About CIAO


CIAO Activities


CIAO has conducted seminars and workshops on a wide range of legal topics including criminal law, civil litigation, practice management, workers’ compensation, taxation, racism, discrimination and employment equity to name a few.

We have organized conferences to enable our members from different parts of the province and country to meet one another, to exchange ideas and to keep members abreast of developments in the law. The educational programs have been unrivalled in quality featuring speakers and panels from the Bench, bar, academia and the community at large.

In May 1999 we collaborated with the University of Toronto in sponsoring a symposia titled “Italian Canadians in the Law”. In May 2000, we joined forces with the National Italian American Bar Association (NIABA) to host a conference on cross-border legal issues. In June 2001, our annual conference, held in Ottawa, addressed the issues relating to the litigation of claims for redress against government and institutions for historical wrongs. In 2012, we hosted several Continuing Professional Development programs including Risk Management (in conjunction with LAWpro), The New Criminal Rules of the Ontario Court of Justice, and Employment Law Primer – The Employment Contract and Human Rights in the Workplace. First the first time, we also held a special seminar on the Art of Articling for our student members.

Please feel free to view the syllabus and photos of these events.


The Canadian Italian Advocates Organization has developed a mentorship program which will permit practitioners to consult with senior members of the Bar in order to enable members of the organization to have ready access to skilled and distinguished practitioners when matters concerning questions of judgment and professional ethics arise.

The mentorship program is not intended to displace other services such as the Practice Advisory Service of the Law Society of Upper Canada and, in fact, the purpose behind the mentorship program is to complement the consultation mechanism currently in place with the Law Society.

With a view to assisting members of the organization in having ready access to such mentors, the organization will ask distinguished and senior members of the profession to agree to place their names on a roster for a period of three years. During this time period, the organization will publish the names of the mentors and they are expected to be available to any member of the organization for consultation. The following principles will govern any such consultation:

  1. The mentor will not charge a fee for his or her service but it is expected that the mentee will not unduly burden the mentor or make unreasonable demands on the mentor’s time and resources.
  2. The mentee must always be careful to preserve, to the greatest extent possible, any solicitor-client privilege which the mentee may owe to the mentee’s client.
  3. The mentee should make disclosure, to the greatest extent, possible, of all materials and relevant facts which would assist the mentor in providing prompt and competent advice.
  4. Both the mentor and mentee should be careful to document any advice given for his or her files.
  5. Any such consultation will comply with the Rules of Professional Conduct of the Law Society of Upper Canada.
  6. As it is anticipated that the mentee will seek out advice from the mentor on a confidential basis, the mentee will have an obligation to ensure that the consultation with the mentor will avoid any possible conflict of interest.

If you are interested in acting as a mentor and are willing to be on the roster for three years, please contact us.


The following scholarships established and supported by CIAO are available to help defray the escalating cost of legal education.

The Frank Iacobucci Scholarship (University of Toronto);

The Ronald Ianni Scholarship (University of Toronto); and,

The Canadian Italian Advocates Organization Award at Osgoode Hall Law School.

In addition, we sponsor annual legal essay writing contests for high school students.


Law Day celebrations mark the signing of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (April 1982) with the aim of promoting public understanding of the justice system. CIAO organizes and conducts a Mock Trial in Toronto where students participate as jurors and witnesses and appreciate first-hand the role of the police, prosecution, defense counsel, judge and jury in a criminal trial.


Judges Night

Our annual Judges Night provides members with an opportunity to gather informally with Judges from all levels of court while enjoying a wine and cheese reception. In the past, we have held this function at the Barristers’ Lounge at Osgoode Hall in Toronto.

Festa Di Natale

The annual Christmas Party, much anticipated each year, has grown so much in popularity that each year we are seeking a bigger and better venue. With such phenomenal attendance this is a great way to enjoy one another’s company while experiencing the gastronomical delights of new restaurants or banquet facilities.


Judicial Appointments

Our most prominent past board member to have gone to the judiciary is Justice Frank Iacobucci of the Supreme Court of Canada. Justice Iacobucci has served the Court with exceptional distinction.

Among other past board members to have been appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice are as follows: Justices Sal Merenda, Joseph DeFilippis, Antonio DiZio and our immediate past president, Justice Lucia Favret.


In June 2003, long standing member and bencher (governor) of the Law Society of Upper Canada, Frank N. Marrocco, Q.C., was elected Treasurer, its highest elected official. This is the first time the honour was bestowed upon a lawyer of Italian heritage. This unique achievement was celebrated by CIAO at a reception in Mr. Marrocco’s honour at Osgoode Hall, home of the Law Society.

Other members who have served as benchers include Roger Yachetti who served many years with distinction, Elvio DelZotto and Justice Dino DiGiuseppe before his appointment.

Award of Distinction

CIAO has a tradition of recognizing and celebrating the accomplishments of those who have demonstrated excellence in the profession and in the community. Typically, the presentations take place at dinners, the proceeds of which are used to fund CIAO scholarships.

In 2001 Giovanna Roccamo, now Madame Justice Roccamo of the Superior Court of Justice, received the award following the Annual Educational Conference in Ottawa. In May 2000 Justice James Greco was presented with the award at the first joint conference of CIAO and the National Italian American Bar Association. Justice Greco recently retired from the Ontario Court of Justice where he had been the longest serving member of that Court.

Among the other distinguished lawyers who have received the Award of Excellence are Pasquale Santini (Ottawa), Armando De Luca, Q.C. (Windsor), Alfredo Petrone, Q.C. (Thunder Bay), and John Capo (Toronto).

The late Ronald W. Ianni, Q.C., ex officio director of CIAO, who had a long and distinguished career as a lawyer and academic, was honoured at a gala fundraising in Toronto in 1997. The dignitaries who attended were a testament to his accomplishments and contributions to the community. Funds raised were used to establish a scholarship bearing his name at the Faculty of Law, University of Windsor, where he had served as Dean and President..