Skip to content

Law society licenses unabashed law graduate despite “problematic” social media posts

|Written By Mark Cardwell
Law society licenses unabashed law graduate despite “problematic” social media posts
Nadia Guo, who posted offensive comments about police, Crown prosecutors and judges online while articling, can now practise law.

The administrative tribunal of the Law Society of Ontario has ruled in favour of an application for licensing as a lawyer by a University of Toronto law school graduate who berated courthouse staff and posted offensive comments online about police, Crown prosecutors and judges, all while articling.

Though pleased with the ruling, the young female applicant — an avowed escort with an explicit website that promotes her services — says her case illustrates the many shortcomings of Canada’s legal education system.

“I’m stoked that I can practise law now,” Nadia Guo writes in an email to Legal Feeds. “I’m going to practise criminal defence until the day I die. As a libertarian, it just makes sense.”

She adds that the tribunal’s decision “was fine but provided incomplete context regarding the disrespect I was responding to and little of the actual mentoring, or lack thereof, I was receiving at the time.

“I have also learned a great deal about the differences between how lawyers say they act and talk and how they actually act and talk,” says Guo.

The 28-year-old also laments the fact it took three years to resolve her case.

“Thank god I was good at seducing men and knew that I would be more financially secure as an escort than I ever would be as an articling student or an associate in criminal defence,” says Guo.

“This is especially so, given that I had huge amounts of student loans to pay back and neither Osgoode Hall Law School nor University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law were very accommodating in that regard.

“I got something like $3,000 combined in financial aid to contribute to just under $90,000 in tuition costs. An ordeal like this would have bankrupted most law graduates today.”

Guo also sent an excerpt from a recent blog she posted on diversity.

In it, she says that if the LSO wants “to get serious” about embracing inclusion, diversity, and equality it should be “more accepting and understanding of law candidates from diverse backgrounds whose ideas and manner of speech do not immediately conform to the standards of elitist genteel society traditions...”

Guo’s ran afoul of the LSO in 2015 when the first of four complaints were filed against her over a six-month period.

Those complaints ranged from her conduct at a civil clerk’s office, leading to her being escorted out by a security guard, to her posting many derogatory comments about lawyers online, including mocking a partner in a law firm who didn’t know what a PDF file was.

More ominously, she was accused of making derogatory remarks about legal professionals and justice system workers on Twitter.

She also created a public website that listed the names of 50 “Bad Cops,” two “Bad Crowns” and two “Bad Judges.”

Guo’s online activities also led to an LSO investigation into Toronto lawyer Marco Forte, who she was articling for at the time.

In a Jan. 15 decision — Law Society of Ontario v. Forte2019 ONLSTH 9 — the LSO tribunal reprimanded Forte for not monitoring Guo’s social media rants.

Forte, a lone practitioner who had never had an articling student prior to Guo, was ordered to pay $3,500 in costs and to participate in law society programs like Coach and Advisor Network and webcasts on advertising and solo and small firms.

In Guo’s case, the LSO tribunal says that while her use of social media was central to the complaints, it was not her use of social media that was the issue.

“The parties agreed that it can be good for students-at-law and licensees to use social media actively, voicing opinions, engaging in debate, advocating for change or advancing positions in public that may be unpopular or even uncomfortable for other participants in public discourse,” reads the March 27 ruling by the three members of the tribunal — Shayne Kert (chair), John F. Spekkens and Jerry B. Udell.

“However, the nature and tone of a significant number of Ms. Guo’s communications and actions during the material time raised concerns about her judgment and insight into the impact of her actions.”

The adjudicators noted that at the December hearing, in which Guo testified on her own behalf and called one character witness, she “admitted that the facts set out in the [agreed statement of facts] established that there existed an issue about her good character, and that the onus was on her to establish, on a balance of probabilities, that she is currently of good character.”

They noted that Guo’s lawyer, Kris Borg-Olivier, provided evidence that his client has acknowledged her misconduct and taken steps to better deal with her stress and anger.

She notably saw a licensed psychotherapist who provided a letter saying Guo “had good insight” that would help her to understand and better express her feelings.

“At the conclusion of the hearing, we reserved our decision,” the adjudicators wrote at the outset of their ruling. “For the reasons that follow, we find that Ms. Guo is presently of good character. The application is allowed.”

  • Codes of Conduct

    Mendi
    Seems like the Law Society of Ontario (and LSO recognized law schools) need higher aspirant standards and more stringent codes of conduct. For assistance with producing more laudable graduates and exemplary lawyers they might wish to consult with Trinity Western University.
  • Link

    J Morrison
    http://dawnleeto.com/about
  • Wow

    J Morrison
    Unbelievable that she is licensed. She is an escort with nude pics all over the web!
  • believe it.

    nadia
    even if i did have nude pics all over the web - which i don't, actually - ever since tumblr stopped hosting photos showing "female nipples", (which is rather sexist, don't you think?) - do you think that somehow means i'm less capable to practice law? thank you for the free advertising, by the way.
  • 2 More Cents...

    F May
    Good Character? I read her social media posts under her alias and was blown away (no pun intended) that they allowed her to practice law. There is hardcore porn pictures, racial troupes and sheer lack of professionalism on that site. She makes me not want to be associated with the profession. If her John gets arrested, will she be allowed to represent them?
  • also... what hardcore porn pictures and racial 'troupes'?

    nadia
    i'm interested in knowing what your definition of 'hardcore porn pictures' is lol because i haven't posted anything of the sort on either my website or my twitter. i don't know what racial troupes are. i'm picturing a group of dancers, one from every continent.
  • lol

    nadia
    thank you, please vacate yourself from the profession if you so please.
  • My Two Cents

    M. Thorne
    Ms. Guo sounds more like a self-entitled, petulant child than a lawyer. Remarkable she has any success as an escort. I look forward to reading about her future exploits, legal or otherwise.
  • enjoy reading about my future successes

    nadia
    oh mr. thorne, i'm sure there are many things in this world that seem 'remarkable' to you. i do find it interesting you seem to believe that being a lawyer and being entitled/petulant are mutually exclusive categories, however.
  • ?

    Thaddeus Shaddlecock
    Why are you so angry? Who hurt you?
  • :)

    nadia
    angry? i'm literally laughing at your screen name and the fact that no one here has the guts to respond using their real name here.

SUBSCRIBE TO LEGAL FEEDS

BY EMAIL

AWARDS

  • clawbies 2015
    clawbies 2014
  • clawbies 2013
    clawbies 2012
  • clawbies 2011
    clawbies 2010