Third Time’s a Charm? the Good Character Requirement and the Law Society of Upper Canada

Becoming a lawyer is a long process with many hurdles to overcome.

Your undergrad grades and LSAT score need to be good enough to get you into law school. Law school grades, rightly or wrongly, are by and large what determine if you can land an articling position which is, of course, a requirement to be called to the bar. Throw in the bar admission course and exams, which change every few years it seems, and you are almost there. However, licenses to practice law are only given to those who are of “good character”. For most, this requirement is a mere formality. Unless you’re Ryan Manilla.

Ryan was in the top 10% of his class at Osgoode Hall (the law school at York University for those living out of Province). He obtained summer jobs at some of Canada’s top law firms. He spent tens of thousands of dollars on his legal education. Unfortunately for Ryan, he also apparently had some incidents occur while he served as President of his condo board and as a result the Law Society has rejected his application to practice law in Ontario twice already.

In 2008, there was a dispute over proposed fee increases at Ryan’s condo. Among other things, Ryan allegedly sent threatening emails to members of his condo and used “unprintable language” in reference to someone’s wife and daughter. He also forged and circulated a letter accusing others of receiving kickbacks which resulted in them being voted off of the board. In 2010, his application for admission to the Law Society of Upper Canada was rejected.

Ryan tried to do right. He apologized and made donations to charity. He attended anger management classes and went to therapy. The Law Society did not believe he had changed. They rejected his application again in April, 2011.

In October Ryan will participate in his third good-character hearing. He’s allowed to reapply as many times as he likes so long as he can provide fresh evidence that his character has changed. His lawyer is optimistic this time around. I for one am curious to see if third time’s a charm for Ryan Manilla.


  1. Considering the amount of people with easily as bad documented behavior that have been called, I wonder why he’s having such a hard time.

    But on the other hand, I find the creation false of documents to be a major no no and figure if he is given a license he should have strict monitoring requirements and not be allowed to have his own trust account for the time being.

  2. m. diane kindree

    I must agree with KJ that some professions appear to attract more individual computers (top 10% of the class) who many lack the necessary moral software=moral intelligence. Moral intellgence as defined by Doug Lennick, Fred Kiel, Ph.D is “the mental capacity to determine how universal human principles should be applied to our values, goals, and actions”. In short, our ability to differentiate right from wrong as defined by these standards and principles.
    Is this a case of nature vs. nurture? Are some people born with a moral brain? Does an individual’s moral development begin with the newborn? The strength of any morally competent organization (Law Society of Upper Canada)is its people who engage in morally competent action whether or not they are in the top 10% of the class or not. Some professions would be vastly improved if moral intelligence, development and inventories received as much attention as undergrad grades and LSAT scores.

  3. I was in the same high school and classes with ryan. He was rude, arrogant and a bully!!!’ he bullied my friends and I. Guess what Ryan, what goes around comes around.