The Larry O'Brien legal dream team

The mayor of Ottawa was let off the hook with the help of his strong legal team

By Todd Harrison

On Friday August 7th, 2009


Ottawa mayor Larry O'Brien outside the courthouse - photo by David R. CarrollThe Globe and Mail reported yesterday that the lawyer who led the team defending Ottawa Mayor Larry O’Brien, who was cleared of influence-peddling on Wednesday, speculated that his client may not have been so successful had he not been wealthy enough to put together a strong defence.

It was strong, all right a “dream team,” as the Ottawa Sun called it. That paper reported that O’Brien’s legal bill could easily amount to $500,000. So what did that money buy the mayor? The Ottawa-based firm Edelson and Associates a legal harem most private citizens could only dream of (former star football players/commentators notwithstanding).

The team’s leader and firm principal, Michael Edelson, is a prominent criminal litigator who has defended a number of high-profile clients in the Ottawa area, including former Corel CEO Michael Cowpland when he was charged with insider trading by the Ontario Securities Commission.

Senior associate Vincent Clifford, whose name often appeared alongside Edelson’s in media coverage of O’Brien’s trial, is an experienced litigator and Bar Admission instructor, and an “accomplished marathon runner and Ironman triathelete,” according to his bio endurance training like that must surely come in handy during cases that never seem to end.

David M. Paciocco, the firm’s legal counsel, specializes in white-collar prosecutions. Edelson associates Connie D’Angelo and Sara Siebert rounded out the team.

Edelson and his team vindicated their client, though the criminal charge was just one of the many arrows slung at the embattled mayor since he was elected in 2006. While he admitted in the Globe article that some people could not have afforded the kind of attention O’Brien received, he also lauded his client for having the “the determination and the guts” to fight the charges.

Photo by David Carroll