Do you remember that alleged case the Honey Badger Brigade was allegedly planning to bring against the Calgary Expo?
In case your memory needs refreshing: the Honey Badgers — a mostly female antifeminist “brigade” closely associated with A Voice for Men — were tossed out of the Expo earlier this year after they showed up flying the banner of GamerGate. The Badgers threatened to sue, and somehow managed to raise a little over $30,000 to pay for their possible legal expenses.
Then they went silent on the whole suit thing for a looong time.
Today they announced (archived here) that they’d hired a fellow named Harry Kopyto as their “legal council” [sic], paying him a retainer of $3500. As one of the Badgers — apparently head Badger Alison Tieman — explained on their web page:
Wait. He’s a what kind of lawyer, exactly?
Ohhh. A disbarred lawyer. A lawyer who is specifically prohibited from practicing law.
Huh. How exactly did Mr. Kopyto get disbarred? According to Wikipedia:
In 1989, Kopyto was charged with professional misconduct by the Law Society of Upper Canada for allegedly overbilling the province’s legal aid plan by $150,000 over a three-year period. …
Among the findings of the tribunal hearing the case were that it was physically impossible for Mr. Kopyto to have billed the sums he did as the times billed exceeded the hours in the day.
Kopyto’s defense? He hadn’t meant to overbill. It’s just that, you know, he didn’t really keep proper records, so when it came time for him to “guess” the amount of time he had worked for some of his accounts, he had just guessed wrong. Oops! Hey, in some cases he (probably) underbilled!
No, really. That was his argument.
Kopyto is also prohibited from working as a paralegal in Ontario. As Wikipedia explains:
In February 2015, the law society’s tribunal issued its decision denying Koptyo’s application for a paralegal license due to concerns that Kopyto is “ungovernable” though conceding his generosity and devotion to his clients. Tribunal chair Margot Blight wrote in her decision that “Mr. Kopyto continues to be an enigma” in that “He insists that he supports the rule of law, while asserting that he, and his clients, are entitled to disregard legal rules willy nilly (sic) when conscience so dictates.”
Though unlicensed, Kopyto continues to advise clients and seeks standing to represent them at tribunals and hearings
I can’t help but be reminded of the dynamic meth-making duo in Breaking Bad, who decided to hire a lawyer who was a criminal as their criminal lawyer.
Tieman has been kept busy trying to explain just why they hired a disbarred lawyer as their “legal council” [sic]. Her main argument? The case will take place in Alberta, where paralegal work is unregulated, so technically he can still research stuff for them, or something, even though he remains in Toronto. where he’s not legally allowed to do paralegal work. [UPDATE: Turns out her legal argument may not hold water; see end of this post for more.]
Tieman insists there really will be a case, honest!
It’s all so very ethical.
And pretty fucking hilarious. Though probably a bit less so to those who actually donated money to the Badgers.
Since we’re talking about the Badgers, I feel I should remind you all of The We Hunted the Mammoth “Legal” Fund to Spite the Honey Badger Brigade, which is still taking donations.
I pledge not to hire any disbarred lawyers. Instead, I will use the money for snacks and other important “legal” things, by which I mean things that as far as I know are legal for me to do (like buying snacks). I will also use some of the money to feed my “legal council,” one Sweetie P. Jonus, Esq.
If you donate, please specify that your donation is intended “to spite the Honey Badgers.”
The last I checked, I was only $39,529 short of my arbitrary $40,000 goal. THANKS TO ALL WHO DONATED. And to those who donated to charity instead of to me.
UPDATE: It looks like paralegaling in Alberta isn’t quite as unregulated as Tieman thinks it is. In the comments here, someone called J.C. has pointed me to a web page explaining How to Become a Paralegal in Alberta. Turns out that paralegals working in Alberta need to do so under the supervision of a lawyer. Here’s what the page says; I’ve bolded the especially relevant bits:
At this time, paralegals in Alberta are not regulated, meaning that they do not need to pass an examination or meet minimum training/educational standards to be able to work lawfully as paralegals. Thus aspiring paralegals may begin their careers through on-the-job training or by seeking post-secondary education.However, paralegals are required to work under the supervision of a lawyer and avoid activities that might be regarded as unauthorized practice of law. For example, paralegals are not permitted to represent people in court. Paralegals may conduct legal research, submit registration documents to the appropriate agencies, and assist with certain types of legal matters, including trial cases, under the supervision of a lawyer.
Huh. Does Kopyto have a lawyer supervising his work for the Honey Badgers?
H/T — Sarah Nyberg (@srhbutts), whom you really should be following on Twitter