Law Times

January 10, 2011

The premier weekly newspaper for the legal profession in Ontario

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Follow on Subscribe to Law Times And receive: • Unlimited access to the Law Times digital editions and to our digital edition archives...FREE • Canadian Legal Newswire, a weekly e-newsletter from the editors of Law Times and Canadian Lawyer...FREE $4.00 • Vol. 22, No. 1 Untitled-3 1 5/5/10 3:55:30 PM Inside This Issue 2 Business Forecasts 6 Self-regulation 9 Focus On Insurance Law Quote of the week "They destroyed my life. They took a fl ourish- ing business and they destroyed it. It would have been better for them to take my licence instead of keeping me in this state of perpetual suspension." — David Michael O'Brien See Suspended, page 4 Covering Ontario's Legal Scene earlug.indd 1 January 10, 2011 11/10/09 11:20:32 AM LSUC civility crusade sparks debate Are prosecutions impinging lawyers' fearless advocacy? BY MICHAEL McKIERNAN Law Times ecution of uncivil lawyers, according to a To- ronto lawyer facing disciplinary action over his behaviour. "It's certainly in the public interest that law- T yers be civil with one another, but at the same time, we must be very, very careful not to cre- ate a situation where over-emphasis on civility can be used as an instrument to undermine the eff ectiveness of my role to advocate on behalf of my client," Ernest Guiste tells Law Times. Guiste was one of three lawyers who faced hearings last month over charges of miscon- duct related to civility. His matter stemmed from his behaviour at a mediation session during a sexual harassment case. In an agreed statement of facts signed Dec. 13, he admitted to much of the law society's account of his ac- tions but denied they constituted misconduct. Th e hearing panel has reserved judgment fol- lowing a two-day hearing. In another matter, Julia Ranieri had her li- cence revoked on Dec. 17 after a panel found her guilty of misconduct for, among other things, the rude and abusive language she used towards a law clerk on the other side of a real estate deal she was involved with in July 2008. "She just kept ranting and raving about how it was my fault that the deal wasn't yet closed," the clerk said of the 20-minute phone call in documents fi led in the matter. Ranieri failed to attend the hearing and was he law society must be cautious not to impinge on the ability of lawyers to provide fearless advocacy in its pros- on an interlocutory basis since December 2009, by which time the law society had what the hearing panel chaired by Carl Fleck de- scribed as "an alarming" 22 complaints against him related to his practice that primarily focus- es on family law and child protection matters. In March, he apologized in writing to com- plainants, including a former client who ob- jected when Lyle allegedly said his girlfriend was "sleeping around." "If you want to make her into a slut, that is your problem," Lyle allegedly told the client on the phone. In his apology, Lyle thanked the client for the complaint, saying it had made him recon- sider his career direction. "I apologize for any abrasiveness. . . . I have sold my law practice and I am working toward a more balanced lifestyle," he wrote. Lyle couldn't be reached for comment, and his lawyer, Janet Leiper, declined to speak about the matter. His hearing is due to recon- vene on Jan. 20. Former law society treasurer Derry Millar Derry Millar would prefer to have disciplinary action be a last resort for incivility cases. also found guilty of misappropriating funds and acting for clients while suspended. Th at suspen- sion was just the fi rst of three imposed by the law society on her, including another in which she received a 10-month suspension for break- ing a client's nose with a punch to the face. She couldn't be reached for comment. In addition, Colin Lyle has been suspended says he hopes the new continuing professional development requirement will keep civility top of mind for lawyers and stop problems before they arise. Th ree out of the 12 hours are re- served for professionalism and ethics courses. "When people think about it, it helps them modify their behaviour," Millar says. "I think there is a heightened sensitivity and I think we'll keep people thinking about it." His term included a number of civility initia- tives, such as the development of protocols with the three levels of court in Ontario that make See Opposing, page 5 Will election derail contentious legislation again? BY MICHAEL McKIERNAN Law Times of high-profi le bills back up for discussion following the Christ- mas break. Parliament has past only 11 bills L so far during this session, and after prorogation wiped the legislative slate clean at the start of 2010, the threat to the order paper this year comes in the form of a looming election as some commentators forecast a possible poll as early as this spring. Intellectual property lawyer Barry Sookman is hoping the mi- nority government can hold on long enough to pass bill C-32, the egal observers are gearing up for a busy legislative year in Ottawa with a number long-awaited copyright moderniza- tion act currently at the committee stage in the House of Commons. Sookman, a partner at Mc- Carthy Tétrault LLP, says that as Canada's current Copyright Act is still fi rmly rooted in the 20th cen- tury, bill C-32 is "sorely needed" to bring it up to date. "Th e Copyright Act as it ex- ists today was pretty much mod- eled after analogue technology," he says. "It has not been brought into the 21st century to take into account digital developments, in- cluding the Internet and network systems. All of our international trading partners have updated their laws to make them more adapted to digital technologies, so it's high time we joined them." Sookman sees the copyright update as a major hole in Canada's legal infrastructure for dealing with the Internet age. Th e government has updated privacy legislation, while an anti-spam bill fi nally re- ceived Royal assent in December after prorogation derailed it. One sticking point appears to be over digital locks. Th e legisla- tion proposes a ban on copying materials such as video games, movies, music, and TV shows for personal use if they contain them. But Sookman says the issue has been overblown. He believes the Liberals largely favour digital locks and says iTunes, which controls almost two-thirds of the digital music market, has no locks on its songs. "I actually don't see a big divergence between the Conserva- tives and the Liberals and certainly not as great as it's been painted," he says, noting minor amend- ments will probably bridge the gap between the parties. Sookman adds that most of his concerns with the bill are on a technical level, including that the wording of provisions intended to crack down on pirate sites could off er loopholes to escape enforce- ment. Still, he hopes MPs will iron those issues out in order to get the legislation passed. "We all hope that this bill does not get bogged down in politics and that an election doesn't result in having to start over again," he says. One person who may be more enthusiastic about the prospect of an early election is Frank Addario. Th e See Parties, page 5 FEEDS LEGAL LegalFeeds_Cl_Jan_11.indd 1 A daily blog of visit LT Digital version.indd 1 6/25/10 12:59:47 PM Click here to subscribe today to LAW TIMES Canadian Legal News 1/6/11 11:44:49 AM Includes a FREE digital edition! canadianlaw legalfeeds Go to: Photo: Sandra Strangemore

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