Board of Trustees

Kanata Cowan (President)

Kanata Cowan attended McMaster University where she earned her combined honours Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. She then attended Lakehead University where she received her Bachelor of Education degree. After teaching high school science for a brief period of time, Kanata attended the University of New Brunswick to obtain her Law Degree.

Kanata articled and began her career as an associate at a prominent law firm in Hamilton. In 2012, she became a sole practitioner and opened up a boutique law office in Waterdown, Ontario that focuses on family law. Kanata focuses her practice on matrimonial disputes. She is interested in peace keeping and now mediation.

Kathleen Bingham

Kathleen Bingham is a bilingual, sole practitioner practicing family and child welfare law. She is also a volunteer lawyer with the Child Advocacy Project. Kathleen obtained her Juris Doctor from Queen’s University in 2008. Prior to becoming a sole practitioner, Kathleen articled and practiced civil and commercial litigation with Gowling WLG. In her practice, she focuses on creative and positive solutions for clients and uses a wide variety of dispute resolution options to assist clients. She is also a member of several committees within the Hamilton legal community and sits on the Board of Directors of Wesley Urban Ministries.

Andrew Confente (Vice-President)

Andrew has been practicing law since 1994 with Sam Garcea. He obtained a B.A.(Honours) from McGill University and his law degree from the University of Windsor. His practice is focused on criminal law which include the following offences: criminal code, drug & federal, youth, & provincial In addition, Andrew has also obtained experience in the fields of immigration and family law, though he presently restricts his practice to criminal law. He has previously served as part time prosecutor in criminal and federal matters.

Andrew is active in the community volunteering his time with both legal and non-legal organizations. He is a Past President of the Hamilton Criminal Lawyers Association and was a Director with the Ontario Criminal Lawyers Association.

Andrew is also fluent in French and Italian.

Jennifer Cooper

Jennifer was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario. After obtaining an Hons. B.A. (University of Calgary), an M.A. (Queen‘s University) and an LL.B (Osgoode Hall), Jennifer articled with the Family Responsibility Office and was called to the Bar in 2005. After 8 years of private practice in the Hamilton/Halton Region, Jennifer joined forces with Hughes & Bale LLP in 2013, becoming a partner of the firm the following year.

Jennifer is a passionate advocate. With extensive experience in custody and access proceedings, Jennifer is deeply committed to the overall well being of the families she represents; particularly the children. Her common-sense approach to litigation and strong working relationships with mediators, therapists, parenting coordinators and custody and access assessors contribute to her impressive record of success.

Jennifer is a present member of the Office of the Children‘s Lawyer legal panel. 

Laura Dickson

Laura earned her L.L.B in Scots Law from the University of Glasgow, Scotland in 2007. After coming to Canada in 2008, she completed her NCA qualifications at the University of Toronto. Laura joined Hughes Amys LLP after being called to the Bar in June 2012. Laura has recently joined Michael Lamont Personal Injury Law.

Laura practice focuses on Life and Disability insurance claims, accident benefit claims as well as claims in auto accidents, slip and fall, product liability, occupiers’ liability, and wrongful dismissal.  She is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Hamilton Lawyers' Club, the Hamilton Medical-Legal Society, The Advocates' Society, the Ontario Bar Association, and the Canadian Bar Association. Laura served on the New Lawyers' Subcommittee of the Hamilton Law Association for 5 years from 2012 to 2017.


Mark Giavedoni (Past-President)

Mark Giavedoni graduated with Honours from McMaster University in English and History. He attended the University of Windsor’s Faculty of Law and received his LL.B. in 2004 and was called to the Bar in 2005.

Mark’s solicitor practice focuses on all facets of real estate, development, construction, condominium, planning, municipal and education law. He is routinely consulted for advice and his opinions to resolve real property disputes. He is a partner at Gowling WLG in Hamilton and is recognized as a Certified Specialist in Real Estate Law by the Law Society of Ontario.

Mark has been actively involved with The Hamilton Law Association since 2006, when he joined the Real Estate Subcommittee and has spoken at a number of annual seminars. He is also a member of the Hamilton Lawyers’ Club, Ontario Bar Association, Canadian Association of University Solicitors, the Ontario Expropriation Association, the Canadian Condominium Institute Greater Golden Horseshoe Chapter, and has been on a number of boards of directors for local not-for-profit organizations.

Mary Grosso

Mary earned her L.L.B in 1994 from the University of Western Ontario and was called to the bar in 1996. Mary began her career at Loopstra Nixon McLeigh in Toronto, first as an articling student and then continuing there as an associate lawyer before starting her own litigation practice in 2000. Mary joined Pelton Law in Hamilton in 2009, then Hooper Law in 2015 (now Grosso Hooper Law) where she currently practices primarily insurance defence litigation and personal injury law.

Hussein Hamdani

Hussein is engaged in a general corporate, commercial practice that includes commercial and residential real estate law.

Prior to entering the practice of law, Hussein had significant hands-on involvement in the management of family businesses and is able to converse easily at any level with owners and managers of all manner of business enterprises. Throughout transactions he explains complex legal issues in clear business terms to his clients.

Hussein assists clients at all stages of business growth. His services include incorporating and organizing companies, preparing partnership and shareholders’ agreements, preparing and reviewing commercial leases and franchise agreements, providing advice in matters dealing with intellectual property and technology related issues, commercial and residential real estate and the purchase, sale and financing of businesses. In addition, Hussein represents a number of not-for-profit organizations in the Golden Horseshoe.

In 2012, Hussein was awarded the first ever “40 Under 40 Entrepreneur Award” for Hamilton/Burlington. This award is in recognition of Hussein’s achievement in growing a large clientele list of individuals and business owners.

Hussein is very active in the community and sits or recently sat on many local, provincial and national boards of directors and executive committees.

Andrew Keesmaat

Andrew is a partner at Agro Zaffiro LLP.  He was called to the bar in 2009.  He practices civil litigation with a particular focus on estate litigation and insurance defence. 

He obtained his LL.B. at Ottawa University after completing an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Carleton University.  Andrew is a member of the Hamilton Law Association and Ontario and Canadian Bar Associations.  He is an elected member of the General Council of the Ontario Bar Association and sits on the executive of the Hamilton Lawyers’ Club.

Eric Nanayakkara

Eric is the Managing Partner of Regency Law Group, a full service firm with its head office proudly located in downtown Hamilton. 

Over the course of the last decade Eric’s practice has been primarily focused on civil and commercial litigation.  He has significant experience handling actions involving subrogated interests, construction, products liability, breach of contract, personal injury, securities, fraud and misrepresentations.  

Early in his career Eric was awarded the HIVE X Award of Excellence and became one of the youngest lawyers to be elected to the Ontario Bar Association Governing Council.  Locally he has served as the President of the Hamilton Arts Council, President of Wellwood, Chairman of CLiC and as a Director on the Board of Supercrawl and Theatre Aquarius.

Currently Eric serves on the Executive of the Hamilton Lawyers Club.  He is also on the Board of the Ontario Bar Association where he holds the position of Regional Director for the Central South Region in addition to serving on its Committees of Nominating, Governance, Public Policy and Government Relations.

David van der Woerd (Secretary-Treasurer)

David is a partner at Ross & McBride LLP, practicing in the Business Law, Charity and Non-Profit and Estates Group. David acts for many individuals, businesses and organizations in the business and charitable sectors. David received his Bachelor of Arts degree in history with a minor in sociology, along with a Michigan Provisional Secondary School Teacher’s Certificate from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan and his bachelor of laws degree at the University of Western Ontario.

David is a member of the Hamilton Law Association and an active member of the Ontario Bar Association Charity and Not for Profit Law section. He is a Trademark Agent and has served for many years as a Deputy Judge of the Superior Court of Justice, Small Claims Court. David has taught law at various levels and is a frequent writer and contributor to publications and seminars for legal education. David has served on various community boards, and is currently with Mohawk College and the director of a private foundation, among others.

Colleen Yamashita

Colleen is a Partner with the law firm Scarfone Hawkins. Her practice is focused on commercial litigation matters as well as all aspects of banking, insolvency, receivership and bankruptcy litigation.  Colleen also has experience acting for major lending institutions, corporate debtors, receivers and trustees on matters pertaining to debt collection, debt restructuring, security enforcement, receivership, CCAA and BIA reorganizations as well as for individuals, businesses and institutions on a variety of matters, including shareholder disputes, lease disputes, debt litigation and employment and wrongful dismissal matters.