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KingLouis last won the day on April 15

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  1. Well said. I too expected more from Ben Mulroney's sister. You'd think after working her way up from dishwasher in a Flemingdon Park greasy spoon and putting herself through LS working at Fabricland that she'd have a little more compassion for the vulnerable client literally on the street. And maybe some notional understanding of the way criminal law works. But--no--another politician disappoints us.
  2. The jobs that used to elevate someone to the upper ranges of the middle class still exist in the public sector. But not throughout the public sector. Anecdotally it seems like there was a long period of investment in public sector jobs on the premise that there was some work to occupy the hands and minds of the workers who filled those positions. (I know there were lean years under Rae and Harris.) If we're using MAG as an example, there are courthouse "Managers" who create schedules for clerks and order soap and toilet paper--that kind of thing. They make a top decile salary and they're around, if needed, to solve whatever issues arise. But they don't do 40 hours of work/week. You see those positions in fully funded branches of the public service. In so many other areas of the public service, the government's gone to a private-sector model of trying to define the business case for employing people. But it's clashed with the traditional public service model because the cost-benefit analysis can really only deal with the front-line workers--not administration. LAO is a prime example of a unionized public sector employer which has 600+ non-lawyers doing things to help the organization in some way. But probably not doing $(insert their salary) worth of work. If they start laying off lawyers, it will be on the premise that it costs $X to employ Lawyer X while it would cost 0.75X to replace that lawyer with a per diem. It's when that wrecking ball starts hitting the support staff that you get into big problems, because those are the good jobs w/ benefits that aren't staff by people who--theoretically--could just go into private practice and make equivalent money.
  3. The new middle class is inherited wealth (usually property) and DB pensions (now denied to new workers). We'll see how the pendulum swings when the time comes. We're in some kind of bizarre epoch where inherited privilege in the complete absence of ideals or an ethos seems to entitle people to govern. I guess that was always the case, but Trump/Ford is something different.
  4. For whatever reason I'd partitioned my mind so the typical boomer Conservative was once removed from having their finger on the button. That's what I was pointing out: I get that the public doesn't care about poor people. If I know nothing else, I know that. I did however harbor this delusion that the AG of a province shouldn't gloat about taking money from poor people charged with crimes, etc. Maybe a health minister could say, "Less for them, more for us!" But the AG--that's a bit much. She could have said, "LAO's administration got too big, it got too management top-heavy." Something like that would at least have made sense within the scope of her role. You'd think that even partisan hacks in the ministries would push for ethics--e.g. a health minister not saying that poor people should just Google cures.
  5. LAO announced the way they're structuring cuts. No concrete stuff yet on what exactly they'll do. I thought this quotation from our AG was interesting: "With renewed accountability at legal aid, every dollar saved on lawyers is a dollar we can invest in public health care and education, the services that matter most to people." I mean...if you still have hope for the future after reading that--please share your secret. Ascending from the heights of privilege with probably a minimal understanding of how courts work, this the AG of our province speaking about lawyers for people whom her officers and Crowns prosecute. Officers and Crowns who invariably earn more than the lawyers they're squeezing. I think later in question period she then said that LAO would be there for people "in need." Following Ford's comment that anyone who needs legal aid can just call his office, I thought this was a telling glimpse into our future.
  6. This thread's gone in such a crazy direction. I guess all roads lead to Crowns. If we're talking about saving money--which was the initial thrust of the thread--few things are more expensive than any kind of jail sentence. If Duty Counsel X is able to save a 20-day jail sentence for Repeat Food Fraud Offender Y, that's about $5,000+ in savings. Yet Crowns protect the interests of complainants, and I understand why their screening positions would default to custody after the 7th page of a record. At some point people lose their right to be in the community for some period of time if only to provide a token deterrent. If the argument's turned to OCI and treatment jails being a long-term solution to criminality, I'm very suspicious of that logic. To reform someone to the point where they've changed their life and will no longer offend, you'd need so many things to go exactly right. If you're just arguing that OCI will help someone beyond what a superjail could--no argument there. I agree as strongly as one can. But I think the success rate would be fractional. And the cost of these sentences is enormous. In my experience, the kind of criminality that leads to habitual re-offending is usually 1) an immutable pathology (e.g. anti-social personality disorder or borderline personality disorder), or 2) the result of poverty and addiction issues that are entrenched to the point of morbidity. While theoretically possible to address addiction issues in jail, the prognosis for long-term sobriety once these clients get back into the same poverty cycle post-release is not good. It might work in big cities where the support networks are there AND the client really wants a different life. In smaller towns, I've seen few if any long-term success stories. If someone lives in downtown Toronto, I guess they can get sober at OCI, move back into subsidized housing, get a job somewhere and change their world. But in so many places there's just the old patterns and people drawing you back in. We shouldn't be too critical of Crowns as some monolithic thing. Some are good and some are bad. Some are motivated by cruelty, yeah. But the system provides them with the discretion to do what they wish on the premise that we'll be there to oppose them.
  7. The feds will step in now. It's such a small amount of money.
  8. It wouldn't even have to be the CLA. I would try it--depending on the response. File that kind of application, post it on the CLA listserv, and 200 other lawyers are probably sending you DMs asking how they can help.
  9. Hm. A 10% drop across the board probably gets them to where they need to be. You can probably say that about salaries, certs, eligibility, and clinic funding. And 10% drops aren't catastrophic--the lights would stay on. I can see the wisdom in all players sharing the pain vs. localizing it in a certain branch of the organization. Field seems like the kind of guy, too, who would prefer that compromise over closing offices and shuttering services.
  10. We've gone back on forth on other threads, but I value your opinion: what do you think is the answer here? A week ago we were living in a world where A2J was improving. In my mind, it was improving. Now there's a $50 million hole in the budget. Maybe that number's walked back. Maybe the federal government intervenes. But if that hole remains, what do you think happens? I can't educate myself on the history of LAO and its contractual agreements in 3 days--though I've tried. From 2013 to 2015, tariffs rose about 15% after the MOU w/ the CLA. If you walk them back by 15% and ask LAO staff to take a 15% hardship cutback in compensation, you get your $50 million. Services don't get cut. The system keeps functioning. Do you think that's even a possibility? Because the only alternative I can see is an axe to the clinic system, walking back its funding levels to 2013.
  11. In many ways the best possible solution for lawyers would be a system where all overhead costs were transmuted into certificate dollars. I think that was the old LAO where clients just went to court, picked up their certificate, then hired someone to help them resolve a theft under or a mischief. The $100,000 spent on renting some unit becomes 80 certificates and $100,000 in a lawyer's pocket. Imagine $100 million more dollars flowing into the private bar. In the clinic context, I get that having a dedicated place to go where people will empathize with you and understand your problems is a great thing. My point is only that we might've hit the fork in the road where the person you're going to see in a clinic is a lawyer. And HR can be administered from a central hub.
  12. Well, it's exactly that--they do what they can within that role. Extracting or comparing the value of that service is a difficult proposition, but there are examples that produce similar outcomes. So you can kind of compare the value. For example, a DC client wants to plead guilty to a low-end assault. No cert because it's non-custodial or they make slightly too much $. They're adamant they don't want a trial. DC negotiates some kind of discharge and resolves the matter. They might not have covered all of the potential defenses. Maybe that charge would've been a Peace Bond with private counsel. But maybe it would've been a conditional discharge, too. Same applies in family court where a client really wants to negotiate a consent letting them have access over March Break. DC makes that deal and the Order is granted. I'm just saying some things have a similar value to LAO--which would view a DC plea as more cost-effective than a counsel plea. If 25 people come to court and 15 ask DC to adjourn them 3 weeks so they can hire a private lawyer, that's where I accept that there's no comparison re: the value of that service with the value provided by the certificate lawyer they eventually retain. But someone has to speak to the 10 other clients who might know nothing about the system and need things explained. Or the ones who are in custody and know nothing about their charges or the Crown's position. Plenty of good ones, too, pore over the disclosure to issue spot. I know we're not arguing about this, so I'll end it there. I get that "value" is a difficult thing to identify.
  13. Fair point. I agree that a dedicated in-clinic lawyer willing to press important issues is a good thing. Or maybe a roster of clinic lawyers who advocate at higher levels of court. If clients come in to see John the Lawyer or Joanne the Lawyer, that continuity is a good thing. Mostly what I've been trying to do over the last few days is anticipate how LAO will react to this cut. I'm spitballing on this board. It seems unreasonable to cut lawyers (clinic, DC, or otherwise) where those lawyers are providing a service near, at or in excess of what otherwise would be the cost of providing that service were it done by a member of the private bar (i.e. a DC lawyer at OCH who works 8 hours/day without a lunch and makes $50,000 less in total compensation than the per diem rate for that kind of shift). That basically preserves the DC budget. Whether that's true of clinic lawyers--I don't know. But I take your point re: their value. I would say the same of LAO's 11 or so Senior Counsel who represent clients who can't or won't get certs and claim factual or legal innocence. But that's 11 for the province. It comes down to this: decimate the "administrative" and "support" side of the organization or implement significant certificate/tariff reforms. None of us wants to see clients under-served.
  14. I wish I knew more about the structure of the clinic system. I can't comment other than to think that if 80 clinics receive $85 million in funding, surely 1/2 that figure would provide: an office in most parts of southern Ontario, a dedicated administrator and/or paralegal or community worker, and 2-3 full-time lawyers. I KNOW clinics are structured in unique ways with directors and boards. I'm just thinking of a model that provides services to clients. Maybe that model doesn't work in the heart of the GTA, but I keep going back to the DC budget for all of Ontario vs. the clinic budget. Anyway, it's not about eliminating tenant DC. There should be tenant DC. And certainly there will be. I think there might not be a Director of XYZ or Manager of XYZ anymore, though. And no one's tossed this idea out there: if the deficit is $130 million minus $45 million (no longer going to refugee services) minus the $30+ million the LSO is kicking in, then you get to around $50 million. If the total cert expenditures are $250 million, cutting tariffs by 20% takes care of the entire deficit. And you maintain your ability to serve all clients without touching financial eligibility.
  15. You're right, and I think this becomes the battleground. Years ago LAO beefed up its DC program by launching some kind of stats-based initiative to show the business case for staff lawyers vs. per diems vs. the private bar. I know the numbers, and it makes sense. You're paying a private lawyer circa. $1,000 on a cert vs. $110+/hour for a per diem vs. $60/hour for a staff lawyer at the highest end of their pay scale. There was an article a year or so ago where Field commented on the numbers. Even if it takes a staff lawyer 10 hours to chisel the Crown from 30 days to a suspended or conditional sentence, that's a big savings to the corp. It's like the lawyer paying LAO $400 to work. That's the premise of the staff model. Obviously not every case ends in a plea, but many do. I get the sense that things are about to change for the clinics. Let's say LAO takes a similar position re: clinics as they do in Criminal and Family: you qualify financially and legally and you get a certificate. Would those certificates amount to more than $40 million? Even if each cert paid $1,500, that's around 27,000 certs. And, notionally, many of those certs would just be for a few hours of advice. Yeah--it's shit. I know. But I don't see how you can justify $85-90 million for clinics when it costs $55-60 million for DC to assist every criminal and family litigant in the province.
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