GTA lawyers share best practices at LAO-led spring training session
Thursday, April 11, 2013
More than 100 Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) staff lawyers from the Greater Toronto Area took advantage of the Easter Monday closure of the courts to attend a popular training conference.
“I really appreciate the learning opportunities. The topics are always relevant. The speakers and panels are excellent and I always learn something that I can apply to my day-to-day work.”
- Mark Donohue, LAO staff lawyer
The conference – held at North York Civic Centre – was open to all of the GTA’s criminal duty counsel and non-lawyer staff. When planning for the conference, the LAO committee had a strong network of experts including justices of the peace, crown attorneys, private bar lawyers, clinic workers and LAO staff to draw from.
“It was an interesting day,” criminal lawyer Paul MacLeod of LAO’s GTA office reflects. “There was some great, lively debate from panel speakers and participants and lots of discussion on new bail laws and electronic searches.”
One particularly successful session, Paul notes, covered the impact of the criminal justice system on other aspects of LAO clients’ lives.
“It covered new territory in terms of thinking about our clients and the impact that bail orders and incarcerations have on their housing situations,” he says.
Paul’s GTA office colleague and one of the other conference organizers, criminal lawyer Immanuel Lanzaderas, adds that participants have responded strongly to sessions like this because it covers how other areas of law intersect with criminal law – especially ones like family, immigration and poverty law, which LAO covers.
“We take into consideration current hot topics in the world of duty counsel courtrooms,” Immanuel explains. “These sessions open up a productive, inquisitive discussion between the speakers and participants. One of the highlights for me was seeing LAO staff sharing their expertise with other LAO staff.”
There was so much discussion at some of the sessions that time ran out. Paul thinks that they will likely revist some of the topics at the next professional development day, slated for November.
Mark Donohue, an LAO staff lawyer who attended the conference, says, “I really appreciate the learning opportunities. The topics are always relevant. The speakers and panels are excellent and I always learn something that I can apply to my day-to-day work.”
The next GTA professional development training day will be on November 11.
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