Law Times

March 19, 2012

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ENVIRONMENTAL FINES P4 Report suggests increased enforcement Follow on PRIVACY TORT Ruling presents minefield for family law P6 $4.00 • Vol. 23, No. 10 Untitled-3 1 COVERING ONTARIO'S LEGAL SCENE • WWW.LAWTIMESNEWS.COM L AW TIMES 5/5/10 3:55:30 PM ntitled-3 1 BY KENDYL SEBESTA Law Times T oronto's legal sector will suff er if greater numbers of qualifi ed women don't start making their way into senior leadership posi- tions, according to a report by Ryerson University's Diversity Institute in Management & Technology. Released this month, the DiversityLeads 2012 report sug- gests the exclusion of qualifi ed women from top leadership positions in the Greater Toronto Area's legal sector could translate into signifi cant fi nancial and client losses as well as dwindling business performance that could hurt Bay Street's bottom line. According to the report, 26.7 per cent of senior leaders in the legal sec- tor were women last year. It found 40.2 per cent of judges were women as were 42.9 per cent of Crown and deputy Crown attorneys. For partners at law fi rms, the number was 25 per cent. By comparison, the report found Toronto's education sector had the high- est representation of women in senior leadership positions at 40.8 per cent. Among minority women, the results were signifi cantly lower. Th ey ac- counted for 3.2 per cent of Toronto's judges and two per cent of law fi rm leaders. Th ere were no minority women among Crown and deputy Crown attor- neys, the report found. "Th ere is no doubt that diversity is good for business," says Wendy Cukier, author of the report and vice president of research and innovation at Ryerson. "Th ere has been undeniable progress, but it was pretty clear from the inter- views we conducted during our research that many women in corporate fi rms felt signifi cant barriers. Th ey oſt en felt they were held to a higher standard than men and there was a striking contrast between what men and women reported that we didn't expect. Women are in the legal profession but for some reason they're just not rising to the top of Toronto's Bay Street fi rms." Lawyer Julia Hanigsberg, vice president of administration and fi nance at Ryerson and a founding member of Ryerson's Law Research Centre, says See Mentoring, page 5 FOCUS ON Restructuring & Insolvency P9 Billions of dollars invested, not a penny lost. March 19, 2012 5/4/10 2:49:21 PM GTA law firms lag on diversity: report Study finds tiny percentage of minority women in senior roles 'Women are in the legal profession but for some reason they're just not rising to the top of Toronto's Bay Street firms,' says Wendy Cukier. Photo: Laura Pedersen BY KENDYL SEBESTA Law Times F amily lawyers are creating added confl ict between former spouses in order to cash in on cases languishing in the province's court system, says an activist group that launched protests against a practitioner in Sarnia, Ont., last month. Canadians for Family Law Reform, an orga- nization that describes itself as a watchdog over family court matters, picketed outside the Sarnia courthouse late last month and has sparked con- troversy by protesting against local family law- yers. According to the organization's web site, the group hopes to transform the province's fam- ily court system by lodging complaints with the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Minis- try of the Attorney General. It oſt en carries out picketing and protests to speak out against what it says is a broken system. "We are a group of individuals consisting of men and women who are discouraged with the Family Law legal system," the group states on its web site. "What appears to be simple matters are taking years in court to be dealt with and fi nalized. Th ese cases are taking vicious tolls on people both emo- tionally and fi nancially." But George McFadyen, a family lawyer in Sar- nia targeted by the group's protests in February, says the organization has yet to off er any sugges- tions for reform and has instead focused on deni- grating the system. "Th e group appears to be made primarily up of people I opposed in court who weren't happy with the court's ruling in their case and decided to form a group to try to sway ongoing litigation in their favour through intimidation," says Mc- Fadyen. "Th ey are not a legitimate group dealing with TitlePlus_LT_Mar9_09 2/27/09 11:23 AM Page 1 family law reform." 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TitlePLUS policies issued with respect to properties in Québec and OwnerEXPRESS® policies do not include legal services coverage. ® have made defamatory statements against him, shouted at him in the street, and sent e-mails to fellow lawyers saying they were going to "take him down." "What they're trying to do is bring pressure on us to back away from ongoing litigation," he says. "Th at's not going to happen. Th ey don't seem to be interested in family law reform. Th ey just seem to want to degrade lawyers and judges." Other family lawyers say that while the group is entitled to its opinions and they can understand the frustrations with the court system, not all practitio- ners are to blame for delays and high retainers. "Th ere are lawyers out there who overcharge and, understandably, there are a lot of concerns," says Steven Benmor, a family lawyer at Benmor Family Law Group. "When someone gets married, they don't set aside a fund for their divorce and they don't plan or anticipate the costs associated with it. So when it does happen, they are understandably shocked by it." See Clients, page 5 Family practitioners targeted by protests PM #40762529

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