Monday, June 29, 2015

140Law - Legal Headlines for the Week of June 29, 2015

Here are the leading legal headlines from Wise Law on Twitter:

- Rachel Spence, Law Clerk

Visit our Toronto Law Office website:

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

140Law - Legal Headlines for the week of June 22, 2015

Here are the leading legal headlines from Wise Law on Twitter:

- Rachel Spence, Law Clerk

Visit our Toronto Law Office website:

Monday, June 22, 2015

Mindfulness for Lawyers Goes Mainstream

The Wall Street Journal, of all places, had a feature this week on the increasing prevalence – and acceptance – of mindfulness training for lawyers.

In Lawyers Go Zen, With Few Objections, writer Jacob Gershman delivers more than just a clever headline.  He focusses on the enhanced listening skills that can be developed through mindfulness techniques.

I don’t have much personal expertise in this area, but I do have the luxury of deferring on this topic to my significant other, Toronto marketing consultant Sandra Bekhor, who has completed mindfulness training.

She notes:
“Sharper listening skills will make you a better lawyer, presumably, whether you are listening to your client, opposing counsel or a judge. What you do with that information is up to you.
“Mindfulness training puts you into the present moment, so your observation skills are sharpened. You’re not distracted by preconceptions about the person you’re dealing with or the situation you are in. Being present helps you pick up on subtle messages like body language or emotional responses that you might otherwise miss.
Picking up on it can be a gold mine.  It helps you see past the game face.
Of course, mindfulness is far more than just another tool to be utilized to gain tactical advantage, Bekhor notes.

Mindfulness training reduces anxiety, allows us to decompress and sharpens our ability to enjoy life, as humans and professionals.

Those interested in learning more can access the Ontario Bar Association’s Mindful Lawyer CPD series.

Archived video of the OBA’s six-module programme is available free online to OBA members.

Cross posted at Slaw Tips
- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

Visit our Toronto Law Office website:

Monday, June 15, 2015

140 Law - Legal Headlines for the week of June 15, 2015

Here are the leading legal headlines from Wise Law on Twitter:

- Rachel Spence, Law Clerk

Visit our Toronto Law Office website:

Sunday, June 14, 2015

@wiselaw on "Top 20 Ontario Law Twitter Accounts" Listing


Thanks to the good folks at Lawsome for including us in their list of Top 20 Ontario Law Twitter Accounts, reproduced below:
  1. Law Times: @LawTimes (Ontario legal news online publication)
  2. Obiter Dicta: @obiterdictaoz (Osgoode Hall student newspaper)
  3. Precedent Magazine: @PrecedentMag (Toronto lifestyle magazine for lawyers)
  4. Ultra Vires: @UltraVires (Student newspaper for @UTLaw)
  5. Ontario Bar Association: @OBAToday
  6. Toronto Lawyers Association: @TLAVoice
  7. Law Society Upper Canada: @LawsocietyLSUC
  8. Brenda Hollingsworth: @OttawaLawyers (Ottawa personal injury lawyer)
  9. Mr. Toronto Lawyer: @selwynpieters (Human rights and civil litigator)
  10. Chantal Desloges: @Twimmigration (Toronto Immigration Lawyer)
  11. Omar HaRedeye: @OmarHaRedeye (Toronto Lawyer and legal academic)
  12. Daniel Brown: @DanielBrownLaw (Toronto Criminal Defense Lawyer)
  13. Sean Robichaud: @SeanRobichaud (Toronto criminal defense lawyer)
  14. Anjli Patel: @bluechipfashion (Toronto Fashion Lawyer)
  15. Melissa Kluger: @MelissaKluger (Lawyer and publisher of Precedent Magazine and Precedent A-List)
  16. Jeff Gray: @jeffreybgray (Law Reporter, Globe and Mail)
  17. Lisa Feldstein: @lisaFeldstein (Ontario health Lawyer with focus on family health law)
  18. Garry J. Wise: @wiselaw (Toronto lawyer-  employment and family law)
  19. Andrew Mercer: @AndrewLMercer (Toronto insurance lawyer and author)
  20. Kathryn Marshall: @KVMarshall (Lawyer and Columnist – creator of
There are some very good accounts in this listing, so do check them out.

And of course, we invite you to follow @wiselaw on Twitter.
- Garry J. Wise, Toronto
Visit our Toronto Law Office website:

More on 'Mobilegeddon'


Law Times picked up on our April 30 post about Google's new mobile compliance requirements with an excellent article last week by writer Michael McKiernan, Focus: Law firms slow to respond to ‘Mobilegeddon’ .

I'm quoted in the article quite extensively:

For Garry Wise, founder of Toronto-based Wise Law Office, Mobilegeddon came in the middle of an update of the firm’s web site.

“Neither the old site nor the new version was going to be mobile compliant,” he says, noting the coming changes led to a redesign on short notice.

According to Wise, somewhere between 30 and 50 per cent of the firm’s web site traffic comes from users of mobile technology.

Although the precise consequences of a failure to become mobile friendly remain unclear thanks to the secrecy that surrounds the exact composition of Google’s algorithms, he says he’d rather not take any chances.

“If you’ve traditionally done really well on Google searches, then failing to be mobile friendly could have serious consequences as to where you fall on a mobile search,” he says.

“It’s going to have a direct impact on how many clicks you’re getting and how many people are finding your web site. We’ve made a number of adjustments on the fly and we’re still adjusting.”

Wise says law firms should treat the new rules as a spur to adjust to the new realities of Internet use and think more about mobile users at the earliest stages of web site design.

“I think for anyone who is building a new web site or updating an old one, they should probably think about mobile-first technology. A lot of things that work well in a desktop universe just do not translate well to mobile. This is going to affect creative design as well as content,” he says.

“Lawyers need to build their web sites with mobile in mind and the first question of designers should be: How will this look on an iPhone or similar device? If the answer is you can’t read it, then get back to work because you haven’t got it right.”
Many thanks to Michael for the kind mention.
 - Garry J. Wise, Toronto
Visit our Toronto Law Office website:

Friday, June 12, 2015

Use Siri Dictation Commands to Punctuate Your Life (Or at Very Least, Your Email)

I’ve previously blogged at Slaw Tips on the virtues of using Siri’s dictation functions to draft letters, emails and other documents typically created in day-to-day legal practice.

In short, dictation with Siri has increased my productivity, precision  and the overall quality of my work product.

For those who are similarly inclined, I wanted to share a great list of Siri commands that can be used for punctuating as you dictate.  With kudos and credit to iPhone Tricks, here is a partial excerpt:

Punctuation and Commands
Below you can find an extended list of punctuation and commands that iPhone’s voice recognition software can detect and apply.
Command                   Result
Period (Full stop).              .
Comma.                             ,
Exclamation point.             !
Question mark.                 ?
Colon.                                :
Semi-colon.                       ;
Dash (Hyphen)                 –
Forward slash.                  /
Equal sign                         =
Dollar sign                        $
Euro sign                          €
Percent sign                     %
Registered sign                ®
Copyright sign                  ©
Trademark sign               ™
Ampersand                       &;
Smiley                              :-)
Open quote                       “
Close quote                      “
Open / Close paranthesis.             ( / )
Open / Close brackets                   [ / ]
Open / Close curly bracket.           { / }
New line                                         new line
New paragraph                              new pgh

Another good list of Siri Dictation Commands is here via CrushApps.

Sorry if the iPhone-centricity of this post has left anyone feeling bored or left out. Android and Blackberry users, feel free to entertain yourselves here.

(Cross posted at Slaw Tips)
- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

Visit our Toronto Law Office website:

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Ontario First Time Home Buyers' Programs: A Primer


Those purchasing real estate for the first time will quickly realize that the costs can add up quite fast !

Luckily, there are some government programs in place to assist first-time home buyers. 

Here is our primer on these programs.

1. First-time Home Buyers' Tax Credit (HBTC)

The HBTC provides a new, non refundable tax credit mechanism  for certain home buyers  who purchased a home after January 27, 2009. 

The general requirement is that you may qualify for HBTC if: 

• you or your spouse / common law partner acquire a qualifying home; and 
• you did not live in another home owned by you or your spouse / common law partner in the year of acquisition or in any of the four preceding years. 

Further details and requirements of the HBTC can be found here.

2. Home Buyers' Plan (HBP)

Under this federal government initiative, you may borrow up to $ 25,000.00 tax free from your RRSP to fund your purchase. 

It is important to note that you must intend to occupy the property as your principal place of residence within one year of buying or building the home. 
If both you and your spouse qualifies, you may each borrow $ 25,000 from your RRSPs for a total of $ 50,000. 

The Home Buyers' Plan requires that you are either a first time buyer or if, in a four year period, you did not live in a home owned either by you or your spouse. 

The HBP requires that you repay the money borrowed from the RRSP within 15 years. 

Full details of the HBP can be found here. 

3. Ontario Land Transfer Tax Rebate

To help ease the burden of land transfer tax on first-time home buyers, the government of Ontario offers a refund of up to $ 2,000.00. 

In order to qualify, you: 
• must be at least 18 years old;
• must occupy the home as your principal residence within nine months of the date of transfer;
• cannot have ever owned an eligible home, or an interest in an eligible home, anywhere in the world 

Further requirements and particulars can be found here

4. Toronto Municipal Land Transfer Tax Rebate

Purchase of a property in the City of Toronto attracts a separate land transfer tax, effectively creating a double tax for those wishing to live in the city. However, the municipal government also offers a rebate mechanism of up to $ 3,725.00 for the tax for a first-time purchaser of a newly constructed or re-sale residential property. 

The definition of a first-time purchaser is: 
• The purchaser is at least 18 years of age; 
• The pruchaser must occupy the home as his / her principal residence within nine months after closing; 
• the purchaser cannot have previously owned a home, or had any ownership interest in a home, anywhere in the world, at any time; 
• if the purchaser has a spouse, the spouse cannot have owned a home, nor had any ownership interest in a home, anywhere in the world while he / she was the purchaser's spouse. If this is not the case, no rebate is available to either spouse.

Further information and requirements can be found here

At Wise Law, our Toronto real estate lawyers are available to assist you with further information about these programs and incentives.  Visit our website for more information. 

Please note that when completing a real estate closing, we may be able to claim your land transfer rebate directly through the Teraview software at the time of closing.

-Varun Robby Sharma, Associate Lawyer

Flooding of Dollars at Muskoka Waterfronts


After a long and difficult winter and with warmer days ahead, spending time in a picturesque and well-maintained property right on the water's edge sounds ideal to many Canadians. 

For those wishing to realize their dreams, the District of Muskoka appears to have it all. 

A recent Toronto Star article highlighted the growing demand for luxury waterfront real estate in Muskoka. Surrounded by the big three of Lake Joseph, Lake Rosseau, and Lake Muskoka, Sothby's Realtor Ross Halloran states that there's a renewed interest in Muskoka, an area which is now also known internationally. 

In citing Christie's Interational Real Estate global luxury white paper, Halloran provides that there has been a 66 per cent increase in high-end Muskoka waterfront purchases in 2014 over 2013. Much of this is attributed to the weak Canadian dollar along with growing international interest. 

The article provides that sales of properties over $ 2 million have hit a record high in 2014. The pace seems to have been even faster this year with 27 waterfront properties being sold along the big three Muskoka-area lakes, when compared to only 17 waterfront sales year over year. Storey Badger, a realtor in the Muskoka area believes that with the type of volume taking place, this year can set new records.  

With renewed interest within both the GTA as well as internationally, it is no wonder some are calling the region "Hamptons of the North" for luxury cottages. 

If you are buying or selling a cottage, our Toronto real estate lawyers can provide you with closing services and ensure a smooth closing process. Visit our website for more information. 

- Varun Robby Sharma, Associate Lawyer

Canadian Real Estate Trends 2015


With the spring real estate season in full bloom, we track trends within the real estate industry. The Globe and Mail has recently reported that despite reaching a new peak last month, growth in the Canadian real estate market appears to be slowingin comparison to the year before

The Teranet-National Bank House Price Index reported its weakest April with a rise of only 0.2 per cent from March. Compared to March, which saw a year over year growth of 4.7 per cent, April reflected a slowdown with a gain of only 4.4 per cent when compared to the same month last year. 

Although not framed as a cause for concern, the index has reported its weakest April (excluding 2009 recession) since its 17 year tracking history. The driving factors are noted to be the real estate markets of the big cities like Toronto and Vancouver, combining for nearly half the national average. 

Despite the hot hand of the Toronto and Vancouver markets, other Canadian cities appear to be lagging behind seeing an annual gain of only 3.4% without the two major contributors. 

Whether the market is hot or slow, our Toronto real estate lawyers assist with all your real estate needs, including buying, selling, refinancing as well as title transfer services

Visit our website for more information.  We invite you to contact us for you real estate law needs. 

- Varun Robby Sharma, Associate Lawyer

Points to Consider When Buying Into an Existing Company


Lawyers often get inquiries from potential clients related to a proposed arrangement where an individual is offered a chance to tie up with an existing company. Often, the idea involves an exchange of shares for either some consideration and / or services to be provided. This may involve a shareholder agreement to be prepared on the person's behalf. 

If you find yourself in the middle of such a discussion, the questions listed below may guide you to make the right inquiries before confirming or committing to anything - either verbally or in writing. This information should then be taken to a business lawyer to assist you further.

The Business:

You want to gather various details of the business including, but not limited to:  

• How long has it been operation?
• How does it stand financially? Profit / loss in previous year and since existence. 
• How does the company generate business / leads?
• Is everything done locally or does it involve an out of province or international aspect (i.e. parts/ suppliers/ contacts)?
• Does it face or suffers from any liabilities / lawsuit?
• Is it incorporated federally / provincially and where does it operate from?
• Who is involved in the business ? Are there other parties and what are their roles in the business?
• Information re tax status: HST and Income tax. Are they up to date? Anything owing now or in previous years? Ideal to have it in good books of the CRA
• Company financial statements and income tax assessments for the last 3 years may be needed.

Your Role:

 Knowing what the other party's expectations are will provide clarity: 

• What is your role in the company? Is it strictly a sales role?
• Would you be an actual employee or independent contractor?
• Is yours to be a results based role (sales with commission) or will there be some other method of determining performance?
• What happens if you don't achieve certain targets - if imposed on you?
• How involved will you be in the company's day to day operation or from a management standpoint?
• Will you be required to participate in financing the business? To provide guarantees on loans etc.?

The Future: 

It will be important to figure out, as much as possible, where the company / business is heading: 

• What is the vision for the company?
• Where does the owner see it in: 1 year; 5 years?
• Are there any changes the owner can foresee if this arrangement is successful / unsuccessful?


You may want an idea of what, if any, exchange is to take place: 

• What would be the potential percentage of the shares issued to you?
• What, if anything is the issuance of shares contingent on?
• Is there any expectation of capital upfront?
• Any special rights / privileges attached to the shares that the owner wants?


Any additional information will be of help: 

• Does the company use an existing accountant / lawyer - eventually we will require that information. 
• Do you retain the contacts that you may introduce to the company? 

Please note that the informatioin in this article is for general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice. We urge you to consult with a business lawyer before entering into a transaction or agreement. 

At Wise Law Office. our business lawyers assist our clients with corporations and preparation of Shareholder Agreements.  Visit our website for more information on our services for businesses.

 - Varun Robby Sharma, Associate Lawyer