Features

Monday, 04 March 2013 08:00

Making waves

Written by
Photo: Liam Sharp
Photo: Liam Sharp
When she’s not in one of her Toronto offices or at home with her family, chances are good Janet Leiper is in an ocean somewhere in the world, trying to catch a wave. “I love surfing, and I spend as much time as I possibly can doing it,” says Leiper. “There are so many great metaphors there for court and advocacy. The conditions are always changing, so you can’t count on things always being the same. You have to adjust yourself, and you have to show respect for the environment that you’re in . . . I’m always trying to encourage people to take it up, because it is such a great antidote to our lives here. When you go out into the ocean, any problem you have is gone by the time you come out.”
Monday, 04 February 2013 08:01

Betrayed, beguiled, and abandoned?

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b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_2013_February_cl_feb_13_pg_01.jpgThe most dangerous times in any flight are takeoff and landing. The same could be said about the trajectory of a young lawyer’s career. Getting into law school, the takeoff, is risky and hard and many excellent candidates fail to take wing. Landing an articling position and subsequent job after law school may be even harder and some fine would-be lawyers crash and burn.
Monday, 07 January 2013 08:01

Discipline dichotomy

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b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_2013_January_cl_jan_cover.jpgFew recent legal scandals have generated as much Sturm und Drang as the one caused by Winnipeg lawyer Jack King. Years ago, he tried to coerce a client into having sex with his wife, Lori Douglas, today an associate chief justice in Manitoba. This past summer, the salacious details of King’s actions were exposed during a Canadian Judicial Council hearing set up to determine whether Douglas should remain on the bench.
Monday, 07 January 2013 08:00

The ‘scourge’ of unrepresented litigants

Written by
Illustration: Peter Mitchell
Illustration: Peter Mitchell
Julie Macfarlane says the centuries-old legal cliché about people who represent themselves in court having fools for clients makes perfect sense. But the reality is record numbers of Canadians with legal cases — the vast majority when family law is involved — no longer turn to lawyers to represent them in civil matters. “I am blown away by the numbers of self-represented litigants in our courts today,” says Macfarlane, a University of Windsor law professor who is currently conducting a national research project on the subject. “I think it’s more fitting now to say that it’s the inmates who are running the asylum.”
Monday, 12 November 2012 08:01

The battle for the personal injury dollar

Written by
Photo: John Hryniuk
Photo: John Hryniuk
Prominently displayed on the web site of a legal marketing initiative called the Personal Injury Alliance are links to three one-minute long commercials featuring people who have suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of accidents. Accompanied by soft music playing in the background and showing the individuals now leading active lives despite their injuries, the video clips also include praise for their unnamed lawyers. They end simply with the person stating his or her name. Glossy, with good production values, and attempting to be inspirational, the videos are stylistically more like the athlete profiles that run continuously during Olympic Games than what they actually are: Commercials for a group of the best-known personal injury law firms in Ontario.
Monday, 12 November 2012 08:00

In-house are taking charge

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b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_2012_November_in_charge.jpgThe common refrain you will hear from in-house counsel these days is whenever possible they are bringing work in-house as opposed to sending it out. If they are sending work out, it’s for complex files or specialized one-off projects involving litigation, tax, or intellectual property matters. Even then, they may well be breaking down a litigation file and managing some aspects of it themselves to cut costs, sending only the most complicated aspects to external law firms.
Illustration: Matt Daley
Illustration: Matt Daley
Since British Columbia MP Russell Hiebert tabled the union dues disclosure bill, every politician and commentator with an opinion on Canada’s unique labour structure has taken it as an excuse to air their views. Every topic from mandatory dues to privacy rights has been aired — raising controversy in an area that has been relatively stable and peaceful for the last 40 years. Now lawyers are weighing in on whether this political dispute has any credence in law.
Monday, 12 November 2012 07:58

Getting beyond bias

Written by
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 09:02

Ain't no mountain high enough

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b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_2012_October_cl_oct_12_pg_01.jpgImagine, if you will, Leo Leduc passing time in an airport bookstore in 1990 when he sees Dr. Seuss’ last book Oh, The Places You Will Go, just after it is published. The Canadian diplomat spies it on the shelf with the other new releases and smiles to himself as he thinks of his children, Kevin and Sandra. The Leducs, you see, lived the book in the 1970s and 80s. Long before it came to be in print, Leo made it a real-life movie and the kids got to star as themselves.
Monday, 01 October 2012 09:00

Moving away from the judicious-parent test

Written by
Illustration:Peter Mitchell
Illustration:Peter Mitchell
The fifth and final will prepared by Patricia Luz Holvenstot divided nearly all of her assets among her three adult daughters. To her son, she left one cent. It was a decision with a detailed explanation. In the will, drafted in British Columbia three years before her death in 2000, she referred to another document in which she outlined a long list of complaints about the behaviour of her only son, dating back to when he was a teenager more than three decades earlier.
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