Law Times

March 23, 2009

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McKELLAR STRUCTURED SETTLEMENTS INC. www.mckellar.com 1-800-265-8381 www.mckellar.com ckellar_LT_Jan14_08.indd 1 $3.55 • Vol. 20, No. 101/8/08 3:03:02 PM Inside This Issue 3 Competition Act 6 Dead Time 9 Focus On Corporate Restructuring & Insolvency Quote of the week "To the extent that regular medical checkups can help identify stress-related issues that could affect lawyers' health and work/life balance — and potentially their law practice — we would encour- age lawyers to take advan- tage of these opportunities." — Duncan Gosnell, vice president of underwriting for LawPRO See Firms, Page 4 Covering Ontario's Legal Scene Hammer time? BY ROBERT TODD Law Times lawyers' jobs are safe and that they remain focused on improving their long-term business prospects. "We're not out hiring all kinds of new people. As a matter of fact, a very rigid business case has to be made before we bring on any new people," Borden Ladner Gervais LLP national managing partner Sean Weir tells Law Times. "And with re- spect to our existing complement, all we're doing is that we're not undertaking any layoffs. What we are doing is our normal monitoring and ad- missions process, and we just monitor and assess people on performance on an annual basis." But while managing partners remain generally upbeat and optimistic, the legal rumour mill and online chat sites continue to churn out specula- tion of looming lawyer layoffs, along with fears that large firms won't be able to hire back some articling students. Many continue to insist it's not a matter of if, but when, pink slips are delivered. Some observers suggest firms have been hold- ing off on making tough decisions on layoffs un- til April, but many managing partners insist they have no hard timelines for making such moves. Stephen Bowman, managing partner of W hile the economy continues to found- er in the midst of a global recession, large-firm managing partners insist Bennett Jones LLP's Toronto office, says the firm has not instituted any layoffs, and that it remains focused on improving its legal talent. "For us, it's business as usual in terms of fo- cusing on developing people, bringing people along in their careers, advancing them, helping them advance, and in fact we're always looking for talented people who would be a good fit for us," says Bowman. partner of Miller Thomson LLP's southwestern Ontario offices, says his firm has experienced a surge in litigation work. In fact, he says the firm could use two more lawyers to handle extra business that has recent- ly piled up. Adam Lepofsky, president of legal Richard Trafford, managing recruitment company RainMaker Group, says firms are "holding steady" at this point. "Firms will wait un- til different pockets get busier before they hire anybody, unless there's a partner with a practice or group with a practice that is coming to the table, hiring will only be on a required ba- sis," he says. "There is no predictabil- ity right now." From Marriage Contracts To Divorce Judgments and Everything in Between Visit www.divorcemate.com today! DMOne lug_LT.Feb.09.indd 1 March 23, 20091/29/09 3:17:39 PM Despite assurances fears persist of looming lawyer layoffs for now — that they will avoid the bloodletting seen in many industries, and in New York and London's legal markets. It should be noted, however, that some large firms would not talk to Law Times for this article. Of the 11 firms contacted regarding their hiring/firing outlook, four of- fered comment, three declined to discuss the issue, and four simply didn't respond. Weir says BLG is taking a Considering the glut of doom and gloom in business news pages, it would not be a shock to hear that law firms are pondering job cuts. Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney recently told reporters at a meeting of G20 central bankers and finance ministers that Can- ada's recovery from the recession "will be both attenuated and delayed." He is expected t o revise his January prediction that the economy would grow 3.8 per cent next year. In February, the country's economy ernment for a bigger role in shaping the Rules of Civil Procedure, saying practising lawyers have largely been he County and District Law Presidents' Association is lobbying the provincial gov- CDLPA lobbies for bigger role in shaping civil rules T BY ROBERT TODD Law Times learned. The 29-member commit- tee plays a critical role in managing civil justice in the province, making recommendations to the attorney general for rules of practice and pro- cedure used in civil matters at the Court of Appeal, Superior Court, and Small Claims Court. Dan Rosenkrantz, a member of We'd like some influence and input,'" says Rosenkrantz, adding that CDL- PA also would like to have greater representation on the criminal rules and family rules committees. "Rule changes have an impact on how we practise as lawyers. From CDLPA's perspective, many of the rules are driven by issues faced in To- Rule changes have an impact on how we practise as lawyers. From CDLPA's perspective, many of the rules are driven by issues faced in Toronto which are not faced elsewhere. Certainly rules are inapplicable or onerous or not needed. shut out from the decision-making process. Attorney General Chris Bentley re- questing more representation on the civil rules committee, Law Times has CDLPA recently sent a letter to the CDLPA executive committee, says most of the appointees to the committee are judges, with a "select number" of law society appointees. "We're just thinking, 'Wait a min- ute, we're practitioners in the field. ronto which are not faced elsewhere. Certainly rules are inapplicable or onerous or not needed." He says CDLPA would like to see a "smaller but more broadly based committee structure." "conservative stance" to managing its complement of legal talent. The firm is fortunate to have a balanced practice, which has enabled it to weather the economic storm, he says. Like other firms, adds Weir, BLG continues to "moni- tor things very, very carefully. But But it seems lawyers here are being assured — at least lost 82,600 jobs, and the unemployment rate grew to a five-year high of 7.7 per cent. at this time, things are looking stable, I guess is the best way to put it." Weir says BLG was "moder- ately behind" its fiscal plan for January, but rebounded in Feb- ruary to make up for that loss and put the firm ahead of plan for the first two months of the year. He notes that the plan has "an element See Students, page 2 Rosenkrantz says CDLPA would like the attorney general to strike a working group to look at the com- position of the rules committees and make recommendations for changes. Any alterations, however, would have to go to the legislature, as the com- mittees are mandated by the Courts of Justice Act. "A different group, a more broad- ly based group, and perhaps a small- er group so it's more functional," says Rosenkrantz, summing up the changes CDLPA would like to see. Rosenkrantz says the associa- tion was first alerted to issues with the civil rules committee by former associate chief justice Coulter Os- borne's 2007 report on the Civil Justice Reform Project. Osborne urged the civil rules committee to make its own recommendations to See Ontario, page 2 Value your time? Then you'll value our technology! Tel: 416.322.6111 Toll-free: 1.866.367.7648 www.doprocess.com Industry leader in legal software for real estate, corporate and estates for over a decade www.lawtimesnews.com

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