Long Term Disability Section
The Long Term Disability Section is dedicated to enhancing the ability of OTLA members to seek redress for clients in conflict with their disability insurers. OTLA lawyer members may join for an additional annual fee of $125.00.
Najma Rashid LTD Section Chair
Najma Rashid joined Howard Yegendorf & Associates in 1999 and became a partner of the law firm in 2009. Her practice is devoted exclusively to personal injury litigation and she is well versed in Ontario’s Insurance Act and its Regulations, including the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule.
Najma has represented seriously injured clients in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, as well as in dispute resolution proceedings before the Financial Services Commission of Ontario. Najma has developed an expertise in disability and bad faith claims against insurance companies. She is Chair of the Long-Term Disability section of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA). In 2015, she helped organize and co-chair a conference devoted entirely to Long-Term Disability (LTD) Insurance.
In order to advocate effectively on behalf of her clients, Najma has had to learn about the unique challenges that face each of her injured clients. She keeps herself informed of developing medical issues pertaining to such conditions as chronic pain syndrome, spinal and muscular injuries, mild and catastrophic brain injuries and psychological injuries such as depression and post-traumatic stress.
Nainesh holds a wealth of experience having appeared in trials with and without a jury at the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice. He has represented clients and conducted appeals at the Federal Court level, Trial division. Nainesh has appeared before numerous Tribunal panels including; the Financial Services Commission and the Social Security Tribunal. He has featured in several televised interviews on the subjects of Personal Injury and Long Term Disability claims.
Nainesh Kotak LTD Section Vice-Chair
Nainesh was called to the bar in 1994. He holds a wealth of experience having appeared in trials with and without a jury at the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice. He has represented clients and conducted appeals at the Federal Court, Trial division. Nainesh has appeared before numerous Tribunal panels including; the Financial Services Commission and the Social Security Tribunal. He has been featured in several televised and radio interviews on the subjects of Personal Injury and Long-Term Disability claims.
Nainesh’s practice includes a heavy emphasis on long-term disability cases. Nainesh is active in the community and supports many worthy charities and causes. For the past five consecutive years he has brought one thousand troops, veterans and cadets to a professional hockey game in a Remembrance Day event known as Kotak Law Military Appreciation Day.
Nainesh is a proud contributor and supporter of Wounded Warriors Canada and The Peel’s
Children’s Centre. Nainesh hosts the inductees to the Brampton Sports Hall of Fame annually at his box suite at a Brampton Beast hockey game.
Nainesh is on the Paralegal Course Advisory Committee for Sheridan College and is also on the Board of Directors of the Peel Children’s Centre. Nainesh also serves as the Vice Chair of the Long-Term Disability Section of the Ontario Trial Lawyers’ Association. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Ontario Trial Lawyers’ Association and serves on the Public Relations, Access to Justice and Listserve Committees. Nainesh is a former Board member of Spectra Community Support Services and Distress Centres of Greater Toronto.
Nainesh lives in Mississauga with his wife, Susan, and their two boys ages 23 and 6, and their 3-year-old daughter.
Medical Malpractice Section
OTLA members with interest in medical malpractice issues may join this section; providing they are able to certify that 0% of their direct or indirect billings or time is derived from the defence of medical malpractice actions. Members are provided with access to the section's Listserve, resource materials and regular education programs. Membership is restricted to OTLA members and requires an additional annual fee of $125.00.
Daniela Pacheco Medical Malpractice Section Chair
Daniela Pacheco is an associate in the Medical Malpractice Group at Neinstein LLP, and practises in all areas of plaintiff side traumatic injury litigation, with a particular focus on medical malpractice. Prior to working a Neinstein LLP, Daniela worked as an associate at a mid-sized firm in the Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Group.
Daniela has represented her clients as both first and second-chair during multiple complex civil jury and judge alone trials. Daniela has also appeared on behalf of plaintiffs at the Court of Appeal for Ontario. Cases include:
- Multi-party medical malpractice case involving the mis-diagnosis of brain abscesses
- Medical negligence case involving the late diagnosis of colon cancer. Also was counsel during the successful appeal to the Court of Appeal for Ontario
- Medical negligence case involving the late diagnosis of breast cancer
- Occupier’s liability case involving the personal security requirements for taverns
- Medical negligence case involving delayed diagnosis of a post-surgical complication
- Medical negligence case involving surgical negligence
- Medical negligence case involving a hypoxic ischemic injury suffered during delivery
Sean Hayward Medical Malpractice Section Vice-Chair
Sean Hayward has represented plaintiffs throughout his legal career and now focuses exclusively on medical malpractice and catastrophic injury claims at Paul M. Mann Professional Corporation.
A graduate from Queen’s University law school, he was called to the bar in 2015. Previously he obtained a Master’s Degree in History from Queen’s University and a Bachelor Degree (Honours) in History from McGill University.
Prior to joining Paul M. Mann Professional Corporation, Sean practiced law with a prominent Toronto litigation firm.
Outside of work, Sean enjoys walking around his Toronto neighbourhood in search of coffee. He is an avid cyclist, rock climber, skier and cook.
New Lawyers Division (NLD)
All members of OTLA who have been practising for less than 10 years may participate in OTLA's New Lawyers Division. Officially formed in May 1995, the NLD seeks to specifically address the needs and interests of new lawyers through conferences and events. NLD gatherings provide valuable networking opportunities which enable new lawyers to get together to socialize, discuss common concerns and experiences, and to help each other by sharing ideas. The NLD also has its own Listserve.
Jennifer Hoffman New Lawyers Division Chair
Jennifer Hoffman is the managing partner of Hoffman Law P.C. Since her call to the bar in 2010, she has dedicated her legal career to helping people who suffered serious personal injuries and disabilities, such as brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, fatalities, chronic pain and brain injuries.
In addition to her legal training and experience, Jennifer holds a Master of Science in Neuroscience, which complements her legal expertise with insight into potential medical aspects of her clients’ claims, especially in head injury cases.
Jennifer is the current Chair of the New Lawyers Division of the Ontario Lawyers Association, a Member-At-Large at the Advocates’ Society for the Personal Injury and Insurance Practice Group, and a member of the Canadian Bar Association, and Ontario Bar Association.
Jennifer Received her law degree from the University of Western Ontario in 2010. Her M.Sc. in neuroscience and Honors B.Sc. are also from the University of Western Ontario.
Casey Dorey New Lawyers Division Vice-Chair
Casey is an associate lawyer at Bergeron Clifford LLP. He works primarily in Kingston but travels across Eastern Ontario.
Casey obtained his LL.B from the University of Leicester, United Kingdom, with First Class Honours. While in law school, Casey was a Moot Court champion and represented the school externally in London, England. He was also awarded the Canadian Spring Scholarship.
Casey has presented at various legal conferences in Ontario and currently serves on the Board of Directors of ThinkFirst Kingston, an organization dedicated to the prevention of brain injuries.
Women Trial Lawyers Caucus
The OTLA Women Trial Lawyers Caucus was formed in the spring of 1998 to offer events specifically geared to the interests and needs of women litigators. The Women's Caucus gatherings provide valuable networking opportunities to enable women lawyers to socialize and discuss common concerns and experiences.
Miryam Gorelashvili Women Trial Lawyers Caucus Chair
I am the founder of MG Law and my practice is restricted to clients who suffer from serious and catastrophic life-changing injuries or death. Over the years I’ve handled many claims involving neurotrauma, spinal cord injuries, and other severe post-trauma medical conditions.
I’ve obtained millions in compensation for my injured clients. Additionally, I was successful in getting numerous catastrophic designations for my clients through their Statutory Accident Benefits insurer.
I don’t share a “one size fits all” attitude towards personal injury claims. I believe that each client’s case is unique and requires careful consideration. For every client, I tailor my approach based on the person’s academic, employment, and cultural background.
In order to assist my clients better, I assembled a multilingual MG Law team that speaks Mandarin, Spanish, Russian, French, and all dialects of the Arabic languages.
I am also involved in various community organizations and possess the following legal accreditations:
- Bachelor of Laws, LL.B. (University of Ottawa)
- Bachelor of Arts, Law Major (Carleton University)
- Member of the Law Society of Upper Canada
- WTLC Chair at the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA)
- Member of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA)
- Member of the American Association for Justice (AAJ)
- Member of the County of Carleton Law Association (CCLA)
MG Law is actively involved in a number of community organizations and proudly sponsors:
- Brain Injury Awareness Day, Vista Annual Brain Injury Conference
- Brain Injury Canada National Conference
- Chocolate Gala for the Ottawa Distress Centre
- Bike to Ottawa, City of Ottawa
- National Conference for the Ontario Personal Support Workers Association
Laura Dickson Women Trial Lawyers Caucus Vice-Chair
Born and raised in Scotland, UK, Laura moved to Canada in 2008. Laura earned her L.L.B in Scots Law from the University of Glasgow, Scotland in 2007. After moving to Canada, she completed her NCA qualifications at the University of Toronto. Laura was called to the Bar in 2012.
Laura chose a career in law in order to help those most vulnerable. Laura joined Lamont Law in 2018, after 5 years at another Hamilton civil litigation firm. Laura practices exclusively plaintiff civil litigation with experience in all aspects of Life and Disability claims, accident benefit matters as well as claims resulting from auto accidents, slips and falls, and brain and spinal injuries.
Laura is a Trustee of the Hamilton Law Association and is a member of the Law Society of Ontario, the Hamilton Lawyers’ Club, the Hamilton Medical-Legal Society, The Advocates’ Society, the Ontario Bar Association, and the Canadian Bar Association. Laura served on the New Lawyers’ Subcommittee of the Hamilton Law Association for 5 years from 2012 to 2017.
Law Clerk Section
OTLA's Law Clerk Section meets twice annually at the OTLA Spring and Fall Conferences, plus round table meetings are organized throughout the province. The Law Clerk Section has an active Listserve.
Barbi Andrews Law Clerk Section Chair
Barbi has been with Gluckstein Lawyers since 2001 working within the accident benefits department advocating for client’s benefits. Barbi has 18 years of experience administering Personal Injury claims. She is a licensed paralegal with the Law Society of Ontario.
Prior to working in Personal Injury law, Barbi was a teacher at George Brown College and a private business college. She obtained a B.Sc. at the University of Toronto and B.Mus. at Brigham Young University, Utah, USA.
She has participated in numerous conferences as a guest speaker and was Co-Chairperson of the 2012 Spring Conference. In September 2015, Barbi was honoured with the OTLA Distinguished Law Clerk Award which is awarded to a senior law clerk who has consistently exemplified the mission of the organization.
Barbi is involved in various volunteer programs with the Native Canadian community and also conducts motivational seminars and speeches. In 2018, Barbi was the recipient of the Hilda Goulding Award.
Barbi is presently attending Ryerson University on a part-time basis within the Occupational Health and Safety Management Degree Program. She graduated from the University of Toronto, Theology Degree Program in 2012 and is an ordained Minister.
Professional Associations, Memberships & Volunteering
- Ontario Trial Lawyers Association, Member since 2006
- The Law Clerk Division, Executive Committee Member
- Ontario Trial Lawyers Association, Vice Chair, 2018/2019 | Law Clerk Division
- Recipient of the Hilda Goulding Award 2018 | Volunteer Work
Franca Recchia Law Clerk Section Vice-Chair
Franca Recchia is a law clerk at McNally Gervan LLP in the National Capital Region. She has 10 years of experience in the personal injury field where she handles all aspects of both accident benefits and tort claims for injured clients. Franca has gained considerable experience advocating on behalf of clients to ensure that they have access to the benefits they deserve.
Franca is committed to ensuring that her clients receive excellent service with compassion and understanding. She makes a point of being approachable and available to answer any questions her clients have.
As a senior law clerk, Franca has adopted the role of mentor to many of her colleagues. She takes pride in sharing her knowledge and experience with other members of her work team. Franca has extended her mentoring into the larger legal community, where she has presented to students of the law clerk program at Algonquin College on various civil and accident benefits matters.
Opportunities for continuing education are important to Franca and outside of OTLA conferences she regularly attends local fundraising and educational events through organizations like Reach Canada and the Brain Injury Association of the Ottawa Valley.
Outside of the office Franca can be found enjoying the outdoors with her 2 children and their dog Wesley. She is an active member of the local Italian community where she appreciates getting back to her roots.
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