BARE BONES BRIEFS: McMillan LLP “supplier” to defunct Traynor Ridge Capital, where $100 million missing | “Judicial bully” sanctioned | OHSA penalties tops in Canada | Profit malaise, hiring cuts at Big Law |”A terrific book”: Harrison & Swan’s “Skillful Witness Examination”

By Julius Melnitzer | November 12, 2023


According to David Olive of the Toronto Star, McMillan LLP, along with CIBC World Markets and KPMG, were among the “suppliers” of services to defunct hedge fund Traynor Ridge Capitol. On October 28, 30-year-old Christopher Callahan, the firm’s sole owner, trader and chief compliance officer, was found dead. Olive says that “close to $100 million” has gone missing, but “the true enormity of the loss, and how much of it might be recoverable, is also not yet known”. What is know is that three “unnamed” investment firms are looking at up to $95 million in losses. But because the named “suppliers” have so far declined to comment on their dealings with Traynor, the extent of their losses, if any remains a mystery. Details may emerge in the course of the court receivership imposed on Traynor at the behest of the Ontario Securities Commission.

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Virtually every experienced counsel has encountered a judge who thinks he or she is a god, if not God. Too often, the condition appears to permeate appellate judges, some of whom seem to believe that their oversight role mandates an overbearing – to put it mildly – manner. But the UK’s Judicial Conduct Investigations Office pulled no punches in issuing a formal warning to Court of Appeal Lord Justice Clive Lewis, whose intervention in counsel’s submissions throughout a hearing became “increasingly harsh and rude to the extent that it constituted judicial bullying”. According to the Law Society Gazette, Lewis got off with a ‘formal warning’ from the Chief Justice, who took into account “his apology and commitment to learn from the experience and adjust his behavior in the future”.

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The Law Society Gazette, in a sneak peek at the findings of this year’s IBA Law Firm Management Committee Remuneration Survey, reports that law firms worldwide are showing a “growing sense of uneasiness” about their profit margins in particular. No surprise, then, as the Gazette reports, that the Q3 2023 Thomson Reuters Law Firm Financial Index shows top US firms reducing their hiring in what may be a “year-end push for profit growth”. This past autumn, the survey finds, Am Law 200 firms have seen their smallest autumn associate classes since 2020. Meanwhile, direct expenses grew 6.4% in the third quarter, with overhead expenses up 7.0, leaving demand for law services, at 0.1%, in the dust.

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Bill 79, the Working for Workers Act, 2023, which came into force on October 26, saw maximum fines for corporations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act increase from $1.5 million to $2 million for a single contravention, making them the highest in Canada. In a client bulletin, Jeremy Warning, Cheryl Edwards and Deanah Shelly in Mathews Dinsdale & Clark LLP’s Toronto office argue that the government has demonstrated “no pressing need” for the hike – or indeed the hikes that preceded it in 2017 and 2022.

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Former Ontario Court of Appeal Justice John I. Laskin, who wrote the foreword for Skillful Witness Examinations in Civil and Arbitration Cases, written by Robert Harrison and Richard Swan, says the tome is a “terrific book” in which the authors don’t “just tell trial advocates what to do” but “show them how to do it”, using a fictitious fact situation that “represents a classic commercial dispute”. The authors cover examinations for discovery, examinations in chief, and cross-examinations of lay witnesses, as well as the examination and cross-examination of experts. “Their writing is highly readable: plain language throughout, no legalese, no unnecessary jargon, no fancy words,” Laskin writes. Skillful Witness Examinations is available from Thomson Reuters.

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Julius Melnitzer is a Toronto-based legal affairs writer, ghostwriter, writing coach and media trainer. Readers can reach him at [email protected] or

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