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 a solicitor in Toronto Hydro's Legal Services and Regulatory Affairs Division. Prior to joining Toronto Hydro, Elias summered and articled at Smart & Biggar/Fetherstonhaugh in Toronto. 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, LL.B., M.Sc., B.Sc. (Hons.), is an environmental lawyer and Partner at Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP. John advises clients on environmental compliance and due diligence, defends environmental prosecutions and orders, and litigates environmental claims. He 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 was a senior environmental scientist with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE). He has extensive experience with air emissions inventories, estimation and reporting in Canada and the US. John was a recipient of MOE’s Emerald Award for superior quality service and environmental protection. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Hellenic Canadian Lawyers’ Association and the Air & Waste Management Association (Ontario Section). John received his LL.B. from the University of Ottawa, and his BSc. (Hons.) and M.Sc. from the University of Toronto focused in environmental science. He is Called to the Bar in both Ontario and Alberta.
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: Stephanie Voudouris
Stephanie Voudouris is a member of the 2013-2014 articling student class at Cassels Brock and joined the firm as a summer student in 2011. Stephanie received her J.D. from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2013 where she graduated in the top ten percent of her class. Prior to studying law, she earned an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Psychology at the University of Toronto. Stephanie also graduated with High Distinction and received the Dean’s List Award for four consecutive years. At Osgoode Hall, Stephanie was a Dean’s Fellow for Professor Craig Scott’s first year tort law class and for Professor Benjamin Berger’s first year criminal law class. She was also granted a research internship by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to assist Professors Benjamin Berger and Lori Beaman (University of Ottawa) in their work.
Student Director: Chrissy Giannoulias
Chrissy Giannoulias is corporate in-house counsel in the Canadian Wealth Management legal team of Royal Bank of Canada. Her work involves the negotiation of institutional investment management agreements, prospectus renewals and ongoing legal support for publicly and privately offered mutual funds and the cross-border distribution of mutual funds. 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: 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.
Vice President: 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.
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 Strategic Planning Unit within the Legal Services Division of the Ministry of the Attorney General. In this role, Gina oversees divisional strategic initiatives, knowledge management and professional development. Gina has also completed the Coaching program through the Coaches Training Institute (CTI), and will soon embark on her coaching certification. Between 2009 and 2012, Gina was the Director of the Internationally Trained Lawyers Program (ITLP) at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, an innovative program that supports internationally trained lawyers seeking accreditation in Ontario. Between 1997 and 2009, Gina actively supported the academic and professional development of many Ontario law students 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. Prior to that, Gina articled in and practised civil litigation and family law with Sotos, Karvanis (1991-1997). Gina is passionate about personal and professional development, leadership, diversity and inclusion and developing strong relationships and networks. Many of her beliefs and values have been shaped by her experience as the daughter of Greek immigrants to Canada, and she lives with her husband and teenage soccer-playing son in Toronto.
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.
Honourary Director: George Bougadis
George is an experienced civil trial lawyer and founding partner of the downtown Toronto litigation boutique: Bougadis, Chang LLP Barristers. He practices Plaintiff personal injury law, including catastrophic spinal cord and brain injuries; long term disability claims; motor vehicle accidents and accident benefits lawsuits; plaintiff medical malpractice and other professional negligence claims; insurance coverage denial disputes and bad faith actions; appellate advocacy; barristers' referrals and litigation counsel assignments; corporate/commercial lawsuits and arbitrations; product liability actions; and, wrongful dismissals. Formerly, and exclusively, George was insurance defence and appellate litigation counsel and, also, coverage opinion and coverage litigation counsel for major national and international insurers.
George joined HCLA as a student member, served on the Board of Directors for eight years, was elected as President from 2004 to 2006, volunteers in the Mentor Program, participates in the National Lawyer Referral Program, and was invited to act as an Honourary Director in 2013. He has also been a member of the Hellenic Canadian Board of Trade for more than a decade. Within the Hellenic Canadian community, it is a matter of public record that George has acted as litigation counsel on behalf of: the Hellenic Republic; the Hellenic Home for the Aged; various non-profit Hellenic charitable religious and non-religious institutions, including their members, directors, and clerical and non-clerical employees; and is, formally, the General Counsel to the Greek Community of Toronto Inc. Until very recently, the only non-institutional private clients George represented were exclusively those of Hellenic descent.