Canadian Lawyer

October 2020

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 8 of 59 7 Naimark's clients had no choice but to see their matters halted. But the silver lining in the shutdown was that calendars were cleared on all sides. Naimark and his colleagues were able to resolve more cases because opposing counsel and representatives from the insurance companies had a sudden surge of availability. "In fact, April and May were the best months that we have ever had, to date, since I opened this firm in terms of the number of cases [we] were able to resolve," he says. Naimark says it was late April when the desire to finally move files forward led to his lawyers and the defence side to begin taking advantage of the available alterna- tives. They began using videoconferencing services Zoom and Webex for examina- tions for discovery and mediations. Later, pretrials began happening virtually. As the technology was adopted, Naimark began to see advantages. "The files suddenly went from completely stopped in their tracks and not moving to actually moving, in some ways, more exped- itiously than the normal," Naimark says. There are drawbacks as well. Screen freezes, voices cutting out and family/room- mate distractions are a constant, and it is not easy to share documents, which is particu- larly relevant during discovery. There is also a possible access-to-justice issue, given that clients need the internet and a device to participate. "I've spoken to many other lawyers at my firm, and they have all had similar experi- ences. It's just very efficient." Richard Halpern on birth injuries and a career move Q&A Fast facts 1982: LLB, University of Windsor 1984: Called to the bar 1998: LLM, Osgoode Hall Law School 2006-7: President of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association Richard Halpern senior counsel and lawyer GLUCKSTEIN LAWYERS How did you come to specialize in birth injuries? I handled my first birth trauma case about 28 years ago. The medical complexity of the case fascinated me. I was fortunate to have the guidance of a senior medical malpractice lawyer to guide me through this challenging case. I began to work with experts in obstetrics and neonatology and quickly discovered that birth trauma cases required a particular skillset that I set out to develop. I made it my goal to develop the high skillset need to represent these children and their families. What are some of the key strategies you use to pursue justice in birth injury cases? The most important strategy for success in birth injury cases is thorough and comprehensive preparation. At the start of each case, I undertake a very detailed analysis of the medical records and fetal heart tracing, identify the medical issues and frame the questions to be asked of both standard of care and causation experts. Once that is done, I try to engage highly qualified experts to review the issues and meet with me personally to carefully discuss their findings before writing a formal report. Unlike many cases, the inquiry often begins with causation in birth trauma cases because one must identify the window of opportunity for harm before determining if harm was avoidable. Why did you recently make the move to Gluckstein? Charles Gluckstein and I share an interest in medical malpractice cases and, more importantly, in providing the highest quality representation to our clients. There is a highly qualified team of lawyers and law clerks at Gluckstein who are very skilled at providing the level of legal representation required in these significant cases. Joining Charles and his team will allow me to continue to provide the highest level of service to all our clients for many years to come. What has been the highlight of your career to date? I have learned over the last three-plus decades practising law that there is no substitute for hard work. My practice is all about attention to detail and thoroughness. I believe that work ethic has resulted in recognition from peers and a great deal of respect from colleagues on both the plaintiff's side and defence side of the bar. Being seen by those in the know as a leader in the field of medical malpractice litigation is something that takes many years to develop and is very rewarding when it comes. "The files suddenly went from completely stopped in their tracks and not moving to actually moving, in some ways, more expeditiously than the normal."

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