Board of Trustees

David van der Woerd (President)

David is a lawyer in the Business Law Group at Ross & McBride LLP.  His practice includes a high concentration of charity and not for profit law.  He acts for a wide variety of individuals, businesses and organizations of all sizes.  He has a Bachelor of Arts in history with a minor in sociology from Calvin University (1984) and a Bachelor of Laws from Western University (1988).  He was called to the Ontario bar in 1990. 

David is a member on the executive of the Ontario Bar Association’s Charity and Not for Profit Law section.  He is a deputy judge of the Small Claims Court and a Trade-mark Agent.  He currently serves on the board of directors of Mohawk College and the William Voortman Fund.  

 

Hussein Hamdani (Vice President)

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 (Secretary-Treasurer)

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.

Lacey Bazoian

Larissa (Lacey) Bazoian was born and raised in Brantford, Ontario. 

 After completing her Hons. B.A. in Political Science and M.A. in Global Governance, Lacey graduated with a J.D. from the University of British Columbia. Lacey returned to Ontario to complete her articles as a Clerk for the judges of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, before being called to the Ontario Bar in 2014. Lacey began her practice as an Associate at a boutique family law firm in Hamilton before opening her own office in 2019. She practices exclusively in the area of family law. 

 Lacey is a Trustee of The Hamilton Law Association, as well as Vice-Chair of the Family Law Subcommittee and Chair of the Family Law Bench and Bar Committee. She is also a member of the Hamilton branch of Lawyers Feed the Hungry and the Lawyers' Legacy for Children. 

Li Cheng

Li is an associate counsel to George Street Law Group LLP practising real estate, land development and business law.

Prior to relocating to Hamilton and entering private practice, Li was legal counsel at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and corporate counsel at Toronto Community Housing Corporation. Li takes a hands-on approach to provide clients with effective, practical and timely legal advice.

Li was voted one of Hamilton’s top "40 under 40" entrepreneurs in 2019
in recognition of his achievement in creating a successful law practice as well as his contributions to various community organisations in Hamilton. In addition to his involvement with the The Hamilton Law Association, Li is a director of Stoney Creek Community Homes and a past co-president and director of the Hamilton Community Land Trust.

Andrew Confente (Past 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.

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.

Andrea Hill

Andrea M. Hill is a litigation lawyer whose practice focuses on estate litigation and commercial litigation. Andrea acts on behalf of estate trustees, attorneys for property and personal care and beneficiaries in will challenges, passings of accounts, dependants’ relief claims, applications to remove trustees, guardianship applications and in the interpretation of wills. Her commercial litigation practice involves breaches of contract and new home warranties.

Andrea obtained her B.A. from McGill University and her LL.B. from Queen’s University in Kingston. She was called to the Bar in 2002. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Andrea worked in Washington, D.C. as a legislative assistant to two members of the U.S. House of Representatives and as a lobbyist at a national constitutional and civil rights organization.

In addition to being a Trustee of the Hamilton Law Association, Andrea is Vice-Chair of the Hamilton Law Association’s Estates and Trusts Subcommittee and Vice President of the Estate Planners’ Council of Hamilton. From 2016 to 2022, she was a Member-at-Large of the OBA’s Trusts and Estates Law Section Executive. Andrea is a frequent speaker on issues of estate litigation and legal practice management. She has been recognized by her peers in Best Lawyers in Canada as a leading lawyer in Corporate and Commercial Litigation and in the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory as a leading practitioner in Estate & Personal Tax Planning (Estate Litigation).

Paul Lawson

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.

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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.

Rebecca Bentham (Executive Director) 

Rebecca is the Executive Director of The Hamilton Law Association. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.A. and obtained an LLB from Osgoode Hall. Rebecca also attended McMaster University where she obtained an M.A. in Canadian Public Policy and Administration. Rebecca articled at the Official Guardian's Office and practiced law in Provincial and Municipal Government before assuming her current role at the Hamilton Law Association. She is a Past-President of the McMaster University Alumni Association and served on the McMaster Children's Hospital Development Council.