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.