October 14, 2016
The Divisional Court has just set December 2, 2016 as the hearing date for Harry’s appeal from the decision of the Law Society Appeal Tribunal refusing to allow him to work as a legal advocate. The hearing will take place at 10:00 a.m. at Osgoode Hall on the northeast corner of Queen Street and University Avenue in Toronto. Mark this date in your calendar. All those who value affordable access to justice should mobilize for this hearing to support Harry. More details to follow.
Harry Kopyto Defence Committee
October 14, 2016
In this post you’ll find the final installment of an adapted version of Harry Kopyto’s address to the three-person Law Society of Upper Canada Panel made on July 9, 2015. The Panel concluded that he lacked the good character needed to continue to work as a legal advocate. A serialized version of the balance of his submissions which continued on July 10, 2015 will be posted in due course.
The decision is presently under appeal in the Divisional Court of Ontario scheduled to be heard at Osgoode Hall on Friday December 2, 2016. See here for more details.
Why Do I Do What I Do?
Honourable members of the Panel, I ask you to say, “Yes, Harry, you are imperfect. But Lewis, you were better off with Harry representing you. Velma, you were better off with Harry representing you.” Who was the fellow in the wheelchair who had testified thanking me for my help? Tell him also: “You were better off with Harry.”
Go through the entire list of my clients who appeared as witnesses. Twenty-two clients. Tell me which clients were not better off with me than without me. Did I succeed in every case? Does anybody succeed in every case? Did I wow the courts? Does everybody wow the courts? Is every case winnable? But win or lose, did I try?
Why do I do what I do? Why is my practice what it is? Why did I even go into law? I wasn’t one of those guys in law school wearing a school tie from the University of Western Ontario whose father was an insurance company or bank executive and who knew everybody in his law school classroom since they graduated with their Masters of Business Administration degrees after going to the same private schools. I was the little guy off in a corner. I was the one who didn’t quite know what I was doing there…
My Practice Is a Weapon For Social Change
But I had an idea. Read the rest of this entry »
August 15, 2016
Below is the second last installation of an adapted version of the submissions made by Harry Kopyto on July 9, 2015 before to the Law Society Hearing Panel chaired by Margot Blight which ruled that Harry Kopyto lacked the good character needed to practice as a legal advocate.
Harry has appealed her decision, which was upheld by a Law Society Appeal Panel, to the Divisional Court of Ontario. A date for the hearing of Harry’s appeal should be available shortly.
The challenge before you Read the rest of this entry »
July 20, 2016
A legal battle is currently being waged by three hundred lawyers employed by Legal Aid Ontario to provide legal services in Legal Aid clinics throughout the province to people unable to afford lawyers. They are campaigning for the right to organize a union, a right that crown prosecutors, who are paid much better than the Legal Aid lawyers, already have. By and large, these lawyers are disproportionately female and many come from minority communities.
The article (click here) reports on the struggle for pay equity and Charter rights being waged by these underpaid and over-utilized workers in the legal profession.
Be sure to also watch the video of Clay Ruby addressing Legal Aid Ontario (click here), which makes clear that Ontario’s Legal Aid system is a class system that discriminates against the poor.
March 1, 2016
Silence may be golden; sometimes, it is not.
Take for example, the decision of the Appeal Division of the Law Society Tribunal that was released January 27th this year. You’ve heard this story many times before so here’s the Readers’ Digest version. Harry Kopyto was fighting for his professional life as a paralegal. He had a lengthy hearing before a Hearing Panel chaired by S. Margot Blight. During the hearing, she was asked to recuse herself because of an appearance of bias and a financial conflict of interest. She had been representing, in her day job, the employer of a witness called by Harry in his own defence before her. The witness was suing the employer. The witness was going to testify about Harry volunteering his services in that case and the fine work he did for him. Ms. Blight passed the file on to a colleague of hers in her same firm. That meant that the witness was going to be testifying before her about Harry while the witness was also suing her firm’s client. It also meant that Ms. Blight retained a financial interest in the defence and outcome of Harry’s witness’ case. In fact, speaking of the financial arrangements between her firm and its client being sued by the witness, Ms. Blight stated in paragraph 35:
The Panel rejects the candidate’s suggestions that these financial arrangements should be disclosed; they are privileged. It is nonetheless fair to assume that the chairperson has a financial interest of some kind.
The argument that Ms. Blight should resign from hearing Harry’s case because of this conflict and let the other two adjudicators continue without her was advanced vociferously by Harry in both his legal factum as well as in his oral submissions to the five-person Appeal Panel. So how did the Appeal Panel deal with it? Read the rest of this entry »
January 21, 2016
On March 2, 2015, a three member hearing panel of the Law Society decided that Harry could no longer work as a paralegal advocate. Harry appealed this decision. On October 27th, five Law Society Appeal judges reviewed this decision. Their decision was reserved and is expected to be pronounced soon. In the meantime, we publish the fifth installment of Harry’s submissions made on July 9, 2014 to the hearing panel of the Law Society. It focuses on the reasons for the skewed investigation of his character. The original transcript of his submissions has been enhanced for clarity and emphasis.
I have to mention Adrian Greenaway. He is Read the rest of this entry »
December 21, 2015
Below you will find the fourth installment of Harry’s final submissions made on July 9, 2014 to the Law Society Panel judging his character. Harry pulled no punches. A decision finding that Harry had poor moral character and could no longer work as a paralegal, made March 2, 2015, is presently under appeal. In his Appeal, heard on October 27, 2015 by five members of the Law Society Appeal Panel, he questioned both the impartiality of the Appeal Panel as well as the hearing panel. See the blog article posted here. No decision has been rendered to date. Harry’s submissions to the original hearing panel, printed below, have been adapted from the original for emphasis and clarity. Read the rest of this entry »