|Illustration: Pierre-Paul Pariseau|
It was just last summer that a team of lawyers led by Alan Young persuaded the Supreme Court of Canada to strike down the country’s prostitution law. But the seeds of the litigation were sown 25 years earlier, in the chill, pre-dawn hours of a Toronto morning. Young, a young lawyer at the law office of legendary criminal lawyer Alan Gold, had fielded an urgent call from a client who operated a dingy brothel near the city’s downtown bus depot. The joint was being raided, and the nervous client wanted help.
In what might be the most high-profile seizure ever of a smartphone in Canada, police obtained a court order and travelled to the United States earlier this year to extract information from the iPhone of a friend of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. Toronto police were unable to analyze the device allegedly belonging to Alexander “Sandro” Lisi “because they did not have the current forensic tools to extract information from the phone,” stated a sworn affidavit by an officer in the investigation dubbed Project Brazen 2.
When lawyers leave private practice and go in-house many may feel they are no longer easily able to pursue pro bono work, but the reality is corporate and public sector lawyers have skills that are in demand. There also appears to be growing interest from the in-house bar in pursuing pro bono activities.
|Photo: Huan Tran|
You may not hear it very often, mostly because it’s just not good PR for the in-house bar, but despite data that points to fairly consistent growth in corporate legal departments, not all global or U.S.-based companies are wholly behind the idea that existing legal departments in Canada should remain status quo.