Features

Illustration: Kim Rosen
Illustration: Kim Rosen
Across the country, courts have been struggling with the best way to present expert evidence. If you have been listening to the latest debates on the subject, you will probably have heard the term “hot tubbing” as a method for organizing expert evidence in a hearing. It was coined in Australia to describe the procedure of organizing all experts in a case into a panel and hearing their evidence concurrently. The growing bulk of academic and legal papers on the topic seem to agree that both judges and experts like the idea. The question is “Should lawyers like the idea?”
Crunching the numbers: Associate profitabilityNorm Letalik remembers the reaction he got the day in 2002 when he told a room of fellow lawyers and management experts at a monthly professional development meeting that he was helping his newly merged firm put the final touches on what soon became what he believes was the first national training program for associates in Canada. “There was a lot of chuckling,” recalls Letalik, a partner in the Toronto office of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. “People basically said, ‘Good luck with that.’”
The going rate — Canadian Lawyer’s 2011 legal fees survey Canadian Lawyer’s 2011 legal fees survey reveals evidence of a more vibrant legal industry, with responses from over 700 lawyers across the country signaling a greater willingness to charge higher fees than in 2010, when belt-tightening was the theme in response to ongoing global economic malaise.
Friday, 03 June 2011 11:52

New weapons of today’s proxy battles

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Illustration: Jeff Szuc
Illustration: Jeff Szuc
The art of war has changed for shareholders and the companies they’re looking to bring down or take over. The weapon of choice for many: proxy fights. “Three years ago this practice area really started taking off. People thought it would be the new mergers and acquisitions. Time has shown it’s taken its place with M&A,” says Walied Soliman, a partner with Norton Rose OR LLP in Toronto.
Monday, 02 May 2011 12:31

Fighting for independence

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Fighting for independenceCheryl Foy’s membership renewal to the Canadian Bar Association and its subgroup for in-house lawyers, the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association, is coming up. The general counsel at Carleton University in Ottawa is very aware of this because there is a card on her desk serving as a constant reminder. The CCCA has been an important part of her life since 2005, when Foy started rising through the membership ranks, becoming treasurer, vice president, and eventually president of Canada’s oldest and largest organization serving corporate counsel.
Monday, 02 May 2011 11:19

The real truth in sentencing

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Illustration: Kim Rosen
Illustration: Kim Rosen
When Marvin Johnson sold $20 worth of cocaine to an undercover Toronto police officer on Feb. 26, 2010, he probably didn’t realize his case would become the first word from Canada’s courts upholding the constitutionality of a key plank in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s tough-on-crime initiatives. Nor could it have been predicted the same decision would also be lauded by the country’s defence bar as a clever path of breadcrumbs around the newly minted sentencing law.
Friday, 01 April 2011 15:26

Remains of the day

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Remains of the dayIt was a Canadian icon and global trailblazer, then it took a turn for the worse that reverberated around the world. The Nortel Networks Corp. insolvency will be one of the most protracted and complicated undertakings for all of the lawyers and financial professionals involved, but when it is finally resolved, it will indeed set a new model for multinational companies facing financial difficulty.
Friday, 01 April 2011 11:33

The fight for the hallways

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Illustration: Victor Gad
Illustration: Victor Gad
Before 2004, Quebec journalists wanting to take photos or film had for years enjoyed several freedoms inside the province’s courthouses that went beyond many other North American jurisdictions. Journalists with cameras could roam the corridors of courthouses, shoot and take photos anywhere, as long as they didn’t do so inside individual courtrooms while proceedings were going on. “As long as I can remember, practising for about 36 years, the media was always present in courts, in the public areas, and that’s just how things are here,” says Barry Landy, a partner at Spiegel Sohmer in Montreal. “It’s different from the rest of Canada, and other than for a handful of isolated cases, it has never posed a serious problem.”
Monday, 07 March 2011 14:48

Mass disorder

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Mass disorderToronto defence lawyer Howard Morton refers to the G20 summit in Toronto last June as “my weekend in Argentina.” He compares it to the oppression of a dictatorship and to what happened here 1970, when Pierre Trudeau’s federal Liberal government enacted the War Measures Act in the midst of the October Crisis, which made way for the arrests of 465 people. Yet he considers the Toronto summit, during which an estimated 1,170 were arrested, a far more troublesome event in Canadian history. “If you went down there blindfolded, and somebody took the blindfold off of you, you would never assume you were in Toronto,” says Morton, who assisted with bail hearings at a special court set up during the summit. “It was like an armed camp, and the police action was carried out as if it was a military operation.”
Monday, 07 March 2011 14:41

Back to basics

Written by
Illustration: Kim Rosen
Illustration: Kim Rosen
Lawyers who work in big firms receive a lot of administrative support. There are entire departments devoted to handling the very basics of conducting business: hiring and firing, billing, collections, paying rent, ordering supplies, not to mention courier and catering services. With all of the basics covered, each lawyer is free to do what is expected of him or her: bring in clients and earn money. The problem with this big-firm model is that when lawyers want to practise on their own or within a small firm or company, they quickly discover their knowledge of how to run a business is as limited as their experience in ordering paperclips — that is, very little.
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