On November 9, 1990, lawyers of Hellenic descent were invited to attend a dinner at the offices of the Canadian Bar Association (Ontario) in Toronto for the purpose of reviving the Hellenic Canadian Law Association, which had been inactive for several years. Ten individuals were elected to serve as the new Board of Directors and, at the first meeting of the new Board held on December 12, 1990, the Board appointed Constantine Grimanis as its first President. The Board also appointed the following officers: Katherine Kavassalis, Vice-President; Louis Alexopoulos, Secretary; and Greg Kanargelidis, Treasurer. The balance of the Board was comprised of the following directors at large: Constantine Alexiou, Speros Kanellos, Bill Tsapralis, William Tatsiou and Rita Vassilopoulos.
The Association was incorporated as a non-share capital corporation and received Letters Patent on November 5, 1991, at which time its name was formally changed to the Hellenic Canadian Lawyers' Association (HCLA). A formal Constitution was also ratified by the members at the first Annual General Meeting. Through these documents and discussions, the HCLA's mission began to take shape: to provide a vehicle for the social interaction of Hellenic lawyers, judges, and law students; to hold educational seminars for the better understanding of the legal profession by consumers of legal services; and to advocate on behalf of the Greek community on legal matters.
Past HCLA Presidents
- Constantine Grimanis (1990-1991)
- Louis Alexopoulos (1991-1993)
- Greg Kanargelidis (1993-1995)
- Gina Alexandris (1995-1997)
- John Sotirakos (1997-1999)
- John Papadakis (1999-2000)
- Peter Carayiannis (2000-2002)
- John Polyzogopoulos (2002-2004)
- George A. Bougadis (2004-2006)
- John Salmas (2006-2008)
- Jim Vavitsas (2008-2010)
- Eleni Damianakis (2010-2012)
Click here to download the Constitution
Communications Director: Elias Lyberogiannis
Elias Lyberogiannis is an articling student at Smart & Biggar LLP in Toronto. Elias is generally interested in business law but has developed a particular interest in intellectual property law and litigation. He is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School and prior to attending law school, Elias worked for a number of years at Hydro One, where he focused on asset management, investment planning, and regulatory applications. Elias is a graduate of the Engineering Science Program at the University of Toronto (BASc 2002) and the Schulich School of Business (MBA 2007). He is a Professional Engineer (P.Eng.) and a Certified Management Accountant (CMA).
Community Relations Director: Jeanie Theoharis
Jeanie Theoharis is employed as a full time adjudicator with the Ministry of Attorney General, Social Justice Tribunals Ontario, Landlord and Tenant Board. She graduated from the University of Toronto having attained a Bachelors of Arts degree in economics and actuarial science, in 1993. Thereafter, she studied law at State University of New York and the University of Toronto wherein she received a Juris Doctorate in Law (J.D. 1996) and Bachelor of Laws degree (LL.B. 1997). She is called to the bars of New York and Ontario. Before her appointment to the SJTO-Landlord and Tenant Board, Jeanie practiced commercial litigation, construction lien law, and commercial real estate law at a boutique firm in downtown Toronto.
Membership Director: John Georgakopoulos
John Georgakopoulos is an environmental lawyer at Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP. John advises clients on environmental compliance issues, defends environmental prosecutions, and litigates environmental claims. He works with clients to find practical solutions to remediate and redevelop contaminated properties. John advises clients on the environmental aspects of real estate and business transactions to protect them from the liabilities and costs associated with contaminated lands. Prior to becoming a lawyer, John worked as a senior environmental scientist with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. He has extensive experience with emissions inventories, estimation and reporting in Canada and the US. His B.Sc. (Hons.) (1997) and M.Sc. (1999) from the University of Toronto are focused in environmental science. John received his LL.B. from the University of Ottawa in 2007 and was called to the Bar of Ontario in 2008.
President: Nikiforos Iatrou
Formerly a clerk at the Court of Appeal for Ontario, Niki is a litigator at WeirFoulds LLP. Although his practice is centered on complex commercial litigation, he frequently acts on cases that involve issues of public and administrative law. Prior to joining WeirFoulds, he was awarded the Harold G. Fox Scholarship, whereby he spent a year in the Inns of Court in London, England. There, he developed an interest in comparative law and private international law, an interest that is reflected in his practice. Today, in addition to his Ontario-based work, Niki assists leading Caribbean counsel in interjurisdictional disputes involving off-shore trusts and investment funds. Niki attended the University of Ottawa, and was called to the Ontario Bar in 2005.
Secretary: Maria Kotsopoulos
Maria Kotsopoulos is a Partner at Blaney McMurtry LLP, practicing with the Labour and Employment Group. Maria's practice includes both labour and employment litigation, as well as advising clients in respect of human rights matters and human resources issues in general. Maria attended law school at the University of Ottawa and was called to the Bar in 2003.
Social Director: Ted Evangelidis
Ted is a commercial litigator. His practice covers a broad range of commercial litigation matters. He has developed expertise in litigating real estate and land development disputes, mortgage and title fraud matters, mortgage recovery actions, contractual disputes, shareholder disputes and oppression remedy cases, professional negligence matters relating to the defence of architects and engineers, matters relating to asset and debt recovery, commercial tenancy issues, product liability actions, defamation cases, trademark and copyright infringement matters as well as extraordinary relief-injunctive proceedings including, Mareva Injunctions and Anton Piller orders. Ted has also been involved in enforcing foreign judgments and other private international law matters. He also has expertise in corporate and securities litigation representing clients before securities regulators and other government agencies and acts in respect of negligence claims against investment advisors and in matters generally relating to disputes in the retail investment industry in both the regulatory and civil context.
Student Director: Chrissy Giannoulias
Chrissy Giannoulias is corporate in-house counsel at Royal Bank of Canada, Canadian Banking. Her work involves the negotiation of cash management agreements with large corporate clients and international financial institutions. Prior to joining RBC, Chrissy was a partner at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, where she practiced corporate and securities law, representing both public and private entities with respect to mergers and acquisitions and the structuring of securities offerings. Chrissy attended Osgoode Hall Law School and upon graduation received two awards including the Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP prize in Commercial Law, Business Associations, and Taxation, and the Lang Michener Prize in Commercial Law. Chrissy was called to the Ontario Bar in 2006.
Treasurer: Angela Nikolakakos
Angela Nikolakakos is currently Senior Counsel & Director - Investment Funds and International and Canadian Asset Management with BMO Financial Group. She is responsible for providing legal advice to all of BMO Financial Group’s public mutual funds and fund managers on a wide range of corporate, securities and regulatory issues. Prior to her current position, she was a partner in the Corporate and Securities Group of Gowlings LLP for a number of years. She articled at Davies Ward Phillips and Vineberg LLP.
Angela Nikolakakos obtained her LLB from the University of Windsor and her LLM from Osgoode Hall Law School. She has successfully passed the Canadian Securities Course and is currently a candidate to receive a certificate offered by Osgoode Hall Law School in the area of Regulatory Compliance and Legal Risk Management for Financial Institutions.
Vice President: Eleni Damianakis
Eleni Damianakis is Associate Vice-President, Legal Counsel and Assistant Secretary for Canadian Tire Corporation, where she advises the company on corporate and securities law matters and supports the Corporate Secretary's Office through the provision of corporate secretarial services to the company and its subsidiaries. Eleni also provides legal support with respect to the company’s compensation programs. Prior to joining Canadian Tire, Eleni served as Associate Vice-President, Senior Corporate Counsel for Sears Canada and was also the former Assistant Secretary. Before joining the legal department at Sears, Eleni was an associate with McCarthy Tetrault LLP in Toronto where she practiced commercial real estate law. Eleni attended the University of Windsor, Faculty of Law and was called to the Ontario Bar in 2002. Eleni is also a past President of the HCLA.
Honourary Director: Tom Karvanis
Tom was a founding member of the law firm of Sotos, Karvanis (now known as Sotos LLP) in downtown Toronto on his call to the bar in 1982. His legal practice concentrated on commercial and matrimonial litigation and alternative dispute resolution. He was recognized by L'Expert as a leading practitioner in franchise litigation. He led the litigation team of Sotos Karvanis and was responsible for the recruiting and mentoring of associate lawyers. Tom was a frequent speaker to community and legal groups on a range of subjects such as litigation, corporate governance and the latest developments in technology for lawyers.
Tom has a strong commitment to participating in the community. Among other activities, he helped establish the Hellenic Canadian Federation of Ontario and the Hellenic Canadian Congress. After his retirement in 1999 due to multiple sclerosis, he volunteered in organizations such as Centennial College of Applied Arts and Technology where he served in various capacities including Chair of its Board of Governors during a critical period for the organization. Since 2005, Tom has served as an Honourary Director of the HCLA. He was one of the founders of the HCLA in its original form in the 1980's and was responsible for reviving it in 1990. Tom is a strong believer in the HCLA and a strong advocate of its mentorship program.
Honourary Director: Gina Alexandris
Gina Alexandris (LL.B. Osgoode 1991; M.Ed. OISE 2012) is the Director of the Internationally Trained Lawyers Program (ITLP) at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. In this role, Gina oversees an innovative and award-winning program that supports internationally trained and educated lawyers seeking to become accredited and licensed in Ontario. The ITLP offers legal academic training, career development support (including mentorships and a workplace internship at leading legal organizations) and cultural fluency training. The ITLP has also been active in promoting diversity within the legal profession. Gina also teaches the Canadian Culture and Communication course within the ITLP. Between 1997 and 2009, Gina actively supported the academic and professional development of thousands of Ontario law students, including many HCLA members, as the Assistant Dean (Student Services) at Osgoode Hall Law School. In this role, Gina oversaw the areas of Recruitment & Admissions; Financial Assistance; Programs & Records; International Programming & Exchanges; and Career Development. Before returning to legal academic administration, Gina articled in and practised civil litigation and family law with Sotos, Karvanis (1991-1997). Having a passion in both theory and practice for the areas of adult education and diversity, Gina recently completed her Master of Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. As well, throughout her professional roles, Gina has constantly encouraged health and wellness practices for members of the legal profession (including students). In support of this goal, Gina was recently appointed to the Board of the Psychology Foundation of Canada. Together with her husband Nicolas, much of Gina's free time is spent near a soccer field as a proud and cheering soccer mom to her 12-year old son.
Honourary Director: Lou Alexopoulos
Lou practices law at Sotos LLP and focuses on commercial transactions with a real estate base, secured lending transactions and trusts and estates. He provides guidance to business clients in all phases of development from start-ups to mature businesses. He also advises clients in acquisitions, divestitures and inter-generational transfers and planning.