Medium-sized law firms having a hard time

Grondin, Poudrier, Bernier, a Quebec City law firm that honed its reputation in labour law before branching out in other practice areas, will be disbanding at year end, marking the second Quebec medium-sized law firm to take drastic measures over the past couple of weeks to come to grips with a faltering economy and saturated legal marketplace.

Faced with shrinking business and a growing number of clients absconding to larger law firms, partners at Grondin, Poudrier, Bernier recently decided to cut its losses after 61 years in business, throwing up in the air the fate of more than 30 lawyers. A small group of lawyers is expected to form a new boutique law firm, specializing exclusively in labour law, said Henri Grondin, one of the firm’s partners.

“Not everybody was happy but I believe we could have continued,” said Grondin. “After more than 40 years of a law firm carrying my name, I am faced with a decision that will chuck all that way, and I wasn’t even consulted,” added Grondin, who admitted he was bitter by the turn of events. Continue reading “Medium-sized law firms having a hard time”

Quebec Crown Prosecutors overworked and underpaid, says Association

Exasperated that ongoing discussions with the Quebec government to improve working conditions have led to little progress, the Quebec Association of Crown Prosecutors has publicly taken to task the provincial government for the second time in three months.

The association is calling on the provincial government to hire another 220 crown prosecutors in order to halt an exodus of experienced lawyers resigning from their jobs to accept higher-paying positions. Over the past year, seven crown prosecutors quit their jobs at the Montreal courthouse, three of whom became Alberta provincial prosecutors where salaries are 40 per cent higher, says Association president Christian Leblanc.

“We cannot do the work with 430 prosecutors,” said Leblanc, a provincial crown prosecutor for the past 13 years. “We need at least 650 prosecutors in order to be able to adequately prepare our cases, meet with victims and witnesses, and read the jurisprudence. What we are denouncing, above all, is the workload. There is no doubt that it is having a negative impact on the quality of service we are able to offer to the public.” Continue reading “Quebec Crown Prosecutors overworked and underpaid, says Association”

Pro Bono Quebec hopes to improve access to justice

Three years after Guy Pratte and Alexander De Zordo convened a meeting with the managing partners of Montreal’s top law firms and the chief justices of Quebec courts to discuss the necessity of adopting a pragmatic approach towards pro bono, the Barreau du Québec finally forged ahead and recently announced the creation of a new not-for-profit organization, making Quebec the fifth jurisdiction in Canada to adopt a coordinated approach to pro bono service delivery.

“We got the ball rolling,” De Zordo said humbly, a partner and regional chair of the Borden Ladner Gervais Pro Bono Committee in Montreal and member of the provisional board of directors of the new entity. “We found that the attribution of pro bono work was not as well structured in Quebec as in the other provinces. Everyone was in agreement.”

Continue reading “Pro Bono Quebec hopes to improve access to justice”