News and gossip // Fine print

This week's headings: Lawyers gone missing, Oslers and Stikemans give bonuses as U.K. firms come calling and more

By Precedent

On Thursday October 18th, 2007

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Lawyers gone missing

Philip Slatyton’s September 19 book launch for Lawyers Gone Bad came well over a month after its release and the accompanying Maclean’s controversy. It should come as no surprise that not many lawyers turned up at the party (insert obligatory overdone rat joke here). Although we did spot a few brave lawyers willing to be seen at the event. Pictured here with Slayton is Ari Blicker (left), Counsel for IBM Canada.Oslers and Stikemans give bonuses as U.K. firms come calling
In a move described by one Bay Street insider as an effort to “stop the bleeding” to the UK, at least two Bay Street firms have shelled out interim cash bonuses.

Inside sources at Stikemans confirm that associates recently received a five percent bonus on their salaries. Oslers associates also scored over the summer, but their bonus is rumoured to be an advance on their Christmas bonus, which will arrive in February of ’08. Stikemans did not return our requests for comment.

At a time when international recruiting is stronger than ever in Canada, it is no coincidence that new financial incentives are being handed out in Toronto.

One firm making its Canadian presence known is Herbert Smith. This year is the first time that the U.K. firm has come to Canada to recruit in person, joining a growing list of London firms that includes Freshfields, Linklaters, Clifford Chance, and other “Magic Circle” firms.

Malcolm Hitching, a partner in Herbert Smith’s finance division, attributes the increased interest in Canadian recruiting to the growing demand for corporate lawyers. “Recruiting good quality people became more difficult because of the M&A boom,” he explains. “We decided to be creative and come to Canada.”

So much for women’s rights
The Harper government recently implemented changes to funding policies for women’s groups, and the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL) has been forced to close its doors as a result. Three activities specifically excluded from the government’s new funding criteria are research, advocacy, and law reform — all three are core functions of the NAWL.

With over three decades of advocacy and experience, the association will try to continue by relying on volunteers, but its effectiveness will undoubtedly be diminished without its $300,000 in annual funding.

The cuts come a year after the Harper government cut both the Court Challenges Program and the Law Commission of Canada. NAWL described the closure as “a grave blow to the continuing struggle for women’s equality.”

Cellino is back
We know it’s on the other side of the border, but we thought our readers would be interested to know that Ross M. Cellino and Stephen E. Barnes have reunited.

In 2005, the infamous personal injury lawyers Cellino and Barnes were censured for professional misconduct, and Cellino’s license to practice law was suspended for six months. Barnes, who was not suspended, was left all alone on the firm’s billboards. The ubiquitous Cellino and Barnes signs were quickly converted to ads for the rebranded “Barnes Firm.”

But no more. After a six-month suspension and a year-long wait for a ruling from a panel of appellate judges, Cellino is back. The two men’s mugs are together again, happily presiding over New York State freeways.

Dirty Sexy Money
Idealistic lawyer Nick George, played by Peter Krause (Six Feet Under), reluctantly takes over his father’s practice following his suspicious death, and becomes personal counsel to the Darlings, a wealthy New York family. Power + privilege + family money = another unrealistic, but entertaining, law show. Watch Dirty Sexy Money Sundays at 10 p.m. on CTV.

The convention will not be held in Jamaica
So screamed the title of an e-mail (in ALL CAPS) to members of the Advocate’s Society planning to attend this year’s convention. A recent realization that Jamaica has one of the worst records in the world when it comes to gay rights, including an actively enforced sodomy law, led them to move the November conference to the Bahamas.

While the Society should be commended for its decision, don’t expect a rainbow flag reception at the Bahamas airport. The country banned the American gay-themed movie Brokeback Mountain and de-crowned a lesbian beauty queen in 2005.