Law Times

January 9, 2012

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416-487-4447 • ADR Connect: Find an ADR Professional Arbitrators ntitled-1 1 Mediators $4.00 • Vol. 23, No. 1 7/5/11 9:40:55 AM Covering Ontario's Legal Scene ntitled-3 1 Meehan starts appellate boutique McMillan LLP lawyer beset by conflicts at merged firm BY KENDYL SEBESTA Law Times move he says he made in response to con- fl icts that are becoming an "increasing is- sue" at expanding business law fi rms. Meehan says speaking with several bou- tique lawyers cemented his decision last year. Th eir advice, he notes, helped him make the "win-win" move he hopes will al- low him to take part in more legal aid and discount-rate work. "Confl icts were becoming an increasing issue for us at a 200-lawyer fi rm pre-merger and became more diffi cult and challeng- ing at a 500-lawyer fi rm post-merger," says Meehan. "With the specialized boutique that we have now, confl icts are not a dai- ly issue. We can just about take about any- thing that comes in the door." Meehan adds that while most large fi rms L aren't "emotionally well-equipped" to do le- gal aid work or off er discounted rates, his new boutique, Supreme Advocacy LLP, will be in a better position to do that. Besides Meehan, lawyers Marie-France Major and Th omas Slade will be working at the new fi rm. "Th e three of us continue to believe that itigation lawyer Eugene Meehan has left McMillan LLP to open a bou- tique practice in Ottawa last week, a Eugene Meehan hopes starting his own boutique will allow him to take more legal aid and discount-rate work. the practice of law is a profession as well as a business and also continue to believe that securing and protecting the interest of the client is a more paramount consideration than the hourly rate," he says, adding con- fl icts are becoming an increasingly compli- cated issue in the profession. "Larger clients do not want to be adversely aff ected in any way by any partner or associ- ate in that large fi rm. It's not simply the clas- sic confl ict of interest rule per Martin v. Gray. It's way beyond that. It's now a business con- fl ict and even beyond that further to industry confl ict. For example, we represent a bank, a pharmaceutical, an insurance company, tele- com, so those industries are completely off limits." In the meantime, Meehan says he'll con- tinue to focus largely on Supreme Court matters in his new appellate advocacy and agency boutique. He notes he's looking for- ward to a new chapter in his life. "From a very practical perspective, be- cause in my case most of my [Supreme Court] clients are other lawyers, I am now no longer in a position of having to say to a lawyer-client, 'Th is fi le yes, this fi le no.' We can just about literally take anything that comes in the door. Confl icts are essentially gone, lockstep hourly rates are also gone. As I hear younger people say these days, it's all good." Meehan isn't the only high-profi le lawyer facing confl ict issues at recently merged big law fi rms. In the fall, Ogilvy Renault LLP veteran Yves Fortier left its successor fi rm, Norton Rose OR LLP, to work as an inde- pendent international arbitrator. He cited confl icts of interest as a key factor in the move. Justice on Target missing its mark: report BY KENDYL SEBESTA Law Times M ore than three years af- ter its launch and with just six months left to reach its goals, the province's Jus- tice on Target program is facing inconsistent and sometimes neg- ative results, complaints about funding, and concerns over al- leged sweetheart deals, a review obtained by Law Times shows. Th e project, launched by the Ministry of the Attorney General in June 2008, aims to decrease the average number of days and court appearances needed to complete a criminal case in Ontario by 30 per cent. Th e project, which has a deadline of June, compares current results against a baseline of 2007. A post-implementation TitlePlus_LT_Jan12_09 12/23/08 11:07 AM Page 1 view took place at the request re- of the Justice on Target man- agement committee last year. It looks at fi ve Toronto-area court- houses and provides statistics about their successes and failures under the project. Law Times obtained a copy of the review through a freedom of informa- tion request to the ministry. Th e statistics aren't promising so far, according to the review. Only courts in Scarborough and Bramp- ton, Ont., have seen a decrease in the average number of days and appearances to disposition for a criminal case between 2010 and 2011, the review found. At the remaining courthouses — Etobi- coke, Old City Hall, and College Park — the number of days to dis- position has actually increased or the fi gures have remained largely stagnant. At College Park, for ex- ample, that fi gure jumped to 290 spokesman Brendan Crawley, who noted a decrease in the number of appearances to disposition in crim- inal cases since 2007. " In 2007, it took an average 9.2 appearances to complete a crimi- nal charge in Ontario," said Craw- ley. "Today, the provincial average is 8.5 appearances. For nearly 20 years, this measure was going up. Now it is going down. We know that the Justice on Target strategy is working." Th at number, however, repre- 'Right now, the project is real- ly inconsistent,' says Daniel Brown. days in 2010 from 221 in 2007, an increase of 31 per cent. 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TitlePLUS policies issued with respect to properties in Québec and OwnerEXPRESS® policies do not include legal services coverage. 1 sents a roughly eight-per-cent de- crease, which is still well below the aggressive goals former attorney general Chris Bentley set in launch- ing the program. Bentley didn't return calls to answer questions about the project he heralded with great fanfare when he launched it, while current Attorney General See Crowns, page 2 Billions of dollars invested, not a penny lost. January 9, 2012 5/4/10 2:49:21 PM Inside This Issue 4 IP Scam 7 Grain Fracas 9 Focus on Insurance Law Quote of the week "I advise clients right upfront that if they have a Twitter or Facebook account to expect that the insur- ance company will be searching to see if they can locate it." — Roger Foisy, personal injury lawyer, See Social, Page 11 Photo: Colin Rowe PM# 40762529

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