Law Times

November 28, 2011

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416-487-4447 • Billions of dollars invested, not a penny lost. $4.00 • Vol. 22, No. 38 ntitled-3 1 5/4/10 2:49:21 PM Inside This Issue 3 Law Bids 7 Oklahoma Scams 9 Focus On Business of Law Quote of the week "If you want to prevent a law firm acting against you, you should make it a term of the retainer agreement because it's likely consent will be implied under the professional litigant exception." — Gavin MacKenzie, Heenan Blaikie LLP, See Firms, Page 10 Covering Ontario's Legal Scene ntitled-1 1 ADR Connect: Find an ADR Professional Arbitrators Mediators November 28, 2011 7/5/11 9:40:55 AM Mapping project 'a new beginning' Study tracks Ontario lawyers' geographic distribution BY KENDYL SEBESTA Law Times new map of Ontario's civil legal ser- vices has produced the first solid data comparing lawyer and paralegal dis- tribution to the barriers faced by low- and middle-income A communities across the province, says former chief justice Roy Mc- Murtry. McMurtry, chairman of the steering com- mittee for the Ontario Civil Legal Needs project, made the announcement during the release of its third and final report at the Law Society of Upper Canada last week. "While the public release of this report complements the third and final phase of the project, it is, in many ways, not an end, but a new beginning," says McMurtry. "Now that we can identify where demand exists for civil legal services with the previous report, and we know where Ontario lawyers and para- legals are practising and in what areas of law they are practising with this final report, we can ask ourselves, what's next?" Gathered heavily from 2006 Statistics Canada census data and the law society's da- tabase of licensed lawyers and paralegals in Ontario, the report found the distribution of practitioners across the province to be rela- tively in line with the population distribu- tion of low- and middle-income communi- ties. However, the type of services provided by those lawyers and paralegals produced several surprises. "The characteristics of the distribution of 'While the public release of this report complements the third and final phase of the project, it is, in many ways, not an end, but a new beginning,' says Roy McMurtry. lawyers and paralegals are, we believe, an ac- curate measure of supply, since it is reason- able to assume that these service providers choose where to practise based in large part on where professional opportunities exist," the report states. In terms of pro bono services, "the result is overwhelmingly positive and surprising," it noted. According to the report, nearly half of Ontario lawyers reported that they provided pro bono legal services in 2009, with much of that activity happening in areas like Hali- burton and Rainy River, Ont. In Toronto, 42 per cent of lawyers reported that they had provided pro bono services during that time. "Half of all Ontario lawyers do pro bono See Report, page 5 Suspended lawyers acting as paralegals in limbo T BY KENDYL SEBESTA Law Times he Paralegal Society of Ontario says it's "seriously concerned" about Law So- People can't hold two licences at the same time, the law society argues. TitlePlus_LT_Jan12_09 12/23/08 11:07 AM Page 1 ciety of Upper Canada regulations allowing disbarred and suspended lawyers to apply for paralegal li- cences, an issue that culminated in Mississauga, Ont., lawyer David Robert Conway's successful appeal of his disbarment this month. "As an organization, we've made it perfectly clear to the law society that we highly object to a lawyer applying to serve as a paralegal when they've been sus- pended or disbarred," says Janet Wigle-Vence, treasurer of the paralegal society. According to Wigle-Vence, while paralegals serve clients in a limited scope compared to law- yers, the regulator should hold both types of practitioners to a similar standard of character. "If they can't pass the test to serve as a lawyer, it doesn't make sense that they would be allowed to serve as a paralegal," she adds. The law society began to regulate and license paralegals in May 2007. In its new regu- lations, it determined lawyers could continue to serve as para- legals without a licence if they had practised in that capacity prior to May 2007 by qualifying as "grandparented paralegals." To do this, applicants must also have applied for a paralegal's li- cence by Oct. 31 of the same year, had professional liability insurance, and complied with its professional conduct rules. 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TitlePLUS policies issued with respect to properties in Québec and OwnerEXPRESS® policies do not include legal services coverage. 1 applications At least one amendment to the regulations in 2008 also stipulat- ed that these grandparented para- legals couldn't hold both a para- legal and lawyer's licence at the same time. A similar amendment also stated that a disbarred or sus- pended lawyer's application for a paralegal licence could only be re- fused during a hearing chaired by a law society hearing panel. So far, the regulations have re- sulted in several grandparented paralegal from dis- barred and suspended lawyers, says Wigle-Vence. "We've defi- nitely received several applications under the grandfather clause that we still need to review, although I don't have the total numbers for the number of disbarred or sus- pended lawyers that have applied. See Panel, page 5 PM# 40762529 Photo: Tim Fraser Photography

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