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June 18, 2018

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PM #40762529 $5.00 • Vol. 29, No. 21 June 18, 2018 L AW TIMES C O V E R I N G O N T A R I O ' S L E G A L S C E N E • W W W . L A W T I M E S N E W S . C O M Firm ordered to pay $1.5 million in fees to charity Stephanie DiGiuseppe says a Superior Court judge's decision to order class counsel to donate to charities that support the deaf is a 'high point of the decision.' Photo: Robin Kuniski NEW LEADERSHIP Who's the next attorney general? P4 CHARTER CLAIMS Stand-alone violations should be heard P7 FOCUS ON Family Law P8 BY MEAGAN GILLMORE For Law Times K oskie Minsky LLP is seek- ing leave to appeal an On- tario Superior Court of Justice order to donate $1.5 million of its legal fees to charity. The order comes as part of the decision in Welsh v. Ontario, a class action lawsuit that alleges the Ontario government was negli- gent and failed in its fiduciary du- ties and duties to care for students at three provincially run schools for the deaf. This failure, the law- suit alleges, led to children, who often lived at the schools, being physically and sexually abused. The appeal does not affect how much class members can receive, says Robert Gain, an associate at Koskie Minsky, who worked on the case. "This does not impact the dis- tribution of the settlement funds to the class," says Gain. "We are in the process of finalizing that plan for distribution and will be rolling it out shortly." In a decision released May 24, Superior Court Justice Paul Perell approved the $15-million gross settlement, which has a maximum net value of $9.2 million. Koskie Minsky, which represented the plaintiffs, asked for $3.75 million plus HST in legal fees. The judge granted the fees on the condition that the law firm donate $1.5 mil- lion of the money to a charity or charities that benefit the deaf com- munity. The court must approve the charities, the decision says. The judge also ordered the fees, but not the donation, be reduced in pro- portion to any money left in the settlement fund that reverts back to Ontario. Students who attended Ernest C. Drury School for the Deaf in Milton and Robarts School for the Deaf in London between Sept. 1, 1963 and Aug. 23, 2016 and Sir James Whitney School for the Deaf in Belleville between Sept. 1, 1938 and Aug. 23, 2016 are eligible for the settlement, the decision says. It estimates that 4,500 stu- dents are eligible. Four students objected to the settlement, the decision says. Stephanie DiGiuseppe, princi- pal at DiGiuseppe Law in Toronto, who represented Aaron Zachary Smith, an objector, says the appeal of the fees is "disappointing." She called the judge's decision to order class counsel to donate to See Non-monetary, page 2 LSO has responsibility to legal aid: Schabas BY ANITA BALAKRISHNAN Law Times T he Law Society of Ontario is now better prepared to step up in engaging with Legal Aid Ontario, af- ter years of distance between the two organizations, says outgoing treasurer Paul Schabas. Schabas — who on June 28 leaves the role of treasurer of the regulatory body — says that a deeper relationship with Legal Aid Ontario is one of the most enduring things he ac- complished in the role. A law society working group found in January that LAO needed to "increase its accountability to stakeholders." The working group's recom- mendations included that the LSO encourage firms to collect disag- gregated demographic data to en- sure greater transparency in legal aid and that board nominees meet certain minimums of experience. The law society will also hold pub- lic symposia on legal aid issues to gather the opinions of experts. "That, I think, is a long-term and lasting achievement for us," says Schabas. "This is something you can come to my successor [with] — or my successor five or 10 years down the road. If you're concerned about legal aid, come to the law society and say, 'You have a role in this, too.' Because we do. And I think it's really important that we step up." The working group's report also noted that meaningful opportuni- ties to contribute had "eroded over the past decade" and said LAO was perceived by onlookers to be a "culture of secrecy" that lacked meaningful connections with the law profession. As treasurer, Schabas presid- ed over a period of tremendous change for the centuries-old law society. He has shepherded the LSO through some high-profile shifts: a name change, a debate over licensing and the adoption of a Statement of Principles that drew ire from some members. See New, page 2 Follow ntitled-2 1 2018-04-03 10:41 AM Celebrating In-House Counsel Sept. 20, 2018 | Arcadian Court, Toronto Keynote Speaker: The Right Honourable David Johnston, C.C. Governor General of Canada (2010 - 2017) Chair, Rideau Hall Foundation, Executive Advisor, Deloitte FORGING A STRONGER FUTURE Signature Sponsor Untitled-1 1 2018-06-12 9:47 AM Paul Schabas says promoting access to justice through legal aid should be part of the LSO's new, more proactive culture.

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