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that Karina and a law school friend engaged in another rescue adventure.
The dentist was not the only person Karina has jumped in to save; her
father tells the story of the “two crazy Canadians” who scaled the outside of
an apartment building, climbing from balcony to balcony, to comfort a toddler
on the third floor who had been inexplicably left alone by his parents.
Karina says she was compelled to take action by the child’s cries and once
again “jumped in” and did her best.
After completing law school in 1995, Karina moved back to Toronto and
articled at the Ministry of the Attorney General, Community and Social
Services Branch. The Ministry offices were at Yonge and Wellesley, close to
Toronto’s Gay Village, and Karina remembers attending her first Pride
Parade that year and the personal sense of homecoming she felt in being
wished “Happy Pride”. That summer she knew she was on the right path in
her personal life.
Karina was called to the bar in 1997 and worked for almost two years at
the Ministry of the Attorney General before joining the West End boutique
law firm Sheridan, Ippolito, first as an associate, then as a partner. At Sheridan,
Ippolito & Sacca, she had a chance to do hands-on work with clients
with real-life, day-to-day problems. Her own family experiences as the child
of divorced parents with a large “drama-filled” extended family seemed to
draw her naturally to a family law practice. As a litigator she was known for
her calm, sincere and measured demeanour, her polish and her preparedness.
The clients she served were from all social strata, and there was always
so much more to Karina’s cases than just the legal issues to be addressed
and resolved: the old Spanish woman who died leaving her estate to her two
dogs and five cats, all of whom needed to be rehoused along with cash legacies;
the Eastern European man whose prized fir trees had been destroyed
in a fire on the neighbour’s property (who required Karina to unveil the
crispy “Charlie Brown Christmas tree” in the courtroom as evidence); and
the infamous case she worked on with Linda Ippolito (involving 18 court
appearances in the Superior Court, Divisional Court and the Court of
Appeal) where the self-represented respondent created an entity called
“Linka”—a blending of Linda and Karina—to whom she directed her discontent
in voluminous court materials carried in her signature black garbage
bags. To this day, when they speak to one another, Linda and Karina refer
affectionately to one another as “Lin” and “Ka”.
As a proud member of the gay community, Karina and her then-partner
were among the first to marry within days of the landmark June 2003 decision
of the Ontario Court of Appeal in Halpern v. Canada (2003), 65 O.R. (3d)
161. Justice Harvey Brownstone closed his Toronto court to perform the cer-