough.”
Monday, 01 October 2012 09:01

Embracing regionalism

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock
In years gone by, some regional law firms were busy preening themselves in the hope of a date with an attractive large national partner. These days in western and northern Canada, they’re single and proud. There’s never been a better time to embrace regionalism, says Field Law managing partner James Casey — in-house counsel are more willing than ever to take a chance on a smaller firm, as long as it can do the job, and cut a deal price-wise. “Regional firms have a lot of momentum in the marketplace right now. They’re being recognized and embraced by clients,” he says.
Monday, 01 October 2012 09:04

Cashing in on REIT fever

Illustration: Martin O'Neill
Illustration: Martin O'Neill
A swanky hotel or a stately home would normally do the job for a reasonable coming out party, once the highlight of high society calendars around the world. But this summer, real estate investment trusts selected a two-million-square-foot skyscraper in the heart of Toronto’s financial district to formally announce their Canadian arrival in style.
Monday, 27 August 2012 09:04

The art of the ask

Part of private donor Peter Allard’s $11.86-million gift supported the construction of UBC Faculty of Law’s new building. Photo: UBC
Part of private donor Peter Allard’s $11.86-million gift supported the construction of UBC Faculty of Law’s new building. Photo: UBC
Today’s law students are 21st-century creatures, but the same can’t always be said for the classrooms they call home for a large part of the day. Most know at least one dingy old space with fewer electrical outlets than doors, and whose iffy acoustics, stale air, and dim lighting mean it bears a closer resemblance to a dungeon than a temple of learning. “We all know what it’s like to sit in a lousy room,” says Kim Brooks, the dean at Dalhousie University’s Schulich School of Law.
Video: Chief Justice McLachlin speech to CBA Council 2012Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin addresses the Canadian Bar Association's council meeting in Vancouver, Aug. 11, 2012
Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin addresses the Canadian Bar Association's council meeting in Vancouver, Aug. 11, 2012
Monday, 06 August 2012 09:00

Helping or hindering?

Shutterstock image
Shutterstock image
Judicial independence is one of the cornerstones of Canada’s justice system, but some observers warn it could also be among the biggest obstacles to reforming the way it works.
Monday, 30 July 2012 09:00

A lack of substance

Illustration:Robert Carter
Illustration:Robert Carter
The Ontario Securities Commission has fired a shot across the bows of emerging market companies listed on Canadian stock exchanges and those involved in bringing them to market in a scathing report that accused boards of directors, underwriters, auditors, and exchanges of falling short in their obligations. 
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