The History of Agro Zaffiro - Hamilton Law Association

The History of Agro Zaffiro Since 1949 - Table of Contents The Beginnings of a Firm 1 The Men Behind Agro Zaffiro .2 - John L. Agro - Nicholas Zaffiro - John Parente - Edward Orzel - William Hubar The Early Days: Trials and Tribulations ..7 The Fledgling Firm Takes Flight .....9 The Cases: Trial by Fire .....12 - Jon Rallo, 1977 - The Steelworker case, 1985 - Jeffery Thomas, 1989 A Flourishing Firm .20 A Long-Standing Commitment ......21 - Supporting Hamilton - The Italian-Canadian Community The Students of Agro Zaffiro ..24 The Beginnings of a Firm Started in 1949 by a young man named John Agro, Agro Zaffiro has become one of the most influential, and best reputed private law firms in the city of Hamilton. Known for their diligence in achieving the best possible ends for their clients, Agro Zaffiro began with little more than a man, some experience, and a vast amount of determination. Among the earliest members of the firm and with John Agro were Donald Cooper, Nicholas Zaffiro, John Parente, Edward Orzel and William Hubar. These six men came together to create a law firm which grew to flourish in the highly competitive arenas of criminal law and civil litigation, personal injury, corporate/commercial and real-estate. All coming from different backgrounds, but sharing a passion for justice and the law, these men created a legacy of fairness and accomplishment in their profession. The firm they began in the mid-50s, its highs, lows, people and battles are chronicled over the following pages to provide both those inside the firm, past present and future associates, partners and clients with a glimpse into the journey of one Hamilton based firm which started as little more than the hope of a few men, and grew into a full-fledged law firm capable of handling claims of all measures. The Men Behind Agro Zaffiro John L. Agro: John Agro, whose parents hailed from the South of Italy, was born

in 1919. He attended St. Michaels College, and obtained his BA from the University of Toronto. After his time in Toronto, Agro graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School, and was called to the Bar in 1949. A student returned from the war, John Agro had achieved the rank of Lieutenant while serving in France. Although offered the position of Captain, upon returning to England, Agro declined the promotion for the opportunity to remain in France. This experience gave Agro a firm understanding of hard work and dedication and a sense of standing behind ones own people. deem him in later years. Inside the courtroom, Agro was hailed by former articling student, Roger Yachett, as possessing, great integrity in the practice of law, fearless in protection of his client's interests. He would not yield easily -- if at all -- and he stood up to judges and opposing counsels. If John Agro turned up on the other side , you knew you were in for a tough fight. This intensity in his pursuit of justice was recognized in 1959, when Agro became the first lawyer of Italian background to be named Queens Counsel, and again in 1983 when he was elected bencher in the Law Society of Upper Canada. Attracting early clientele with his keen attitude towards fighting hard for the rights of his clients, early won notoriety gained by taking on challenging, high profile cases, and Working in his early days as a new John Agro always had a reputation lawyer with Gerard Kennedy, and for being a good Donald Cooper, Agro and Kennedy criminal lawyer soon parted ways in 1954, as Agro and a good civil began to take the direction of the firm into his own hands. Hiring on a young litigation lawyer. and ambitious law student, Nicholas He was well Zaffiro, straight out of law school, respected in the Agro created the foundations of a law profession and as firm capable of handling a wide range a person of clients needs, that would grow to - Mr. Nicholas Zaffiro. earn itself a strong standing in the city partner

of Hamilton. Specializing in litigation and criminal law himself, he insisted that his new student take on the commercial end of the budding firm. From this moment on, Agro established himself as the benevolent dictator his team of lawyers would strong links to the Italian community, Agro knew not only how to attain results in a courtroom, but how to earn the respect and attention of those around him in the community as well. As his first student, Nick Zaffiro recollects, Agro himself had much to do with his own pursuit of a career in law. I used to see him walking uptown in the mornings all dressed up, looking quite dapper - he was a good looking man. I always imagined that when I was a lawyer Id look as dapper as he did. Not only known for his striking business courtroom, Agro has always been a beacon of advocacy and education on the behalf of others inside the firms walls as well. Current partner, Dale Parayeski recalls, He was terrific to work for. John could be very critical of you in private, but when it came to anyone else, be it someone within the firm or God help, someone outside the firm, he was very defensive of the people who worked with him, and treated you marvelously It gave you a real sense of confidence and made you feel like you were part of a team. I dont think that there are many lawyers like that - I don't know if there were many lawyers like that at all back then, and today I'm sure there are almost none. Agros involvement not only with the practice of law, but in a wide range of endeavours established him firmly as a productive and valued member of the Hamilton community. Described as being, larger than life, in 1965 Agro became one of the founders of the Canadian Football League Players Association, in 1976 was appointed the Chairman of the Hamilton Harbour Commission, and in 1984 was proclaimed Hamiltons Italian-Canadian Citizen of the Year. As former federal cabinet minister and long-time friend John Munro said of Agro, `He had that rich mix of guts and

compassion that, to my mind, has always epitomized Hamilton. He was totally mixed in the fabric of Hamilton.' This mindset, along with his dedication to his clients, employees and community are what set John Agro out among the many lawyers and law firms in the area. Although no longer with us, his reputation and values live on in the firm which he created. Nicholas Zaffiro: Nicholas Zaffiro was born in Hamilton in 1930 to parents of Italian descent. He attended Cathedral High School and obtained his B.A. in history and economics from McMaster University in 1951. In 1954, during his third year at Osgoode Hall Law School, Zaffiro was approached by former articling employer John Agro and offered a position. Since articling with Agro in 1952, Zaffiro had earned himself a place in Agros mind as a hardworking youth with a keen mind and an equally keen interest and foothold in the Italian-Canadian community. Seeing in Zaffiro the potential to add to the new firms dedication both to intense advocacy and their Italian clientele, Agro presented him with the opportunity to be the first of Agros students, on the condition that he practice commercial law, providing balance to the firm. Although not what Zaffiro had originally intended upon doing, he decided that he would accept Agros offer, and began working as Agros first commercial lawyer upon being called to the Bar in1955. Only two years later, at the age of 27, Zaffiros devotion to the novice firm was rewarded as the first partnership was formed: Agro, Cooper, Zaffiro. From this point on Zaffiro was not only one of Agros most important real-estate and estate lawyers, but a trusted partner and companion. Nick Zaffiro is widely considered, in the eyes of his young lawyers, to be a model of the balanced individual. Dividing his time between his avid practice of law and his passion for helping the Italian-Canadian population become productive members of the Hamilton community. Zaffiros list of achievements both in the legal field and

outside are staggering. Ranging from his involvement with The Sons of Italy, serving as its Lodge President 1958 -1959, and Provincial President in 1961-1965, to his appointment to Queens counsel in 1969 for his dedication and excellence in the field of law, Zaffiro has proven himself capable of contributing to every facet of life. His pursuit of bettering the community not only through legal achievements but also through concerted effort with a wide selection of local and national affiliations have resulted in Zaffiro being presented with both an award from the Italian government for his efforts to better relations between Canada and Italy, and the Canadian Centennial Medal and Queens Silver Jubilee Medal in 1967, and 1977 respectively, and his being named Hamiltons Italian Canadian Citizen of the Year in 1967. Nick Zaffiros strength of character, his professional skills and his untiring devotion to his city and country have earned him the respect and admiration of his peers, friends and family. Nick Zaffiros tireless efforts to unite - Sons of Italy Newsletter, individuals and2005 his attitude towards those around him were among the most valued lessons he taught his students. Charles Criminisi, a current partner of the firm said of Zaffiro, He taught me a lot about how to be a gentlemanly, compassionate, civilized kind of lawyer. The type of lawyer that people would look up to and respect And also how to give back to the community. It was this good-natured manner that Zaffiro brought to the firm, not just his ability in the legal profession, that provided a unique balance within the firm, and a great respect and admiration from those in the

community at large. John Parente: Only Agros second articling student, John Parente proved to be a strong colleague for Nicholas Zaffiro, as the two were assigned to handle the commercial side of the firms dealings. Articling with the new firm from 1955-1956, Parente joined Agro Zaffiro as a junior lawyer in due course after being called to the Bar in 1957. Focusing heavily in the field of land development law, Parente is viewed by many of his younger associates as the polar opposite of companion and firm partner Nicholas Zaffiro. Zaffiros outgoing, direct approach to mentoring often showed in stark contrast to Parentes more introverted tendencies. His quiet demeanour, and self-guided style of working provided students with the opportunity to work independently and test their limits and uncertainties. This type of experience complimented Zaffiros closeleashed, carefully guided method giving Though quiet around the office, Parente was no less of a threat in his area of expertise. Only 19 years after Agro became the first Italian-Canadian to earn the honour, John Parente was appointed Queens Counsel in 1978. Active as well in the community, John Parente followed in Zaffiros footsteps becoming the president of the Sons of Italy, and acting as the Director for Son of Italy (Hamilon) Housing Corporation beginning in 1980. John Parentes unobtrusive and professional attitude never hindered the abilities of his students to feel his genuine concern for their well-being and success. Not only standing up to take a lead in bettering the community, but also encouraging young associates to work through cases using their own intelligence, made Parente not only a contributing citizen and a good lawyer, but a great producer of capable, students with great integrity for future generations. Edward J. Orzel: Edward Orzel, among the earliest

partners of Agro Zaffiro, graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School. After articling with Agro from 1957-1958, Orzel was called to the Bar in 1959. Described as, a superb litigator... a very generous person and a leader both of his firm, Hamilton lawyers, and indeed of the Ontario Bar, Edward Orzel was not only a leader in the community, including being a key sponsor of the Hamilton Polonia Soccer Club, but also to the younger lawyers of the Agro Zaffiro firm. Remembered now by a number of his students as a great mentor, Orzels willingness to stand behind his young associates is a quality which will never be forgotten . Ed was a wonderful man to work for. He would stand behind you. - Ms. McKague, partner Unwilling to waver in the face of opposition, many found Orzel an unmovable force in court. He was often characterized by his undying persistence on certain points, if he felt confident in his claims. Orzels great support and encouragement for his fellow associates, and his intense focus in the courtroom leave an everlasting impression both on those whom he defeated at trial, and even more notably to those who he helped achieve all of their greatest aspirations. William Hubar: First joining the firm as an articling student from1962-1963, William Hubar became part of the firms then strong criminal practice after being called to the

Bar. Capable of working in both the criminal and civil litigation realms, Hubar became an invaluable member of the Agro Zaffiro family from early in his career. Showing great aptitude for the law, and a natural assertiveness in the court room, Hubar found himself senior lawyer on one of Hamiltons biggest cases, the Rallo murder trial. Hubar not only worked hard, but played hard as well. He fit in easily with the outgoing, boisterous and eager young men of Agro Zaffiro, and only added to the sense of camaraderie between them. "Bill Hubar was a superb lawyer. He fascinated me because he was able to do civil litigation and criminal work." - Dale Parayeski, partner William Hubar is not only remembered for his strength in court, but also his mix of hard work and fun-loving attitude. Although Hubar was among the most challenged and pressured of Agros lawyers in court, and one of the most excitable in personality, Mr. Parayeski recalls that, in spite of all that, his files were always in absolutely immaculate condition it was a pleasure to work with Bill. The Early Days: Trials and Tribulations The early partners of Agro Zaffiro, along with being highly capable lawyers, had a unique approach to the practice of law. Bringing to their profession an overwhelming sense of camaraderie and sincerity, the early partners treated their office as more of a second family than a place of business. This bond, shared between the founders and their early associates gave the members of Agro Zaffiro a closeness and pleasure in their work that is very unique. With this strong foundation of senior partners, Agro Zaffiro was prepared to start growing and expanding its horizons. Taking on more and more intensive, high profile cases, the firm was gaining

notoriety, and began to challenge its younger associates. of them to have been the most important and valuable part of their education. I think one of the most difficult things to learn is how to be adversarial without losing your friendship with them [the opposing counsel], suggests Frank DeSantis, adding, because youre just doing your job. With this abrupt education, however, came a complete array of massively capable lawyers, both hard working in preparation for a case, and quick on their feet when in front of a judge or jury. These lawyers, learning from experience, generated a plethora of precedents, skills and advice and became invaluable sources for the following generation of associates. Regardless of difficult adaptation and expectations awaiting new "The lawyers in arrivals, Agro Zaffiro was this firm were growing steadily in size, friends. They and beginning to hung out accommodate more and together, they more lawyers and clients. The senior lawyers, although unwaveringly present for their juniors when needed for advice or guidance, found their hands abundantly full, leaving many of got in trouble the small cases to the newest However, with this together, they additions to the firm. Finding natural progression of worked very themselves thrown into court growth comes one of loss. within a short period of their very hard... John Agro, at the age arrival, then new lawyers, such - Mr. Francis DeSantis of 73, retired in 1992, as Michael Baker and Francis DeSantis, leaving the firm he created to fly on its received what they now affectionately look

own. With the departure of Agro came a back on as their baptism by fire. Partner difficult time for the firm. Now in the Michael Baker recalls his early days with hands of a greater number of partners, the firm, [O]n a Friday night you'd be told though none with the direct claim to you start work on a new case on Monday authority which Agro held, a number of morning... you learned in a hurry. This important members of the Agro Zaffiro brand of education, although trying on the family took their leave. Within a short young individuals, is now credited by many time of John Agros retirement, David Dempster, then partner and son-in-law to Agro left the firm, along with Agros two daughters, lawyer Marjoh and assistant Brenda. the firm to deal with. They would need to rebalance their services, and train new lawyers for the needs of the firm. These absences also threw the firm off balance. Since the early days, the firm tried to maintain evenly distributed commercial litigation, corporate commercial law and litigation sides to provide clients with all of their legal needs. Unfortunately, the now absent lawyers fell almost entirely into the litigation field, creating a new problem for Though these departures were felt heavily by those in the firm who had come to think of their co-workers as extended family, Agro Zaffiro carried on, working through this period, sensing the light at the end of the tunnel was just around the corner. First written partnership agreement, 1980 The Fledging Firm Takes Flight Relying on each other for support, guidance and understanding, the partners of Agro Zaffiro began to learn how to capably manage their growing and changing firm without losing the sense of family that had always characterized the firm and was so cherished by its members. possessing a great deal of character. Michael Bakers numerous successes in the legal

profession have added substantially to the firms notoriety and reputation for diligence and achievement. By welcoming new associates into the firms partnership, Agro Zaffiro was able to reestablish its goals and hierarchy to better suit itself for meeting the needs of their clients. Amongst the changes, lawyers Michael Baker and Francis DeSantis became more senior partners, making room for the younger Ian Newcombe, Dale Parayeski, Charles Criminisi, Vanda Santini, David Elliot, Peter Volaric, Kathryn McKague and Jeffrey Naganobu to be appointed junior partners. The Partners: Michael Baker attended St. Annes school and boarded at St. Michaels High school before attending Assumption College (now Windsor University). After being called to the Bar in 1972, Baker joined the firm when John Agro, disregarding criticism from his partners, saw in the young Baker a talent for the law. Working with his head to the grind stone in his early days with the firm, Baker shrugged off the critics, and used his confidence and forceful style to work for his clients. Since his start with Agro Zaffiro, Baker has established himself as one of the most prominent, intelligent and hard fighting lawyers in the Hamilton area, as well as one Joining the partnership of the firm in 1980, Francis DeSantis quickly became one of the firms top commercial litigators. Upon being called to the Bar in 1976, DeSantis was hired on by John Agro, after an interview consisting of Agros open, straight-forward approach, I've picked a lot of juries in my day, and I think you're going to make a good lawyer. Do you want a job?. Agros instinct proved true yet again, as DeSantis was challenged early by junioring on such high-profile, demanding cases as the Rallo Murder trial and being greatly involved with keeping the Century 21 building viable and one of the highest monetary reward cases of the day. Finding himself in the courtroom with high regularity from his earliest days at the firm, along with his senior lawyers tendency to put him on the spot in court, DeSantis learned very rapidly to feel comfortable on his feet. This skill, which he views as, though stressful, integral to the creation of a good litigator, is one that the senior partners at Agro Zaffiro have never been hesitant to

teach their young pupils. Ian Newcombe articled at Agro Zaffiro, and was invited back in 1980 after being called to the Bar. Newcombe is among the most widely experienced lawyers at Agro Zaffiro, not only being active inside the court room, but in the community as well. Achieving acclaim early in his career after junioring on the successful Jeffery Thomas case, Newcombe has lectured at an expansive collection of locations in the greater Hamilton area, sharing his knowledge in a wide array of fields, perhaps most notable in personal injury litigation and liability. Becoming a partner, Newcombe now is among the leaders of Agro Zaffiro. With his strong personality and stellar reputation for obtaining the desired results in court, Newcombe is an essential member of the Agro Zaffiro family. Joining the firm in 1980, Dale Parayeski had intentions of becoming an estate lawyer for Agro Zaffiro. However, with a market collapse while Parayeski was studying to be called to the Bar, John Agro designated Parayeski to litigation work upon his return to the firm. While articling with Agro Zaffiro, Parayeski recollects the rotation system used to, allow students to wet their feet in a number of different areas of law fondly, suggesting it greatly helped prepare him for his late switch into a new field of law. Although not his original goal, Dale Parayeski has achieved great success in litigation, and continues to provide not only wide spread support to his partners, but also to the community-at-large, sitting on a wide array of boards and councils and practicing pro bono work. Charles Criminisi joined the firm in 1983 after graduating from Osgoode Hall Law School earlier the same year. Acting in a number of different capacities in his early days at the firm, Criminisi finally settled in commercial litigation, corporate and estate law. Following in Nicholas Zaffiros footsteps, the Italian speaking Criminisi was able to continue the tradition at Agro Zaffiro for dedication to the Italian-Canadian community in Hamilton, not only through legal advocacy, but also through his intensive involvement with the Sons of Italy. Criminisis contribution to the firm is not only shown in his legal endeavours, but

through his instruction. Acting as a mentor to many of the young lawyers at the firm, and lecturing in the community, Criminisi is one of the major guiding forces passing on timehonoured traditions of camaraderie and devotion and leading Agro Zaffiro into the future. As only the second woman to become a partner at Agro Zaffiro, Vanda Santini has displayed her immense competence and willingness to work hard at her profession. A tireless advocate for her clients, Santini has earned a wide spread reputation for not backing down to opposing counsel. Working primarily in the personal injury and insurance fields, Santini has acted not only as a devout, hard working partner for the firm, but also as a role model for younger female lawyers hoping to attain such a position in their future. After articling with the Agro Zaffiro from 1985-1986, David Elliot was welcomed on as a new lawyer, and rose to the rank of partner. Achieving impressive grades in high school, graduating as the student president and valedictorian in his year at B.C.I., and moving on to become the head of his fraternity, Phi Delta Phi, at Osgoode Hall, Elliot maintains these high standards in his practice of law. Elliots focus and aptitude for knowledge and legal precedent make him an excellent addition to the Agro Zaffiro team, capable of working and learning independently or guiding others. Called to the Bar in 1988, Peter Volaric added another friendly, humourous voice to the firms family. Specializing in insurance litigation, primarily in the areas of first party and subrogation claims, Volaric is known for his diligence to his work and his outgoing demeanour. Joining the firm full-time after being called to the Bar, Volaric has added to the strong team of partners at Agro Zaffiro, and has contributed his knowledge at a number of lecturing opportunities. Spending her summer working in a courthouse, Kathryn McKague came to the conclusion that Agro Zaffiro was the premiere law firm to work for in the Hamilton area. After being called to the bar in 1989, McKague came on at Agro Zaffiro to work in matrimonial law and personal injury. During her early day at the firm, McKague had the opportunity to work alongside John

Agro and Edward Orzel, including accompanying them on a number of their trials. She was quickly entrusted with junioring on a number of important cases including the Jeffery Thomas case, and with the guidance of fellow partner Michael prized barristers. Showing a great skill for balancing her work and personal life, McKague holds the respect of her co-workers and clients alike, and is proud to be a female partner at the firm. As the youngest partner of Agro Zaffiro, Jeffrey Naganobu has impressed his predecessors at every turn. Working in the personal injury and litigation fields, Naganobu is a welcome addition to the Agro Zaffiro community. Outgoing and energetic, Naganobu also understands the importance of getting involved with the community, and volunteers his time with a number of institutions including acting as the president of the Canadian Japanese Cultural Centre in Hamilton. These new partners soon realized that even without their benevolent dictatorship, headed up by the illustrious, forward-thinking Agro, they could maintain the order and efficiency of the firm. By approaching the leadership as more of a democracy, the new partners were able to better intergrate the thoughts and concerns of all the firms members. In June of 1989 the firm moved from its original office on of the 38th floor and 39th floor of the Century 21 building in downtown Hamilton to its current James Street address. Taking up two full floors on the 4th and 5th stories, this new location was able to accommodate the re-organized and thriving firm. The result of this turbulent time was a firm with a greater number of partners, which would be better suited to handling a greater number of associates, and a growing clientele. Along with this, Agro Zaffiro could now pride itself on having a direction not dictated by one man, but rather influence by the entire firm family. The Cases: Trial by Fire Although most noted for their expertise in civil and commercial litigation, and real-estate and estates law, Agro Zaffiro has had a diverse history including some of the most well-known, trying cases ever to see the courtrooms of Hamilton. A few of these cases that stood out from the daily accomplishments of Agro Zaffiro are detailed over the next few

pages - providing a glimpse into the legal history and social atmosphere of Hamilton, Ontario throughout the last 50 years. The Rallo Murders In late summer of 1976, two young boys, while playing near the waters-edge at Twenty Mile Creek in Jordan, stumbled across the dead body of Stephanie Rallo floating in the water. Stephanie, age 5, had been reported missing by father Jon Rallo, along with her brother John Jason, age 7, and mother Sandra Rallo, age 29. Upon discovering the young Stephanies body, apparently strangled and thrown, weighted, into the river, on the 18th of August, a full out investigation was started to locate John Jason and Sandra. By the 20th of August, Jon Rallo, husband and father to the missing family, and well-established city employee, was charged with murder of his youngest child. It was late on a Friday afternoon when a young Francis DeSantis received a call from a concerned relative of one Jon Rallo, who informed DeSantis that Rallo had been taken to a Hamilton police station, and was in need of an attorney. DeSantis, only just called to the Bar several months prior, headed down to the jail to provide assistance to the detained Rallo. After meeting briefly with Rallo he suggested the best course of action to take would be for Rallo to refuse to answer any further questions, and for him to leave alongside Mr. DeSantis. Upon attempting to follow this advice, Mr. Rallo was detained further by the police, and instructed that he was not allowed to leave. As a youthful, justice-seeking lawyer, this infraction of law outraged DeSantis, however he was pulled aside by a familiar police officer, who suggested he return to the office and attempt to contact one of the firms prominent lawyers such as John Agro or William Hubar. However, as Mr. DeSantis recollects ironically, this would prove easier said than done. Upon DeSantiss return to the office he found, it now being late on a Friday afternoon, that neither Mr. Agro nor Mr. Hubar were anywhere to be found. After some frantic searching, at around 8:30 pm DeSantis was finally able to locate Mr. Hubar at a golf course, and inform him he would need to return to the office. The trial

commenced in late March, 1977, with Rallo standing accused of the murders of his daughter, son and wife after his wifes body was found eight days after his daughters. It was comprised of defense lawyers, Senior lawyer Bill Hubar and Junior lawyer Frank DeSantis, Crown Attorney Anton Zuraw, and Justice John Gerald Joseph ODriscoll. The now infamous trial lasted for 16 days, and spanned just five days short of 16 months. It was characterized by some of the most chilling facts, peculiar explanations, and cold-hearted expressions from the accused seen inside the courtrooms of Hamilton. As the case continued, evidence such as blood spatters at the family home, marks on the hands of the accused, and missing items from the Rallo house, piled up in favour of the Crown, but Rallo continued vehemently to deny accusations against him, stating, I cannot tell you something I dont know, when asked about the location of his son, John Jasons body. highs and lows during the proceedings, however the trying nature and content of the trial was one that would stay with the lawyer for the rest of his life. According to his wishes, lawyers Bill Hubar and Frank DeSantis defended their client avidly until the trial finally came to a close in December 1977, and the fate of the accused was left in the hands of the jury. The Rallo murder trial marked one of Hamiltons most notorious and demanding trials of all time, and one that was hard fought by the lawyers on both sides. However, with the the staggering amount of evidence against defendant Jon Rallo, the case concluded with his conviction on the charges of murdering his wife and two children, and he was sentenced to life imprisonment without eligibility for parole for 25 years. As of 2006, Jon Rallo still remains behind bars, having his attempts at appeal and parole denied. Parole board members pointed to Rallos refusal to admit to his crimes, and the subsequent lack of remorse such actions suggest, as a key reason

behind their renewed denial of his claim to parole. Throughout the trial, Hubar was praised as an articulate and unflappable lawyer. He claimed that for the entirety of the case, his main drive was the basic and essential principle that a man is innocent until proven guilty and insisted that the public nature of the case did nothing to distract his attention from that belief. Hubar also insisted that he did not allow himself to become emotional, but conceded that he experienced various Timeline August 18, 1976 - Stephanie Rallos body found at Twenty Mile Creek August 19 - Jon Rallo charged with the murder of his daughter August 26 - Sandra Rallos body found in Welland Canal, Jon Rallo charged with two additional counts of murder for wife and son December 24 - Rallo released on $100,000 dollar bail March 31, 1977 - Rallo ordered to stand trial on three counts of noncapital murder November 21 - Trial begins December 5 - Lawyers for both sides make their final pleas December 14 - Rallo sentenced to life imprisonment without eligibility for parole for 25 years The Rallo Murders: Scrapbook The Steelworker Case 1985 saw one of Agro Zaffiros most successful civil litigation victories. After a steel worker was injured in a car accident, the firms own Francis DeSantis was called in to defend the rights of the victim, and fight for compensation. The man had been seriously injured while driving, and as a result was no longer able to work. This lack of income was of substantial importance to his life and family. Having two sons, both of whom only years away from attending university , and attempting to save for his familys future, the middle aged man depended heavily on a triumph in his suit. Although the policy was to compensate the victim for $500, 000 at the time of the accident, the defendants would not settle out of court for any sum. Although DeSantis admits now that had he been

offered a mere $150, 000 by the opposition at the time, he and his client would have accepted, however the defendants made the unwise decision to face DeSantis in the courtroom. Fighting with the brand of ferocity that has come to characterize the Agro Zaffiro firm and its associates, DeSantis battled his way through what became a two to three week long trial. After this unusually lengthy trial, DeSantis and his client were pronounced the victors, and received compensation to the tune of $650, 000. This became, at that time, the highest sum awarded to any victim in the area. With this victory, the plaintiff was able to continue raising his family, and have both of his children attend university and progress on to successful lives - one of which going on to become a lawyer himself. DeSantis was not only proud of his great accomplishment in the courtroom and his field of law, but also to help a client lead a prosperous life for his family. DeSantis now considers the personal side of such matters among the greatest successes awaiting a lawyer - Lawyers have a huge impact on peoples lives sometimes you make a lifetime friend too. Jeffery Thomas Case In 1989 three of Agro Zaffiros most capable personal injury lawyers found themselves in court facing a trial worth four million dollars. A high school student by the name of Jeffery Thomas had been playing football for his school when he received one particularly forceful tackled, and did not get up. This injury rendered the young Thomas a quadriplegic. Star litigator Edward Orzel, with 30 years of experience in the field, was retained by the school board and coaches to defend the accusations that their poor preparation and guidance was the cause of Thomass unfortunate accident and the terrible outcome it resulted in. Co-counsel on the intense and momentous case was then nine year lawyer Ian Newcombe, with first year lawyer Kathryn McKague preparing much of the material and rounding out the three lawyer defense team. The major issues facing Orzel and his

team were the accusations by the plaintiff that the school board and coaches had not adequately warned Thomas and his family, nor any of the families of the football players, of the serious risk participating in the sport presented of injury, including injury resulting in paralysis or even death, and the first aid administered on site by fireman captain Vandernacker. The young Newcombe was charged with handling the second of these allegations, and called on Vandernackers extensive experience in first aid and situations of neck injury. It was argued that the longtime fireman had actually rendered Thomas quadriplegic after removing the young mans helmet on the field. Newcombe argued that although not having much experience with victims baring helmets, Vandernacker handled the situation appropriately basing this claim on the information that Thomass helmet had been partically knocked off by the initial blow, and as such it was not possible to stabilize the young mans head without completely removing the safety device. The other key accusation, that Thomas and his family had not been properly informed of the danger present, was handled by the more experienced Orzel, and proved to be a risky gamble as Orzel pitched a potentially four million dollar case against his instinct in the courtroom. A hard and fast rule in the legal community is that a lawyer never asks a question in a crossexamination unless he or she knows the outcome - the examiner must know and be able to prove the answer to any question asked if the trial is to be safely won. After painstakingly scripting out the cross-examination of Jeffery Thomas, lawyers Ian Newcombe and Kathryn McKague were left confused and terrified as they heard head defense lawyer Edward Orzel, after a short pause, begin to stray from the speech. Orzel, however, appeared absolutely calm and collected as he took this risk. Carefully regarding the young Mr. Thomas throughout the trial, Orzel had come to the conclusion that he felt Thomas was a deeply honest person, who would tell the truth even knowing that it would hinder his case. Taking this leap of faith based on his intuition, Orzel took the chance and asked the plaintiff, Even if you had known all the risks of playing the game, you would have played anyway wouldnt you?.

Orzels instincts proved right as Thomas looked toward him and acknowledged that, Mr. Orzel, youre right. I would have played anyway. This move on Orzels part contributed greatly to the case culminating in victory for the defense. The tragedy that resulted in Jeffery Thomas being rendered quadriplegic was precisely that, a tragedy, however the school board, coaches, and first aid workers were not held responsible for the terrible accident due to Orzels bold examination style and defense work, and his teams dedicated efforts and resilience. As a partner of Agro Zaffiro since 1980, Ian Newcombe recalls this trial and Orzels attitude vividly. [A]ll because Orzel had the guts to try something that broke all the rules because he had an instinct that he could get that answer because he sized up the witness as an honest guy that was going to tell the truth to this, Newcombe and his associates attribute greatly the success of their defense work on this invaluable case. A Flourishing Firm Agro Zaffiro has gained a reputation for excellence and achievement throughout Hamilton and the surrounding region. Through the efforts and hard work of the now more than 20 lawyers, with a combined total of over 350 years of experience, the future of the firm is looking ever brighter. Zaffiro is able to return the support they have received from the city and prove they have not forgotten their roots. The members of Agro Zaffiro continue to strive to enhance the Italian-Canadian community and Hamilton City at large. By maintaining efforts such as Villa Italia and their work in the legal and lecturing arenas, Agro Using the same brand of dedication to their work and community and setting high standards on their students, Agro Zaffiro is proud and prepared to continue serving the greater Hamilton area, and all of Ontario. The senior partners also carry on the strong tradition at Agro Zaffiro for helping young lawyers attain their full potential. By being approachable mentors, the partners With the entire staff totaling close to 60 people, are able to better train the following Agro Zaffiro has expanded its offices, now generations, and create an atmosphere bridging the fourth, fifth and soon to be half of

conducive to the familial the tenth floors of their James St. sense that Agro Zaffiro has "One of the great location. Their expanding success maintained throughout its things about is reflected in their recently metamorphosis. practicing in this updated look. A new level of class With the blend of highly firm is you have a and sophistication was added to the experienced partners and wealth of offices in 2005 with the redecoration eager young associates, of their space, allowing them to better experience." Agro Zaffiro fas conquered represent their clients. - Mr. DeSantis, the challenge of bringing their young, partner traditionalist firm into the vast and However, Agro Zaffiros dedication to competitive field of modern day Hamilton their clients and the community alike has not law. changed with their appearance. We encourage even the young lawyers to pursue other interests, and not just be one dimensional A Long-Standing Commitment - Mr. Charles Criminisi Throughout its history Agro Zaffiro has maintained a standard not only in their practice of law, but also in their commitment to the community. The lawyers of Agro Zaffiro see the value of giving back to a city which has stood by them, and have an unparalleled record for involvement in a wide range of volunteer work including participating in the Rotary Club, the Hamilton Law Association, the Advocates Society and performing a wide variety of

lecturing and instructing for law students, as well as being a major contributing force to such community organizations as The Sons of Italy, Festitalia and Villa Italia. Started by the entrepreneurial John Agro and keenly pursued by Nicholas Zaffiro, the staff of Agro Zaffiro have maintained the tradition of giving back to the community they love. The Legal Community: Il Bibliotecaro - The Librarian Statue Donated to the City of Hamilton by the Italian-Canadian Community, stands outside the Hamilton Public Library From volunteering their time with organizations such as the Advocates Society, the Canadian Bar Association, The Hamilton Medical-Legal Society and an array of pro bono work, to lecturing at locations such as The Hamilton Law Association, the Rotary Club, McMaster University and a number of local hospitals, the staff of Agro Zaffiro provide an ever-present voice in Hamilton, and all across the greater Toronto area. As part of their interest in aiding the community, Agro Zaffiro helps new generations of lawyers find their start in the legal community both by hiring an unprecedented number of articling students, and instructing courses outside of the firm. One such educator, partner Francis DeSantis, has taught advocacy at the Bar Administration course for more than 15 years. DeSantis describes his time teaching advocacy to young lawyers as very fulfilling and considers his time spent with these empty canvasses, as he refers to them, as very interesting, and credits such activities with providing a different perspective on matters important to his field and growth as a person. Also taking part in a wide variety of mentoring positions, Agro Zaffiro partner Charles Criminisi has taught courses in legal procedure and continues to lecture and direct law students both inside and outside of the firm. This kind of active participation in all facets of the study of law, started by the first partners, is carried on by each new generation to maintain the tone set at Agro Zaffiro: that ones duty to their profession should not end when they leave the office, but rather that each individual should always try to broaden his or her horizons both inside and outside of the practice of law. The Italian-Canadian Community charitable events. By setting a positive example in the community, members of Agro Zaffiro are able to encourage and guide younger members of the community to achieving their goals and prospering in Canada. The Sons of Italy The Sons of Italy is an international organization designed with the purpose of uniting individuals of Italian descent outside of Italy, and making them active participants in their new environments. Sons of Italy, Canada, recognizes its goals as assisting the needy, ill and disabled, encouraging members of the Italian Canadian community to challenge discrimination and actively involve themselves in the workings of the community and promoting and preserving the Italian language, culture and traditions. A large number of the staff of Agro

Zaffiro are members of the local Although I Branch of the Sons of Italy, learned a great (Trieste Lodge) and many have deal about provided great support and leaderprofessionalism in the practice ship by holding acclaimed positions of law during such as: Provincial President, my (Mr.Zaffiro, 1961-1965), National President, (Charles Criminisi, 1995-1999) and member of the Board of Directors of the articling term, I also learned a great deal about life, humanity and the need to give and take. - Mr. Roger Yachetti, articling student of Agro Zaffiro Sons of Italy Hamilton Charitable Housing Coporation, (Mr. Parente). In the firms early days, Nicholas Zaffiro provided great contribution to the Sons of Italy in the hopes that he could help new immigrants assimilate well into their new home, and learn to use their unique culture and personalities to add to the community around them. Today, many of the participants from the firm are keen to continue this tradition, and add to the Sons growing reputation for providing assistance to ailing people in Hamilton, by raising money through Liberty, Equality, Fraternity Villa Italia Villa Italia, started by the Sons of Italy Hamilton Charitable Corparation, is a retirement facility for seniors in Hamilton, with special consideration for those of Italian descent. Currently composed of about half Italians, and half of other lineage, Villa Italia was seen through the vast majority of its conception and creation by

Nicholas Zaffiro. Although Zaffiro stepped down as Sons of Italy President shortly before its official opening, members agree that it is in great part due to his efforts that the groups dream for such a facility came to realization. Open to the public since 2003, Villa Italia now houses up to 123 of Hamiltons seniors, and will soon welcome many more with plans to expand its already multi-faceted estate with the addition of a long-term care facility and an independent living building. Although Mr. Zaffiro has now resigned much of his administrative work with the Sons, partner Charles The Legal Community: - the Advocates' Society - the American Trial Lawyers' Associations - Canadian Bar Association - Canadian Defence Lawyers - Canadian Italian Advocates' Organization - the Defence Research Institute - Hamilton Area Legal Aid Committee - The Hamilton Club - the Hamilton Criminal Lawyers' Association - The Hamilton Law Association - Hamilton Lawyers' Club - Hamilton Medical-Legal Society - Pro bono counsel for the Advocates' Society - Pro bono counsel to the Lay Benchers of the Law Society of Upper Canada - Standing Agent for the Attorney General of Canada Lecturing Experience: - Advocacy at the Bar Admission Course for the Law Society of Upper Canada (taught) - the Advocates' Society Court House Series - the Canadian Bar Association - Chedoke Hospital - Hamilton Insurance Adjusters Association - the Hamilton Law Association - Henderson Hospital - the Italian Chamber of Commerce - Lions Club - McMaster University & Medical Centre - Mohawk College - Ontario Insurance Adjusters' Association - Ontario School Board Insurance Exchange - Rotary Club - St. Joseph's Hospital - the Toronto Constuction Association - the Victorian Order of Nurses Community Involvement:

- Alumni Association at McMaster University - Board of Directors of St. Josheph's Villa Foundation - Board of Directors of the United Way - Board of Governors of Hillfield-Strathallan College - Burlington Community Foundation - Canadian Japanese Cultural Centre in Hamilton - Hamilton Construction Association - Hamilton and District Extend-A-Family - Knights of Columbus - President's Advistory Council on Public Relations at McMaster University - Quality Assurance Committee of Joseph Brant Hospital - Sons of Italy - Villa Italia Retirement Complex - Windsor Law Alumni Association Criminisi has since followed in his footsteps, showing Agro Zaffiros faithful dedication to its roots. By taking the initiative on projects such as Villa Italia, and giving on going support to such organizations as the Sons of Italy Charitable Corporation, the members of Agro Zaffiro are able to give back to the community and the people who have given them so much to be proud of. Festitalia Over the past 30 years, Festitalia has become an annual trademark of the City of Hamilton. With its goal being to act as a unifying force for Italians and Canadians, Festitalia was started by a Board of volunteers including the man who gave the event its name,Nicholas Zaffiro. Acting on behalf of the ItalianCanadian community, Zaffiro helped raise the awareness of Hamilton residents about the traditions and culture of Italy, and encourage the Italian-Canadian residents in their appreciation of and eagerness to settle in their new home. Every September Festitalia brings together two cultures in Hamilton to unite its people as one. Resulting in such exciting and productive cultural icons as Opera Hamilton, Festitalia has proven to give to the community time and time again as both a unifying endeavour and a opportunity for cultural exchange. The Students of Agro Zaffiro Spotlight on Jane Milanetti and Roger Yachetti Ms. Jane Milanetti: After growing up in Hamilton, and attending

Windsor University, Ms. Jane Milanetti became Agro Zaffiros first female partner. Articling with the firm in 1983-1984, Jane was noted for her great talent in the field of law, and extraordinary personality. She was fearless in approaching the senior partners of the firm, and in return found them ever-ready to help and guide her through her early days as a student and a lawyer. Although Jane holds the highly respected position of Superior Court Judge, she still feels very connected with the people of Agro Zaffiro. The firm holds no illusions when it comes to their pride in their former partner, speaking of Ms. Milanettis numerous successes as a Judge at any opportunity. Agro Zaffiro wishes all the best for their former partner, and while Janes Being described by her co-workers as a outstanding personality and huge finder, Jane possessed a remarkable ability to heart are greatly missed by endear herself to others. Agro Zaffiro, a part of her will always remain in the attitude Her outgoing attitude, and She had an ability warm embrace of new and actions of the firm. to instill confidence people generated an instant in people and she feeling of trust and was loved by amiability in clients and everybody here and Mr. Roger Yachetti: associates alike. Although [is] very, very much A highly intelligent and teased by her friends within missed [S]he was successful lawyer in his own the firm, referring to her on the human part of right, Roger Yachetti is also a many occasions as Mother this firm.

source of great pride for Agro Teresa, for being too generous Zaffiro. Before being called to the and anxious to provide assistance- Ms. McKague, partner in any way possible, Janes remarkable Bar in March of 1966, Yachetti articled demeanour and honest care for members of the with the firm from 1964-1965. Agro Zaffiro community, and in all other walks of her life, made her an omnipresent Excelling in school, achieving top voice within the firm. marks for his year and winning the Treasurers Medal for his class, Yachetti She became the first woman from outside of was presented with the opportunity to the firm to rise up through the ranks at Agro serve as a law clerk to the Chief Justice Zaffiro in a time when few would even try. of the High Court. After holding this Proving her worth time and time again through honourable position for a year, Yachetti her extensive preparation before trial, and began his own pursuits in Hamilton law excellent execution in the courtroom, Jane in 1967. acted, and continues to act as an exceptional role-model for young women in everywhere. As a top student, Yachetti chose Agro because of, John Agros great reputation as a forceful litigator. However, he soon came to discover that Agro was not the only draw the firm held. By the end of this articling experience, which he admits he enjoyed tremendously, Yachetti held great respect and gratitude for his predecessor as a student of Agro Zaffiro, and later partner, William Hubar. Although possessing just as strong a will as Agro, and not always the same opinion, Yachetti not only respected the partners but was respected by them in return. Roger is a very good Hamilton lawyer Hes a proud Canadian, but hes also proud of his heritage. - Mr. Zaffiro, partner Yachetti has proven himself repeatedly, including in his

accomplishment of sustaining the Hamilton Tiger Cats several years ago after they found themselves on verge of collapse. The lawyers of Agro Zaffiro are immensely proud of Roger Yachettis accomplishments, and are grateful for the role any of them may have played in helping prepare him for the bright and successful future he holds before him. Held in the highest respects for his attitude, intelligence and direction in life, Roger Yachetti is among the many students whom Agro Zaffiro is proud to boast having helped in their early pursuit of the law. Agro Zaffiro is proud to boast nine of their former associates and students who have gone on to become Judges: Donald Cooper, family court Morris Perozak, criminal court Walter Stayshyn superior court John Cavarzan, superior court Peter Isaacs, provincial court Marjoh Levy, provincial court Cheryl Robertson, family court Jane Milanetti, superior court Martha Zivolak, provincial court The partners wish them continued success and thank them for their on going contribution to the legal profession. 1953-54 NICHOLAS J. ZAFFIRO 1954-55 1955-56 JOHN A. PARENTE 1956-57 M. J. PEROZAK 1957-58 EDWARD J. ORZEL RENO VIOLIN 1958-59 1959-60 1960-61 EMIL LENKO MICHAEL MARTINO 1961-62 MILTON LEWIS WALTER STAYSHYN 1962-63 JOHN CAVARZAN WILLIAM J. HUBAR 1963-64 MIERS PIEPRZAK 1964-65 ROGER YACHETTI 1965-66 1966-67 DONALD GREEN PETER ISSAACS 1967-68 JOHN LOVETT 1968-69 FRANK LANZA NORMAN WILLIANS



BRIAN J. LAWSON RAYMOND MCARTHER DENISE SCAPINELLO 1976-77 HOWARD ROTBERG NEIL SMITH DOUGLAS WARD 1989-90 LESA DAW NANCY MILLAR RONALD NAGTEGAAL 2000-01 NINA DIPIETRO RENEE VALLANCE DARRYL WILLER 2003-04 MILAN TOMASEVIC ALYSON SWEETLOVE SHAWN SOMERVILLE 2004-05 JAMES AIRE ANNA GALANTER 2005-06 RACHEL LOIZOS CARA MORONEY 2006-07 NATALIE CERFARATTI NICHOLAS GREER Insiders Edition: Behind the Scenes at Agro Zaffiro Contents: The Real Articling Experience Advice and Lessons from the Sages The Distinguished Partners Interesting Clientele Courtroom Drama Quotes Although Agro Zaffiro is among the leading law firms in Hamilton, let it never be said that the hard working partners, associates and assistants dont know how to let loose and have fun. For all of those close to the firm, heres an peek inside some of your very special moments and the truth behind some of your favourite office legends... The Real Articling Experience "So I remember showing up on my first day of working thinking, What possibly can I do of value to this downtown law firm?, and the receptionist was Kay Christoff, who just recently passed away after spending so much time with the firm. And on the very first day that I started, Kay had a bottle of pop in a glass container

down on the floor by her foot. She accidentally kicked it and it was hot so it exploded, and the glass cut her foot. So my first task as an articling student was to take Kay to the hospital. So I was getting a taste for what I was in for. And that was kind of a good taste because in those days articling was not just about legal research and preparing documents - but we would pick up Ed Orzels shirts at the cleaners and we would take John Agro to the track, and we would drive lawyers off to discoveries and trials and we would do sort of whatever was asked of us." - Ian Newcombe, partner The first day that I started articling, I showed up, and nobody knew I was supposed to be here. They stuck me in Agro's office, threw me a file and said, 'Here. Read this, and they left me there. Next door was Ed Orzel... and so I sit there until about noon and he comes by and says, Lets go for lunch. So Im all excited. So we walk down to the Connaught Hotel, they had a big long bar there, and we went to the bar and had a martini... ...And then we had another two or three martinis And all the judges from criminal court were over, lawyers were there, police... it was kind of like a hang out. All these guys are drinking martinis. So we drank for a couple hours and then he says, Lets go back to work'. So we walk back to work. And I mean, I couldnt even see. But thats the kind of stuff that used to go on. - Frank DeSantis, partner "John Agro had a sacred rule for going to lunch. In those days we went to lunch everyday, there was no such thing as picking up at a food court, there was no such thing as bringing lunch.. If you ever brought lunch in a brown bad you would be branded forever as some sort of weirdo... And everyday we'd go to lunch at a sit down restaurant and it was like a two hour lunch and John Agros sacred rule was the senior man present bought for everybody. So as articling students we ate like kings and never ever had to buy, or even contribute. And of course, John Argo being the senior guy always bought lunch for everybody. And of course everybody in between, guys like Mike Baker, would jockey hard to make sure they were never the senior guy present ...Mike made a career out of having lunch bought for him. - Ian Newcombe, partner Advice and Lessons from the Sages

"I remember as a junior lawyer during one of my first trials, being criticized by the judge for repeating evidence - he wanted me to move on. And he was really mad at me too! So at the break I go and call up the office, and speak to Orzel and I said, 'Ed' you know, here's what's going on. And Orzel's advice to me was, Tell him to go eff himself. ..and mind his own business and listen to the evidence. He says, 'You do it the way that you want to do it, don't worry about him. Which is great advice." - Frank DeSantis, partner "I've gone into trials with Johnny Agro, and Don Cooper, Bill Hubar and those guys never took notes. They'd sit there, and eat jellybeans and theyd get up and go after the guy and tear a strip off him. But they had a skill. Advocacy is really more like an art - its hard to learn. You either have it or don't have it." - Frank DeSantis, partner The first time I cross-examined a witness was during the Jon Rallo murder trial, and you have to understand this guy was a city manager - they used to drive him around in a limousine. He was a big shot, he ran the city. So the bigger they are, the harder they fall - people were just fascinated with this trial. There were pages and pages in the spectator... the public would fill the courtroom. They'd line up all the second floor, all the way downstairs and outside and then as one person left, the court constable would let somebody else in. That's how much interest it had. It had national press. So in the middle of all this going on, Im sitting there minding my own business, taking notes as a junior lawyer, and Bill Hubar was the senior on it. And the OPP inspector who was flying the helicopter that was searching for the bodies... they found the body of the girl in a dufflebag, they were looking for the body of the wife... so he's testifying about how he was called into the case and how he found the body. So Hubar says, 'Okay, get up and cross-examine him. Just like that! I had no preparation or anything. So I start off cross-examining, and I was like, Well what am I going to ask him?' So I say, well I'll embarrass him because I knew he had a CTV camera crew in the helicopter with him because theyd had the clip, so I started cross-examining him, you know Whyd you bring a recorder with you? Trying to show off? and stuff like this... And it goes on for a while, and the judge starts to get pissed, so Hubar signals me over and says, Okay thats enough, sit down'. But it was a lot of fun. - Frank DeSantis, partner The Distinguished Partners Fishing Trip Wars There was one episode on a fishing trip, where we were on two of these old fishing type boats. So basically there was the one side that was all the fisherman type people, the older guys, and the

other boat was more of the younger lawyers. So on the one boat, we've got a ghetto blaster going, we've got booze and food, swimsuits, bikinis... and on the other one, theyre all like rain jackets and hats and they're all fishing. And it was hilarious! So at one point, the boats were say about a couple hundred feet apart, and they're all fishing and we're all partying and there's like a cloud over theirs so its all dark and we're in the sunlight and we called it East and West Germany. And then we attacked them with water pistols. - David Elliot, partner Wardrobe Malfunction: Well I guess what had happened was Mikes pants had ripped earlier in the morning, and he had a meeting scheduled. So he gave the pants to Kay to get them fixed, and just had the entire meeting sitting behind his desk so nobody would know he wasnt wearing pants. I guess that means he didnt even get up to shake their hands, but it was probably best that way - Charles Criminisi, partner You Snooze, You Lose: There was one fishing trip to Port Dover when I was a young lawyer at the firm. It started at 8:00am, and there was booze and food and everything. So at one point I was laying on top of the sundeck, and I fell asleep. So I guess I rolled over, and I fell off of the boat, fully clothed, into the water. All I know is I woke up when I hit the water, and I ended up having to be fished out by the partners. Which was really embarrassing at the time, since I was one of the young lawyers. My bracelet's still at the bottom of Port Dover somewhere. But I certainly remember that trip and that Mike Baker mooned off the side of the boat. - Jane Milanetti, former partner Fishy Business: For a few years Hugh Griffith-Jones had an aquarium in his office. He put a number of fish in it. For some reason somebody ended up taking the meanest, most aggressive fish

who would chase all the other fish around the tank and nicknamed that fish Vanda... and of course the beauty of that was that it was a Fish called Vanda. - Ian Newcombe, partner The Myth: The story that goes around is that Bill Hubar and Frank DeSantis and Dave Dempster went to the convention and Frank DeSantis had been asked to be a speaker. So he was preparing his notes, he was nervous and he goes to bed early the night before he has to give the seminar. Bill Hubar and Dave Dempster didn't have to give any seminars, they wanted to party. So they come downstairs to the bar, theyre half loaded and they decide they want to get Frank out to have some fun. So they go up to the room and theres Frank in bed, naked, sound asleep. So they go over to one side of the bed, they lift up on that side of the bed, they roll him out of bed, he falls on the floor and he wakes up a little bit and crawls back into bed. They go around the other side of the bed - heave-ho! - and he rolls out the other side of the bed and then gets up and says, You god-damn guys!' Stark naked, he picks up Hubar, carries him out into the hall and stuffs him into the ice machine, and turns around to Dempster and says 'you got any questions?' Thats the story that goes around. The Truth: -- 1978/9 (post Rallo Trial) - So we [Frank DeSantis, David Dempster, William Hubar] decided to go to the Canadian Bar Convention in London, Ontatio. And I went to school in London so I had a lot of friends that were in the firms and particularly in the big firms that were hosting the Canadian Bar Convention. So they had a suite of rooms and would invite us up to go have cocktails, meet their partners and all this other stuff. So it was at this old Holiday Inn, now the Hilton. And we were on a tear. Hubar and Dempster left I think a day or two ahead of me, and I came late. So they had been partying at least 24 hours, and I don't think they went to bed - I think they drank for 24 hours. So I came in and I go have dinner, and I go to one of the cocktail parties and Bill Hubar starts to put a hussle on the senior partner's wife of this law firm. Now in those days everybody smoked too, so we decided to get him out of there and we go out to this crowded elevator... and as the elevator

doors close, Hubar takes his cigarette and flicks it out into the lobby on the rug. So people are going crazy. But he was kind of a wild guy at the time. So anyway, we went down to the bar, we got in more trouble there, security threw us out of the bar, so I said, "I'm going to bed". So I went upstairs into my room, and I was sharing a room with Dempster, and Hubar was in the next room. And they continue to party, and go drinking - I don't know. So it's maybe 3 o'clock in the morning and I get a knock at the door, and theyre calling me on the phone, and they want me to go drinking with them. I stop answering the phone, they'd start knocking on the door. So then finally, I guess 4 or 5 am, Dempster says, okay, I'm just going to come in and sleep', I say, 'okay'. Well, he comes in and opens the door, I'm in my bed, got the covers over my head, and Hubar comes in. So they both come in! And instead of going to sleep they start pulling my covers off, and being a pain in the ass. And I slept in my underwear... they say I was... I had my underwear on. But I get so mad, I grab Hubar - and he's my senior! I grabbed him by the coat, I pick him up, I take him outside, and I throw him out the door and he smashes into the ice machine. And I said to him, "Don't you bug me again tonight", then I walk back into the room and say to Dempster, "And you! If you make another noise you're gonna be next!". But I was really mad... they were really drunk, both of them. So that's where the story came from that I picked up Hubar without clothes on and stuffed him in an ice machine. - Frank DeSantis, partner Interesting Clientele Stray Coats: When you make a reputation as a criminal lawyer as John Agro did, inevitably you attract some clients that ..ARE criminals. And there was sort of a funny association in the early days that had the Agro firm connected to the local mob. And that arose because in one or two cases Agro defended guys who were part of the Papalia family for various criminal offences. But I know one story that arose from that in a funny sort of way. I think this story has changed over the years... it has morphed into this: Legend would have it that Agro defended a guy that was connected to a Buffalo crime family and he won an acquittal. The boss of the buffalo crime family was really grateful and invited the top 4 partners of the firm, Agro, Cooper, Zaffiro and Parente and their wives down to Buffalo to have dinner at one of Buffalo's finest restaurants at his expense, in gratitude. So this would be somewhere in the late 50's early 60's, somewhere in there, and of course times were different in those days, women would put on their diamonds and their fur coats to go out for dinner. So the eight of them go down to Buffalo, they hang the fur coats at the front of the restaurant and they go and have dinner. When the meal is over they come back out to the front and the 4 fur coats are gone. So the maitre d says just have a seat, Ill bring you a liquor, and a phone call is made to Magad and he says just look after them, give them another liquor, and Ill see what I can do. And half an hour later, the fur coats were back on the hooks at the restaurant, because the Magads had put there word out on the street that whoever took those coats were going to have to answer to the boss. - Ian Newcombe, partner Curious Currency: So again in the early days the focus of the firm was criminal law... either Agro or possibly Bill Hubar defended a stripper whose name was 'Chesty Morgan'. She had been charged with an amoral theatre performance, because in those days what dancers were allowed to do was very different from what they're allowed to do today. And some how she ended up being acquitted thanks to, I think it was, Bill Hubar. Unfortunately she never paid Mr. Hubar's fee ...But somehow as a memento she did leave one of her bras which was designed for her performance and I suppose that was in lue of a fee. But in any event, that memento remained in firm storage for about 30 years until it mysteriously disappeared and nobody knows what happened to it.

- Ian Newcombe, partner Fast Food Fertility: When we were juniors we would have to field the telephone calls from prospective clients of the firm because the older guys were busy with the more established clients. And one of the best calls I remember was a guy that called up out of the blue and said, Yeah, do you guys do litigation?' - Yes we do' - Well I want to sue Harvey's!' - Oh.. you mean the fast food place?' - Yeah!' - Well what for? Was it like food poisoning or something?' and he says, 'no my wife and I had coupons for 15 cents off a drink at Harvey's and in the fine print it says participating franchises only, but we went to the Harvey's on Main Street West and they didn't honour the coupons. And I said, Wait a minute, let me get this straight. You want to sue Harvey's for 30 cents??' and he said, 'no no, no no, I wouldn't do that.' - Well then whats it all about?' and he said, Listen - my wife and I budget very carefully for the weekend and this was on Friday night and we took out exactly the amount of cash we needed for the weekend and of course you have to understand in those days there weren't banking machines, so he says,We took about exactly the amount of money we needed, but since Harvey's charged us 30 cents extra we didn't have enough money for my wife's birth control pills and now my wife's pregnant.. So can we sue Harvey's for the cost of raising this child? That's got to be worth something So we didn't take him. - Ian Newcombe, partner Courtroom Drama One of the ones I remember personally is one of Agros criminal cases, this would be in about 1979 or so, and a fellow named John Styles was an executive with one of the steel recycling companies and he was charged with tax evasion. The basis of the charge was that his employer was buying and selling steal, and that was their business, but the allegation was that he was personally profiteering by selling some of the steal out the back door and putting the money in his back pocket and not paying tax. So he was charged with tax evasion, and the crown attorney on the case had very little direct evidence. They had one witness that was prepared to say that he had bought steel from this guy but his evidence was a little fuzzy and he had a criminal record himself so he wasnt very reliable. So really their case was mainly built on all sorts of inventory calculations and how much steal came in and how much steal went out and were there gaps between the two numbers? and that kind of thing. So in criminal cases, the rule that you almost always follow is you either don't call the accused to the stand at all, either because he's guilty or because he has a criminal record that's too embarrassing and it'll look bad on him, or if your guy is clean you call him to the stand and he tells his story, in great detail, to make an impression with the jury. Well in the Styles case, John Agro did neither. He did something that most criminal lawyers would just throw up their hands and say, Thats just nuts!'. The crown did its whole case, and at the end of the crowns case, Agro and I sat down and we analyzed it. And what we ended up doing was we called John Styles to the witness stand, he swore on the bible to tell the truth, we said, Whats your name for the record?' he said, John Styles. We

said, Did you do any of the things that the crown accuses you of doing?, he said, No I didnt, and we said, Your witness'. And the crown attorney was furious. And of course the reason he's furious was because this was so outlandish.. Nothing like this had ever been done as far as I know, and it was basically insulting the prosecution. It was, 'we are so confident that you have raised no proof at all, that we'll put our guy up there and you can take your best shot at him because youre no going to get a thing. And thats exactly what happened. The crown attorney tried to cross examine him for most of a day and it just got laughed out of court. But that was a daring thing that had basically never been done as far as I know. - Ian Newcombe, partner Scuba Slip-up: Another one of my favourite Agro court stories, this would have been about 1981, I would have been in my first year of being a lawyer, and I was junioring for him on a case called Stuart v. Armstrong, and the plaintiff lawyer was a fellow named Rod Barr, who later became a Supreme Court judge. Now Rod Barr was essentially the best, or one of the best, plaintiff lawyers in Ontario at the time, and he was beating up insurance companies left, right and center, so the insurance company came to Agro to take on Rod Barr, teach him a lesson... ... The plaintiff was a plumber who had a back injury and as a result of which he couldn't work as a plumber, so he was claiming loss of income for life. So, as is customary, he asked in examination for the discovery all sorts of questions about how often you go to physiotherapy and what recreations you used to do and how much medication you take, and all of these questions. And the guy painted a wonderful picture of his life before, he worked as a plumber, he was making a ton of money, he would take his family on great holidays, he used to go cycling, he used to go scuba diving, he used to play squash, hed go for walks with his wife, and he cant do any of it - with great gusto. ... So Rod Barr had his client on the stand for probably most of a day and then turns over to John Agro for cross-examination. Well Agro looked like he was sleeping, and then he turns to me and I'm just there taking notes basically, and he says, Ian, I'm tired. Why don't you cross examine Mr. Stuart?' And I said, What??' and he said Im just kidding, but next time be ready just in case. Then he gets up and he puts his chin in his hand, looks up at the ceiling, looks down at the floor, paces back and forth, walks up to the witness box, looks at Mr. Stuarts face for a second, walks back towards the jury, looks up at the ceiling and shakes his head - and the judge and Rod Barr and me all think hes gone bananas. He finally goes up to the witness box and says, 'Mr. Stuart, how many watches do you own? And now everybodys certain that hes gone bananas. And Mr stuart says, 'well, only one. And John Agro says, Are you wearing it now?, and he says, 'yes, and Agro says, Take it off, Id like to see it. And Rod Barr objects and says, Your honour, where is this going?' and Agro asked the judge for a little leeway, and Stuart hands him the watch. He looks at it and he says, Mr. Stuart, Im confused. One of the things you claimed in your examination was that youre an avid scuba diver. This watch which is made by Seiko, says that its water resistant, but its not waterproof. You couldnt go diving with this watch could you? - Uh no, I couldnt - Well youd need a watch to go scuba diving wouldnt you? How can you go scuba diving without a scuba watch?' And Mr. Stuart says, Well okay, you got me Mr. Agro, I only went scuba diving once while I was on holidays and they gave us all the equipment and it was really only that once. And at that point Agro embarked on what was really the meat of his cross examination, but at that point he just owned the witness, because from then on the guy was telling the truth and he was admitting to everything that Agro wanted him to admit. And somehow Agro just sensed that that was a way to get inside the guys head and put the fear of god into him. It was brilliant.

"Frank... always manages to find whoever's got a second, he finds them! - Mr. David Elliot He was one of the people who made working here entertaining. You not only need the perfectly organized grinders, you also need people who put some balance, some life, into things ...And God only knows Mike Baker is balanced. - Mr. Dale Parayeski So in 89 they did it [the office] up in like Miami Vice, LA Law style, so it was all like peach colours, and light... ...just disgusting... Very cool at the time... But by 2005 I had clients telling me they thought they were in like a hair salon... ...and it was embarrassing." - Mr. David Elliot Michael is probably the smartest lawyer, and he is absolutely irreverent. He has a wonderful sense of humour, and I adore him. but I took him as a junior on one of my trials and he was a complete pain in the ass. - Ms. Kathryn McKague "John didn't nug - he threw. John wasn't a nugger, he just told you what you were going to do, and whether or not you'd enjoy it." - Mr. Dale Parayeski Extremely bright - And crazy. But extremely bright. - Mr. Dale Parayeski of Mr. Michael Baker "Well, Frank was always a very stubborn guy. A little bit of a bull in and china shop situation with him... He's a pain in the ass, but he's a good teacher, he's a good lawyer, works like a dog and is very organized and very smart.... ...but he's still a pain in the ass, even today." - Mr. Charles Criminisi

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