Hellenic Canadian Lawyers' Association

What We Do

Network

Network

The HCLA maintains a reliable network of lawyers, judges and law students of Hellenic origin. In addition to creating professional opportunities, this network serves as a platform for members to knowledge share.

Educate

Educate

The HCLA provides and participates in ongoing educational programs, seminars and courses with a view to promote legal education in the Hellenic Canadian community.

Advocate

Advocate

The HCLA works to create, stimulate and increase public awareness of matters relating to the Hellenic Canadian community.

History

Over 25 years ago, on November 9, 1990, lawyers of Hellenic heritage in Canada gathered at the Offices of the Canadian Bar Association in Toronto to revive and reinvigorate the Hellenic Canadian Law Association (now the Hellenic Canadian Lawyers’ Association), an association originally founded by Hellenic Canadian lawyers including Tom Karavanis and Madame Justice Andromache Karakatsanis.

Ten lawyers were elected at that time to form the Board of Directors and, at their first meeting a month later, the Board appointed Constantine Grimanis as the first President of the HCLA. Serving as officers and directors were: Katherine Kavassalis (Vice-President), Louis Alexopoulos (Secretary), Greg Kanargelidis (Treasurer), Constantine Alexiou, Speros Kanellos, Bill Tsapralis, William Tatsiou, and Rita Vassilopoulos.

The HCLA’s Constitution was drafted and ratified in, putting into motion the Association’s goals of, among other things, strengthening bonds within the Hellenic Canadian legal community, promoting and advancing the well-being and education of the Hellenic Canadian legal community, increasing public understanding of the legal profession and awareness of matters material to the Hellenic Canadian community at large.

Since then, the HCLA has developed and maintained a number of annual social and educational events and programs, including: the President’s Dinner, the Christmas Cheer, our annual student event, the Professionals Gala (with our medical and dental colleagues), the Under 8 After 8 Socials, our student resume and interview workshops, the Mentwr program, and other miscellaneous educational seminars. In furtherance of its commitment to advancing Hellenic lawyers in Canada, the HCLA has proudly awarded over $50,000 through the recently re-named Justice Andromache Karakatsanis Student Scholarship (assisting 25 students in the process).

The HCLA remains committed to advancing and strengthening the Hellenic Canadian legal community so its members may continue to attain new heights of professional success and achievement.

Download HCLA Constitution

Executive Committee

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President: Kosta Kalogiros

Kosta is an associate in the litigation group at McCarthy Tetrault LLP where he maintains a broad litigation practice. Kosta joined the HCLA as a student member and has served on the Board of Directors since 2014. Kosta volunteers in the Mentor Program and maintains a number of informal mentor relationships with student and junior members of the HCLA. Kosta has been serving as the Association’s Vice President since 2016, before which he served as student director. Prior to practicing, Kosta attended Osgoode Hall Law School.

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Vice-President: Francesca Smirnakis

Francesca is Senior Counsel at BMO Financial Group advising BMO’s mutual fund manager and mutual funds in BMO’s Investment Funds and Global Asset Management Group. Prior to that, she was a senior associate in the Toronto office of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP where she practiced corporate, commercial and securities law. At BLG, Francesca regularly advised Canadian investment fund managers, dealers and investment advisers on legal issues relating to the establishment and administration of investment funds. She also advised international investment fund managers and advisers on offering and advising investment funds in Canada, and management industry participants on registration and compliance issues. Francesca was a member of the Public Affairs Working Group at the Investment Funds Institute of Canada (IFIC) and a past chair of the Reputational Risks and Opportunities Sub-Group at IFIC. Francesca was an articling student at BLG before joining as an associate in 2007. Following her M.Sc., Francesca performed clinical and social science primary research studies at the University of Toronto in the areas of nutrition and chronic disease, and mental well-being and the environment.

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Secretary: Paul Karvanis

Paul Karvanis is legal counsel at Metrolinx. Prior to his current position he practised at Hudson’s Bay Company and as an associate with Stikeman Elliott LLP. Paul completed his articles with Stikeman Elliott LLP and is a graduate of the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law. Paul also completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto where he obtained an Honours Bachelor of Science in Computer Science.

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Social Director: Victoria Asikis

Victoria graduated from Windsor Law in 2015. Prior to her call to the Ontario Bar in June 2016, Victoria articled at Pallett Valo LLP. While at Windsor Law, Victoria founded the Hellenic Students of Windsor Law and stood as the HCLA Windsor Law Student Representative. Victoria was also the recipient of the 2014 Justice Andromache Karakatsanis Student Scholarship.

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Treasurer: Odysseas Papadimitriou

Odysseas is presently practicing in the areas of commercial real estate and land development at Harris, Sheaffer LLP. Prior to that Odysseas was an associate in Miller Thomson’s Real Estate and Condominium groups. His real estate practice focuses on commercial real estate and land development, including acquisitions, dispositions, financing, commercial leasing, and condominium development. Odysseas has also developed a particular expertise in condominium law. He represents and advises condominium corporations on a variety of issues, including condominium governance, reciprocal agreements, dispute resolution, lien enforcement, management and operation, and third party contracts. Odysseas received his J.D. from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2010. While at law school, Odysseas served as senior case manager with the Osgoode Hall Business Clinic, he volunteered with the Artist Legal Advice Services and served as President of the Hellenic-Canadian Law Students Association – Osgoode Chapter. Prior to attending law school, Odysseas obtained an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from York University.

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Communications Director: Madeline Ntoukas

Madeline is a sole practitioner and the HCLA’s Legal Clinic Coordinator which operates in partnership with Pro Bono Ontario.

Madeline was previously an associate with the general practice law firm of Kapelos & Carlisi and articled with the Ministry of the Attorney General. She is a graduate of the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law where she specialized in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and acted as a teaching assistant for students enrolled in ADR studies. Madeline also holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts with High Distinction from the University of Toronto where she completed majors in Architectural Design and Drama.

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Student Director: Sam Presvelos

Sam Presvelos graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School where he won prizes in Real Estate and Corporate Law. Prior to law school, Sam studied political science at York University where he was a Presidential Scholar. Sam previously worked at McCarthy Tetrault LLP in Toronto and has since founded his own law firm. Sam was elected to the HCLA Board of Directors in 2016 and is a strong advocate for Hellenic involvement in the legal community.

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Membership & Social Media Director: Andrew Guerrisi

Andrew Guerrisi is an Associate in the Toronto office of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP and a member of the Commercial Real Estate Group.

Andrew has a broad range of experience working on various aspects of commercial real estate transactions including leasing, financing, acquisition, disposition and development.

Andrew was both a summer student and an articling student before joining the Firm as an Associate in 2015.

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Community Relations Director: Athan Papadas

Athan is a partner at “Foutsis and Partners” law firm (Athens, Greece), having primarily practiced for approximately four years in the fields of civil and commercial litigation, and business law. He additionally co-developed “Nobilis for lawyers”, a mobile application aiming to assist Greek legal practitioners in coping with a vast array of judicial deadlines.

Aside from being a PhD candidate in Demokritus University of Thrace, researching third-party funding issues in international arbitration, he is currently enrolled in the International Business Law LL.M. at Osgoode Hall Law School. Athan’s ultimate goal is to work in Canada in the legal or quasi-legal field.

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.

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Honourary Director: George Karayannides

George is a Partner at Clyde & Co. He is an experienced advocate who represents clients in litigation and arbitration on a wide-range of complex and high-stakes business disputes, including class actions. George is a frequent speaker on emerging legal issues, as well as an advocacy skills instructor. He is currently serving as a Vice-Chair of the American Bar Association’s, International Law Section, Canada Committee.

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Honourary Director: John Yiokaris

John Yiokaris is a partner at Sotos LLP in the corporate and commercial department. He practices business law with specific expertise in franchising, licensing, intellectual property, and commercial disputes. John has significant experience advising on franchise and master franchise agreements, disclosure documents, franchisee associations, and franchise transactions that include workouts, defaults, and the purchases and sales of franchise networks. He has represented clients across a broad range of industries including grocery, automotive, hotel, real estate, and restaurant and possesses extensive knowledge pertaining to intellectual property issues, including the procurement, licensing and assignment of trademarks.

Listed in the Canadian Legal LEXPERT Directory as “repeatedly recommended” (2013-2015) as well as in Who’s Who Legal: Canada (2013-2015) as a leading Canadian franchise law practitioner, John is a regular contributor to industry and professional publications including the Ontario Bar Association, the International Franchise Association, and the Canadian Franchise Association.

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Honourary Director: George Bougadis

George is an experienced civil trial lawyer and founding partner of the downtown Toronto litigation boutique: Bougadis, Chang LLP Barristers. 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.