Gregory Azancot
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Candidats en lice

Gregory Azancot

Candidate for Director Position (Montreal) - 2 years

Member of the Barreau since 1995

Presentation

The practice of law has been good to me in a variety of splendid and unexpected ways and by running for administrator of the Barreau du Quebec I am seeking ways to continue to strengthen and give back to this rich community. I met my wife while going to law school at Université de Montréal from where I graduated in 1993. It gave us both professions that allowed us to build a family and a home together with our two wonderful children. As a litigator with over 25 years’ experience that has pled at all levels of the Quebec court system and the Federal Court.  I began my law practice in a large Montreal firm and then decided to found my own firm, Azancot & Associates Inc. Throughout my career I have had the privilege to meet (and keep meeting) wonderful and committed people with whom I have forged not only professional relationships but friendships that have grown to this day.

Since my youth, I have always been involved with various organizations to which I have dedicated time, resources and energy. I firmly believe in the power of community and volunteering has been an important catalyst to bring about change and a positive influence on others.

Since the beginning of my law career, I have been involved in a wide array of organizations within the legal community such as the Quebec and the Montreal Bar Association, as a member of the English-Speaking Section or as President of the Lord Reading Law Society. I have also made it a point to contribute my time and energy to other committees and activities outside of the legal community such as youth sports, daycares, schools and healthcare. This has given me a unique perspective that enables me to serve the community as a whole.

Experiences

My experience within the Quebec legal community organizations is as long-standing as it has been diverse and I have been involved with them since the outset of my career.

I have been a member of several committees within the Montreal Bar Association namely, the Comité des Concours, the Liaison Committee with the Court of Quebec and the Liaison Committee with the Superior Court of Québec. On this latter committee, I sat on a subcommittee in order to propose and review procedures, the Court’s rules of practice and forms, most notably the Standard Protocol Form related to the then “new” Code of Civil Procedure. I currently sit on the Montreal Bar Liaison Committee with the Quebec Court of Appeal and on the Access to Justice Committee in the English language.

I am also a certified arbitrator registered with the Mediation and Arbitration Institute of Quebec (IMAQ) and I currently sit on the Council of Arbitration for the Accounts of Advocates of the Quebec Bar.

Last year, I was the President of the Lord Reading Law Society where I was an active board member for several years. During my tenure, governance was reviewed and the Society’s by-laws were updated. We intervened within the Bill 21 Court proceedings and once Covid struck, Lord Reading mobilized to secure hotel rooms for healthcare workers, helped in various ways those that required assistance and called on its membership to join the Quebec Bar legal help telephone line. This of course is in addition to the (Pre-Covid) dinner conferences with influential speakers I organized.

I have also been an active member of the English-Speaking Section of the Bar of Montreal for well over a dozen years.

As the son of immigrants trying to fit in, being a lawyer was not pre-destined for me.  My early school years were challenging but due to my perseverance, luck and the mentorship of another lawyer, my sister Sandra, I ended up choosing the law. This mentorship was instrumental in my early choices and is one of the reasons I have been very active with today’s youth. Over the past several years I have acted as a mentor to young lawyers both unofficially and within the Mentorship program established by the Montreal Bar Association.

My social implications outside the law vary as well. I sat on the Board of Directors of one of the largest daycare facilities in the province and I was its President for seven years during which time we revamped the governance rules so as to conform to the provincial requirements and insure its financial viability. Thereafter, I sat on the Board of Directors of the largest Jewish day and high school in the Province. There, I chaired the Governance Committee and sat on the Finance and Security Committees. During my tenure, a 130,000 square foot, state of the art school was built and part of my responsibilities on the board of directors was to review a vast amount of documentation including all of the legal paperwork.

I am also highly implicated with the Nellie Philanthropy Foundation which is a nonprofit grassroots organization. I also regularly volunteer for the food bank of the MADA community center.

I have also acted as a moot court judge both at the high school and university level and have a passion for youth hockey where I have been a certified hockey coach and referee for several decades. All of these activities allow me to connect with today’s youth in a positive and meaningful way.

Objectives

Technology

This pandemic has shown us that the justice system was woefully unprepared but it also demonstrated its impressive agility and ability to change. Covid has proven to all of us that lawyers must be equipped technologically. This must necessarily include the modernization of the judicial system including the modernization of our Courts. Technological hardware, software and information must be made more accessible to all. Accessibility necessarily includes, modest pricing on various items, free access and education, the whole in order to aid our members so that they in turn can give our fellow citizens better and wider access to justice. We have repeatedly stated that our justice system must stop being forest killers. In addition to being ecologically sound, the time has come with the merger of technology for this to become reality.

Finance and Good Governance

The membership of the Quebec Bar has benefitted throughout the years of hard-working and dedicated individuals that have watched over the organization’s best interests. The Quebec Bar must continue to act vigilantly so as to be financially responsible. This includes keeping our professional fees as low as possible while improving services.

Diversity and Inclusion

The Quebec Bar, like our society, must reflect its membership. Our Bar Association, while having made strides in this regard, must do more both in terms of including people from various religious and cultural communities within our ranks and within its highest-level. Inclusion to me is giving members who do not look or sound like us and who have different beliefs the opportunity to flourish. This will have a cascading effect where other members can look to them and understand that the Quebec Bar is their home as well.

Mental Health

Prior to becoming a lawyer, I was a volunteer Emergency Medical First Responder which led me to my first almost decades long career as a paramedic at Urgences Santé. I have seen firsthand the negative effects of not taking care of both your physical and mental health. As lawyers we are trained to put our client’s interests above all else, including our own health. This leads to a myriad of problems which we must address. Removing stigma, talking about issues openly, creating help groups and encouraging physical activity especially in these isolating times is so important.

Our youngest and oldest members

We must continue to support and do more for our young lawyers. Training, employment and job security are imperative in order to keep our profession healthy, energized and in good financial posture. We must maintain the reduced professional fee structure for young lawyers, expand the mentorship program and create targeted training for them both at the Ecole du Barreau and after they get sworn in. This investment has benefits for members as this increase in knowledge allows them to grow their practice, reduces their stress levels such that they are happier within their chosen profession.  This way they will want to stay and grow our membership ranks.

We do not use our retired members to the advantage of our association. These lawyers possess a fountain of wisdom and information. We need to allow them to contribute whether it be in committees, as mentors, to punctually assist lawyers in mandates or simply to lend a helping hand or ear – we need to do better with this segment of our membership.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions either by telephone, email, LinkedIn or Facebook.

I ask the members of the Montreal Bar to vote for me as of May 4, 2021 so as to allow me the privilege of being your representative as an administrator at the Quebec Bar Association.