Law Times

March 21, 2011

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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 Billions of dollars invested, not a penny lost. $4.00 • Vol. 22, No. 10 earlug.indd 1 11/10/09 11:20:32 AM Covering Ontario's Legal Scene ntitled-3 1 Hires reflect cautious optimism C Practice groups, lateral moves, experienced associates hot BY MICHAEL McKIERNAN Law Times anadian law fi rms are recruiting ex- perienced heads as they accelerate out of the downturn, according to a market expert. A survey released last week by Robert Half Legal Canada found 44 per cent of lawyers with hiring authority at Canadian fi rms in- tend to increase their legal personnel in the second quarter of 2011. Just one per cent of them are planning to shrink their staff . John Ohnjec, division director at Robert Half Legal, says lateral moves are popular and demand is highest for experienced associates. Firms want a safe pair of hands with demon- strated expertise, a refl ection of cautious opti- mism in the economy, according to Ohnjec. "It was a case of either thinning the ranks during the downturn or at least maintain- ing the status quo," he says. "And now that they're looking to get out, it isn't an all-out fl ood of people back in. It's measured and calculated in terms of bringing on board individuals that can add immediately to the fi rm with existing books of business or strong contacts as opposed to some juniors who don't have that. Maybe strategically it doesn't make sense to do that immediately." Th e demand for experience is also mak- ing fi rms nervous, according to the survey, as 48 per cent of respondents said they were concerned about losing their best performers to competitors. given things are a little bit better, maybe it is a good time to make a move." Law Times' annual "Largest law fi rms in Canada" feature, published last month, re- veals a wide variation in the way some fi rms have fared in recent years according to the number of lawyers they employ. "I don't know if anybody is targeting growth for growth's sake anymore. We want to make sure we have quality growth and profi table growth," says Sean Weir, national managing partner at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. His fi rm topped this year's list with 781 lawyers, 28 more than last year and 87 more than in 2008 when it had 694 lawyers. "It's much more competitive now, and we look very hard before we hire anybody." According to Weir, BLG's broad practice and strong client base have allowed it to weather the economic storm and make it an attractive proposition for practitioners look- ing for a safe port to anchor their business. He notes BLG has made a big investment in Calgary and is anticipating further expan- sion in the mining and energy sectors. Other big growth numbers came at 'I don't know if anybody is targeting growth for growth's sake anymore,' says Sean Weir. "Th ey have to look internally at keeping their people happy," Ohnjec says, suggest- ing fi rms should think about compensation and partnership policies to retain top tal- ent. "Equally, some of the lawyers think that Heenan Blaikie LLP. With 534 lawyers, it has added 101 practitioners since 2007 for a rise of 23 per cent. Bennett Jones LLP jumped 10 per cent in the last year to 362 lawyers from 330. Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP has also grown by more than 10 per cent since 2007. It now has 686 lawyers. See Calgary, page 5 LSUC delays in Igbinosun case an 'abuse of process' A BY MICHAEL McKIERNAN Law Times Law Society of Upper Canada panel has stayed a decade-old proceeding against a Toronto lawyer accused of misconduct after concluding that delays in the case amounted to an abuse of process, but the regulator has until the end of this week to appeal. Matthew Joseal Igbinosun was due to get a new hearing on alle- gations of misconduct related to complaints of sexual assault after his initial disbarment in 2006 went all the way to the Ontario Court of Appeal. But a new hearing, "nine to 11 years after the complaints were fi rst made, is clearly unaccept- able and off ends the community's sense of fairness to the point that it is contrary to the interests of justice for the hearing to be held," wrote panel chairman Th omas Heintz- man in a decision that blamed the law society for much of the delay. Th e LSUC opened a fi le on Igbinosun in 1999 after he was charged with one count of sex- ual assault. In 2001, two further charges followed, and all three ac- cusers also complained to the law society. Th e criminal charges were all stayed in 2003 on the grounds of unreasonable delay, but the complainants pursued proceed- ings at the law society. Heintz- man noted LSUC offi cials were concerned as early as February 2004 about the delay in the case but failed to expedite the matter. "We can come to no other conclusion than that the delay is unacceptable and amounts to an abuse of process," Heintzman wrote. Igbinosun has continued to practise after obtaining stays of the decisions against him pend- ing appeals. "I'm still proud to be a member of the law society and I have confi dence in the system," he tells Law Times. Francesca Yaskiel, who repre- sented Igbinosun at the hearing on the motion to stay the proceedings, says she's happy with the result. "Th ese proceedings have aff ected his business, the money he was making, his relationships with his family," she says. "Th e impact has been huge. Th is is a man who was heavily involved in his community, and it changed his entire life." Mysterious Payment 9 Focus On Restructuring & Insolvency Quote of the week "There has been a shifting landscape in the nature of restructurings that we've seen over the past few years with the high number of cross-border fi lings and the involvement of hedge funds and bondholders which have resulted in more complexity and some very interesting dynamics." — Shayne Kukulowicz, Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP, See Lawyers, page 9 Victorious Worker 7 March 21, 2011 5/4/10 2:49:21 PM Inside This Issue 3 But Igbinosun must wait a lit- tle longer to fi nd out if his battle with the regulator, which he told the panel has cost him almost $500,000 to date, is fi nally at an end. In an e-mailed statement, law society spokeswoman Susan Tonkin noted the regulator isn't ruling out an appeal. It has until March 25 to make a decision. In 2009, the appeal court upheld a 2008 Divisional Court decision that overturned the disbarment and ordered a new hearing because of fl aws in the original proceedings that ended with the revocation of Igbinosun's licence in 2006. Th e original panel proceeded without Igbinosun after he was denied an adjournment to fi nd new counsel and went straight to See Lawyer, page 5 Click here to subscribe today to LAW TIMES LT Digital version.indd 1 6/25/10 12:59:47 PM BencherElections_LT_Feb14_11.indd 1 2/9/11 3:01:04 PM Includes a FREE digital edition! Go to:

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