Features

‘Lightning bolts out of the sky’

  • Legal Report: Tax
Written by Posted Date: January 6th, 2014
Illustration: Peter Mitchell
Illustration: Peter Mitchell
When Rob Kreklewetz started his legal career as a tax and trade lawyer in the 1980s, tax law was a staid, even gentlemanly field of practice involving mostly matters of income tax and other direct taxes. Lawyers “were brought in at the early stage, usually by the client’s accountant, before a notice of objection was filed,” he tells Canadian Lawyer from his office at Millar Kreklewetz LLP in Toronto. “We had 90 days to file (and) delay collection until the amount of collection was determined. It was all very orderly.”

Keeping up appearances

Written by Posted Date: November 18th, 2013
b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_2013_November_CL_Nov_13---DIGITAL-1.jpgFar from being mere bricks and mortar, courthouses are the physical embodiment of the justice system. Their design, appearance, and state of repair can affect the length of trials; help or hinder access to justice; protect — or expose — vulnerable parties; and inspire a sense of respect or disdain for the judicial process.
But lawyers across Canada admit many of these buildings, far from being a source of civic pride, hamper their efforts to represent clients in the most effective way.

The billing conundrum

  • This year’s Canadian Lawyer Corporate Counsel Survey shows in-house counsel and law firms continue to struggle with the best way to bill legal services.
Written by Posted Date: November 18th, 2013
b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_2013_November_123842533.jpgIn-house counsel are expecting to take on more work internally next year to handle growth in their companies, but the management of their external law firm spending remains an ongoing challenge they wrestle with in an attempt to find value and meet budgets.

A very texting question

  • Legal Report: Criminal & Forensic
Written by Posted Date: November 18th, 2013
Illustration: Alexi Vella
Illustration: Alexi Vella
In the three decades federal law enforcement has been required to report to Parliament on the number of times it receives judicial authorization to conduct electronic surveillance on individuals, its use has declined steadily. From a high of 1,300 warrants issued for audio and video surveillance in 1976, the number dropped to 95 in 2012 and the annual total was just over 100 intercepts in each of the previous four years. The irony in the steep drop in seeking approval for wiretaps is seizure of private communications by local, provincial, and national police is now likely higher than ever and the legal hurdle is arguably much lower than the test for what are known as Part VI authorizations under the Criminal Code.

Hoodwinked!

  • Cover Story
Written by Posted Date: October 7th, 2013
Photos: David Cooper/Toronto Star
Photos: David Cooper/Toronto Star
Eric Cunningham didn’t see it coming. On a brisk morning in November 2006, the 57-year-old marketing executive was sitting on a hard bench in the hallway of the Milton, Ont., courthouse waiting for his lawyer to arrive before heading into a divorce hearing. That’s when one of his wife’s lawyers, James Edney of Toronto’s Blaney McMurtry LLP, walked over and dropped a large document in Cunningham’s lap, saying, “Consider yourself served.” Cunningham put on his glasses and began reading what he quickly discovered was a contempt motion: It was demanding he be thrown in prison until Cunningham handed over the $2.4 million they said he’d socked away in offshore bank accounts.

Uses and abuses of trademarks online

  • Legal Report: Intellectual Property
Written by Posted Date: October 7th, 2013
Illustration: Matthew Billington
Illustration: Matthew Billington
The tale of the British fishmonger may be one of the best examples. The way John McKeown tells the story — and you can almost hear him smiling over the phone — it sounds like some sort of fable for trademark lawyers everywhere.

The Penang lawyer

  • Cover Story
Written by Posted Date: September 2nd, 2013
Photo: Sandra Strangemore
Photo: Sandra Strangemore
Beside the name plate outside Hartley R. Nathan’s 21st-floor downtown Toronto office is a small white ceramic plaque with the number 221B.

From undertaker to fixer

  • Legal Report: Mining Law
Written by Posted Date: September 2nd, 2013
Illustration: Justin Renteria
Illustration: Justin Renteria
It’s no secret it’s been a tough year in the mining sector, especially for those in the exploration and development stage struggling to get much-needed access to cash in order to further their ventures. Falling commodity and share prices — off considerably from their 12-24 month highs — coupled with the inability to get financing from spooked capital markets has created a formula for unpleasant discussions about what to do next.
b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_2013_August_cl-futurecasting-opener.jpgThis is not your father’s Oldsmobile, as the classic television commercial went. The same can be said about the practice of law. Running your law firm — big or small, Main Street or Bay Street, local, national, or global — ain’t what it used to be. In the last few years, tremendous economic factors have been pushing and pulling the practice in all directions in Canada and around the world. While there has been much talk and many reports on dusty shelves about changes necessary to the legal profession, one senses there’s been a shift recently to a point where action has become unavoidable.

An ‘expansive’ interpretation of family violence

  • Legal Report: Family Law
Written by Posted Date: August 5th, 2013
Illustration: Ashley Mackenzie
Illustration: Ashley Mackenzie
Unco-operative behaviour by parents fighting legal battles isn’t unusual, but a “remarkable” ruling has determined it can amount to “family violence.” British Columbia’s Family Law Act, which came fully into effect in March 2013, defined “family violence” for the first time under provincial law, to cover a range of psychologically, emotionally, and physically damaging actions. The definition of “family violence” is “the one area where B.C. is ahead of any other province in terms of its legislation,” asserts John-Paul Boyd, family lawyer at Aaron Gordon Daykin Nordlinger LLP.
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