Advocacy Matters - Spring 2024

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The Advocates’ Society<br />

SPRING <strong>2024</strong>



John A. Campion<br />

In his more than 50 years of<br />

arbitration, mediation and litigation<br />

across Canada and internationally,<br />

John has developed recognized<br />

expertise in public law and private<br />

law. John has experience resolving<br />

disputes related to commercial,<br />

securities, governance, energy, family<br />

enterprise, class actions, real estate,<br />

public issues, corporate, estates,<br />

human rights and government issues.<br />

Barry H. Bresner<br />

Barry is an arbitrator, mediator and<br />

investigator with over 40 years of<br />

experience handling complex<br />

commercial matters. He has<br />

expertise in disputes related to<br />

shareholder/partnership, contract<br />

interpretation, environmental<br />

liability, commercial insurance and<br />

reinsurance, and franchising. Barry<br />

is a Fellow of the Chartered<br />

Institute of Arbitrators.<br />

<br />

<br />

416.362.8555 • 1.800.856.5154 • booking@adr.ca • adrchambers.com


05<br />

07<br />

10<br />

12<br />

15<br />

19<br />

22<br />

24<br />

27<br />

Chair Chat<br />

Steven G. Frankel (he/him), Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP<br />

In Person or In PJs –<br />

the Mid-Career Lawyer Debate<br />

Jordan Glick, Glick Law<br />

Stress is not the enemy. Being stuck is.<br />

Lisa Marie Buccella, Aviva Trial Lawyers<br />

Law Firm Dissolutions:<br />

Canary in the Coal Mine?<br />

Wade Poziomka, Ross & McBride LLP<br />

Justice Delayed (Part II): Long-Term Solutions<br />

Joe Thorne, Stewart McKelvey (he/him), and<br />

Jeff Van Bakel (he/him), Scott Petrie LLP<br />

Word to the Wise:<br />

How to Avoid Mentor Burn Out<br />

Megan Keenberg (she/her), Keenberg & Co<br />

Beyond Borders: Canadian Lawyers’<br />

Perspectives from International Law Firms<br />

Eric Morgan (he/him), Kushneryk Morgan LLP<br />

Listen Up! How to Improve Active Listening<br />

Megan Keenberg (she/her), Keenberg & Co, and<br />

Lisa Marie Buccella, Aviva Trial Lawyers<br />

A Roundtable with the Chairs of the<br />

TAS <strong>2024</strong> Winter Summit: The Big Chill Ottawa<br />

Compiled by Mana Khami (she/her), Borden Ladner Gervais LLP<br />

Editor: Megan Keenberg (she/her), Keenberg & Co<br />

Deputy Editor: Joe Thorne (he/him), Stewart McKelvey<br />

The opinions expressed by individual authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Advocates’ Society.<br />

<strong>Advocacy</strong> <strong>Matters</strong> Editorial Team: Lisa-Marie Buccella, Aviva Trial Lawyers, Jordan Glick, Glick Law, Mana Khami (she/her), Borden Ladner Gervais LLP,<br />

Eric Morgan (he/him), Kushneryk Morgan LLP, Wade Poziomka, Ross & McBride LLP, Jeff Van Bakel (he/him), Scott Petrie LLP 3

Fall Convention <strong>2024</strong><br />

November 13/14 - 17, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Rosewood Baha Mar, The Bahamas<br />

Co-Chairs:<br />

Peter Henein, Henein, Hutchison, Robitaille, LLP<br />

Craig Lockwood, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, LLP<br />

Tamara Prince, Cassels, Brock & Blackwell, LLP<br />

The Advocates’ Society Fall Convention is heading back to<br />

the beach in <strong>2024</strong>! Join other TAS members this November<br />

at the luxurious Rosewood Baha Mar in The Bahamas for<br />

three or four sun-filled days of relaxation, collegiality and<br />

thought-provoking CPD in a luxurious setting.<br />

Book early so you don’t miss your favourite opportunity<br />

to connect with leaders of the litigation bar from across<br />

Canada. As always, Fall Convention offers an exceptional<br />

CPD program on Friday and Saturday mornings. Could<br />

there be a better way to earn your CPD credits?<br />

We hope to see you there!<br />

Click here to learn more<br />

Generously Sponsored By<br />

Premier Sponsor (Opening Dinner) Breakfast Sponsor Technology Sponsor


Chair Chat<br />

Steven G. Frankel (he/him),<br />

Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP<br />

This issue of <strong>Advocacy</strong> <strong>Matters</strong> is bittersweet<br />

for me because it’s my last issue as Chair of<br />

MASC, before I step off of MASC for good. This<br />

term has really zipped by even faster than I expected<br />

it would. I’m incredibly proud of what<br />

we’ve accomplished together with our Winter<br />

Summit (The Big Chill) in Ottawa as the highlight<br />

of the past 12 months. More than that,<br />

though, I feel privileged to have been involved<br />

with this terrific Committee for the past six<br />

years and to have met so many amazing people<br />

and advocates along the way.<br />

I’m sure I’ve said this before, but through my<br />

work on MASC it’s become clear to me just how<br />

vital mid-career lawyers like us are to the present<br />

and future of the profession. We’re senior<br />

enough to have some influence but we still have<br />

plenty of skin in the game because our best<br />

years are ahead of us. And boy, do we care. Not<br />

just about the administration of justice and the<br />

art of advocacy, but also about our role in the<br />

system, about one another as individuals, and<br />

about ensuring that talented young advocates<br />

have the support systems around them to be<br />

able to excel in the profession.<br />

All of this is reflected in the articles featured in<br />

this jam-packed issue of <strong>Advocacy</strong> <strong>Matters</strong>. Joe<br />

Thorne and Jeff Van Bakel deliver Part II of their<br />

series on delay in the civil justice system, this<br />

time focussing on potential long-term solutions.<br />

Jeff and Wade Poziomka have also contributed<br />

a piece on the dissolution of law firms, in the<br />

wake of Minden Gross’ decision to wind down<br />

its operations. Megan Keenberg and Lisa Marie<br />

Buccella have, individually and together, written<br />

three articles that deal with the important<br />

issues of mentor burnout, stress management<br />

and active listening. Mana Khami corralled the<br />

Chairs responsible for staging the Big Chill in a<br />

roundtable discussion about the highlights of<br />

our inaugural Winter Summit and what to expect<br />

for future years with this conference. Eric<br />

Morgan contributed a piece sharing perspectives<br />

from Canadian lawyers who work at major<br />

international firms, and Jordan Glick provided a<br />

fresh look at the age-old (four-year-old?) backto-the-office<br />

versus work-from-home debate.<br />

With that, I will say farewell but not goodbye. I’ll<br />

be at TAS’ End of Term Dinner on June 26, <strong>2024</strong>,<br />

and I hope everyone reading this will join me<br />

there. Please come say hi, whether you know me<br />

or not. I also plan to stay involved in the work<br />

of The Advocates’ Society going forward. In the<br />

meantime, I know I leave the stewardship of this<br />

Committee in excellent hands under the leadership<br />

of our next Chair, Sonu Dhanju-Dhillon.<br />



<strong>2024</strong> END OF TERM DINNER<br />

Wednesday, June 26, <strong>2024</strong> | Fairmont Royal York | Toronto<br />

Keynote Speaker:<br />

The Hon. Robert Rae, PC, CC, OOnt, KC, Ambassador and Permanent<br />

Representative of Canada to the United Nations in New York<br />

We still have a handful of tickets available for the much anticipated<br />

<strong>2024</strong> End of Term Dinner, exclusively for TAS Members. End of Term<br />

is returning to the splendour of the Fairmont Royal York Hotel for<br />

<strong>2024</strong>. The evening will feature a Keynote Address from The Hon. Robert<br />

Rae, PC, CC, OOnt, KC, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of<br />

Canada to the United Nations in New York.<br />

Deadline is June 5, <strong>2024</strong> to book so you don’t miss this elegant evening<br />

of collegiality and celebrating advocacy. End of Term Dinner is ‘THE’<br />

members-only event of the year!<br />


Generously Sponsored by:<br />

Cocktail Reception Sponsor<br />

Dinner Wine Sponsor<br />

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In Person or In PJs – the<br />

Mid-Career Lawyer Debate<br />

Jordan Glick, Glick Law<br />

Last Tuesday I got a call from a colleague whose law firm mandates three in-office days each week<br />

but does not specify which. According to him, his Monday went like this:<br />

Push kids out the door. Run to catch the train. Plug into the workstation. Barely settled at<br />

desk when an urgent message flashes. Jump on a Zoom with a senior partner. So long lunch<br />

plans and chiro appointment.<br />

Urgent injunction. Partial documents from client – the rest forthcoming. Instructed to assemble<br />

team. E-mail assistant and associate. Teams-ed them. Walked by their station and office.<br />


Not in. Called them. No answer. E-mailed<br />

and Teams-ed them again. Start doc review<br />

on own. Start sweating.<br />

Around 11, the associate answers. Not an<br />

office day. Very sorry. They are “at an appointment”.<br />

Not in calendar. They will be<br />

back home by 12:30. Stress mounting.<br />

By 12, assistant answers Teams. Sick dog.<br />

Was working from home anyway so thought<br />

he’d punch in a little late. Cratering.<br />

Senior partner wants an update. Likely will cry.<br />

Mid-career litigators have it tough when it<br />

comes to “work from anywhere” policies. We are<br />

often answering up and coordinating down. We<br />

remember the good and the bad of pre-COVID<br />

offices and in-court proceedings. We are told<br />

that flexible work arrangements are preferred<br />

by employees, do not diminish productivity and<br />

are competitively necessary. They also make<br />

work more accessible and equitable. These are<br />

all great, until there is an urgent injunction and<br />

no one is online.<br />

David Milosevic, principle of Milosevic and<br />

Associates, is hoping to buck the trend. He is<br />

currently building out more offices than he has<br />

lawyers in his new space. When complete, his<br />

firm will be fully in-person. As we chat, his office<br />

is abuzz. He believes that in-person firms<br />

hold an unquantifiable advantage. Not having<br />

to coordinate Zoom meetings and Teams invites,<br />

alone, saves so much time.<br />

Goodmans partner Tamryn Jacobson agrees<br />

with David, in part. She tells me that Goodmans,<br />

a firm with a reputation for prioritizing culture<br />

and mentorship while recognizing the benefits<br />

of remote work flexibility, set out to recreate the<br />

magic of their office once it was safe to do so. She<br />

believes Goodmans found the hack. Everyone is<br />

required to be in office for the same three days<br />

each week. This strategy has addressed the significant<br />

downside of an uncoordinated return<br />

to work policy – commuting to work only to find<br />


yourself alone and logging into videoconferences<br />

that could have been done in pyjamas. Today,<br />

Goodmans’ lawyers have flexibility on off days<br />

but are guaranteed three days with critical<br />

mass, in-person meetings and bagels.<br />

There are alternatives to return-to-work mandates,<br />

Erin Durant explains. Her firm, formed<br />

in the spring of 2021, has been entirely remote<br />

from the beginning. She notes that her firm<br />

is not alone – Quinn Emanuel, one of the largest<br />

and “most feared” 1 litigation firms in the<br />

world, takes a “work from anywhere” approach.<br />

With the right combination of people, technology,<br />

and a plan for connecting with her team<br />

in place, Erin has built a single cohesive unit of<br />

lawyers and staff across Ontario. She notes that<br />

scalability may be difficult, since remote work<br />

favours team members who can work independently<br />

with less mentorship. Erin does find<br />

her ability to mentor and supervise in a remote<br />

environment is constrained.<br />

Despite different models, David, Tamryn and<br />

Erin enjoy the same vision of a collegial, collaborative<br />

and cohesive firm. Their lessons:<br />

All the good that comes from a physical office<br />

cannot be achieved without critical mass; not<br />

every employee is well suited to work from<br />

anywhere, even if they want to; and working<br />

remote requires tremendous diligence, coordination<br />

and organization to overcome the obstacles<br />

of teams not being physically present.<br />

These lessons are good ones, no matter the<br />

model involved, and perhaps they all point to<br />

that elusive “fit” that firms have always said we<br />

need. Neither model is intrinsically better, but<br />

now more than ever, employees and employers<br />

need to find the right working relationships that<br />

fit their mutual needs and schedules.<br />

Note<br />

1. https://www.quinnemanuel.com/the-firm/news-esvents/quinnemanuel-is-the-1-most-feared-law-firm-in-the-world/<br />



Stress is not the enemy.<br />

Being stuck is.<br />

Lisa Marie Buccella, Aviva Trial Lawyers<br />

Stress, rather than being a necessarily chronic condition, is a normal, neurological, physiological<br />

adaptive response to a perceived threat and it is something that should be managed as a cycle<br />

with a beginning, middle, and end. Otherwise, stress leads to burnout, which is defined by emotional<br />

exhaustion, depersonalization, and a decreased sense of accomplishment, which can have<br />

a long-term impact on physical and mental health.<br />

This is especially true when it comes to emotional exhaustion. Perhaps you’re working long days<br />

with caregiving responsibilities at home, managing an especially adversarial litigation practice, or<br />


urning the candle at both ends to meet your<br />

billable target while soliciting new business.<br />

In their book Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking<br />

the Stress Cycle, sisters Emily and Amelia Nagoski<br />

describe burnout as getting stuck in the tunnel<br />

and remaining in a state of chronically elevated<br />

stress for much longer than we are designed to.<br />

This results in wear and tear on our physical,<br />

mental and heart health.<br />

In the same way a stick of dynamite can either<br />

blow up your hand or be used to clear the<br />

path in front of you, stress—which we won’t<br />

ever eliminate completely—can be harnessed<br />

for good. Stress has the power to motivate, activate<br />

and lead to self-improvement.<br />

However, being perpetually stressed is not<br />

sustainable to our overall health and wellness.<br />

Therefore, it is critical to deal with stress in a<br />

way that signals safety to all of our internal operating<br />

systems (digestive, reproductive, immune,<br />

cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal).<br />

Daily physical activity is the most effective strategy<br />

for helping complete the stress cycle from<br />

beginning to end, even something as simple as<br />

jumping or short bursts of moving around. According<br />

to relationship expert John Gottman,<br />

physical affection with a loved one, such as a<br />

“six-second kiss” or a twenty-second hug, have<br />

been found to change hormones, lower blood<br />

pressure and heart rate, and improve mood.<br />

Having a good laugh or cry can also help to regulate<br />

our emotions.<br />

The reassuring news is that you don’t have to<br />

remove all the stressors to feel better. Stress is<br />

not the enemy. Being stuck is. In the words of<br />

Nagoski, “to be well is not to live in a state of perpetual<br />

safety and calm, but to move fluidly from<br />

a state of adversity, risk, adventure, or excitement,<br />

back to safety and calm, and out again”.<br />

If you are interested in learning more about the<br />

stress cycle, I highly recommend reading, Burnout:<br />

The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle.<br />



Law Firm Dissolutions:<br />

Canary in the Coal Mine?<br />

Wade Poziomka, Ross & McBride LLP<br />

Over the past two decades, several well-known law firms suddenly shut their doors. These closures<br />

continue to cause a stir in the legal community and shake the stability and safety that lawyers,<br />

who are typically conservative by nature, crave. The first was Goodman and Carr LLP in 2007.<br />

Heenan Blaikie LLP was next in 2014. And only months ago, Minden Gross LLP – a firm with about<br />

65 lawyers and over 100 staff, dissolved. All three were large, reputable firms with a long history<br />

in the Canadian legal landscape.<br />

To gain insight into these closures, I had the privilege of speaking with Enzo Sallese and Timothy<br />


Dunn (two members of the three-person executive<br />

team leading the closure of Minden Gross<br />

LLP) and Norman Bacal (former managing partner<br />

of Heenan Blaikie LLP). We spoke about<br />

law firms and common trends more generally,<br />

as opposed to Minden Gross LLP and Heenan<br />

Blaikie LLP, in particular.<br />

Two common themes emerged in our discussions.<br />

First, without constant attention and focus, law<br />

firms can coast, losing a clear and common sense<br />

of direction over the years, especially when partners<br />

are making healthy money. “Ignorance is<br />

bliss,” says Sallese. “Nobody wants to have hard<br />

discussions when they are making money.” During<br />

a financial downturn, however, all the issues that<br />

could have, and should have, been proactively addressed<br />

previously can rear their ugly heads.<br />

Second, lawyers do not necessarily make the<br />

best leaders. In some law firms, the leaders are<br />

the highest billing partners. But excellence in<br />

attracting and providing legal services to clients<br />

does not necessarily translate into being an effective<br />

law firm manager. “How are managing<br />

partners chosen?” posited Bacal. “How many<br />

hold an MBA degree, or other leadership and<br />

management training? In what other company<br />

would you choose a CEO without leadership or<br />

management experience? Leadership doesn’t<br />

come naturally to everyone and in law schools,<br />

it isn’t taught.” Point taken.<br />

I suspect these themes are common for<br />

many other law firms who have yet to reach<br />

the breaking point. Sallese agrees, and wisely<br />

warns: “I genuinely believe that Minden Gross is<br />

the proverbial canary in the coal mine. If I could<br />

offer one piece of advice to law firms who may<br />

be in a similar situation, it is to look inward, get<br />

a hold of your finances and how each partner is<br />

compensated now while things are positive. Get<br />

your house in order.”<br />

What are some of the warning signs of a potential<br />

closure? “Partners having increased<br />

hushed meetings with one another behind<br />

closed doors,” notes Sallese. Another common<br />

theme is an unusual “quietness” in the firm.<br />

“Trust the staff,” says Bacal. If legal assistants<br />

and law clerks appear unusually stressed, there<br />

is a reason for it.” Another sign is unprecedented<br />

discussions or memos about “cost-cutting”<br />

measures, notes Dunn.<br />

Finally, with respect to advice to law firms<br />

who may find themselves on autopilot while<br />

still earning a healthy profit, Bacal stresses we<br />

need to revisit law firm culture. “The partnership<br />

needs to determine the culture they want.<br />

Is it ‘people over profits’, ‘teamwork over the<br />

individual’, a ‘churn and burn’ profit-maximizing<br />

model, or something else? Grapple with the<br />

overall philosophy and then start building your<br />

tactics. Everything you do should be consistent<br />

with that philosophy.”<br />

Sallese suggests that partners need to start<br />

“acting like owners. Understand what you own,<br />

understand the value you bring to the firm and<br />

the value of your other partners. Keep an eye<br />

on expenses and don’t sit back believing ‘other<br />

partners’ have it under control”.<br />

Dunn makes another important point. “Be<br />

transparent with one another and recognize<br />

that partners can contribute to the overall success<br />

of a firm in different ways. When times get<br />

tough, the value a partner brings tends to become<br />

their revenue exclusively. This can lead<br />

to divisions, resentment, and a lack of cohesion<br />

amongst partners.”<br />

All these points make good sense. Will law firms<br />

learn from these high-profile closures over the<br />

past decade, or continue the status quo while<br />

partners continue to be well compensated? Only<br />

time will tell. Sallese offered a final thought: “If<br />

you were sick, wouldn’t you want to know the diagnosis<br />

sooner rather than later so you could do<br />

something about it? I don’t understand why law<br />

firms would be any different.”<br />

As mid-career advocates, many of us are new<br />

partners and we bring fresh perspectives. We<br />

can help keep our firms on track by asking<br />

thought-provoking questions about culture and<br />

compensation, and challenging the status quo<br />

where warranted.<br />


Connect on<br />

the TAS<br />

Mentoring<br />

Portal<br />

The Advocates’ Society has launched a<br />

mentoring program for TAS members<br />

to connect junior lawyers with senior<br />

members for career advice and networking.<br />

There are no long-term commitments,<br />

extensive questionnaires, or heavy<br />

agendas—just simple connections and<br />

conversations. If there’s a fit, mentors and<br />

mentees can choose to connect again.<br />

Click here to learn more or<br />

visit www.advocates.ca


Justice Delayed (Part II):<br />

Long-Term Solutions<br />

Joe Thorne, Stewart McKelvey,<br />

and Jeff Van Bakel, Scott Petrie LLP<br />

Even though we make our living as civil litigators, we spend a lot of time imploring our clients to<br />

avoid the costs and delays associated with litigation. We habitually recommend that clients work<br />

something out directly with the adverse party before resorting to litigation. That said, many disputes<br />

require judicial intervention to come to a final resolution. The endemic delays in our civil justice<br />

system need to be addressed by all stakeholders before the public loses confidence in the system.<br />

In the last issue of “<strong>Advocacy</strong> <strong>Matters</strong>”, we published an article called Justice Delayed (Part I),<br />

which addressed court delays and highlighted some practical shorter-term solutions to assist<br />

counsel with getting on the docket. In this issue, we tackle fundamental, long-term solutions that<br />


we believe can assist in alleviating the exasperating<br />

delays in the civil justice system.<br />

1. Increasing Resources and<br />

Judicial Appointments<br />

Our federal and provincial governments have<br />

neglected to properly fund the civil justice system<br />

for years.<br />

Healthcare, education, and other social issues<br />

get significantly more media attention, and are<br />

therefore prioritized over the civil justice system<br />

when it comes to policy and spending. This has<br />

led to many open judicial vacancies and an agonizingly<br />

slow process to fill them. In the meantime,<br />

there are not enough judges to handle the<br />

significant existing caseload and the backlog<br />

caused, in part, by COVID-19. A recent Federal<br />

Court decision from Justice Henry S. Brown decried<br />

the record number of judicial vacancies as<br />

a “crisis”. 1 As a corollary, the existing judges are<br />

overworked, under-resourced, and drained. This<br />

creates a knock-on effect where successful lawyers<br />

are not incentivized to leave private practice,<br />

and all its associated amenities, to become<br />

part of an overworked and underpaid judiciary.<br />

2. Increase the Jurisdiction and<br />

Authority of Case Management Judges<br />

Most civil procedure rules provide a case management<br />

judge with the authority to make procedural/interlocutory<br />

orders, if it is appropriate<br />

to do so. There should be no qualifiers on a case<br />

management judge’s authority to issue procedural<br />

and interlocutory orders. Some judges have<br />

recently exhibited a willingness to make relatively<br />

substantive decisions at a case conference, which<br />

is a development that should be applauded. 2<br />

Generally, the discovery process is often the<br />

most expensive and laborious step in the civil<br />

litigation process. Motions dealing with discovery<br />

issues are on every docket in every province,<br />

and can clog up the system. All discovery-related<br />

motions should be addressed by case conference,<br />

without the need for motion records and<br />

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factums. In the event the case management<br />

judge believes the motion is too complicated to<br />

be dealt with by way of case conference, it can<br />

be rescheduled to be heard on the regular motions<br />

list - but only after the case management<br />

judge has performed a gate-keeper function.<br />

3. Increasing Flexibility of Movement<br />

Across Judicial Centres<br />

One of the authors of this article recently argued<br />

a motion in London, Ontario. Oral argument<br />

was not completed within the allocated<br />

time, and another half day was needed. The<br />

presiding judge sits in both Windsor and London,<br />

which meant when selecting dates for the<br />

balance of the motion, the parties could only<br />

pick dates where the presiding judge was scheduled<br />

to be sitting in London, which was months<br />

away. This restriction existed even though the<br />

motion was being heard virtually. The clients<br />

were confounded as to why the judge could not<br />

hear the balance of the motion until the judge<br />

was scheduled to be “sitting” in London, when<br />

the reality was that that judge was going to be<br />

“sitting” in front of their computer.<br />

Delays could be reduced if the courthouses<br />

worked more collaboratively and allowed judges<br />

increased flexibility to hear cases across different<br />

courthouses when judges are assigned<br />

to more than one courthouse.<br />

4. Reducing Time for Oral Argument<br />

Everyone is entitled to their day in court. But<br />

not everyone should be entitled to a full day in<br />

court. Long motions should be the exception to<br />

the rule and granted only with leave and in rare<br />

circumstances. Counsel are required to prepare<br />

detailed facta and written material prior to any<br />

significant contested motion. However, at the<br />

oral hearing, counsel habitually reiterate and<br />

repeat what’s in their written material. The oral<br />

hearing should be dedicated to responding to<br />

the opposing party’s factum, fielding questions<br />

raised by the presiding judge, and grappling with<br />

unresolved issues. This approach could greatly<br />

increase efficiencies, reduce court delays, and<br />

provide the presiding judge with more time to<br />

review the written materials that were filed.<br />

None of these proposals, in and of themselves,<br />

will resolve the endemic court delays<br />

that the public, clients, and lawyers are suffering<br />

through. Systematic and fundamental changes<br />

are necessary - we reiterate The Advocates’ Society<br />

“Call to Action”<br />

However, every potential solution should be<br />

explored. The recommendations in this article<br />

can assist in alleviating some of the issues.<br />

Without a concerted effort by all stakeholders<br />

to address these issues, the public will continue<br />

to have their rights trammelled due to the negative<br />

impacts from the unacceptable delays in<br />

the civil justice system.<br />

We must all continue to strive for a better,<br />

fairer, and more efficient justice system.<br />

Notes<br />

1. Hameed v. Prime Minister and Minister of Justice, <strong>2024</strong> FC 242<br />

2. See Miller v. Ledra, 2023 ONSC 4656 at paras. 31-37.<br />


The Atlantic Excellence in<br />

Mentoring Award<br />

The Atlantic Excellence in Mentoring Award honours<br />

advocates who have shown outstanding commitment<br />

to and excellence in mentoring other advocates in<br />

Atlantic Canada.<br />

The Selection Committee will consider the extent to<br />

which the nominee meets the following criteria when<br />

determining the recipient:<br />

• Demonstrates generosity of time and expertise, with a<br />

commitment to mentoring and supporting more junior<br />

advocates;<br />

• Promotes mentees’ career development and<br />

leadership skills;<br />

• Supports and sponsors mentees to provide career<br />

development and leadership opportunities;<br />

• Promotes diversity and inclusion in the profession<br />

through mentorship and sponsorship;<br />

• Shows commitment to mentoring and educational<br />

programs within the profession; and<br />

• Demonstrates a high degree of integrity and<br />

professionalism as a role model for young advocates.<br />

Nominations are now open for The Atlantic Excellence<br />

in Mentoring Award. Nominate a deserving advocate<br />

by June 24, <strong>2024</strong>. The award will be presented at The<br />

Advocates’ Society Signature fall program in <strong>2024</strong>.<br />

Click here to submit a nomination.


Word to the Wise:<br />

How to Avoid Mentor<br />

Burnout<br />

Megan Keenberg (she/her), Keenberg & Co<br />

Our profession depends on mentorship to train and guide the next generation. Law firms<br />

depend on mentorship to create bonds among colleagues and a sense of kinship in firm culture.<br />

My mission, with this column, is to empower my fellow mid-career advocates to mentor<br />

effectively.<br />

I provide mentorship to about 50 mentees. Some of them work with me. Some share office<br />

space with me. Some are former colleagues. Some are former strangers who reached out through<br />

the TAS Mentoring Portal.<br />

I don’t have the same level of interaction with all of them. I’m in constant daily contact with about<br />


five main mentees. And there are about fifteen<br />

long-time mentees that I see several times per<br />

year in person and keep in regular contact by<br />

phone and text. The rest touch base with me<br />

as needed, and I check in from time to time if I<br />

haven’t heard from them. Often there will be a<br />

flurry of calls, meetings and texts around crisis<br />

management, followed by long periods of light<br />

communication.<br />

When I talk about my mentoring activities with<br />

others, the number one question I get asked is:<br />

“How do you find time to do so much mentoring<br />

while also juggling a busy practice? Don’t you burn<br />

out on it?”<br />

The answer may surprise you. No matter how<br />

much time I spend mentoring, I never feel burnt<br />

out. To the contrary, when the pressures of<br />

practice weigh on me, I ramp up my mentoring.<br />

It lifts my spirits and provides a welcome break<br />

from the grind.<br />

Done well, mentoring is a cup filler, not a cup<br />

drainer. Working through problems with my<br />

mentees, helping them articulate what they<br />

want and implement strategies to pursue their<br />

goals, and then watching them soar, energizes<br />

me. I get the thrill of the teacher when my mentee’s<br />

eyes light up with new understanding, the<br />

satisfaction of the coach when they apply what<br />

we worked on together to achieve better outcomes,<br />

and a spark of epiphany when they offer<br />

me a new approach to old problems or a new<br />

perspective I hadn’t considered before. I learn<br />

from them as much as they learn from me. And<br />

I cement what I’ve learned by sharing what I<br />

know and refining and updating that wisdom in<br />

different contexts over time. When I hear about<br />

my mentees effectively mentoring others, the<br />

full circle moment lifts me up.<br />

If you are feeling drained and burnt out by<br />

mentoring, something has gone wrong. Here<br />

are my top three tips for letting mentoring fill<br />

your cup instead of draining it:<br />

1) Weed out mismatches early<br />

Sometimes we choose our mentees, and<br />

sometimes they choose us or are chosen<br />

for us. Where we have a choice, we need to<br />

choose wisely because it’s a big investment.<br />

Choose mentees who are excited about learning<br />

and appreciate your time. Choose mentees<br />

who are coachable or can learn to be<br />

coachable. Choose mentees who don’t look<br />

like you or come from the same place as you,<br />

who offer new ways of looking at legal problems,<br />

business issues and the human condition.<br />

Or, choose mentees who look a lot like<br />

you and come from exactly where you came<br />

from, especially where representation matters.<br />

Choose mentees who share your humour<br />

and your core values (and spend enough time<br />

with them to recognize those commonalities).<br />

Choose mentees who are kind, fun, maybe<br />

a little weird – whatever traits you value in a<br />

long-term relationship. When we are a good<br />

match, a lot of this happens naturally and unconsciously<br />

– you just meet, you click, and you<br />

keep talking. You know, like friends do.<br />

For those you don’t choose, you might not<br />

have immediate chemistry and it can feel awkward<br />

or burdensome at first. That’s okay, these<br />

things can find their legs over time. Give them<br />

a chance to get comfortable with you and give<br />

yourself a chance to earn their trust. Listen,<br />

listen, and listen some more. If you still find<br />

yourself drained by your time together and are<br />

dreading your next lunch, if you just don’t click,<br />

or you don’t like them, refer them to someone<br />

else who might be a better fit for them.<br />

Don’t languish in an unfulfilling mentorship –<br />

you will both suffer for sticking it out.<br />

2) Layer mentoring onto your existing workday<br />

Instead of trying to find extra time to mentor,<br />

I piggyback mentoring onto whatever it is that<br />

I’m doing. If I’m preparing for a court appearance,<br />

I split submissions with my mentee and<br />

we practice together. If I need to make a strategy<br />

recommendation to a client, I include my<br />

mentee in the formulation of the strategy, invite<br />

her to the client meeting to present some<br />

of the recommendations, and we debrief together<br />

afterwards. I have two 30-minute walk-<br />


ing commutes to and from the office every day;<br />

these are ideal times to pop in my airpods for<br />

an uninterrupted private chat with a mentee,<br />

away from the office. I set aside time for lunch<br />

every day anyway, so it’s easy to invite a mentee<br />

to catch up over a shared meal. By layering<br />

mentorship onto existing tasks, I’m not working<br />

extra hours - I’m just enriching my current<br />

working (and commuting) hours.<br />

3) Be clear about your boundaries<br />

and expectations<br />

The complaints I hear about mentoring often<br />

center on communication failures. A mentee<br />

emails or calls her mentor on the weekends,<br />

because she doesn’t want to interrupt her<br />

mentor’s work hours. The mentor does not<br />

want to discourage contact but is quietly seething<br />

that her precious free time is taken up with<br />

non-billable work tasks. Or maybe a mentee<br />

is seeking broad guidance, and the mentor<br />

prefers giving practical advice about specific<br />

issues. Maybe a mentor wants to wade into<br />

personal matters in a discussion about work/<br />

life balance, but the mentee is uncomfortable<br />

discussing her private life.<br />

Being clear and straightforward from the<br />

outset about your expectations of each other,<br />

your boundaries, your preferred level of<br />

interaction, your communication preferences<br />

and any off-limits topics (e.g., contentious political<br />

issues, gossip, or personal issues) will go<br />

a long way to prevent those frustrations from<br />

arising in the first place. Your expectations and<br />

boundaries will likely change over time as the<br />

relationship evolves. Keep checking in with<br />

each other proactively to ensure you are on<br />

the same page.<br />



Beyond Borders: Canadian<br />

Lawyers’ Perspectives from<br />

International Law Firms<br />

Eric Morgan, Kushneryk Morgan LLP<br />

Practicing law in Canada does not necessarily mean practicing at a firm with offices only in Canada.<br />

International firms have operated in Canada for decades, either by merging with established Canadian<br />

firms or growing offices from scratch. Working at an international law firm can add interesting<br />

dimensions to a law practice, but also comes with a complex landscape of structures, collaborations,<br />

and conflict management strategies unique to each firm.<br />

One significant allure of working at an international law firm is the opportunity to handle complex,<br />

cross-border cases. Chloe Snider, a litigation partner at Dentons LLP, the world’s largest law<br />

firm by number of lawyers, highlighted the global platform offered by her firm which enables<br />


her to engage in diverse legal matters spanning<br />

different jurisdictions. From collaborating with<br />

colleagues in Amsterdam on enforcement of<br />

foreign judgments to working on cross-border<br />

M&A arbitrations with a New York counterpart,<br />

Snider emphasized the enriching experiences<br />

and professional relationships fostered through<br />

these interactions. "These are things I wouldn’t<br />

get to do without the global platform," she said.<br />

Similarly, Jeff Rosekat at Dickinson Wright LLP<br />

(a firm with offices across the U.S. and Canada),<br />

underscored the appeal of working on<br />

cross-border insolvencies, citing the challenging<br />

nature of these kinds of cases. "Having that<br />

strength on both sides of the border means that<br />

we provide a unique seamless approach for clients<br />

who are involved in cross-border insolvencies."<br />

Rosekat noted the firm's goal of providing<br />

a comprehensive North American service to<br />

clients globally, aiming to be a "one-stop North<br />

American shop."<br />

In terms of firm structure and collaboration,<br />

Snider explained that her firm operates as a<br />

Swiss Verein, comprising different partnerships.<br />

Despite this, collaboration is actively encouraged,<br />

with global practice groups and industry<br />

groups facilitating cooperation across regions.<br />

“Some of my closest friends at the firm are from<br />

the U.S. region as a result of file-driven work,<br />

partner meetings and regular Zoom calls.” Similarly,<br />

Rosekat noted his firm's emphasis on collaboration,<br />

describing it as "one firm that just<br />

happens to have a bunch of offices." Rosekat<br />

highlighted that lawyers across offices work together,<br />

not only on cross-border matters but<br />

also in leveraging subject matter expertise to<br />

address client needs effectively.<br />

Regarding managing conflicts, Dentons’ conflicts<br />

are handled at a global level, with a concerted<br />

effort towards streamlining conflict<br />

checks across regions. Dickinson Wright LLP<br />

implements a collaborative approach in their<br />

intake and conflict checking processes.<br />

Working at an international law firm in Canada<br />

offers lawyers a blend of complex legal work<br />

and opportunities for professional growth, while<br />

needing to navigate complex challenges that<br />

come with those opportunities.<br />



Listen Up! How to Improve<br />

Active Listening<br />

Megan Keenberg, Keenberg & Co, and<br />

Lisa Marie Buccella, Aviva Trial Lawyers<br />

Active listening is a core communication and analytical skill that is critical to our success as advocates,<br />

advisors, and mentors. It helps us build relationships with colleagues and clients, empathize<br />

with others, and solve problems. When done effectively, it can also take the heat out of tough<br />

conversations with our mentees and de-escalate adversarial exchanges with opposing counsel.<br />

So, what is active listening, and how does it differ from regular (passive) listening? The main distinction<br />

is in the listener’s intention. The active listener’s goal is to profoundly understand the information<br />

that is being imparted to them, the reason why it is being imparted, and the underlying interests<br />

and motivations of the speaker. This is in contrast to the type of listening we more commonly<br />

engage in, which is listening to respond.<br />


1. Give your undivided attention<br />

Listening to understand requires the listener’s undivided<br />

attention on the speaker. It is not something<br />

you can do while multi-tasking. It requires a<br />

deep focus. Put your phone down and move away<br />

from your computer screen. Go to a quiet room.<br />

Sit or stand face to face. Not only does facing the<br />

speaker signal your undivided attention, it positions<br />

you to be able to see non-verbal cues that could otherwise<br />

go unnoticed. For some personal or sensitive<br />

discussions, maintaining eye contact may feel too<br />

intense, even invasive. For those situations, try sitting<br />

side by side facing forward together.<br />

2. Pay attention to non-verbal cues<br />

Non-verbal cues tell us as much or more than<br />

the content of what is said. Notice the speaker’s<br />

body language, tone of voice, facial expressions.<br />

Pay attention to pauses and changes in pace or<br />

volume of the speaker’s speech. Take in this information<br />

and let it live beside the content of<br />

what the speaker is saying. Later you can determine<br />

whether there is alignment or discord<br />

between the verbal and non-verbal communication,<br />

and what that might mean, but while<br />

you are listening, just notice it.<br />

3. Pay attention to what is not being said<br />

The speaker may talk around their core message<br />

without hitting on it directly. Try to understand,<br />

based on their non-verbal cues and the verbal<br />

content, what is being left unsaid, and why.<br />

4. Defer judgment<br />

You are listening to understand, not to respond,<br />

and not to judge. Don’t jump to conclusions. Let<br />

the story emerge the way the speaker needs<br />

to tell it. If the speaker feels judgment coming<br />

from the listener, they will clam up.<br />

5. Put yourself in the speaker’s shoes<br />

Try to understand their circumstances and where<br />

they are coming from. Think about why the speaker<br />

is sharing this information with you, what they<br />

want you to do with the information, and why they<br />

are sharing it now. You don’t have to agree with<br />

what they’re saying, you just need to understand it.<br />

6. Give the speaker space<br />

Don’t interrupt. Don’t try to predict what they<br />

are going to say or try to finish their sentences.<br />

Allow the speaker to finish their thoughts and<br />

relay what they need to relay. Don’t take them<br />

off track with your responses or objections.<br />

7. Give the speaker regular feedback<br />

The speaker will be attuned to your reactions to<br />

what they are saying. Try to encourage them to<br />

continue speaking with non-verbal cues like maintaining<br />

eye contact, nodding, leaning in. You can<br />

also interject with verbal encouragement, e.g., “tell<br />

me more about that” or “what happened next?” or<br />

“that must have been hard on you”.<br />

8. Create a mental picture of the story<br />

As you listen, envision the story the speaker is<br />

telling. Situate it in time and space. Notice any<br />

gaps in your picture. This will help you put the<br />

pieces of the story together cohesively, even if<br />

the speaker is not terribly cogent in their speech.<br />

9. Ask clarifying questions<br />

Try to hold your questions until the speaker<br />

has finished speaking. They may be gearing<br />

up to address the points you need clarification<br />

on later. Let them get to it in their own time.<br />

Keep your questions on topic and in line with<br />

the speaker’s core message. If your questions<br />

take the speaker off track, try to retrace the last<br />

thread they were discussing before you interjected<br />

and let them continue.<br />

10. Reflect, reframe, summarize, verify<br />

From time to time, and especially towards the<br />

end of the speaker’s speech, reflect back to<br />

them what you’ve heard in your own words,<br />

e.g., “What I’m hearing from you is that this experience<br />

with the senior partner has left you<br />

feeling underappreciated at your firm, and possibly<br />

concerned about job security. Do I have<br />

that right?” Make sure you verify that your reflections<br />

or summaries are accurate.<br />


Erin Durant<br />

Durant Barristers<br />

Jennifer Hunter<br />

Lerners LLP<br />

David Thompson<br />

Carroll Heyd Chown LLP<br />

Brian Duong<br />

Hunter Litigation Chambers<br />


A Roundtable with the<br />

Chairs of the TAS <strong>2024</strong><br />

Winter Summit:<br />

The Big Chill Ottawa<br />

Compiled by Mana Khami (she/her),<br />

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP<br />

26<br />

Interviewees:<br />

Erin Durant (Lawyer and Founder, Durant<br />

Barristers), Jennifer Hunter (Partner, Lerners<br />

LLP), David Thompson (Partner, Carroll Heyd<br />

Chown LLP), and Brian Duong (Counsel, Hunter<br />

Litigation Chambers)

Q: The <strong>2024</strong> Winter Summit: The Big Chill Ottawa conference was the first destination conference<br />

specifically geared towards mid-career advocates. How did it differ from other TAS<br />

conferences geared towards junior or senior lawyers, like Fall Forum and Fall Convention?<br />

A. Jennifer Hunter: Our focus was on creating content, and engagement, specific to mid-career<br />

lawyers. The session topics were intended to look at familiar topics, such as mentoring and business<br />

development, from the particular lens of someone who has been practicing for 10+ years.<br />

We also wanted to introduce new specific topics, such as entering management for the first time,<br />

and how to be a “Happy Lawyer”. We also wanted to take advantage of peer mentoring, so we built<br />

in a lot of discussion and networking opportunities.<br />

Q: The conference was held in February<br />

<strong>2024</strong> at the Fairmont Château<br />

Laurier in Ottawa. Tell us why this<br />

location was chosen, and what made<br />

it an ideal location for the Winter<br />

Summit?<br />

A. Brian Duong: Ottawa is a central<br />

location for delegates from coast to<br />

coast. It is also home to the Supreme<br />

Court of Canada.<br />

Q: What was the most memorable part of the<br />

conference for you, and why?<br />

A. David Thompson: I most enjoyed the<br />

roundtable discussions we had after several of<br />

the panels. It was reassuring to hear from so<br />

many peers that they struggle with the same<br />

challenges, no matter how successful they appear<br />

to be. Everyone was so down-to-earth,<br />

willing to listen and share ideas for dealing<br />

with those challenges.<br />

Q: While the conference focused on programs and discussions surrounding essential leadership<br />

skills, next-level business development strategies, and practice pointers from mid-career<br />

leaders, what other opportunities and events were participants able to take advantage<br />

of during the three-day conference?<br />

A. Erin Durant: The participants benefited from a lot of downtime in Ottawa and were able to<br />

check out Winterlude, attend the Supreme Court of Canada tour, and dine at local restaurants.<br />

There were a lot of new and deepened connections made between advocates at the social events.<br />

Q: What were some of the key takeaways you learned from speakers presenting at the<br />

Winter Summit?<br />

A. Brian Duong: Mid-career lawyers should not hesitate to put their hands up to take on greater<br />

leadership roles within their organizations.<br />

Jennifer Hunter: Take risks. Whether that is putting your name forward for management,<br />

or taking time back from a busy workload, now is the time to build the practice<br />

and the life you want.<br />


Q: What programs or events do you hope to see at the next Winter Summit?<br />

A. David Thompson: One of my favourite podcasts tells stories about successful people who<br />

triumph over debilitating career rejection. The Honourable Justice Karakatsanis spoke during her<br />

SCC tour about how she was rejected from the first legal job she applied to, which seemed to resonate<br />

with attendees. It will be really meaningful to have a panel/theme focused on overcoming<br />

perceived rejections, or failures in the legal profession.<br />

Q: What feedback did you receive from conference attendees this year? What were some of<br />

the highlights that people were talking about?<br />

A. Erin Durant: The feedback from the conference was very strong. It was clear that there<br />

was an overdue, and unmet, need for a conference for mid-career advocates. The attendees<br />

appreciated the conference topics, as well as the time and space provided for socializing and<br />

building connections.<br />

The Advocates’ Society<br />

Medal Dinner<br />

Save the Date: October 30, <strong>2024</strong><br />

Honouring Peter H. Griffin, KC, LSM,<br />

Lenczner Slaght LLP

The Patrick D. Schmidt<br />

Future of<br />

Family Law Award<br />

This award was established to honour the late Patrick D.<br />

Schmidt and to promote excellence in the profession by<br />

supporting junior lawyers in their early years of practice<br />

who are choosing to dedicate their practice to family law.<br />

Criteria for the recipient of the award will include a<br />

commitment to:<br />

• furthering excellence in family law, to the highest level<br />

of professionalism in the service of their clients;<br />

• skillful advocacy;<br />

• civility;<br />

• the importance of giving back to the profession<br />

through teaching and/or mentoring;<br />

• giving back to the community whether through pro<br />

bono work or otherwise;<br />

• and a proven commitment to family law practice and a<br />

demonstrated desire to excel as an advocate.<br />

Nominations are now open for The Patrick D. Schmidt<br />

Future of Family Law Award. Nominate a deserving<br />

advocate by July 8, <strong>2024</strong>. The award will be presented at<br />

The Advocates’ Society Fall Forum in October <strong>2024</strong>.<br />

Click here to submit a nomination.

The Advocates’ Society Annual Alberta Gala<br />

Thursday, April 18, <strong>2024</strong> | Calgary<br />

30<br />

Name, Firm


32<br />


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