The Sixteenth Annual Straight from the Bench Conference: View from the Court of Appeal |

The Sixteenth Annual Straight from the Bench Conference: View from the Court of Appeal

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Professionalism (Ethics, etc.): 0.25
20 minutes
Substantive: 0.25
10 minutes
Benjamin Zarnett
Middlesex Law Association
30 minutes
$99.00 plus tax

The Honourable Mr. Justice Benjamin Zarnett from the Court of Appeal shared his views on the differing skills sets of a trial lawyer and an appellate lawyer. His articulate remarks and thoughtful analysis included a discussion of whether the trial lawyer should be or could be the lawyer on appeal.  Justice Zarnett suggests that there are overlapping skill sets and obvious arguments for both situations. He emphasizes that a trial lawyer with an appellate skill set will be a better trial lawyer. Justice Zarnett’s remarks included some interesting stories while he practised law, as well as his role on the Court of Appeal.


The Honourable Benjamin Zarnett

Justice Benjamin Zarnett was born and raised in Toronto. He studied political science and philosophy at the University of Toronto before attending Osgoode Hall Law School, where he graduated as the Bronze Medalist in 1975. He was admitted to the Ontario Bar in 1977 and practiced trial and appellate advocacy until his appointment to the Court of Appeal for Ontario in November 2018.

During his career as a lawyer he handled cases ranging across a wide spectrum of issues including corporate, commercial and securities law, shareholder rights, pension rights, professional liability, class actions, insolvency law, taxation, real estate, intellectual property and broadcasting policy. His clients included individuals, law firms, court-appointed officers, companies, financial institutions, Crown corporations and public interest advocacy organizations. He was counsel in fifteen appeals in the Supreme Court of Canada and numerous cases before Ontario's appellate and trial courts, as well as appeals in the Federal Court of Appeal and the appellate courts of Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador. At the time of his appointment he was a member of the litigation group at Goodmans LLP in Toronto, where he had been a partner since 1990.

He is a former President of the Advocates' Society and a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. For his contributions to the justice system, he was awarded the Law Society of Ontario Medal (its highest award) in 2006, the Toronto Lawyers Association Award of Distinction in 2007, and the Ontario Bar Association Award for Excellence in Civil Litigation in 2009.

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