Testimonials for Dianne
Todd Latham wrote:
“As I have mentioned many times to you in the past – you’re by far the best environmental lawyer I know and possess some rare sets of characteristics – intimidatingly smart but approachable, thoughtful yet opinionated, passionately activist but practically grounded.
You’re intense but friendly, simultaneously serious and witty, driven yet relaxed. There are many wonderful, admirable and inspiring aspects and traits to the one in seven billion person that is Dianne Saxe so after reading your last column, I felt compelled to share a few of them with you. I’m so grateful to have met you way back in 1989 and to be able to call you a good friend today.
You rock Dianne – thank you for all you have done for the environment industry, and HazMat magazine, over the years.
Other Tributes to Dianne (quotes):
- I’ve always supported you as one of the most innovative lawyers in Canada. Not just in terms of enviro law. You are a treasure.
- What more can I say? Few are so deserving.
- Dianne was always the top of the class, and she hasn’t lost her edge!
- It is quite simply amazing how you can remember the details and put the pieces in a coherent package that also protects our interests. You could probably replace several of us in your spare time, but I won’t tell my bosses that.
- Over the years, I learned that you were competent, fair, knowledgeable, poignant and caring. These are not easily recognized attributes of your typical lawyer. You are a true professional and serve your profession with honor and dignity to the highest standards.
- It was always a pleasure to serve with you in the past, and to receive your insights, expertise and guidance … The OBA Award, like others on your wall, reflect not only your dedication and expertise but the esteem held by peers and many others of your valued contributions to conserving, improving and better managing our environment.
- I’ve had the good fortune to work with Dianne Saxe on environmental matters involving sampling, analysis and assessment of water, sediment and soil quality. Dianne is a lawyer and is also a certified Specialist in Environmental Law as well as certified mediator. She practiced law as a senior legal counsel at the Ontario Ministry of Environment, and has headed her own law firm for the past 21 years. Besides having a thorough and expert understanding of environmental law, Dianne is technically astute and is at ease with the chemistry, mathematics and physics that underpin many of today’s environmental problems.
She develops her cases by combining the the above skills into strategies based on logic and demonstrable facts, and she presents her case with confidence, grace and great resolution. It’s easy to understand why she’s ranked as in the top tier of environmental lawyers in the world.
In addition, Dianne is considerate, ethical and a pleasure to work with.
- This is an expression of our gratitude for helping us with what I now know are your characteristic passion, competence, incisive intelligence and compassion. Working for the integrity of creation is obviously a vocation for you. Thank you is not goodbye, and I hope we will stay in touch.
- You have done more for environmental law than any other lawyer in Canada!
Over the years we have had the opportunity to be a part of many success stories. Below you will find a few of our achievements. When you or your client have important problems, don’t you want us on your team?
Approvals – Getting Along with Government
- Resolved numerous disputes with MOE over approvals for air, noise, water, and waste: When are they required? What should they say? When should they be issued? What do they mean?
- Assisted waste managers to obtain approvals that were tailored to their needs, met the concerns of their community and were environmentally progressive.
Civil Claims – Trouble with the Neighbours
- For plaintiffs:
- Quick, reliable identification of valid claims.
- Generous settlements.
- Credibility, tenacity and effectiveness in court.
- For defendants:
- Devastatingly accurate and thorough puncturing of invalid claims.
- Fair assessment of valid ones.
- Negotiated withdrawal of many claims or quick settlement at nuisance values.
Contaminated Sites – Calming the Nightmare
- Helped dozens of property owners to negotiate and implement innovative, cost-effective decommissioning plans with regulators and neighbours, for even the most complex of sites.
- Reduced risk enough for property owners to sell difficult sites.
- Aided property owners across Ontario to force their insurers to do proper cleanups of heating fuel spills.
- Quickly evaluated risks so purchasers could decide whether to acquire or invest in suspect sites.
- Negotiated cleanups and compensation on behalf of numerous innocent parties, including landlords, tenants, neighbours and lenders.
- Drafted environmental clauses for buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants.
Due Diligence – Staying out of Trouble
- Developed successful due diligence programs for Canadian and international companies and municipalities.
- Supervised and interpreted environmental audits across Canada and in the US.
- Prepared and presented memorable, effective environmental training programs for municipalities and businesses of all sizes.
- Provided prompt advice as required on a full range of environmental issues.
Enforcement – A Good Defence when you need it
- Persuaded federal, provincial and municipal investigators to close their files, without prosecution, against municipalities, companies, and individuals, even where serious but unfounded allegations had been made.
- Won acquittals for companies and municipalities charged with pollution offences, including a plating company whose employee secretly dumped toxic metals.
- Negotiated an acceptable fine and no charges against senior managers in many serious pollution cases.
- Persuaded courts (over the objection of the MOE) to allow defendants to do (tax deductible and environmentally useful) habitat rehabilitation instead of paying a fine.
- Successfully handled the difficult and high profile appeal of the president and director of a polluting company (who used other counsel at trial) who had been sentenced to six months in jail and a fine of $90,000. Won a reduction in sentence to $30,000 and 15 days in jail.
Innovation – When the Rules Change
- Helped many organizations thoroughly understand and adapt to rapidly evolving requirements.
- Advised the Association of Municipalities of Ontario on how the Clean Water Act will affect municipalities.
- Climate change – helped to develop the international standard for quantifying emission reductions, ISO 14064.
- Toxics – Wrote a key legal opinion for Pollution Probe proving that all levels of government have power to regulate the powerful neurotoxin, mercury.
- Evergreen at the Brickworks- Helped design the legal structure of this exciting innovative project to showcase “Nature in the City” as a gateway to Toronto’s ravines. Negotiated the MOU with the City and Toronto Region Conservation Authority, and all environmental lease terms.
Opinions- Know where you stand
- Among Canada’s most respected legal opinions on any environmental topic, by the lawyer who wrote the book.
- And, Dianne’s lectures on corporate law and sustainability have been very popular with students and staff.