On November 9, 1990, lawyers of Hellenic descent were invited to attend a dinner at the offices of the Canadian Bar Association (Ontario) in Toronto for the purpose of reviving the Hellenic Canadian Law Association, which had been inactive for several years. Ten individuals were elected to serve as the new Board of Directors and, at the first meeting of the new Board held on December 12, 1990, the Board appointed Constantine Grimanis as its first President. The Board also appointed the following officers: Katherine Kavassalis, Vice-President; Louis Alexopoulos, Secretary; and Greg Kanargelidis, Treasurer. The balance of the Board was comprised of the following directors at large: Constantine Alexiou, Speros Kanellos, Bill Tsapralis, William Tatsiou and Rita Vassilopoulos.
The Association was incorporated as a non-share capital corporation and received Letters Patent on November 5, 1991, at which time its name was formally changed to the Hellenic Canadian Lawyers' Association (HCLA). A formal Constitution was also ratified by the members at the first Annual General Meeting. Through these documents and discussions, the HCLA's mission began to take shape: to provide a vehicle for the social interaction of Hellenic lawyers, judges, and law students; to hold educational seminars for the better understanding of the legal profession by consumers of legal services; and to advocate on behalf of the Greek community on legal matters.
Past HCLA Presidents
- Constantine Grimanis (1990-1991)
- Louis Alexopoulos (1991-1993)
- Greg Kanargelidis (1993-1995)
- Gina Alexandris (1995-1997)
- John Sotirakos (1997-1999)
- John Papadakis (1999-2000)
- Peter Carayiannis (2000-2002)
- John Polyzogopoulos (2002-2004)
- George A. Bougadis (2004-2006)
- John Salmas (2006-2008)
- Jim Vavitsas (2008-2010)
- Eleni Damianakis (2010-2012)
- Nikiforos Iatrou (2012-2014)
The HCLA Community Legal Clinic
Click here to download the Constitution
1. President: Angela Nikolakakos
Angela Nikolakakos is Senior Counsel & Director in the Wealth Management Group of BMO Financial Group. She is responsible for providing legal advice to all of BMO Financial Group’s Canadian and international mutual funds, pooled fund and fund managers on a wide range of corporate, securities and regulatory issues. Prior to her current position, she was a partner in the Corporate and Securities Group of Gowlings LLP for a number of years. She articled at what is now Davies Ward Phillips and Vineberg LLP.
Angela Nikolakakos obtained her LLB from the University of Windsor and her LLM from Osgoode Hall Law School. Other than her legal studies, she has successfully passed the Canadian Securities Course, has received a certificate in the area of Regulatory Compliance and Legal Risk Management for Financial Institutions offered by Osgoode Hall Law School and holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto where she majored in finance and economics.
2. Vice President: Kosta Kalogiros
Kosta Kalogiros is an associate in McCarthy Tétrault LLP's Litigation Group. He maintains a broad litigation practice, with experience in general corporate/commercial litigation, professional negligence (including broker/investment liability and medical negligence), commercial tenancies, and environmental nuisance and approval matters.
Kosta received his J.D. from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2010 where he graduated in the top five percent of his class. During his time at Osgoode Hall he was awarded the Gurston Allen Prize in Conflict of Laws, the Cassels, Brock & Blackwell LLP Centennial Prize in Lawyering Skills, the Sir Jack Jacob Award in the Administration of Justice, the Scotiabank Group Prize in the Law of Estates, the WeirFoulds LLP Prize in Administrative Law, the Matthew Wilson Memorial Prize and the Stephen George Leggett, Q.C. Memorial Entrance Scholarship. Kosta was called to the Ontario Bar in 2011 and in addition to being an HCLA member, is a member of the Advocates’ Society, the Canadian Bar Association, and the Ontario Bar Association. He is also a member of the teaching team for the Lawyer As Negotiator course at Osgoode Hall Law School and a volunteer duty counsel for Pro Bono Law Ontario at the Small Claims Court.
3. Treasurer: Francesca Smirnakis
Francesca Smirnakis is a senior associate in the Toronto office of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. She practises corporate, commercial and securities law, with an emphasis on the investment management industry. She is a member of the Securities and Capital Markets Group, the Investment Management Group and the Debt Capital Markets / Specialized Debt Capital Markets Focus Group. Francesca regularly advises Canadian investment fund managers, dealers and investment advisers on legal issues relating to the establishment and administration of investment funds. She also advises international investment fund managers and advisers on offering and advising investment funds in Canada, and management industry participants on registration and compliance issues. She has been involved in the creation of many investment products including mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, hedge funds, closed-end funds and pooled fund products. Francesva also has experience in merger and acquisition transactions in the investment industry, advising on the securities regulatory matters relating to the transactions. She also has experience with debt offerings.
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.
4. 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.
5. Social Director: Stephanie Voudouris
Stephanie Voudouris is an associate in Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP's litigation group. Stephanie received her Juris Doctor from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2013 where she graduated in the top ten percent of her class. Prior to studying law, she earned an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Psychology at the University of Toronto. Stephanie also graduated with High Distinction and received the Dean’s List Award for four consecutive years. At Osgoode Hall, Stephanie was a Dean’s Fellow for Professor Craig Scott’s first year tort law class and for Professor Benjamin Berger’s first year criminal law class. She was also granted a research internship by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to assist Professors Benjamin Berger and Lori Beaman (University of Ottawa) in their work. Stephanie has been a member of the HCLA since 2011 and was the recipient of the Justice Karakatsanis Student Scholarship in 2012.
6. Membership & Social Media Director: Victoria Asikis
Victoria Asikis graduated from Windsor Law in 2015. Prior to her call to the Ontario Bar in June 2016, Victoria articled at Pallett Valo LLP.
Prior to attending law school, Victoria received her Honours Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto, St. George, with a major in English and a double major in History and Film Studies. While at Windsor Law, Victoria founded the Hellenic Students of Windsor Law and stood as the HCLA Windsor Law Student Representative. She was also a copy editor at the Windsor Review of Legal and Social Issues and acted as an in-school mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Windsor-Essex. Victoria was also the recipient of the 2014 Justice Andromache Karakatsanis Student Scholarship.
7. Community Relations Director: Odysseas Papadimitriou
Odysseas is 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.
8. Communications Director: Madeline Ntoukas
Madeline Ntoukas is an Associate with Kapelos & Carlisi, a general practice in Toronto. Madeline articled with the Ministry of the Attorney General where she completed three rotations with the Crown Law Office - Civil, Citizenship & Immigration as well as the Ministry of Energy & Infrastructure. She is a graduate of the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law (2014) where she specialized in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and acted as a Teaching Assistant for students enrolled in ADR studies. Madeline was called to the Ontario bar as counsel in 2015. She also holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts with High Distinction from the University of Toronto, where she completed majors in Architectural Design and Drama. She has been a member of the HCLA since 2012 and was previously the HCLA's Student Representative at the University of Ottawa.
9. Student Director: Sam Presvelos
Sam is an articling student with McCarthy Tetrault and a graduate of Osgoode Hall law school.
Prior to law school, Sam studied political science at York University where he was a Presidential Scholar. He also earned a Social Science Research Scholarship as well as the Dean's Award for Academic Excellence for acheiving a perfect grade point average. At law school, Sam worked as a research assistant to Professor Allan Hutchinson and Justice Rick Libman and received the R.J. Grey award for his community involvement and academic acheivement. Sam was an active member of his Osgoode Hall school community. He has volunteered with the Community & Legal Aid Services Programme and the Ontario Justice Education Network. Sam previously served as the student representative for the Hellenic Canadian Lawyers' Association at Osgoode Hall.
In addition to his academic accomplishments, Sam actively participates in the Canadian political arena. He has worked as a Parliamentary Intern for a Member of Parliament where he was involved in a diplomatic project with the Iraqi Embassy. Most recently, Sam served as a Campaign Manager in the 2013 provincial election in British Columbia where his candidate was successfully elected as a Member of Legislative Assembly.
Sam's professional interests include matters relating to the future of legal practice and how information technologies will transform the legal market. In his spare time, Sam enjoys reading, travelling and politics.
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.
Honourary Director: George Karayannides
George Karayannides 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 has extensive domestic and international experience in a broad range of corporate and commercial disputes. Over his 30-year career, he has represented a wide range of businesses, leading multinational companies, individuals and government bodies in the energy, transport, telecommunications, construction and financial sectors. He has significant experience before Federal and Provincial courts, as well as before arbitral and administrative tribunals. George regularly works with foreign counsel on cross-border issues and disputes.
A strategic thinker and skilled negotiator, George takes a collaborative approach in crafting creative and focused legal solutions to disputes arising out of complex business transactions. He provides practical advice on mission-critical issues, and works to empower his clients in developing strategies that are aligned with their operational and business objectives.
George is ranked by LEXPERT as a leading lawyer in Canada, and is listed as a Leading Practitioner in Canada by the peer-reviewed Best Lawyers, in the area of corporate commercial litigation. He is also recognized by LEXPERT as a leading US/Canada cross-border litigator and holds a Martindale-Hubbell, BV Distinguished rating.
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 Associaiton's International Law Section, Canada Committee.
Honourary Director: John Yiokaris
John Yiokaris is a partner at Sotos 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.
Honourary Director: George Bougadis
George is an experienced civil trial lawyer and founding partner of the downtown Toronto litigation boutique: Bougadis, Chang LLP Barristers. He practices Plaintiff personal injury law, including catastrophic spinal cord and brain injuries; long term disability claims; motor vehicle accidents and accident benefits lawsuits; plaintiff medical malpractice and other professional negligence claims; insurance coverage denial disputes and bad faith actions; appellate advocacy; barristers' referrals and litigation counsel assignments; corporate/commercial lawsuits and arbitrations; product liability actions; and, wrongful dismissals. Formerly, and exclusively, George was insurance defence and appellate litigation counsel and, also, coverage opinion and coverage litigation counsel for major national and international insurers.
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. Within the Hellenic Canadian community, it is a matter of public record that George has acted as litigation counsel on behalf of: the Hellenic Republic; the Hellenic Home for the Aged; various non-profit Hellenic charitable religious and non-religious institutions, including their members, directors, and clerical and non-clerical employees; and is, formally, the General Counsel to the Greek Community of Toronto Inc. Until very recently, the only non-institutional private clients George represented were exclusively those of Hellenic descent.