Features

Monday, 02 May 2011 12:31

Fighting for independence

Written by
b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_2011_May_cl_may_11.jpgCheryl 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

Written by
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

Written by
b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_2011_April_cl_april_11.jpgIt 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

Written by
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

Written by
b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_2011_March_cl_march_11.jpgToronto 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.
Sunday, 06 March 2011 08:38

My parents’ keeper

Written by
Illustration: Jeff Szuc
Illustration: Jeff Szuc
With many adult children choosing to take on the responsibility of financially supporting a parent in need, elderly moms and dads heading to court to demand support from kids who are unwilling to pay has proved a rare situation across the country. But as Statistics Canada projects the aging of Canada’s population to rapidly accelerate over the next 25 years, lawyers are divided on the question of whether parental-support cases could become a more prevalent trend.
Friday, 04 February 2011 11:21

Merging into the future

Written by
b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_2011_February_cl_02_11.jpgIn the course of five weeks last fall, four of Canada’s top 20 national law firms underwent significant facelifts by way of mergers. It began with a pair of firms joining forces to enhance the scale of their operations, continued with a firm linking up with a global powerhouse to expand its international presence, and ended with a fourth firm swallowing up a regional player to gain a foothold in one of Canada’s fastest-growing provincial economies. It will take years to determine the value of these moves by McMillan LLP and Lang Michener LLP, Ogilvy Renault LLP, and Miller Thomson LLP respectively. What is evident in the short term is that law firms are feeling pressure to solidify their position in the market as their global counterparts descend on Canada.
Friday, 04 February 2011 11:12

Automate this

Written by
b_150_0_16777215_00___images_stories_01-CANADIANLawyer_2011_February_computerman.jpgMama always said, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” But then Mama wasn’t a lawyer.
Friday, 04 February 2011 11:05

Facebook is the new water cooler

Written by
Illustration: Dushan Milic
Illustration: Dushan Milic
Canadian workers have been gathering around water coolers to complain about supervisors for as long as they’ve been taking afternoon trips to Tim Hortons. But only recently has the workplace grumbling emerged online, with the dawn of social media sites like Facebook. A recent British Columbia Labour Relations Board ruling, however, should make workers think twice before venting online about their bumbling bosses.
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