Allison Pyper is a lawyer called to the bar in Ontario (2014) and Queensland (2011) who has dedicated her entire career to servicing the disadvantaged and filling the justice gap. Since 2016, she has been the principal at Pyper Law in Toronto. Her small litigation firm specializes in criminal, immigration, refugee, and mental-health law. She has a long-standing passion for human rights and her law firm serves primarily marginalized clients.
Ms. Pyper has a long history of doing pro-bono work in marginalized communities. In undergrad, she volunteered at Amnesty International, and worked closely with their legal director. She also travelled overseas to volunteer in Dharamsala, India with Tibetan refugees. After undergrad (a Honours degree at the University of Toronto) she took a year off to travel to Cape Town, South Africa to volunteer in a low income community rebuilding houses devasted by a fire, working in the local library teaching locals to read, and running a local daycare for the parents of the same community.
Ms. Pyper finished her legal studies at Bond University in 2011. Her first work after law school was as a trainee solicitor at a legal aid clinic in Brisbane, Australia. Since returning to Ontario in 2012, she has worked as a Student-at-Law and then as an associate at two small law firms under the mentorship and guidance of two very senior counsel: Peter I. Waldmann and then Michael A. Moon.
During this time, and since starting her own small law firm in 2016, Ms. Pyper has appeared at all levels of court in Ontario as well as regularly appearing at every level of tribunal in immigration and refugee law system, at detention reviews, the Consent and Capacity Board, the Ontario Review Board, and the Federal Court of Canada. She has been co-counsel on first- and second-degree homicide trials and has represented clients in all manner of criminal and immigration matters.
Ms. Pyper is an active member of the Criminal Lawyer’s Association, The Refugee Lawyer’s Association, The Toronto Lawyer’s Association, The Hamilton Lawyer’s Association, The Prison Lawyer’s Association, and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers. She is committed to continuously learning and improving her advocacy and has been invited to speak at CPD programs in both Canada and in the US. In 2018, she further developed her advocacy skills by attending a two-week trial advocacy course in Macon, Georgia hosted by the National Association of Criminal Defence Lawyers which is taught by public defenders and has a rigorous application process.
Ms. Pyper has been a member in good standing of the Law Society of Ontario (“LSO”) for 6 years.
Dedicated to Helping Vulnerable and Underserved Clients, Ms. Pyper went into law because she wanted to help people. As noted above, during her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto, Allison traveled abroad to work with refugees in India and then to work in teaching and construction in a low-income community in South Africa. These experiences engendered in her a passion for refugee rights, which prompted her to work as a research associate with El-Farouk Khaki in 2009, a prominent Toronto refugee lawyer and human rights activist who Ms. Pyper is still proud to count as a mentor and a friend.
When studying law at Bond University, Ms. Pyper earned course credit by working with a pro bono legal clinic which served people who couldn’t afford a private lawyer but were ineligible for legal aid. She developed a passion for serving those who might otherwise fall through the cracks of the justice system. She then articled at Queensland Public Interest Law Clinic, a non-profit community-based legal service that coordinates the provision of legal services for individuals who can’t afford a lawyer.
Since launching her own practice in 2016, Ms. Pyper has narrowed her practice to focus exclusively on criminal, immigration, and mental health law. She also has a keen interest and focus on the overlap between these three areas of practice. As such, her practice predominantly serves marginalized communities. Many of her clients struggle with mental-health disabilities or have limited English language skills. Instead of pursuing more lucrative areas of law, she has focused her practice on helping to fill the justice gap and serving those who may otherwise have difficulty obtaining advice and representation.