SGM's award was made in recognition of its involvement in the movement to revitalize legal aid, spearheaded by Frank Addario
At the gala on September 21st, Lexpert explained:
In Ontario, there had been no meaningful increase to the Legal Aid tariff in 20 years, discouraging lawyers from representing the most disadvantaged citizens.
While many complained, Frank Addario, a litigation partner at Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP, stepped up to tackle the issue, winning a drawn-out and hotly contested battle with Legal Aid Ontario - and, therefore, the Ministry of the Attorney General.
did so by convincing criminal lawyers across the province to boycott the Legal Aid Plan.
dealt with the media, showing properly funded criminal lawyers are indispensable to the credibility of the justice system and insurance against wrongful convictions.
was the face of the boycott, its creator and driving force and, without his
efforts, there would still be a quickly deteriorating status quo.
A pre-eminent member of the defence bar, Addario
has a long-standing policy of accepting any Aboriginal accused who comes through the door, whether a Legal Aid client or without funding at all.