Joan Rataic-Lang

Do Lawyers Have an Ethical Obligation to Defend the Unpopular? 8th annual current topics in Ethics & Professionalism. Wednesday, October 17, 2018. 5-7:20p

The TLA has organized another thought-provoking Ethics & Professionalism program. In this, our 8th annual event, we feature Philip Slayton, author of How To Be Good: The Struggle Between Law and Ethics, moderating an all-star panel including

  • Saron Gebresellassi, owner and partner at Saron Legal PC,
  • Carol Hansell, senior partner at Hansell LLP,
  • Danielle Robitaille, partner at Henein Hutchison LLP and
  • Jaime Watt, executive chairman of Navigator Ltd.,

on the topic of defending the unpopular.

For many lawyers, taking on an unpopular cause is viewed as a post of honour. The oath that lawyers swear in Ontario mandates that they “not refuse causes of complaint reasonably founded.” This
implies an objective standard, one of a reasonable person. But, what about a lawyer’s conscience? At what point should the lawyer’s own moral compass be involved in the decision to take on a client or cause?

In a growing age of unease, this program is designed to allow lawyers to reflect and offer new insights on how they see themselves and their work. Our panel of practitioners and experts will discuss the following considerations important to every lawyer, barrister or solicitor:


• The competing obligations between one’s professionalism and personal identity.
• The fact that the lawyer will not be liked by everyone, or may even make enemies when taking on certain causes or clients.
• The need to find something human in a client with whom you have nothing in common, or may even find reprehensible.
• The public and media scrutiny when taking on an unpopular cause or client.


This program is accredited for two hours of Professionalism Content that will leave you informed and inspired. Space is limited! Please register asap.

This tailored attitude to CPD is what a TLA Nutshell is all about: anticipating, meeting and exceeding our members’ needs. TLA Nutshells run in the evening, generally last a couple of hours, and offer CPD credits in a collegial, informal atmosphere. Our seminars are designed, written and presented by professionals from the Toronto legal community. We invite you to check out our fall line-up for other upcoming seminars. Join us for interesting topics and great conversations.

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