Keep your practice current
by Fran Hodgkins
The following are brief summaries of several recent Section meetings held throughout the province. More detailed information, minutes, and Section Papers from the Section meetings are accessible online at www.cba.org/bc for enrolled CBA members.
ADR – VICTORIA
MEETING: February 13, 2008
SPEAKER: Wayne Plenert, Chair, Mediator Roster Society
TOPIC: Conflict Transformation
Wayne Plenert, a full-time mediator, whose practice includes family, workplace, and civil mediations in B.C., Yukon Territory, and Alberta, is also an instructor in leadership training, conflict resolution, and conflict transformation in Dawson Creek, Vancouver, and Victoria. His presentation, which was informative and thought provoking, was an overview of a workshop he recently presented for the Roster Society. Using conflict to transform the structure of relationships is a concept that seemed to resonate with everyone at the meeting. Mr. Plenert’s oral presentation was supported by a PowerPoint presentation which was circulated with the minutes to all ADR – Victoria Section members.
MEETINGS: January 24, 2008 and February 14, 2008
SPEAKERS: Steven O. Rosen, The Rosen Law Firm, Portland, Oregon; Robert Hedrick, Hedrick & Smith, Seattle, Washington
TOPICS: Movie Magic – How the Masters Try Cases; On the Horizon: Very Light Jets
Mr. Rosen, an aerospace engineer turned aviation attorney, specializes in litigation, trial, and appellate work in federal and state courts. His presentation on trial advocacy used a series of movie clips from such movies as “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Judgment at Nuremburg” to illustrate different techniques for addresses to juries, direct examination of witnesses, cross examinations, and summations. The entertaining presentation demonstrated the importance of using themes, storytelling, and pacing to present the case. At the February meeting Robert F. Hedrick, a graduate of the McGill Air and Space Law Institute, and a multi-rated commercial pilot, flight instructor and FAA certified airframe and power plant mechanic from Seattle, gave a presentation entitled “On the Horizon: Very Light Jets.” The presentation canvassed a broad range of legal, regulatory, and insurance issues raised by the advent of “very light jets” or VLJ. These aircraft from manufacturers such as Eclipse and HondaJet typically seat five to six passengers and can be operated at altitudes similar to commercial airliners. The upcoming meeting in March will include a videoconference presentation from Manitoba Crown Counsel involved in the case of R. v. Tayfel which resulted in the conviction of a commercial pilot for criminal negligence causing death. The April 18th meeting will focus on aviation security for the 2010 Olympics.
MEETING: February 13, 2008
SPEAKER: Laura Watts, National Director of the Canadian Centre for Elder Studies
TOPIC: Aging with Challenges
To Section members in attendance and by teleconference, Ms. Watts gave an extremely informative presentation on a wide range of issues regarding Elder Law. Laura described some of the findings of a recent survey conducted by the Canadian Centre on Elder Law Studies on Aging With Challenges. For example, responses overwhelmingly identified smoking as the most prevalent “addiction” among the elderly residents of assisted living and long-term care facilities. Another surprise was the number of responses identifying the need for more information on gender identity issues in care facilities. Ms. Watts concluded her presentation with an update on the status of Bill 29, the “Adult Guardianship and Planning Statutes Amendment Act.”
YOUNG LAWYERS – LOWER MAINLAND
MEETING: February 19, 2008
SPEAKER: Darrell W. Roberts, QC
TOPIC: Courtroom Evidence Refresher
For this presentation, Darrell Roberts, QC stepped into the shoes of a junior barrister and gave a refresher of evidentiary issues likely to be encountered by young lawyers at trial. Mr. Roberts began with the proof of documents, highlighting Rules 26(14), 31 and 40(13), and went on to cover the use of examination for discovery evidence, utilizing formal admissions, past recollection of witnesses, and the case of U.S. v. Riccardi (1949) 174F.(2nd) 883 (USCA), hearsay and its exceptions, and using expert evidence wisely. Darrell also gave some important practical advice for trial, including tips on calling and subpoenaing witnesses, making opening speeches, organizing minutes of evidence, using leading questions in direct examinations, refreshing a witness memory, making and answering objections, quickly identifying hearsay objections, and techniques for cross-examination.
“This meeting was a rare opportunity for us to have a leading practitioner and instructor review the fundamental concepts of evidence. Darrell’s presentation was thorough, precise and surprisingly comprehensive given that he only had an hour to speak!”– Co-Chair, Cherisse Friesen
From left to right: Cherisse Friesen, Co-Chair; Guest speaker, Darrell Roberts, QC; Angela Rinaldis, Member-at-Large; and Robin Bajer, Treasurer.
MEETING: February 19, 2008
SPEAKER: Gabriel M. Somjen, Borden Ladner Gervais, LLP
TOPIC: Dismissing the Disabled Employee
The Section was honoured to have Gabriel Somjen address members on a topic of great uncertainty for employment law practitioners – Dismissing the Disabled Employee. Mr. Somjen used contextual examples from case law to identify a number of the pitfalls in this contentious area, including concerns about human rights and the termination of benefits. He also shared his advice and thoughts on how these potential problems may be avoided. The interest in the topic was apparent as more than 60 people attended the meeting in-person, while others attended by webinar (computer and telephone). It was the first time the Employment Law Section has used a webinar which Co-Chair, Lanny Robinson hailed as a success.
“Without the webinar technology, we would have had to restrict participation in the meeting. Fortunately, we didn’t have to contend with limited seating – or the Fire Code – and we did not restrict attendance to Section members in Vancouver. We will certainly be using the technology again.”- Co-Chair, Lanny Robinson
From left to right: Lanny Robinson, Co-Chair, Employment Law; and Guest speaker, Gabriel M. Somjen.
SECTION PAPERS – A Benefit of Membership
Every CBABC member is eligible for one free Section enrolment, free access to Section Papers, and archived B.C. Section minutes back to 1999 with each enrolment. Section Papers are archived Speaker’s notes, presentations, or case comments and are continuously being updated online at www.cba.org/bc.
This article was published in the April 2008 issue of BarTalk. © 2008 The Canadian Bar Association. All rights reserved.