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Gina Papageorgiou

City of Toronto Electoral Region
Gina Papageorgiou

Current Positions and Appointments

• Sole Practitioner/ Counsel to the Class Proceedings Committee of the Law Foundation of Ontario (beginning 2006)
• M.A.G., Deputy Judge of the Small Claims Court, (beginning 2009)
• Bencher of the L.S.O. (beginning 2015)
       • Access to Justice Committee, Vice-Chair (2016 to 2018), Member (2015 to 2018)
       • Adjudicator, LSO Tribunal (2016 to 2018)
       • Audit and Finance Committee, Member (2016 to 2018)
       • Equity and Indigenous Affairs Committee, Vice-Chair (2016 to 2018), Member (2015 to present)
       • Government Relations Committee, Member (2015)
       • Governance Task Force, Member (beginning 2016)
       • Professional Regulation Committee, Member (beginning 2018)
       • Treasurers' Appointments Advisory Committee, Member (2016 to 2018)
• Advisory Committee to Law Reform Commission of Ontario (the "Law Commission") on Class Actions, Member (2013 to 2015), Technical Advisory Committee (2017 to present)
• Ontario Justice Education Network (“O.J.E.N.”), Board Member, (beginning June 2018)

Past Positions and Appointments

• McCarthy Tetrault, Litigation Partner (1997 to 2004), Associate (1994 to 1996)
• Human Rights Legal Support Centre, Treasurer (2013 to 2017), Vice-Chair (2011 to 2017) and Member of Board of Directors (2008 to 2017)
• Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, President (2008-2010), Member, Board of Directors, Member, Board Recruitment Committee, Strategic Planning Committee and Executive Director Search Committee (2004 to 2010)
• York University, Special Investigator of Sexual Harassment & Associate General Counsel (2002)
• Stikeman Elliott, Toronto, Litigation Associate and Articling Student (1989 to 1994)
• Stikeman Elliott, Budapest, (Summer 1993)
• Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, Student Editor (1988 to 1989)
• Commercial Court Users Committee, Member (1996 to 2000)

Teaching

• York University, Teaching Assistant, Human Rights and Canadian Minorities (2004 to 2006)
• University of Toronto Faculty of Business, Weekly Lecturer in Business Law (1991 to 1993)
• Bar Admission Course, Instructor in Interviewing Skills (1996 & 1997)
• Bar Admission Course, Instructor in Insolvency (1996)

Presentations/Conferences

• Osgoode Continuing Legal Education, L.L.M. class in Commercial Law, Guest lecturer on class action funding (February 10, 2017)
• Round Table of Diversity Association ("RODA"), 2nd Annual Diversity Conference, Panelist discussing diversity issues faced by lawyers and strategies for success (November 29, 2016)
• Osgoode Conference on Class Actions, Presentation "The Role of the Class Proceedings Fund in Financing Class Actions" (2013)
• University of Windsor Conference on Third Party Funding, Presentation "The Role of the Class Proceedings Fund in Financing Class Actions" (2013)
• Quebec Class Action Conference, Presentation "Financing Class Actions" (2010)
• Women Connecting Conference held by McCarthy Tetrault, Panelist discussing the issues, challenges, interests and expectations of women in the legal profession (2009, 2010 and 2014)
• Canadian Institute Conference, Presentation "Financing Class Actions and Managing Financial Risk" (2008)
• Contributor, CBC radio documentary “Mothers-in-law” on issues faced by working mothers in the legal profession (2007)
• Maytree Leadership Conference, Panelist "Leadership and Management of Diversity: Transcending the Implementation Gap" (2007)|
• University of New Brunswick Law School Conference on Work/Life Balance, Presentation "Work/life Balance in Law Firms: The Business Case is the Problem, Not the Solution" (2007)
• Osgoode Hall Law School Institute for Feminist Legal Studies Speaker Series, Presentation "The Impact of Globalization on Women Lawyers in Large Law Firms" (2005)

Community and Civic Activities

• It Takes a Village Syrian Sponsorship Group and Kingsway Syrian Refugee Sponsorship Group, Member (2015 to 2018) (Volunteer)
• United Way, Member of Speakers Bureau (2007 to 2010) (Volunteer)
• Humbercrest United Church, Sunday School Teacher (2003 to 2010), Member of the Christian Development Committee (2006 to 2010) (Volunteer)
• Lambton Kingsway Junior Middle School, Class Parent (2003 & 2006) (Volunteer)
• Humbercrest Co-operative Nursery School, President (2004), Member of various committees (2000 to 2004) (Volunteer)
• Alexandria Park Learning Centre, Literacy Tutor (1990 to 1991) (Volunteer)
• Other: Fundraising for various charities, law school case worker with London Community Legal Aid, member of prison visitation program during undergraduate school, and soccer coach with Islington Rangers. (Volunteer)

Publications

• Gina Papageorgiou, Review of "Bar codes: women in the legal profession" by Jean McKenzie Leiper (2007) 45 Osgoode Hall LJ 829, online: <http://digitalcommons.osgoode.yorku.ca/ohlj/vol45/iss4/>
• Gina Papageorgiou, "The Implications of Large Law Firm Changes for Women Lawyers" (2006) 44 Osgoode Hall LJ 795
• Gina Papageorgiou & Elizabeth Stewart (as she then was), "Class Actions Coming Soon to a University Near You" (June 2003) Curie Newsletter, Vol 14, Issue 2
• Editor and writer for column on medical issues faced by physicians, Medline News, 1999-2000. Articles included "Peer Assessment: What to Know When the CPSO Comes Knocking", "Informed Consent--When Does 'Yes' Really Mean 'Yes'"

Honours and Awards

• M.A.G., Program Achievement Award (2000)
• M.A.G., Achievement of Excellence Award (2000)
• M.A.G., Employee Recognition Award in Recognition of Being Nominated for Outstanding Achievement (2000)
• University of Western Ontario (“U.W.O”), Dean Ivan Rand Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Faculty of Law and Academic Standing (1989)
• U.W.O., Frederick David Baker Special Prize in Trust and Estate Law (1989)
• U.W.O., Graduated with Distinction (1989)
• Niagara Moot Competition, Best Advocate Award, (1988)
• Niagara Moot Competition, Best Team Argument Award (1988)
• U.W.O., Davies Ward Beck Prize for Showing Exceptional Promise (1988)
• Queens University, D.I. McLeod Scholarship for Academic Achievement (1985)
• Deans Honour List during secondary, post-secondary and law school
• Various secondary school awards including Physical Education, History, English and Citizenship

Why seeking re-election

I am seeking re-election, having been elected in 2015.  I was initially inspired to run because there were not enough women Benchers and also because they were not enough more junior Benchers, or Benchers from diverse backgrounds.  Although I am currently 53 years old, that is still relatively young compared to the average age.  I feel that women, younger lawyers and lawyers from diverse backgrounds need a stronger voice.  Many of the issues confronting the legal profession such as licensing, technology and access to justice, and how to use technology to address access to justice, are better understood by younger lawyers who have grown up using technology and social media.  They should be the architects of change.  I see myself as trying to open those doors, and that's something I intend to work on if elected again. As well, I have considerable experience in the access to justice field, one of the biggest issues facing the profession and I feel I have a lot to offer.

Biggest problem

Access to justice. Public confidence in us will be undermined unless we improve access to justice. To me, access to justice means affordable legal services, a robust legal aid system, and a professional culture that supports pro bono work. It means addressing the barriers to public interest careers caused by the high cost of legal education, and supporting sole practitioners and small firms because of their important role in delivering access to justice.  Access to justice also means ensuring that the profession’s growing diversity benefits the clients and communities that we serve. A diverse, inclusive profession that addresses barriers faced by equity-seeking groups, including racialized, Indigenous, LGBTQ2S, differently abled, and women lawyers, is a stronger profession that is best able to serve our clients and communities. 

There are many ways that the LSO could address access to justice including:

1. Reducing the fees paid by those whose practices primarily involve low income Ontarians, e.g. those practicing in legal clinics or in small or sole practices.
2. Finding ways to address the debt burden carried by new lawyers.  This debt inhibits them from working for public law organizations where salaries are typically lower, and makes it more difficult for them to start their own practice.  If they do, must charge higher billable rates to service their debts.  This undermines access to justice.
3. Advocating to the government to increase the legal aid budget.
4. Working with law schools to expand their clinic programs which are already set up to provide services to Ontarians in need.
5  Becoming a strong voice for improved court processes, simplification of court forms, and alternate dispute resolution.
6. Supporting Pro Bono Canada.

My first act

I want to continue governance reform.   As part of this, we need to add special positions for younger Benchers who have been called to the Bar for 10 years, and from 10 to 20 years.  The LSO needs to hear from these more junior lawyers who have on the ground experience with what is happening with licensing, training, articling and technology.  They need a voice at the table.

I also agree with Rebecca Durcan that there needs to be more transparency about Bencher governance, e.g. the cost of meetings, remuneration etc. and I would like to examine this in our Governance Task Force.  Finally we need to look at the election process which may be inaccessible for some candidates.

To Achieve over the next four years.

1. Complete the implementation of the Challenges Report.
2. Apply the recommendations in the Challenges Report to other equity seeking groups.
3. Complete the review of the Discrimination and Harassment Counsel role and then improve it so that people are more aware of it and so that it is accessible.
4. Complete governance review and in particular, put in place provisions for the election of Benchers called to the Bar up to 10 years, and from 10 to 20 years.
5. Find a way to address escalating education fees paid by young lawyers as this has a direct impact on access to justice.  This could involve advocacy to the law schools and to the government.
6. Reduce the annual fees of lawyers who work primarily in the access to justice field, for example legal aid lawyers, sole practitioners and small firm lawyers. 
7. Work with law schools to expand their clinic programs as they are already set up to provide services to Ontarians in need.
8. Successful advocacy to the government resulting in increased legal aid budget and improvements to court processes and simplification of forms.
9. Get law schools to provide a program similar to the LPP in the last half of the final year of law school so that all students have the benefit of this program.

Poll Question


Do you plan to vote in the Bencher election, which goes from April 15 to April 30?