Law Times

Sept 9, 2013

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VICTIMS RIGHTS MINIMAL DAMAGES Lawyers want higher awards for sexual assault e: $4.00 • Vol. 24, No. 28 Travelling MacKay touts new bill P7 Human Rights Law L aw TIMes NO COST STORAGE Ask Us How. ntitled-2 1 P3 FOCUS ON CO V E R I N G O N TA R I O ' S L E G A L S C E N E • W W W. L AW T I M E S N E W S . CO M 13-05-22 10:16 AM P8 September 9, 2013 ntitled-4 1 12-03-20 10:44 A Conflicts a 'big headache' for ex-judges O'Connor's resignation from police review shows sensitivities involved quagmire all big law firms continue to deal with, McMurtry notes. "Basically, the major issue is whether or not your voiding conflicts of interest opinion is contrary to the interest of a former client when former judges take on even though the issue is entirely different than what public inquires is a "big headthe firm has dealt with in the past," he says. ache" for the law firms they McMurtry himself has conducted three mawork for, says former Ontario jor public policy reviews for former Ontario chief justice Roy McMurtry. premier Dalton McGuinty's government. A McMurtry made the comments following reparticularly notable one followed the 2010 G20 cent events related to the issue in Toronto. Two summit in Toronto when the government asked weeks after his appointment by Toronto police McMurtry to review the so-called secret law Chief Bill Blair to review police use of force in the that reportedly allowed police to search anyaftermath of the Sammy Yatim shooting, former one who was within five metres of fences built associate chief justice Dennis O'Connor witharound the downtown core during the meeting. drew from the role, citing complaints of conflict The report McMurtry produced suggested of interest from lawyers and Yatim's family. scrapping the Public Works Protection Act as it "It is with regret that I announce that I have gave a "troubling" breadth of power to police to decided to withdraw from the review that make arrests. Chief Blair announced on August 12, 2013. At Gowlings, McMurtry says a department The basis for the decision is my position as considers possible conflicts of interest when a counsel with Borden Ladner Gervais LLP former judge now at the firm looks to conduct (BLG), which also acts for the insurers of the a review. But as demonstrated in O'Connor's Toronto Police Service in civil suits, some of case, the conflicts aren't always legal ones but which include allegations of the wrongful use The possibility of a conflict whenever former judges conduct reviews is a quagmire all big law firms continue can instead relate to opposition from the public, of lethal force," said O'Connor in a statement. clients, and other lawyers. to deal with, says Roy McMurtry. Photo: Laura Pedersen "Upon careful consideration, I have come to In O'Connor's case, he had "an emotionally the conclusion that my association with BLG son LLP, says he trusts O'Connor's choice was the right one. charged file," says legal ethics writer and lawyer Philmay raise a public discussion about this issue that would be "Dennis' judgment in my view is absolutely impeccable. ip Slayton. He suggests the former judge was right to be sensitive. distracting and unfortunate. I regret that this issue has arisen Whatever decision he made would be the right decision. I "I was surprised that Dennis O'Connor resigned so quickly. but I am of the view that if there is any possibility of concern in have great admiration for his ability as a person." I thought it was sort of a great sensitivity to the issue. I guess he a matter such as this, it is best to address it at the outset." Yet, the possibility of a conflict whenever former judg- foresaw potential criticism coming his way and coming to the McMurtry, now counsel with Gowling Lafleur Hender- es conduct reviews and ultimately give an opinion is a See No easy, page 5 BY YAMRI TADDESE Law Times A Dickinson Wright lures lawyers seeking cross-border work Law Times N Cross-border opportunities were a big factor in Cherie Brant's move to Dickinson Wright LLP. early three years after merging with Aylesworth LLP, Dickinson Wright LLP's midmarket and cross-border focus is luring lawyers who like to have a foot on each side of the CanadaU.S. border. With half a dozen new hires, it's been a summer of expansion at the firm's Toronto office. It's the only office the mostly U.S.-based firm has in Canada, but the new lawyers say they saw unique opportunities in Dickinson Wright's link to the south. Before he received a call about joining Dickinson Wright, Ned Levitt admits he didn't know much about the firm. Content with his job at Aird & Berlis LLP, the franchise lawyer says he wasn't looking to move. But the offer, he says, eventually drew him in. "We all know about the international firms . . . but this was a little bit different. What I started to understand is that they're proudly mid-market," he says, adding that as a franchise and distribution lawyer, that sounded like a good place for him. "The strategy was to seek out those lawyers practising in areas that are compatible with where they see themselves, so crossborder," he says. "The Canadian experience has been good for them and they wanted to grow the Toronto office in the right way and in a good way. So they saw franchising as a beautiful fit for their strategy." What piqued his interest, says Levitt, was the fact he wouldn't simply be taking his practice elsewhere. "They want my assistance to grow the same kind of practice in the U.S.," he says. "For me, it was a very unique opportunity." For Cherie Brant, who provides strategic advice to investors seeking to work with First Nations communities, the business prospects of a cross-border practice quickly became clear. "What I've been noticing is there are increasingly opportunities to work with tribes in the U.S.," she says. "Clients are doing transactions PM #40762529 BY YAMRI TADDESE See Firm, page 5 ONTARIO LAWYER'S PHONE BOOK 2013 YOUR MOST COMPLETE DIRECTORY OF ONTARIO LAWYERS, LAW FIRMS, JUDGES AND COURTS More detail and a wider scope of legal contact information for Ontario than any other source: 26,000 lawyers 9,000 law firms and corporate offices OLPB_LT_Feb11_13.indd 1 Visit or call 1.800.387.5164 for a 30-day no-risk evaluation 13-02-06 12:58 PM

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