Bay Street law firm Ogilvy Renault chooses entitlement over ethics
Mess Media, December 6, 2009
The Toronto Star reported yesterday that former attorney general Michael Bryant, who is facing criminal charges stemming from the killing of cyclist, Darcy Allan Sheppard, “has quietly begun work at a prestigious law firm.”
John West, senior partner at Ogilvy Renault‘s Toronto office, said Bryant is working with the firm’s energy law team.
“Michael is a person we believe brings a lot of value to the table. We recognize that in some quarters it could potentially be viewed as controversial … it’s just a human tragedy all around,” West said Friday.
“But, as lawyers, we believe in the rule of law … and that means we believe first of all in the presumption of innocence and Michael is entitled to the same treatment and respect that you and I are.
“The fact that he’s a former cabinet minister doesn’t mean that he gets lesser treatment, it means he’s entitled to the same treatment that all of us are … and Michael is equally entitled to earn a living.”
Bay Street law firm, Ogilvy Renault, with offices high atop the golden towers of the Royal Bank Plaza, certainly has the legal right to appoint Bryant to a privileged position but if the firm is only providing Bryant with the same treatment that all of us are entitled to then I’m sure Mr West could quickly name all of the other accused killers he has hired or that are currently employed by Ogilvy Renault.
The presumption of innocence applies to the rule of law. It doesn’t necessarily apply to hiring decisions and the public doesn’t require a criminal trial and a ruling by a judge to form an opinion. The public can watch what happened on video or listen to eyewitness statements as Michael Bryant’s “innocent until proven guilty” behaviour was captured live in front of many witnesses.
A couple of days after the killing of Darcy Allan Sheppard, Michael Bryant thought the charges were so serious that he should resign from his position as CEO of Invest Toronto. In a letter to Toronto Mayor David Miller, he wrote that :
“It would, however, be unfair to you, the (Invest Toronto) board and above all to the residents of Toronto to allow this event to distract from the vital efforts of Invest Toronto,” the statement says.
“I do not believe, however, that I can continue in this position on account of the circumstances of the past two days,”
In other words, Bryant’s employment at Invest Toronto is wrong but his employment at Ogilvy Renault is entitled.
What we can conclude from Michael Bryant’s statement and Ogilvy Renault’s hiring decision is that Ogilvy Renault and its senior partner, John West, have much lower ethics and standards than Invest Toronto and other firms.
Ogilvy Renault is the former employer of Brian Mulroney. “Mulroney twice failed his bar exams, but the firm kept him due to his charming personality.”