Canadian Lawyer

December/January 2021

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Page 6 of 43 5 evidence presented. Jury trials are also more costly and require more resources, she wrote. Strong also pointed out how the law can be especially complex for juries involved in motor vehicle cases, where the juries are not informed of the laws and deductibles under the Insurance Act, which may impact the awards, and where the judge's decision may significantly vary from the jury's original verdict. "When parties are ready for a trial date, year-long waits or more are not unusual," Strong wrote in the blog post. "The delay in accessing justice is only growing worse due to the necessary Covid-19 restrictions." Strong also called attention to how civil juries have impacted personal injury claim- ants who suffer from injuries preventing them from working and who require health care that is not financed by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan. Such claimants rely on social assistance as they wait, sometimes for years, for their cases to work through the system, Strong said. "Timely access to our court system is important to help ease financial burdens for injured members of the public and our social systems," Strong wrote in the blog post. In the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association's submission to the attorney general published on June 15, the OTLA called for the perma- nent removal of civil juries except when the matter concerns a public interest, community values or a person's character, including cases involving defamation, intentional torts, professional and institutional negligence in health care and the assessment and award of punitive damages. Heidi Brown on becoming an expert in complexity Q&A Called to the bar: 1993 Governance roles: Board member at the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association. Member of the Canadian Bar Association, the Advocates' Society and the Medico-Legal Society of Toronto. Heidi Brown Partner BOGOROCH & ASSOCIATES Why did you decide to become a personal injury lawyer? I had worked for seven years as counsel to the Children's Lawyer doing estate and civil litigation, primarily for children. I was deeply fulfilled by my work on behalf of children whose interests required special attention. I met Richard Bogoroch during those years as the OCL hired outside counsel to handle complex medical malpractice cases. When he approached me to join a new firm he was starting in November 1999, I embraced a new challenge to continue to work for vulnerable people, with a great teacher and mentor to show me the ropes. What were the biggest lessons you learned early in your career? 1. Being prepared and well versed in the law is critical as a young lawyer. The first five years of lawyering were to be treated as a residency, no different from a medical residency. If one did not invest the time and put in the effort early on in one's career, one could never elevate to a place of authority and command respect. 2. Being goal oriented keeps you driven and focused — the importance of five-year plans to help keep me anchored and reminded me that my career was a priority and not a fallback position. 3. Most importantly — gratitude. It was at the OCL where the concept of access to justice was cemented in me. Working within the child welfare system and with injured or orphaned children could not but inspire me to feel blessed and grateful for what I had, which keeps me grounded and focused on what is important in life. How have you come to specialize in some of the more complex sides of personal injury law? For the past 21 years, I have been practising personal injury and medical malpractice litigation at Bogoroch & Associates. My mentor and law partner, Richard Bogoroch, is brilliant, committed and passionate about the law. Medical malpractice trials are, in my view, the ultimate in access to justice and the most challenging from an intellectual standpoint. The legal and medical issues are complex, the opponents are topnotch and the legal hurdles to overcome are daunting. I have been fortunate to serve as co-counsel on several medical malpractice trials and have also been lead counsel. Apart from my wedding and the birth of my children, there is no sweeter feeling than to hear the jury foreperson find for your client. How have you managed to keep your cases moving during the pandemic? As soon as the pandemic hit, we [were] able to work from home. We reached out to . . . every client on a regular basis to remind them they are not alone. Our lawyers, clerks and support staff all became adept at virtual platforms quickly. We have had little interruption in the progression and movement of our files thanks to the facility we have developed using virtual platforms for every important step in the litigation process. . . . The defence bar has also co-operated to keep matters moving efficiently. "Year-long waits or more are not unusual. The delay in accessing justice is only growing worse due to the necessary Covid-19 restrictions."

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