By Julius Melnitzer | November 20, 2023
LSO alleges misconduct against high-profile employment lawyer
Lior Samfiru, the Toronto-based national co-managing partner of employment law boutique Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, a firm that claims to be the “most positively reviewed employment law firm in Canada”, is facing professional misconduct allegations stemming from litigation that he threatened or commenced against three former clients. The Law Society of Ontario’s notice of application states that Samfiru failed “to discharge all responsibilities honourably and with integrity” and communicated “in a manner that was abusive, offensive, or otherwise inconsistent with the proper tone” of professional communications. None of the allegations has been proven. Samfiru is a high-profile lawyer who runs extensive adds on Toronto radio station CFTR and hosts the Employment Law Show on Hamilton radio CHML.
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JUDGE CITES COUNSEL’S CONDUCT IN $18.8 BILLION CASE HIGHLIGHTING “SEVERE ABUSES” OF ARBITRAL PROCESS
In setting aside an $18.8 award against the Nigerian government in Federal Republic of Nigeria v. Process and Industrial Development Ltd., Justice Robin Knowles of the UK High Court found that the defendant had won the arbitration “only by practising the most severe abuses of the arbitral process”. Among those abuses were the conduct of defendant’s lawyers Seamus Andrew and Trevor Burke in handling privileged documents that their client received. The judge criticized individuals who were “driven by greed and prepared to use corruption; giving no thought to what their enrichment would mean in terms of harm for others.” The arbitration process, Knowles concluded, “needs further attention where the value involved is so large and where a state is involved”. Failing such attention, Knowles warned that arbitration could become less reliable and more vulnerable to fraud, especially because of the privacy surrounding the proceedings.
ASSOCIATES WANT RIGHT TO REFUSE WORK FOR ETHICAL REASONS
Two-thirds of junior lawyers surveyed for a report by Obelisk Support want the right to refuse work for ethical reasons, but only 18% said they were allowed to do so. According to the Law Society Gazette, half believed their employers engaged in “window dressing” on ethical issues, but half also conceded that their employers had a “purpose beyond profitability”.
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$817 MILLION SETTLEMENT IN VETERANS CLASS ACTION
A class action alleging that, beginning in 2002, Veteran Affairs Canada erred in calculating annual increases in monthly disability benefits to account for inflation has settled for $817 million inclusive of court-sanctioned costs, with a judicial approval hearing scheduled for December 18, 2023. Class counsel include Kirk Baert at Koskie Minsky LLP; Malcolm Ruby at Gowling WLG; Daniel Wallace at McInnes Cooper; and Michel Drapeau at Michel Drapeau Law Office.
LITIGATION FUNDER’S REVENUE UP, BUT LOSSES ESCALATE
Augusta Ventures Limited, a founder member of the Association of Litigation Funders and a leading UK-based litigation funder that also operates in Toronto and Australia, saw losses grow to almost $2.5 million in 2022, up from about $450,000 in 2021. According to the Law Society Gazette, revenue increased by 4.5% to about $15.7 million but administrative expenses went up 17% to $18.2 million. Net liabilities doubled to about $5 million, and Bloomberg reports that Augusta’s cohort of 38 employees in December 2022 had decreased to 15 by September. The firm claims to have funded 252 claims with a 66% success rate since its establishment in 2013.
Julius Melnitzer is a Toronto-based legal affairs writer, ghostwriter, writing coach and media trainer. Readers can reach him at [email protected] or https://legalwriter.net/contact.