Since March 2012, I have had the privilege of serving as the President of the Canadian Italian Advocates Organization. For those of you who may not be aware, CIAO has a long and rich history. It was founded in 1984 primarily with a view to promoting professional development among its members and the legal community as well as enhancing public legal education.
Staying true to its roots, CIAO has continued to host a variety of robust legal seminars and conferences in Ontario and indeed across Canada. They include a joint conference of CIAO and the National Italian American Bar Association on Cross-Border Legal Issues and a Conference on the Litigation of Claims for Redress Against Government and Institutions for Historical Wrongs.
CIAO has recently begun to provide several Continuing Professional Development seminars accredited by the Law Society of Upper Canada. They include seminars on Risk Management, the new Criminal Rules of the Ontario Court of Justice and an Employment Law Primer. These programs are available to members at no cost to them.
CIAO is proud of its longstanding contributions to public legal education. For years, members of CIAO have hosted numerous public legal seminars, have appeared on Italian media programs, and have made innumerable written submissions to all levels of governments. This is an ongoing priority.
CIAO is also proud to host an annual Mock Criminal Trial – in commemoration of the entrenchment of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Each year, members of this organization put on a demonstrative exercise for high school students taking them through the criminal process from arrest to verdict. Last year, over 800 students from 17 different high schools attended.
Since its inception, CIAO has made it a priority to assist new Calls to the Bar. In this vein, we have established a mentorship program which partners them with experienced members. We have also set up and funded numerous scholarships and awards at various faculties of law across the Province.
Although we are proud of our achievements, much work remains. We have an ambitious agenda over the course of the coming year. We can only accomplish this important work with your continued support. I would ask that you kindly consider joining our association.
Please feel free to contact me with questions or suggestions. I may be reached by phone at 416-744-9595 or by email at [email protected].