Law Times

March 9, 2015

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Diamond and Diamond expands to 12 offices BY YAMRI TADDESE Law Times ven as it's announcing new locations across Ontario, Diamond and Diamond Personal Injury Lawyers says it has been "extremely" diffi- cult to shake off an image as a firm that does referrals only. Diamond and Diamond man- aging partner Sandra Zisckind says she's excited about the firm's new locations in places ranging from Thunder Bay to Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., but she wearily notes she has been writing legal letters to people who claim it only funnels legal work to other firms. Under the old ownership when the uncles of Zisckind's husband, Jeremy Diamond, ran the firm, Diamond and Diamond was "pri- marily referral," Zisckind admits. But she says things are different now and calls any suggestion oth- erwise "nonsense." "The minute we took over, that was changed. We keep as much as we can in-house. Unfortunately, that's what people seem to focus on and I don't understand it. It's been over two years. We've completely re- vamped everything under our new leadership," she says. "What can I do? I can only send out one legal let- ter at a time," she adds with a laugh. Things are slowly improving, she says, as defence counsel and insurance companies deal with the firm's lawyers. Still, Zisckind says Diamond and Diamond now refers matters to other firms only when they're not within the ex- pertise of its own lawyers. She's not able to say, however, what percent- age of cases it refers out to other firms. "Even with eight lawyers, we don't have the capacity for every file that walks in the door and we don't have, quite frankly, the expertise for every file. It would be irresponsible to keep every file," says Zisckind. "I think people get confused with the old regime and the new regime and they try to muddle it up." Referring matters to other firms "is not unheard of," says Zisckind. "If you look at firms in Toronto that don't advertise or don't do any- thing, their bread and butter is from referrals," she says. "This is not a new It ' s back 2015 CANADIAN LAWYER'S LEGAL FEES SURVEY Complete the survey online at surveymonkey.com/s/legalfees2015 and let us know what you are charging for various transactions and services in multiple practice areas. Survey closes March 30 Untitled-5 1 2015-02-23 10:45 AM Diversity push for 2015 elections Fresh faces likely at Convocation with many incumbents not running BY YAMRI TADDESE Law Times ith at least 19 of 40 Law Society of Upper Canada benchers preparing to vacate their seats this spring, a number of lawyers are working to make sure their replacements won't look just like their predecessors. "There's a saying: If you're not on the table, you're on the menu," said Renatta Austin, speaking at an event last week for minority lawyers seeking a voice at the law society's governing table. This year's bencher election follows a law society report that found a significant number of lawyers from minority groups feel their skin colour is a barrier to entry and ad- vancement in the legal profession. Part of the conversation on that report revolved around representation at the law society itself, and with so many incumbents not able to run this year due to term limits, the time is ripe for change, according to Lai-King Hum, chairwoman of the Roundtable of Diversity Associations, the group that hosted last week's event. "In light of the recent law society consultation paper on challenges faced by racialized licensees, the current bench- er elections take on particular importance," said Hum. About a dozen racialized lawyers who attended the event on March 3 spoke about why they're running. "It's absolutely time for young lawyers and for diverse lawyers to finally have a voice at the law society," said Austin, a 28-year-old black lawyer and one of the youngest candi- dates in the April 30 elections. CONSTRUCTION LIEN ACT New review a delicate matter P5 HIJABS IN COURT Quebec case sparks vigorous debate P6 FOCUS ON Immigration Law P8 Renatta Austin, front, spoke at the Law Society of Upper Canada last week along with fellow bencher candidates, from left, Raj Sharda, Tanya Walker, Harry Mann, Avvy Go, and Raj Anand. Photo: Robin Kuniski See Diamond, page 2 See Articling, page 2 'We keep as much as we can in-house,' says Sandra Zisckind. PM #40762529 & $#&!&jmmm$cYa[bbWh$Yec ntitled-4 1 12-03-20 10:44 AM $5.00 • Vol. 26, No. 8 March 9, 2015 Follow LAW TIMES on www.twitter.com/lawtimes L AW TIMES W E

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