#gamergate $MONEY$ a voice for men alison tieman antifeminism antifeminist women FemRAs gross incompetence honey badgers hypocrisy irony alert MRA

The Honey Badger Brigade has hired a disbarred lawyer to help them with their “case” against the Calgary Expo

Harry Kopyto, the disbarred lawyer hero #GamerGate deserves?
Harry Kopyto, the disbarred lawyer hero #GamerGate deserves?

Do you remember that alleged case the Honey Badger Brigade was allegedly planning to bring against the Calgary Expo?

In case your memory needs refreshing: the Honey Badgers — a mostly female antifeminist “brigade” closely associated with A Voice for Men — were tossed out of the Expo earlier this year after they showed up flying the banner of GamerGate. The Badgers threatened to sue, and somehow managed to raise a little over $30,000 to pay for their possible legal expenses.

Then they went silent on the whole suit thing for a looong time.

Today they announced (archived here) that they’d hired a fellow named Harry Kopyto as their “legal council” [sic], paying him a retainer of $3500. As one of the Badgers — apparently head Badger Alison Tieman — explained on their web page:

Honey Badger Brigade Mod  randomactor • 5 hours ago We retained the legal services of Harry Kopyto. He is a very controversial figure in the area of human rights and discrimination law and a disbarred lawyer. However he has received awards for his work defending human rights--specifically he has fought for the rights of dissenters and underdogs, marxists, gay people, racial minorities and now us.  He also works on scale, which is necessary since 30k is basically nothing when it comes to legal costs.

Wait. He’s a what kind of lawyer, exactly?


Ohhh. A disbarred lawyer. A lawyer who is specifically prohibited from practicing law.

Huh. How exactly did Mr. Kopyto get disbarred? According to Wikipedia:

In 1989, Kopyto was charged with professional misconduct by the Law Society of Upper Canada for allegedly overbilling the province’s legal aid plan by $150,000 over a three-year period. …

Among the findings of the tribunal hearing the case were that it was physically impossible for Mr. Kopyto to have billed the sums he did as the times billed exceeded the hours in the day.

Kopyto’s defense? He hadn’t meant to overbill. It’s just that, you know, he didn’t really keep proper records, so when it came time for him to “guess” the amount of time he had worked for some of his accounts, he had just guessed wrong. Oops! Hey, in some cases he (probably) underbilled!

No, really. That was his argument.

Kopyto is also prohibited from working as a paralegal in Ontario. As Wikipedia explains:

In February 2015, the law society’s tribunal issued its decision denying Koptyo’s application for a paralegal license due to concerns that Kopyto is “ungovernable”[27] though conceding his generosity and devotion to his clients. Tribunal chair Margot Blight wrote in her decision that “Mr. Kopyto continues to be an enigma” in that “He insists that he supports the rule of law, while asserting that he, and his clients, are entitled to disregard legal rules willy nilly (sic) when conscience so dictates.”[28]

Though unlicensed, Kopyto continues to advise clients and seeks standing to represent them at tribunals and hearings

I can’t help but be reminded of the dynamic meth-making duo in Breaking Bad, who decided to hire a lawyer who was a criminal as their criminal lawyer.

Tieman has been kept busy trying to explain just why they hired a disbarred lawyer as their “legal council” [sic]. Her main argument? The case will take place in Alberta, where paralegal work is unregulated, so technically he can still research stuff for them, or something, even though he remains in Toronto. where he’s not legally allowed to do paralegal work. [UPDATE: Turns out her legal argument may not hold water; see end of this post for more.]

randomactor  Honey Badger Brigade • 4 hours ago It's a felony for a disbarred lawyer to practice law in the U.S. Is it not in Canada? 1  • Reply•Share ›  Avatar Honey Badger Brigade Mod  randomactor • 4 hours ago Apparently not.  • Reply•Share ›  Avatar Andrew C. Kuryla  Honey Badger Brigade • 4 hours ago "Mr. Kopyto remains a disbarred lawyer and is not permitted to practise law in Ontario." 1  • Reply•Share ›  Avatar randomactor  Honey Badger Brigade • 4 hours ago This is comedy unobtainium. 1  • Reply•Share ›  Avatar Honey Badger Brigade Mod  randomactor • 4 hours ago The lawsuit will take place in Alberta not Ontario. Further because he has experience in these kinds of cases, he's doing the legal leg work.  If/when we need the services of a lawyer, we will get one. Until then we'll avoid the 250-500$ price tag for research.

Tieman insists there really will be a case, honest!

Tariq  Honey Badger Brigade • 3 hours ago None of this changes the fact that you literally took $30K of other people's money, promising them a trial, and gave it to a proven fraudster who can't even set foot in a courtroom with you.  Anyway, I do applaud your honesty on that point. 1  • Reply•Share ›  Avatar Honey Badger Brigade Mod  Tariq • 3 hours ago Again, he can function as a paralegal in Alberta. If and when we need a lawyer we will get one. Until then, he can function to do the legal legwork and prepare the paperwork.  >promising them a trial  And what makes you think they won't get one? Even though I'm going to be facing the brunt of the potential fallout, I'm going to do everything in my power to make this get to trial, if the Expo doesn't settle beforehand.

It’s all so very ethical.

And pretty fucking hilarious. Though probably a bit less so to those who actually donated money to the Badgers.

Since we’re talking about the Badgers, I feel I should remind you all of The We Hunted the Mammoth “Legal” Fund to Spite the Honey Badger Brigade, which is still taking donations.

I pledge not to hire any disbarred lawyers. Instead, I will use the money for snacks and other important “legal” things, by which I mean things that as far as I know are legal for me to do (like buying snacks). I will also use some of the money to feed my “legal council,” one Sweetie P. Jonus, Esq.

We Hunted the Mammoth Legal Advisor Sweetie P. Jonus, Esq.
We Hunted the Mammoth “Legal” Advisor Sweetie P. Jonus, Esq.

If you donate, please specify that your donation is intended “to spite the Honey Badgers.”

The last I checked, I was only $39,529 short of my arbitrary $40,000 goal. THANKS TO ALL WHO DONATED. And to those who donated to charity instead of to me. 

UPDATE: It looks like paralegaling in Alberta isn’t quite as unregulated as Tieman thinks it is. In the comments here, someone called J.C. has pointed me to a web page explaining How to Become a Paralegal in Alberta. Turns out that paralegals working in Alberta need to do so under the supervision of a lawyer. Here’s what the page says; I’ve bolded the especially relevant bits:

At this time, paralegals in Alberta are not regulated, meaning that they do not need to pass an examination or meet minimum training/educational standards to be able to work lawfully as paralegals. Thus aspiring paralegals may begin their careers through on-the-job training or by seeking post-secondary education.

However, paralegals are required to work under the supervision of a lawyer and avoid activities that might be regarded as unauthorized practice of law. For example, paralegals are not permitted to represent people in court. Paralegals may conduct legal research, submit registration documents to the appropriate agencies, and assist with certain types of legal matters, including trial cases, under the supervision of a lawyer.  

Huh. Does Kopyto have a lawyer supervising his work for the Honey Badgers?

H/T — Sarah Nyberg (@srhbutts), whom you really should be following on Twitter

122 replies on “The Honey Badger Brigade has hired a disbarred lawyer to help them with their “case” against the Calgary Expo”


Even if this guy had gotten disbarred for rescuing kittens from a burning building, the Honeybadgers would still be ethically obligated to their donors to get counsel that could actually practice law. Even if you think he’s disbarred for unjust reasons, that doesn’t change the fact that entangling your case with his disbarment case is a terrible idea.

Also, the fact that he seems to have had his heart in the right place at one point doesn’t change the fact that the circumstances of his disbarment seem pretty bad. A lawyer doesn’t just forget to keep track of his hours like that, and someone with half a brain doesn’t estimate his hours without at least checking to see if they’re reasonable, and “not consisting of more hours than there are in a day” is kind of the bare minimum of “reasonable”. Either this guy tried to scam the law society or he is so incompetent he can’t figure out that there are only 24 hours in a day. Either way, do you really want him on your legal team?

Hey Dave, just a side note: it might be a good idea to squirrel away some of that “Legal fund” in case someone does try to come after you with a C&D or SLAPP suit or something. I know one major blog I follow (SBM) got hit with a SLAPP suit a year ago and they only just now got some of the claims struck down even though the defense didn’t have a leg to stand on.

I don’t know what the laws are like wherever you all are, but always a good policy to CYA, y’know?

what got him disbarred was more than likely just the establishment’s way of finding something to shut him up.

Using the rectal extraction method of research again? Typical. He admits to the fraud, he just claims it was an accident which is bullshit. Obvious, transparent bullshit.

Google him.

Did you not read the…*sigh*…of course not.

But hey, manboobz has to play to his audience.

Projection, how the fuck does it work?

If someone made a screwball comedy about these people, and the Sarkeesian Effect people, everyone would say its too ridiculous to believe. How could you satirize something so unbelievably nonsensical?

Has everyone forgotten that the Honey Badgers SIGNED A CONTRACT that specifically said they could be asked to leave at the Expo’s discretion?

Nobody except the Honey Badgers and their supporters have forgotten that, I think. It’s why their lawsuit is so laughable. They’re basically trying to sue Calgary Expo for following through on the conditions of the contract. They’re basically trying to sue because they had to suffer the consequences of their actions, which they would have known would happen had they bothered to understand what was written (and “I didn’t read the contract” is hardly a solid excuse in court).

Isn’t it JB who is always telling feminists to “own their shit”? Funny how it doesn’t apply to her somehow.

Isn’t it JB who is always telling feminists to “own their shit”? Funny how it doesn’t apply to her somehow.

Considering that JB’s definition of “own your shit” appears to be “admit to things which are blatant lies that other people made up about you”, I don’t think that really applies to this situation. So it’s technically not hypocritical. [/snark]

So I was talking to my (Toronto dwelling) father today about awful shit in the world and brought this up. Turns out he had an encounter with Harry Kopyto in the 90s.

My Dad was a union rep for the labs at a Toronto hospital and was helping some women through filing some sexual harassment grievances. As it all too often is the process is long and overly complicated and the women grew justifiably annoyed. Kopyto came to them offering to speed up the process. He did no such thing and lead them astray for awhile, billing them the whole time, paying his bills lead to a series of events that got at least one of the women fired. To top it off due to some well known labour laws he wasn’t even authorized to represent unionized clients in suits against their employers and the case was thrown out as it got to court.

He then tried to sue my Dad and the union for failure to represent but that didn’t work out for him either.

So yeah this guy is a piece of work

Woah, holy shit. So much for Circlejerk’s trolling.

Email David about that with more details? Could make for a really interesting followup post.

There’s a strong current of doof that runs through the various shades of “I’m The Real Victim Because I Don’t Get to Victimize Others Enough” groups like MRA and others. So many of them seem to be either ignorant or oblivious to how society functions, how government functions, what law is and how it’s applied, and how you just get things done in life.

Kopyto + Badgers = Victory Over Oppressive Canada! is a great example of that.

I’ve come to wonder whether some of the false sense of entitlement and victimhood stems from simply never having learned how to be effective in life. Don’t know how to get dates. Don’t know how to form good relationships. Don’t know how to do well on the job. Don’t know how to negotiate. Don’t know how to get along with others in the community. Don’t know how to organize campaigns or projects. Don’t know how to forge alliances. Don’t know how to understand the processes of government. Don’t know how to understand the law. Don’t know– jack shit, it seems.

Those folks definitely dislike *learning* about how things work. They know everything all ready, so that’s one barrier to learning, but they also reject anything that doesn’t enhance their distorted sense of themselves to such a degree that they pretty much guarantee failure.

That leaves them very vulnerable to fraudsters, who buzz around those factions like flies attracted to shit.

Here, the Badgers seem intent on failure and on getting ripped off as well. Fine by me. Absolutely fine by me.

It is second hand information coming from me but if David is interested I can put him in touch with my father.

You know, I actually kind of feel for them. It’s pretty clear they got scammed by this guy. Especially if they’re “trying to avoid a $250 price tag for research” but put down a retainer over $3k. This is an easy-peasy breach of contract case, the Expo is either in violation or it’s not; there’s no reason the “paralegal” needs a 3k retainer and probably not even any research to do.

It’s no wonder this asshole has been disbarred already.

If 30K is “nothing for legal costs”, why did they set that as their goal after they “researched the legal costs”? They even brought an initial goal, I think 40K, down to the 30K after they got council.

SCAMCEPTION made me snort my coffee. Love it.

It *is* possible to con an honest man. I think the phrase is perpetuated by people who want to believe in a just world, but it doesn’t really make sense.

If you want to con an honest man, you find a *desperate* honest man. How many snake-oil treatments are there for cancer and other diseases?

And if you want to con an honest man who isn’t desperate, maybe you can convince him to be desperate? The New World Order / SJWs / Lizard People and totally going to ban Christmas / destroy videogames / poison our bodily fluids any day now.

Kopyto isn’t a member of the Alberta bar so regardless of the fact he’s disbarred in Ontario he can’t practice in Alberta. On the other hand it’s not illegal for him to research case law or even draft legal documents or suggest arguments for the plaintiffs to use. The legal system in English Canada is fairly uniform and common law in Ontario is the same as that in Alberta. Kopyto is experienced in the law and is certainly compotent as far as doing research, drafting documents and devising legal strategy is concerned – bookkeeping not so much – and would certainly charge less than a lawyer while having more experience and a better legal education than your average paralegal so using Kopyto makes sense even if the optics are bad. As far as the alleged fraud, keep in mind that he was never criminally charged or convicted of fraud or even asked to repay the money. In fact the legal aid plan paid Kopyto’s invoices in full even after he was disbarred (for work done before diabarrment). The legal establishment was arguably out to get Kopyto in the 1980s – he was criminally charged and disbarred for saying the courts and the cops are stuck together like Krazy Glue (the criminal conviction for scandalizing the courts was later thrown out as unconstitutional and the initial disbarrment overturned) so it’s arguable that the second disbarrment for allegedly overcharging legal aid was politically motivated which is why one of the benchers on the disciplinary panel issued a written dissent to the disbarrment.

That being said, I’m disappointed Kopyto took this case.

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