President's Report | October 2021
“We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.”
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
I write this article, as parents are preparing their children to return to school and feel all the anxiety associated with it. We are cautiously moving forward with some form of normalcy, such as the start of criminal jury trials and the Jays playing in Canada again. As we continue to face the challenges presented to us by the pandemic, this quote reminds us to never lose hope, notwithstanding the uncertainty that awaits us.
The HLA continues to focus on its mandate to assist the membership during these difficult times. The library remains open, and I encourage our membership to drop by and make use of the resources. We have purchased an industrial shredder located in the copier room which is available for your shredding needs. The pandemic has impacted our ability to pay our respects to our friends and colleagues who have sadly passed away, and to remember our fellow members that we have lost over the past year, a Memorial will be installed in the library near the computer terminals. We will also be including a Memorial on our website. We continue to work with FOLA in their lobbying efforts to reinstate the cuts to our library funding by the Law Society, and I would like to thank Allen Wynperle and Michael Winward for their continuing efforts to address this very important issue on behalf of FOLA.
You may have noticed that your HLA membership card no longer permits access through the Main Street entrance of the courthouse. A decision was made by the Attorney General’s office to only permit court staff and police officers to use this entrance. After meeting with Court management, accommodations for counsel have been initiated. The counsel entrance will be through the side entrance facing Hughson Street, where counsel and staff have a separate queue from the general public. The security staff manning that door have been instructed to provide priority access to anyone in that line. I recommend that you complete beforehand, the Covid screening form or more easily on any device at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/courthouse-screening/. Please also have your HLA or LSO card ready.
We continue to offer excellent CPD programs to our members. Our events are still currently offered virtually, but when circumstances permit, we will begin offering live events once again. We recently held the New Lawyers’ Seminar on September 2nd which was a successful event. Sadly, one of the highlights of the year being the New Lawyers’ dinner could not be held due to the pandemic. I wish our new lawyers successful careers; they have made a great decision by choosing Hamilton as the place to practice. I wish to thank Augustine Krawchenko and Lyndsay Butlin for their hard work and effort in organizing the seminar. The HLA Journal and website list the upcoming events, and I encourage you to register to support the Association and the members who devote their time and energy in making our CPD programs a success.
To address a demand in our legal community, the HLA is now offering seminars to clerks and staff employed by members. We have created a separate registration category with a special rate for this group. We encourage our members to register their clerks and staff, since more knowledge on their part will assist you in the delivery of legal services. I would also like to thank David Thompson for his effort on this issue.
We presented our first live social event on September 14th being the New Lawyers’ Subcommittee End of Summer Social held at the Hamilton Club. This was hopefully the first of many more live social events to be organized by the HLA.
On July 22, 2021, I attended a meeting for the Lawyers’ Legacy for Children - Ray Harris Fund. The fund now has a website: www.lawyerslegacy.ca. This was my second meeting as a voting member. I previously sat on the committee, and must say it is a different experience than my last term. The Fund now has a capital endowment of over $500,000. Due to the number of requests received for funding, a committee has been created to review the proposals. Donations can be made directly on the website, and I encourage you to consider this charity. I once again must credit the success of the Fund to Dermot Nolan and his dedication and commitment over the years.
On July 31, 2021, we lost our dear friend and colleague Norman Williams. Many of us have great memories of Norm. We have provided the eulogy in this edition of the Journal. On behalf of the HLA, I would like to express my deepest sympathies to the family for their loss.
We are well aware that one of the areas of concern resulting from the pandemic is how members of society interact with each other. We hear stories about customers in stores and restaurants acting rudely, and unruly passengers on airplanes treating flight attendants disrespectfully. An effort has to be undertaken by all of us to ensure that this type of behaviour does not find a place in our profession, particularly in Hamilton. Hamilton has always been and continues to be a collegial and friendly place to practice. If one did anything underhanded, the news would spread like wildfire. Our profession has an entrenched tradition of respect for opposing counsel and colleagues. My parting words are: Let’s remember to be nice to each other, especially during these challenging times.