by Julius Melnitzer
With stepped-up enforcement and the proliferation of corporate regulatory offences, criminal law may be the next big growth area for Canada's large firms
What, at first glance, is wrong with this picture? That's a legitimate question lawyers might have asked themselves after traipsing into a Toronto courtroom earlier this year to get a glimpse of the criminal fraud proceedings against former Nortel CEO Frank Dunn, former CEO Geoff Beatty and former corporate controller Michael Gollogly.
It's not that senior management of a failed, high-profile multinational are, so to speak, in the prisoners' dock. Conrad Black, after all, has just finished his sentence. And while white-collar criminal prosecutions have hardly been the rage in Canada, their ubiquity in the US and the growing worldwide enforcement focus on keeping wayward executives and corporations in line made it inevitable that Canada's regulators and police forces would soon have to join the rest of the real world.
Many of the faces in the courtroom are familiar too. Ontario Superior Court of Justice Frank Marrocco, a former icon of Ontario's criminal defence Bar, is presiding. Brian Greenspan and members of his blue-chip Toronto criminal law boutique are defending Gollogly, and Greg Lafontaine, a veteran of the Toronto criminal defence Bar, is counsel to Beatty.
The Trickling Down of Global Uncertainty
by Sandra Rubin
Canadian law firms are feeling the effects of global events like the ongoing debt problems in the European Union and a slew of tough new banking rules that have lenders tightening the tap
Andrew Fleming, a senior partner at Norton Rose Canada LLP, was at a dinner this spring where Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan was the keynote speaker. He had recently presented Ontario's budget, and the topic of the evening was finance. There were some Canadian business heavyweights in attendance and the conversation turned to the economy, and the phenomenon of Canadian financial institutions and companies sitting on hundreds of millions of dollars in cash and not reinvesting it.
“One of the players stood up and said, ‘I can tell you we have a significant cash balance at the moment. But we're not spending it because we're worried that the economy in certain parts of the world – not necessarily in Canada – is going to tank, and therefore we're going to need the cash just to keep going through a rough patch,'” recounts Fleming.
That's so perfectly 2012, isn't it? It's not exactly turning out to be the year of living dangerously. Uncertainty over the financial health of the European Union – the impact of a default on the global banking system – combined with a slew of tough new banking rules has many global lenders tightening the tap.