Law Times

February 9, 2015

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Heenan denies partners have gotten capital back By yaMri taddese Law Times he lawyer representing Heenan Blaikie LLP in a wrongful dismissal lawsuit denies the firm's former partners walked away with their capital funds when it col- lapsed last year. "The one thing I feel I must say is that the claim that any of the partners have received their capi- tal back is utterly false," says Greg McGinnis, a partner at Mathews Dinsdale & Clark LLP. "No HB partner has received a penny of capital back." A year after the firm collapsed, Heenan Blaikie and its former managing partners are defending themselves in lawsuits launched by former employees alleging wrong- ful dismissal, misrepresentation, and unpaid settlement agreements. None of the allegations have been proven in court. In one of those lawsuits, Wendy Rhodes, a former legal assistant, is alleging the firm didn't treat everyone fairly as it prepared to wind down operations. Part of Rhodes' allegations against the firm relates to "fraudulent prefer- ence." Rhodes claims partners of the firm, including former co-man- aging partner Norman Bacal and his successor in the role, Kip Dae- chsel, "were paid out their capital in preference to her minimum entitl ements pursuant to the [Em- ployment Standards Act]," an alle- gation Heenan Blaikie denies. In response, Bacal and Daech- sel say the firm hasn't made any capital payments to its partners. "All partner compensation ceased in January 2014," their statement of defence reads. Rhodes is also accusing Bacal and Daechsel of reassuring her about the firm's state of affairs and the security of her job before send- ing her a termination letter on Valentine's Day last year. But in their defence, Bacal and Daechsel say they weren't "omni- scient" about the firm's fate at the time they made those reassuring statements. Untitled-1 1 2015-02-04 1:53 PM Traditional career path starting to fade Study finds lawyers no longer on single track to law firm partnership By yaMri taddese Law Times ive years into her first job in private practice, lawyer Anjali Banka had had enough. She had been working tedious hours at a Toronto law firm and had no time for social life or taking vacations. "I actually quit in 2005 without having anything lined up just because I was just fed up, pretty much burnt out," she says. "I just couldn't take it anymore." By then, she realized she wanted something different. "At the beginning, I was really looking for the partner- ship track, very ambitious," she says. "But once you're there, you realize that the lifestyle it might offer you is less than ideal." Banka, who now works from home four to five hours a day, is one of the lawyers at Cognition LLP, a law firm that allows for greater f lexibility and independent con- tract work. Meanwhile, Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP counsel Paul Rand has gone from working in private practice to an in-house counsel position and back to a law firm once again all in the first decade of his career. Stories like these are evident in the findings of a recent study led by Queen's University sociology Prof. Fiona Kay on career paths in the legal profession. As part of the study, she, along with Stacey Alarie and Jones Adjei, looked at the private-practice career paths of lawyers who graduated law school between 1990 and 2009. UNBUNDLED SERVICES Advice on offering limited-scope retainers P3 BAIL CONTROVERSIES Let's have constructive debate P7 FOCUS ON International/Cross- Border Law P8 Anjali Banka is glad to have had the flexibility to work from home and be able to care for her daughter. Photo: Robin Kuniski See Patent, page 4 See Litigation, page 4 Heenan Blaikie has filed its statement of defence in a pair of lawsuits launched by former employees. PM #40762529 TORONTO | BARRIE | HAMILTON | KITCHENER 1-866-685-3311 | cLeish Orlando_LT_Jan_20_14.indd 1 14-01-15 3:15 PM $5.00 • Vol. 26, No. 5 February 9, 2015 Follow LAW TIMES on L aw TIMes T F

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