Features

Sunday, 04 July 2010 20:00

Public law

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Public lawBrian Saunders had two inspirations when he signed up with the federal Justice Department in 1977. Public service was in his blood and — among the goals that would lead him one day to head the new Public Prosecution Service of Canada — he wanted to go to court. “All of my father’s family and my mother’s family were public service,” the youthful-looking Justice Department veteran says. “My father’s family, all his brothers and him, were in the military. My mother’s family were all school teachers and nurses, so I was brought up in families that had a sense of working for the public.”

 

Monday, 07 June 2010 05:47

Good business or cheating the taxman?

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Good business or cheating the taxman?Offshore financial centres, or offshore tax havens as they are more commonly referred to, have been the subject of heightened international scrutiny and pressure in recent years from governments in the developed world.
The going rate - Canadian Lawyer’s 2010 legal fees survey Canada’s legal industry seems to be taking a cautious approach to economic recovery, as Canadian Lawyer’s 2010 legal fees survey indicates widespread fee reductions have been ushered in for the year ahead.

Monday, 07 June 2010 05:32

Business solutions for boardrooms

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Business solutions for boardroomsJustin Fogarty is not your father’s restructuring and insolvency lawyer. Sure, the Toronto-based partner at Davis LLP was called to the bar in 1986 after graduating from law school but he spends a decreasing proportion of his time in a courtroom. Instead, he’s increasingly brandishing his skills as a provider of business solutions in his clients’ boardrooms.

Sunday, 02 May 2010 20:00

How am I doing?

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How am I doing?It’s hard to understand why it has taken so many law firms so long to start asking their clients for feedback. One theory is that historically, lawyers believed their clients wouldn’t understand the services they offer so how could they possibly provide feedback on such “complicated matters?” A second related theory is that client feedback is not proper for professionals. It is for the truck driver with the “How am I driving?” sign on the back of his vehicle or for the customer satisfaction survey at the local burger joint.
Sunday, 02 May 2010 20:00

A chink in mandatory minimums

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A chink in mandatory minimumsAs mandatory sentences are becoming more common and with Bill C-25 limiting credit for time served in remand, such thresholds are being seen as steadily eroding judicial discretion. The most notable wave washing ashore on judicial benches was seen in the Conservatives’ Tackling Violent Crime Act (Bill C-2 passed in 2008). The government is rationalizing mandatory minimums as the public’s desire to see more uniformity in sentencing practices. But the price of such sentencing “fits,” more solidly entrenched in the U.S., is taking its own toll on the Canadian justice system.

Monday, 05 April 2010 06:48

Climbing every mountain

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Climbing every mountainOntario’s criminal lawyers waged a heated and lengthy battle with the provincial government over legal aid rates last year, boycotting homicide and guns-and-gangs cases. After eight months of conflict, the provincial government in January agreed to increase lawyers’ tariffs, pledging a five-per-cent raise for each of the next seven years. The defence bar rejoiced at the news that lawyers would no longer have to take on the most serious of cases at a monetary loss, all costs considered. What few know, however, is that it might never have happened without Marie Henein.
Monday, 01 March 2010 07:05

When temptation bites

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When temptation bitesSometime prior to 7 a.m. on Oct. 26, 2009, a man stood on a road bridge overlooking the Don Valley in east-end downtown Toronto. Apparently wracked with despair and shame, he climbed up and over and leapt into oblivion. The 39-year-old lawyer died in the gravel down below, leaving a slew of unanswered questions in his wake.
Monday, 01 February 2010 06:38

Getting away with murder

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Getting away with murderPersonal injury lawyer and former Quebec justice minister Marc Bellemare thought he’d seen the summit of injustice 20 years ago, when a drunken army corporal who killed four young people during a high-speed chase through a Quebec City suburb received $86,000 in indemnities for a lost eye — twice the amount the victims’ grieving families got in total.
Monday, 01 February 2010 06:28

Labour law central to constitutional fight

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Labour law central to constitutional fightIf there is a battle being waged over the tenets of Canada’s Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the ground where the fight is taking place could very well be in labour and employment law. In recent years, the Supreme Court of Canada has been called upon to decide on myriad constitutional challenges, including the Charter obligations of jurisdictions or employers.

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