Yesterday I suggested that we should continue to monitor the system for licensing paralegals adopted in Canada making specific reference to the definitions of character cited by the Law Society in a panel decision regarding Nicolino Alessandro. Alessandro’s case illustrates that lack of character and incompetence know no boundaries. The focus on the case is Alessandro’s alleged history of conduct showing lack of character, including “convictions for forgery, uttering forged documents and obstruction of justice.” However, it appears that a good case could be made that Alessandro, even if he had good character, simply isn’t competent enough to be a paralegal. Here are some of the problems with filings he made on his own behalf in the Law Society proceeding:
The reference letters:
1. did not include one from a lawyer, or a person in authority in the court or tribunal systems, although they did include one from a disbarred lawyer who purported to be a lawyer in good standing at Exhibit 1, Tab 4;
2. none of the letters speak of convictions, but only charges;
3. the typeset was the same in two of the reference letters, at Tabs 10 and 14, and there were typographical errors in the names of the individuals in the “letterhead”; [Emphasis Added]
4. the handwriting on the applications, particularly at p. 2 and 3 of the Statement of Reference Form, is suspiciously similar in the reference statements at Exhibit 1, Tabs 2, 3 and 4, and the facsimile cover sheet from the applicant, at Exhibit 1, Tab 4, p.4;
5. the reference letter at Exhibit 1, Tab 9 from Evelina Di Rienzo purports to be from a Montessori teacher and does not disclose that Ms. Di Rienzo is the applicant’s wife.
On the basis of #3 alone, Alessandro would certainly find himself suffering Consequences of Sloppiness, so this post goes into that category. Apparently Alessandro needs a professional paralegal to assist him his application. However, if the panel’s statement is accurate, no professional paralegal would assist him because he is attempting to mislead the panel!
Not surprisingly, the panel denied Alessandro’s application for a license. A bit more surprising is that an appeal panel recently issued this decision:
By Decision and Order dated November 24, 2009, the Appeal Panel ordered as follows:
- The Appeal is allowed.
- The Order of the Hearing Panel dated April 30, 2009 is set aside.
- A new hearing before a different Hearing Panel is hereby ordered. The matter is to be expedited.
No reason is given for the decision, but based on my reading of the history of this proceeding I suspect the appeal was granted based on procedural grounds. It is quite likely the decision of the next panel will be the same, but I’ll be checking back to see the results.
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