Promoting fairness: Harry D. Fine receives William J. Simpson Distinguished Paralegal Award

Posted: 05/15/2018

Harry D. FineHarry D. Fine will receive the William J. Simpson Distinguished Paralegal Award at the 2018 Law Society Awards on May 23.

Licensed in 2008, Harry Fine served as an adjudicator at the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal. At the end of his term, he opened a private practice providing legal services as a paralegal. Since 2012, he has also taught a variety of paralegal courses at several community colleges and has served as a director for both the Paralegal Society of Ontario and the Ontario Paralegal Association. Mr. Fine also volunteered as president of the Landlord’s Self-Help Centre and with The Ontario Justice Education Network.

What does this award mean to you?

“I see the award as recognition that my method of looking at the big picture, using all my acquired life skills and considering the client in a holistic manner, is the right one. I consider myself as counsel although I’m not certain if paralegals have the right to use that name.

For me, it’s also a vindication that if you just do the right thing, and not worry about success or money, that good things will come. Do your best in all things. Put the client’s interests first. Managing a client’s expectations goes a long way towards having a satisfactory resolution of a dispute, regardless of the outcome. Managing expectations is also a great tool for reducing stress, which is endemic in the profession. Over-promising and under-delivering is a recipe for an unhappy career.”

Mr. Fine entered the profession in 2001 and had the privilege of being appointed adjudicator at the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board. He is most passionate about fairness in life and in work, and believes that: the law has become complex: those who can’t afford it are too often left out in the cold; the profession has become too adversarial, too costly; and alternative dispute resolution needs to be the norm and trials need to be the alternative.

One of Mr. Fine’s most satisfying moments as a paralegal came one day when he was contesting a matter with a respected opponent, providing closing submissions and upon completion, the adjudicator said: “Gentlemen, your conduct today represents the finest traditions of the bar.” They were civil, honest and prepared.

The Law Society Distinguished Paralegal Award was established in 2011 and presented for the first time in 2012. It was renamed in 2014 to hour William J. Simpson and his outstanding contribution to the implementation of paralegal regulation by the Law Society.

This award recognizes a licensed paralegal who has demonstrated a number of criteria, including: outstanding professional achievement, outstanding contribution to the development of the profession, adherence to best practices, a history of community service and personal character that brings credit to the legal profession.

Mr. Fine is one of 10 exceptional members of the legal professions who will be honoured by the Law Society on May 23rd.