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 the Law Society investigator who testified for several days. He initially introduced himself to me by letter. He wrote that the decision to hold a good character hearing to determine if I could work as a paralegal would be made at the conclusion of his investigation. Yet he now admits on the stand that he knew that the decision was made even before the investigation started. How can the Law Society appoint a liar as an investigator? Who selects people like him to be the face of the Law Society in dealing with legal professionals?
I know that none of you are big fans of his. At least one of the three of you has minimized Mr. Greenaway’s evidence. Ms. Blight, you said he was “merely” an investigator for the Law Society. I understand your wishing to distance yourself from him. It was crudely revealing when he said that I might not be allowed to attend Joe Markin’s daughter’s wedding because of a pre-existing Law Society order forbidding Joe Markin from “associating” with me with respect to the law. What was Adrian thinking—that I would surreptitiously discuss Joe’s latest factum with him hidden behind the head table away from prying eyes while munching on wedding cake?
Dissident Lawyers Treated Like Lepers
This restrictive non-association edict used frequently by the Law Society draws comparison with the Catholic Church’s or Scientology’s practice of excommunication. Mr. Greenaway’s opinions and methods of operation reflect the insularity of an exclusionist culture such as those, in the Middle Ages, who condemned lepers to isolative colonies. It shows how the obsessive elevation of unquestioning submission to authority that is at the heart of the Law Society’s elitist attitude filters down to its loyal foot soldiers. Obey rules. No context. No nuances. No limits. But his opinions are not Mr. Greenaway’s idiosyncratic musings. Mr. Greenaway, precisely because of his opinions, is an essential player in the Law Society’s cast.
Mr. Greenaway reflects the institutional mentality that infuses the Law Society hierarchy with the shared perceptions and snobbish attitudes that underlie its actions. He is malleable putty in their hands. Mr. Greenaway channels the systemic prejudices which he absorbs by osmosis from his superiors on higher rungs of the career ladder. They all breathe the same oxygen.
They Were Trading Souls
I have had prior experiences with the Law Society that were not so delightful. You will recall my evidence that there were Law Society charges in the 1980s against two lawyers that had nothing to do with each other’s law practice: myself and a colleague. The Law Society offered the other lawyer the right to continue practicing law if she could convince me to resign. Her charges had nothing to do with mine. That is politely called an abuse of process. There is a more fitting word. The Law Society was blackmailing me to give up my profession so that my colleague could save hers. They were trading souls. So much for the Law Society’s morality…
I also testified, at that time that a Law Society auditor had resigned in protest because the Law Society instructed him, under false pretenses, to retrieve legal records from an associate of mine that had nothing to do with the audit.
Law Society is a Nest of Iniquity
As well, the senior Law Society prosecutor at that time, Steve Sherriff, was condemned by a panel of the Law Society for abuse of process for refusing to issue subpoenas to my witnesses in my own disbarment proceedings. He returned the favour later by resigning in protest after exposing the identity of Benchers who had leaned on him to give preferential treatment to their colleagues. This is the same Law Society which recently suspended its senior officer occupying the venerable position of Treasurer for inappropriate sexual conduct. What a nest of iniquity this venerable institution hides!
Naturally, I was sensitized by such abuse when Mr. Greenaway told me he was investigating me. I took measures to protect myself. I never refused to respond to him. That’s why I insisted on full disclosure of his questions before meeting him. He refused thereby sabotaging any meeting.
Far from being unimportant, as you suggest, Mr. Greenaway is more important than you can imagine. Long after I am gone, Mr. Greenaway will still be here… Long after you are gone, all three of you, Mr. Greenaway will be here…
A Savvy Spinmeister
Mr. Greenaway is the epitome of what his superiors, whom he adulates, expect of him. He is a “savvy” learner—to use his own perceptive word. Mr. Greenaway also reflects the clannish, exclusivist culture of the upper echelon of the Law Society who hold the keys to its famous wine cellar in the bowels of Osgoode Hall.
It is true that the Law Society bon vivants no longer take afternoon tea with crumpets prepared by their obsequious staff in the plush anterooms of Osgoode Hall as they did in the last century. Nonetheless, theirs is a culture of moral superiority, of entitlement, a culture that fosters intimidation of lawyers who dare question their divinely-ordained rules even when it is unjust to abide by them. Greenaway represents their internalized mores suckled from his mentors’ breasts. It is the milk of a sense of righteous superiority, not of kindness, that he imbibes.
Mr. Greenaway—again using his own polished word—testified about the way the Law Society puts a “spin” on things. He testified that the spin that the Law Society puts on critical lawyers who think independently is to label them “ungovernable”. He elaborated on what those who appointed you see as the good character memes you should apply in judging me. He is a perfect practitioner of the trifecta for dealing with critical lawyers who refuse to fit into the cookie-cutter mold: identify, prosecute and exclude.
King And Mandela Have Poor Character
Greenaway’s evidence was that Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela would not attain a Law Society good character ruling because they broke the law. He testified that Mahatma Gandhi would also fail a Law Society good character test because he broke the law. He said that Rosa Parks would not have been accepted as having good character by the Law Society because she broke the law in Montgomery, Alabama by sitting at the front of a bus when the law required persons of colour to sit at the back. Her blatant disobedience sparked a mass movement that swept the southern United States in the 1950s, revolutionizing civil rights laws. But forget that in evaluating her character. After all, she did break the law.
The Law Society is a protection racket. The Law Society has an obsessive-compulsive preoccupation with rule-obedience. The Law Society is unable to tear itself away from its blinkered tunnel vision. I accuse the Law Society of reducing to frozen, ideological, formulaic perceptions what amount to complex moral dilemmas. I accuse the Law Society of intimidating lawyers who are visibly critical of it in public and who dare expose its raw nerves—precisely the moral courage that an honourable advocate must evince. I accuse the Law Society Palladium of targeting me because I have been a visible critic of the Law Society through multiple means including through court cases representing marginalized constituencies—publicly reported in Toronto newspapers and other media over the years.
The Law Society is blind to its own moral decay. It fails to discharge its statutory duty to promote access to affordable justice. It decries that the majority of people in this country can’t afford access to legal remedies in the courts—a gigantic flaw that makes our system of justice illusory to them. But talk is cheap and lawyers’ fees remain sky high.
They Are The Shakers—We Are The Shaken
The Law Society staff has grown from 10 to close to 600 since the 1950s as the Society embraced its evolving role as an invasive thought control agency over legal representatives. Don’t forget that as recently as the 1920s, discipline of lawyers was in the hands of judges. Subsequent self-government of the legal profession intensified favourtism and advantaged those with elitist backgrounds who wore their private school ties well beyond their school days. It reduces its investigators to manufacturing monomaniacal character assessments pro forma, to ignore all perspective, to measure the moral worth of a legal advocate by his or her submission to and replication of the legal status quo. Simultaneously, it bends to the slightest whim from those with power and influence who increasingly make the courts their exclusive playground. They are the shakers. We are the shaken.
If we accept that social reality has its complexities, people like Mandela, Parks, King and Gandhi, ironically, have become moral giants precisely because they broke unjust laws and rules. That is why the overwhelming majority of people in this world regard them as moral heroes—because they acted as positive catalysts in the calculus of social and legal progress by their defiance.
Defiance is in Order
There is no practical difference between rules that are unjust and rules that have an unjust effect. In assessing morality, you have to look at the consequences of obeying the rules or not obeying the rules. If a rule prevents somebody like Velma Demerson, if a rule prevents somebody like Reynel Lewis, if a rule prevents somebody like John Reiger or any of the other 22 clients of mine who came to testify for me, from accessing the judicial system, that is a sign of moral decay of that rule. It is also a concomitant sign of the moral decay of those—like Greenaway—who blindly enforce that rule and of those who punish those who cannot and do not want to submit to that rule.
It then becomes a moral obligation to speak out against such rules. It becomes a moral obligation to expose the material self-interest that is masked by fixation with blind obedience to naked authority. Defiance is in order.