Canadian Lawyer

March 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 9 of 43

UPFRONT 8 ONTARIO UPDATE IN A Superior Court decision to adjourn rather than hear arguments on a Saturday, Justice Frederick Myers and counsel Jonathan Lisus commented on how the growing pandemic- produced trend in the legal profession of work- ing outside of normal business hours is plac- ing unfair expectations of junior lawyers with young children. "What seems to be happening is that because there's been a move to the virtual world, the result is that there's no division now between home-life and work-life," says Nadia Campion, In granting adjournment, judge comments on difficulty of lawyering while parenting amid COVID where the line between work and home-life has been blurred. Ten months into the pandemic, with another 10 likely ahead, he says the legal profession must reset and become more mind- ful of the personal circumstances of junior law- yers balancing their practice with the care of children, cramped condos, fewer outlets and the need for evening and weekend downtime. The issue arose in a dispute between a landlord and a commercial tenant, in 713949 Ontario Limited v Hudson's Bay Company ULC, 2021 ONSC 621. The Hudson's Bay Company and Sears were once anchor tenants at the Saint Laurent Shopping Centre in Ottawa. With Sears having gone out of business, the mall's landlord is seek- ing to fill its 134,000-square-foot space with a call centre. HBC objected to the plan, arguing that the use of the unit by a call centre would adversely impact the retail environment of the mall. The company asserted that it has consent rights over the landlord's proposed lease. Myers set a Jan. 29 hearing date, noting that the applicant's Feb. 1 deadline afforded him little time to consider and write a decision. But Lisus, acting for HBC, was scheduled in court on another case that day. The court accom- modates business transactions and "recognizes real time schedules," but the applicant should have left sufficient time for HBC to prepare and for the court to consider the issue, said Myers. Given Lisus' scheduling conflict and the landlord's insistence on urgency, the issue of arguing the application on the weekend came up. "That's when I shared my concern with the court," says Lisus. The work-from-home transition is a heavier burden for those with young families, say lawyers a civil litigator at Lax O'Sullivan Lisus Gottlieb. "The result of that is that people just think it's 24 hours a day now. And they call you and email you at all hours. "It's having a real impact, I think, on law- yers — particularly those with young families — who are currently trying to manage their practice, client demands and their children in the online learning environment." Through check-ins with junior lawyers at his firm, Lisus says he has seen the effect of the profession's evolution during the last year, NEWS BRIEFS New OBA Innovator in Residence to trial and analyze legal tech The Ontario Bar Association has named Friedrich Blase as this year's Innovator in Residence, His focus will be helping law firms and legal departments discern the most effective legal tech tools. Members have told the OBA that choosing the right technology is challenging and costly. Blase's job will be to help remove the guesswork, time, cost and frustration, said the OBA. He will research, test and review legal tech products and report back to OBA members. Law Foundation of Ontario appointments Neha Chugh has joined the Law Commission of Ontario's board of governors as the Law Foundation of Ontario's representative, while Paul Jonathan Saguil has been reappointed as its representative on the Ontario Justice Education Network's board of directors. Chugh is a criminal defence lawyer in Cornwall, Ont. Saguil has acted as deputy head of TD Bank Group's sanctions compliance and anti-bribery/ anti-corruption program as part of the global anti-money laundering department.

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