Saturday, December 16, 2006

Ron Daniels

An open letter to the students at U of T Law:

For those of you who may have forgotten, or may even be too young to remember, it is time we all took a break from exams and the holidays and spend a few minutes to remember our history; to remember why our venerable institution is so venerable. Yes, it is time for us to pay tribute to the great Ron Daniels. A bolder spirit U of T has never known.

No, he may not have had muffins, but Ron Daniels was a trailblazer. He saw beyond academia, beyond education, and even beyond skills training, to the greater glories of fat, fat Bay Street jobs. More than that, Ron Daniels was a visionary; he had the foresight to dream of a better life for U of T students, in a distant land called America….

But even as his bold vision set a course to international recognition and material success, Ron Daniels was a champion of the poor. His vision extended to DLS. To solidify our international glory he was instrumental in providing legal services to the poor. Although he probably didn’t give a damn about the poor, the invisible hand of Ron Daniels helped the homeless avoid jay-walking tickets and ensured that the K-Feds of Toronto would have their sentences downgraded to house arrest. Call it the trickle down effect. As a man only marginally lesser than Daniels, John F. Kennedy, once said, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

Ron Daniels, thank you for the rising the tide our school still rides. We wait patiently for your return and the subsequent establishment of a thousand semester golden age at U of T Law.

The authors of the U of T Ron Daniels society have prepared a by no means comprehensive list of facts about Ron Daniels. We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable.


1) Ron Daniels was made PARTNOR at Davies in 3 weeks; waiting 2 years is for suckers!

2) DLS once lost a case when Ron Daniels was Dean and he fired everyone, including the volunteers. There was no meeting.

3) Ron Daniels doesn’t want Gowlings, Gowlings wants Ron Daniels.

4) Ron Daniels coached Coach Moach.

5) Benson told Ron Daniels there were not enough holidays, so Ron Daniels made bridge week.

6) Mayo stole the recipe for her muffins from Ron Daniels.

7) Ron Daniels never lost anything but his virginity.

8) Ron Daniels made out with two first year girls during Pub Night. When he left they were so turned on they made out with each other. And that's awesome.

9) Ron Daniels’ package exploded and hurt Mrs. Palsgraf.

10) Ron Daniels knows what you did last summer.

11) Ron Daniels is really that kid from the Paper Chase.

12) Blakes does not mean business, Ron Daniels does.

13) Ron Daniels is not afraid to say he thinks Ewanchuck was wrongly decided.

14) Ron Daniels raised tuition to pay for those sweet roman columns out back of the school.

15) Ron Daniels stole Tank’s sleeves.

16) Tag body spray is based on the scent of Ron Daniels' sweat.

17) When Ron Daniels goes to an OCI, he calls them back.

18) Ron Daniels once published a treatise on the law so definitive it put the entire legal profession out of work. It has been buried somewhere in France by LSUC and other unknown conspirators.

19) Ron Daniels had to incorporate his awesomeness to limit his liability.

20) Ron Daniels once sued a homeless man and was awarded a soiled gym bag, a cigarette butt, and several cans.

21) Ron Daniels carved Bora's Head with his steely gaze.

22) Ron Daniels invented the Sexy Robot, but it was too sexy.

23) Danielle Steele bases all of her characters on Ron Daniels.

24) Ron Daniels doesn't chase ambulances, they come to him.

25) Ron Daniels once invented a time machine, he fathered Ernie Weinrib.

26) Ron Daniels invented the word "go".

27) The lights went out on Halloween because Ron Daniels was humming "Paint it Black".

28) How are world oil prices set? Two words: Ron Daniels.

29) Ron Daniels would be a Supreme Court Justice. If they weren't all sissies.

30) Ron Daniels spells "excellence" Ron Daniels.

31) Moran increased tuition; Ron Daniels took your soul.

32) It's not Christmas until Ron Daniels says so.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Mary and Richard Replaced

wow. absolute shock.

Dear All -

We wish to express our appreciation to Mary and Richard for their
willingness to lend a hand with this transition period. However,
alternative arrangements for criminal review counsel have now been
made, so it will not be necessary for us to impose on their time
further.Of course, the relevant financial arrangements will continue
to be honoured. And again, we wish them the very best in their future

We have been lucky to retain two excellent criminal lawyers to provide
all criminal review starting today, November 27, 2006. Jonathan Shime
is a member of the distinguished firm of Cooper, Sandler & West,
considered one of the best criminal law firms in Canada. Jonathan
represents clients before the Ontario Court of Appeal, Superior Court
and Ontario Court of Justice, including trials, appeals and bail
hearings under the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances
Act and the Youth Criminal Justice Act. He has also been appointed as
amicus counsel by the Superior Court of Justice. Ferhan Javid is a
sole practitioner who has his offices at Cooper, Sandler & West. His
experience includes trials (jury and non-jury), constititional and
Charter challenges, homicides, bail hearings and appeals in the
Ontario and Superior Court of Justice.
Both are friendly, kind and highly approachable lawyers who are
enthusiastic about students, and looking forward to meeting you. The
fact that they also participated in student clinics when they were in
law school means that they are not only criminal law experts, but also
familiar with many of the challenges law students encounter in
clinical work.

Their sign-up sheets for this week will be up shortly. In the
meantime, you can reach them by telephone and e-mail as below:

Jonathan Shime
416-585-9191 ex. 240 (office)
416-xxx-xxxx (cell)

Ferhan Javid
416-585-7845 (office)
416-xxx-xxxx (cell)

We know that we can count on everyone working together to make this a
smooth transition in the best interests of our clients.

Yours truly,

Judith McCormack
Executive Director
Adjunct Professor
Downtown Legal Services
Faculty of Law

The Dirty Laundry Goes Public

Harsh words to the Executive Director; it is all out in the open now. Let this post be the official start to the 'slow clap' for the openness and candidness with which the clinic lawyers, Amina, Richard, and Mary have handled this issue... Thanks to whoever sent this in...

November 24, 2006

To the DLS Community

This letter is written in response to the letter, which was sent to all of you by the Executive Director on November 23, 2006.

1. The Executive Director states: “Mary and Richard have terminated their retainers with the clinic in the course of a disagreement about the credit student requirements”. In fact, the criminal review lawyers did not terminate their retainers with the clinic because of a disagreement about credit course requirements. This fall, all four clinic lawyers, Amina Sherazee, Claire Hepburn, Richard Litkowski and Mary Misener had very grave concerns about the management of the clinic by the Executive Director. In particular, the lawyers were concerned that the Executive Director was systematically blocking repeated attempts by staff and students, including the students on the Executive, to undertake a meaningful examination of the allocation of public resources in the clinic and the areas of law which we practise. We all believed that such an examination was urgently needed to improve our capacity to take on criminal files. We all believed that the criminal file moratorium was undermining our community service and preventing many students from gaining a meaningful educational experience. We were also concerned that the moratorium was harming the credit course. Rather than meet with us collectively to openly explore alternative methods of allocating our resources and apportioning file work among us, the Executive Director took the position that a file moratorium and changes to credit course requirements were the answer. We were concerned about the management style of the Executive Director. Initially, both Amina Sherazee and Mary Misener approached the Executive Director individually and then together about the credit course and the moratorium. The Executive Director permitted us to speak and then she dismissed us without engaging in any discussion and without giving any indication of what her views were or what, if anything, would be done. We made repeated requests to have all four lawyers meet with the Executive Director about our concerns. She refused to meet with us collectively. She took the position that, while she would be happy to meet with each of us individually, she would not attend any meeting where more than one lawyer was present. We put our concerns about the credit course and the management of the clinic in writing and sent a memo to the Executive Director and to the Dean. We received no response. We set up a meeting with the Dean. One day before the meeting was to occur, the Dean’s office cancelled our meeting. We each received a letter from the Dean informing us that the course is entirely within the jurisdiction of the Executive Director. The Dean expressed her disapproval of our “unprofessional tone”. She informed us that each of us would be contacted to attend an individual meeting with the Dean and the Executive Director “to ensure that DLS remains a professional working environment and provides our students with positive clinical experiences”. In response, Richard Litkowski and Mary Misener resigned and Amina Sherazee demanded an immediate public apology from the Dean.

2. It is true that we have serious concerns about the credit course. Even before the course started, we expressed our concern to the Executive Director that many of the credit students would not have enough civil files. When we reviewed the mid-term assessments, we identified many students who needed to take on more substantive work. Let’s be clear about the purpose of the mid-term assessment. It is not a grading tool. No one who is assessed below the required number of files at the mid-term point fails. The mid-term assessment is designed to alert the student and the lawyers if the student does not have enough substantive file work. In past years, we have always successfully found enriching work for students. No one has ever failed the course. Our practice has been to meet with any student who was below the course requirements and to work with them to find active files. This year, some students who were below the requirements came to us for more work. They were assigned cases which challenged them and from which they learned a great deal. Other students did not come to us. Instead, after we completed the mid-term review, the Executive Director instructed us to re-assess all of the credit students and to give them credit for work which has never received credit in the past. For example, students were now to receive credit for administrative tasks such as opening and closing files and for attending set dates and writing routine letters. We objected to such a fundamental change in the course for a number of reasons. First, we believed it was unfair to students who were already doing the substantive work required to pass the course. Second, we believed that it would rob those students who were not yet meeting the course requirements of the opportunity to experience meaningful legal work. Finally, we did not wish to participate in a fiction where we were to state that students were meeting the same requirements, which have been met by all the students who have taken the course since its inception, when they were not. Ultimately, it is not up to us whether the course is fundamentally changed. But surely our views should be considered in any review of the course. And if the course is changed, it should be done openly and officially.

3. The Executive Director states that we served over a thousand clients last year. This is true. Many of these clients come to us only for notaries. We also carry a healthy file load. For example in February 2006 (before Lisa Cirillo took a leave of absence) our active file load was: 237 criminal, 77 POA and 176 civil files. Our caseload is on track despite the fact that one of our civil review lawyers, Lisa Cirillo, took a 6-month leave of absence this summer. The reason our file numbers are still healthy is that the criminal review lawyers took on an enormous amount of work throughout the summer. Each criminal lawyer is retained to provide only 8 hours of review per week. Each lawyer provided many many hours in excess of his or her retainer. We were happy to step up to assist. But we quickly became aware that the burden of keeping the clinic on track was falling unfairly upon criminal review. Our suggestion to move review of University Affairs from Mary Misener to the Executive Director, a lawyer with a wealth of experience in administrative law, was summarily rejected by the Executive Director. When Claire Hepburn offered to take over UA review the Executive Director would not permit it. Claire was earning a weekly rate of $1082.25 while each criminal review lawyer earned $599.50. On her own initiative, Claire cut back her paid hours due to a lack of work while the criminal lawyers working well beyond their retainers. The Executive Director refused to move a summer student who joined the clinic in July, out of UA and into an area supervised by Claire Hepburn , despite Mary Misener’s request not to burden her with additional work.

3. The Executive Director points out that criminal law funding has increased 70% over the last five years as if to say that we are whining about nothing. Statistics can be manipulated to support almost any proposition. Here is one: each criminal lawyer’s income from the clinic has increased by 100% from the $15 000 each was paid annually for review during the 1990’s. It should be clear to all of you that none of the lawyers is here for the money. The issues at stake are these: using our resources most effectively to meet community needs and to enhance student education, ensuring that resources match demand, ensuring that all lawyers are treated fairly and with respect, and, most importantly, being able to discuss all of these matters in an open and collegial working environment.

4. The Executive Director addresses the criminal file moratorium. We have had criminal file moratoriums in the past. We have these moratoriums because the demand for our criminal law services is so huge. When there are no more students to take on a criminal file, we have to turn away potential clients until a student caseworker becomes available. The current moratorium was imposed by the Executive Director as a “solution” to the fact that clinic resources do not adequately support the criminal division. This directive required a cutback in the number of cases we took on. The lawyers expressed strong objection to it on principle because they were offended by the idea of stopping willing students from assisting needy clients. However, we were reassured by the Executive Director that civil files would flood in to fill the gap. Civil files did not flood in to fill the gap. We all would like an open examination of resource allocation and our areas of practice.

The Executive Director asserts that the Executive has been involved in repeated discussions about criminal law resources since last summer and that Mary Misener has participated fully and that all ideas have been considered carefully and exhaustively. The facts are these: to the contrary, the Executive Director has systematically blocked all efforts taken by lawyers and student Executive members to have a meaningful examination of our resources, of our case selection and of other potential sources of revenue to support the clinic. In her capacity as criminal review lawyer representative, Mary Misener raised the issue of criminal law resources at the clinic’s annual planning meeting in July 2005. Ms. Misener pointed out that the demand for criminal law services was pressing, that the cases were challenging and highly educational and that 16 hours of review was not adequate. She also raised the possibility of criminal lawyers not reviewing University Affairs. She suggested that one way to open up more criminal review hours would be to move UA review, which involves administrative law, to another lawyer or to the Executive Director. The Executive began a lengthy preliminary discussion of resource allocation and areas of practice and discussed ways to secure more funding for the clinic. The students were very enthusiastic and keenly interested in considering all ideas. In particular, the student executive members were interested in advocating for additional funding from the law school to support the criminal law section of the clinic. The Executive Director told them that going to the law school for additional funding would backfire and would undermine her significant efforts to enhance our position at the Faculty. It became clear that these issues were large and important ones which required more time for examination than the meeting would permit. A temporary criminal file moratorium was imposed. No task force was struck. Nothing further was done.

Immediately after that 2005 Annual Planning meeting, the Executive Director met privately with Ms Misener. She stated that Ms. Misener had ambushed her at the meeting. She accused Ms. Misener of manipulating the students into soliciting funds from the law school for her own economic benefit. She stated that, as their supervising lawyer, Ms. Misener had significant power over the students and that she was abusing that power by complaining about her compensation and hours of work to them. She directed Ms. Misener not to discuss with any student, including the students on the Executive, her hours of work, the amount of her compensation, or the areas of law which were assigned to her for review. The Executive Director took the position that hours of work, levels of compensation and areas of a lawyer’s practice were all personnel issues.

The 2005 criminal moratorium was very brief. The criminal lawyers decided that it was wrong in principle to turn away needy clients when there was a willing student to take the case and lifted it. They continued to work beyond their retained hours.

At the 2006 Annual Planning meeting, Ms. Misener, on behalf of both criminal lawyers , raised the issue again. By now, the work imbalance had only worsened because of Ms. Cirillo’s leave of absence. The criminal lawyers took the position that although they had been prohibited from discussing their retainers or their hours, issues of resource allocation and areas of practice were appropriate for discussion by the Executive at an annual planning meeting . They took the position that these issues had policy dimensions that were very appropriate for “annual planning”. Accordingly, on behalf of the criminal division, Ms. Misener again raised the need for the Executive to examine resource allocation. She pointed out that resources were allocated based on, at best, a 50%-50% civil-criminal model—even if every civil file were substantially more complicated and time consuming than criminal cases. She pointed out that in reality criminal files significantly outnumbered civil. The student members of the Executive again expressed their concern and their keen interest in ensuring that the criminal division was properly supported. The student Executive members expressed their desire to explore additional avenues of financial support for the clinic. It was decided that a “mini task force” would be struck to examine areas of practice and resource allocation. The Executive Director made it very clear that fundraising and lobbying the law school for more resources were strictly out of the question.

After the 2006 Annual Planning meeting, the Executive Director again insisted on a private meeting with Ms. Misener. She accused Ms. Misener of having been on a campaign to create a full-time prestigious and high-paying position for herself since 2004. She referred to the period from June 2004 until April 2005 when the Executive Director took a sabbatical and Ms. Misener served as acting Director and credit course instructor. The Executive Director noted that during that period the number of criminal files and the number of students doing them significantly increased. She accused Ms. Misener of orchestrating these increases as part of a campaign to eliminate all other areas of practice and to turn the clinic into a criminal clinic. Ms. Misener had no desire to turn the clinic into a criminal clinic. She greatly enjoyed working with her colleagues, Amina Sherazee, Lisa Cirillo and Claire Hepburn. In reality, the increase in criminal files and the number of students doing them that occurred when Ms. Misener was the acting Executive Director followed from the fact that Ms. Misener not only acted as Executive Director and credit course instructor but also continued to do criminal and UA file review.

Another Executive meeting was convened in August 2006. The issue of resource allocation arose when it became clear that we had a huge number of upcoming trial dates because we had so many criminal files. Again, the student Executive members expressed their desire to pursue more funding from Legal Aid, from the law school or from other funding sources. Again, they expressed their concerns about fairness to the criminal lawyers. Ms Misener was stopped from speaking to these issue by repeated admonitions from the Executive Director that any comments she might make would touch on “personnel” matters.

5 .In her letter, the Executive Director suggests that the Executive is hard at work looking at resource allocation and community service through a “mini-task force”. In fact, this mini-task force does not exist. Student executive members have volunteered to serve on it, but the Executive Director has never convened a meeting. Its complete membership has yet to be determined. Indeed Mary Misener attended the Executive Meeting in November 2006 and asked why the promised task force had not been created. The student Executive members supported moving forward with the task force but the Executive Director strongly resisted. She urged the Executive to wait until the law school finished conducting its academic planning review. The Executive Director sets out the “Criteria for Mini-Task Force” at the end of her letter. No one spent any time devising these “criteria”. They were lifted verbatim by the Executive Director from the clinic’s “Criteria for Considering New Areas of Law”, a document which was created some years ago when the clinic decided to expand into Immigration and Family law.

6. The Executive Director asserts: “nobody has been ‘constructively dismissed’. Whether anyone has been constructively dismissed is an interesting legal question.

7 The Executive Director reassures you that it is not unusual for clinics to go through periods of change and renewal. It may not be unusual for other clinics to go through periods of change but it is certainly unusual for DLS. Over the years, the clinic has had very few personnel changes. For example, Ms Misener has been working at the clinic since 1994 as a part-time review lawyer. While continuing to do UA and some criminal file review through 2004-2005, she also served as the acting director of the clinic for 10 months. Mr Litkowski has been at the clinic since the late 1990’s as well. Linn Kennedy has been with the clinic since 1995. In fact, the clinic has had very little staff turnover. Ms Sherazee did not replace anyone. The clinic expanded when she joined. Martha did not replace anyone. Her position was added to meet ever-increasing paperwork demands from Legal Aid and from the courts, which were overwhelming Linn Kennedy. The Executive Director did not replace anyone when she came to the clinic. Prior to that, the clinic did not have an Executive Director.

8 .It is true that management should not reveal personal information about individual staff members. In a positive workplace, management’s duty of confidentiality protects the staff. It is not used as a device to shut down meaningful discussion of important issues.

9. The Executive Director closes her missive by stating this: “In the meantime, I do want to emphasize how important it is that our discussions are conducted in a civil, calm, responsible manner. In particular, no student at this law school should be publicly denigrated by anyone, least of all their supervising lawyers.” We are offended.

10. Lastly, let it be perfectly clear: both this year’s and last year’s student Executive members have listened to and tried to respond to our concerns about resource allocation and areas of practice in the clinic. Both student groups have expressed their enthusiasm for finding more resources, for examining problems, for finding solutions, for engaging in deep discussions. The other lawyers, Lisa Cirillo and Claire Hepburn, have also repeatedly expressed their willingness to put everything under scrutiny in the interest of improving the clinic. At every turn, these discussions have been frustrated, blocked and delayed by the Executive Director.

Richard Litkowski
Mary Misener
Amina Sherazee

Saturday, November 25, 2006

General Meeting to be Called; Amina Staying Put

Billable Targets would like to offer the following brief commentary on what is by now widely accepted knowledge:

  1. The 30 signatures required by the DLS constitution to request a general meeting have been successfully obtained, thus obligating the executive to call a meeting within the next 10 days. This may be the first time this has ever happened. Not so conveniently, the meeting could end up taking place very close to the exam period.

Of interest is the fact that of the 31 signatures obtained, none of them were of any of the 6 DLS Executives. The list did include the vast majority of non exec shift leaders. Also of interest is that in response to the issues raised by the 3 credit students (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Intrepid Three’), the Exec had originally proposed holding a “Town Hall” meeting of the executive sometime in either November or December, in which anyone concerned could attend and provide feedback and input. While this may seem reasonable, the Intrepid Three were less than satisfied with this response, which prompted their call for signatures. And with good reason too. Unlike a General Meeting, any non-exec DLS student attending a Town Hall meeting would have no standing to propose or vote on any motions.

To compound this, it has been overheard that certain member[s] of the executive not among the elected in 2nd year, have been walking around calling the Intrepid Three who initiated the request for a general meeting “traitors”, while accusing them of trying to overthrow the Executive Director. Now c’mon gal, that isn’t cool. You can’t be telling members of the DLS community that they are welcome to come talk to the executive anytime and then turn around and start bad mouthing them behind their backs.

We can attest to the fact that the Intrepid Three are calling a meeting only to include the broader DLS community in a discussion about the circumstances which led to the situation we have today and its strategic direction going forward. Traitors they aren’t. In fact they are quite the opposite; they’re passionate about their clinic, so passionate that they are willing to go to great lengths to hold a meeting to discuss its future and to hold their executive accountable. Perhaps the “traitor” is the one who launches personal attacks against them in an attempt the thwart their efforts. Godspeed to the Intrepid Three, your efforts are very much appreciated!

  1. In a letter sent out to the DLS community, Judith confirmed that Amina has not resigned. Yet. Thank god.

Other highlights from Judith’s letter include:

  • “It also might help you to know that the Executive has been involved in an almost continuous discussion about criminal law resources since last summer…”. Read –“Don’t worry Exec, J-Mack’s got your back!” This is great news though, seriously. It means that the Exec has worked to address these issues at some level.
  • The sentence: Nobody has been “constructively dismissed” gets 10 points for use of a term of art…just cause we’re geeks that way.
  • “Individual personnel matters are not within the jurisdiction of the Executive or any general meeting and are not subject to votes.” Translation: You can’t touch this, nice try though suckers.

Finally, we would like to comment on something that we have heard much about recently, and that is the notion of “fit” within the clinic. While we believe that Judith believes that the direction that she is taking the clinic is for the best, it has been suggested that the inability for the review lawyers and her to come to a resolution is an indication of possible personality conflicts and a fundamental disagreement over the character of the clinic. Should this be the case, we at Billable Targets think that we can learn from a similar situation at CLASP, in which review counsel Sil Salvaterra made the following comments in an open letter:

My employment is being terminated. And the post I occupy is now a public job offering. In the summer of 2005 I was asked to attend a meeting at CLASP with Glenn Stuart, the clinic director. Without any prior warning, I was told that my employment with CLASP and the University was being terminated because I did not “fit” in at the clinic. By that time I had been employed at the clinic, and a member of the Osgoode community, for close to nine years.

My response to these “reasons” for termination was to suggest that who, or what, “fits” into CLASP should be determined by its Board, active clinic members and the Dean, collectively. The character and mission of the clinic must be a cooperative and inclusive enterprise. Narrow perspectives should not determine who fits and who does not. One size does not, and should, not fit all. Plurality, diversity and inclusiveness are important clinic values to uphold. Conformity is not.

While the cause for dismissal was different in this situation, the DLS general meeting is an opportunity in which all members of the clinic community can come together to shape the character and mission of the clinic in addressing the recent issues.

Billable Targets

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Story behind the Q Bombs

Hearsay, while relaxing after posting only a day ago, was clearly asleep at the wheel when Borstal Boy beat her to what was (is) clearly the biggest story of the year. But not to be outdone, Hearsay has the scoop on some of the underlying circumstances which may have at least partially led to the situation which has erupted today. Please note that this information has been cobbled together through a number of anonymous contributions.

First of all Mary and Richard speak to the "allocation of resources at the clinic". Among the 3 lawyers who have sent in their resignations only Amina is being paid to be review counsel in a full time capacity right now. Mary and Richard were only being paid by legal aid on a part time basis (6-8hrs/week is the number we have heard). Clearly they were spending much more time at DLS than they were being paid for by legal aid; students who work at the clinic can attest to the fact that they were working closer to 25 - 30 hours/week. They were holding down other jobs to subsidize their work at DLS; Mary probably doing duty counsel work, Richards at Ruby Edwards (criminal defense firm).

Mary and Richard asked for a reallocation of clinic funds likely so they could managably devote more time to DLS which likely meant that they were asking the university to contribute to their pay. They took these concerns to Judith McCormick, the executive director, who (as they stated in their post) effectively ignored them. Obviously, they also found no help from the student executive in bringing these issues forwards for a public discussion. There is some speculation that the Executive were effectively prevented from helping, as these issues may have been deemed to be a purely administrative or personnel matter and not within their scope. Regardless, finding little help from either the Execs or the Exec Director, the lawyers trotted on to the Dean herself, who told them to take matters up with Judith. After getting nowhere with anyone, it appears to have led to the eventual Q bomb described by my colleague B.Boy.

It is open speculation that Amina left in solidarity with the other lawyers. It is further speculation that in light of these issues the recent lifting of the moratorium on crim files may also have something to do with these resignations.

Now, with the caveat here that the whole story is not yet known, nor is it likely that it will ever be entirely clear, the question Hearsay wants to know is this... Why shouldn’t Mary and Richard be paid out of UofT funds? They manage a large number of UofT volunteers and full time credit students. They are vital to enhancing the legal education of our students here at UofT. They work hours that are disproportionate to the time they are recognized for. Someone should find out how much Judith is paid is relation to the number of hours she works and see if this all looks justifiable.

Or maybe that’s my job.

Signing off,


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Dropping the Q-Bomb: DLS EXPLODING?!

We've just received reports from several different sources that Amina Sherazee, the illustrious immigration review lawyer at DLS has quit! More information is needed, and greatly desired!!!

Dropping the Q-Bomb: Update!

Mary and Richard have posted a statement outlining the reasons for their resignations in the DLS Criminal Review office on the notice board. An excerpt reads as follows:
The reasons for our difficult decision can be summed up as follows. We have serious concerns about the allocation of resources at the clinic and how this allocation has affected: (i) the services the clinic is able to provide to its clients and (ii) the quality of the clinical legal education that the students receive.

These concerns have been repeatedly brought to the attention of the Executive, for example at the annual planning meetings held in July 2005 and July 2006, with a view to discussing various options to resolve what we feel are serious structural flaws at the clinic. These concerns have also been directly brought to the attention of Judith McCormack. Neither the Executive, nor the Executive Director, have done anything to facilitate an open discussion of our concerns. After more than one year of trying to secure an open and frank dialogue of how scarce public resources are allocated within the clinic, including attempts to meet collectively with the Executive Director and the Dean, who is the head of the clinic, we have decided that we can longer abide the current situation.

Given these concerns, it is not clear whether any further action by students will be any more successful than the efforts of the review lawyers to have these matters addressed. It is interesting to note that the lawyers specifically cite the inability or unwillingness of the Executive and the Director to confront these problems, verifying the reports we have heard regarding strife between the administration and the lawyers. It is perhaps telling that the lawyers only make reference to their work with the students in expressing their regret over the situation. Given that the problems referred to by Mary and Richard seem to be institutional in character, it is perhaps only a matter of time before the other review lawyers find themselves at a similar crossroads. Attention should now be focused on what can be done to address the above issues so that DLS doesn't lose any more of its excellent review counsel. That being said, any action at this point may be too little too late for Mary and Richard...

Finally, an update on the secret meeting: A rumour has come to our attention that a DLS Shadow Cabinet will be held made up of DLS shift leaders, credit students, and upper years in an appropriately conspiratorial manner in xxxxxxxxxx at xxx. ;)

-Borstal Boy