Practice Group Leader for Civil Sexual Assault/Abuse and Indigenous Rights Groups
Jennifer Lord – Legal Assistant ([email protected]) – Ext. 2480
Anu Hou – Law Clerk ([email protected]) – Ext. 2910
Michael Wilchesky is the Practice Group Leader for the Civil Sexual Assault and Indigenous Rights practice groups. His practice focuses on civil sexual and institutional abuse and misconduct claims and Indigenous rights.
Michael has always had a passion for helping people who have been disadvantaged, whether through discrimination, abuse or other circumstances beyond their control. His goal is to give those individuals a voice. Everyone deserves to be treated equally under the law, and as a lawyer Michael aims to advocate tirelessly for his clients in order to achieve the best results for each individual client.
Michael’s civil sexual assault practice focuses on obtaining meaningful compensation for survivors of sexual abuse and sexualized misconduct, often in complex institutional cases. He has acted in hundreds of civil sexual abuse and sexual assault cases, on behalf of survivors, and is intimately familiar with the complex and evolving issues in this practice area. Michael uses his knowledge and experience to construct the strongest case possible, and to guide the case in the direction the clients wish to proceed. There are always many different approaches available in these types of cases. Michael works with his clients to determine the approach that will work best for each individual client. He has also represented clients in their Criminal Injuries Compensation Board Applications, as well as survivors of abuse perpetrated at Indian Residential Schools, through the Independent Assessment Process (“IAP”). Michael currently volunteers with the Independent Legal Advice Pilot Program for Survivors of Sexual Assault, providing legal advice to survivors of sexual assault to help them make informed decisions about their next steps. Most recently, Michael launched a blog and held an informational session to help inform survivors of their options and discuss some of the important issues that arise in sexual assault/abuse proceedings.
Michael volunteers with the “Independent Legal Advice for Sexual Assault Survivors Pilot Program“, a free service offering up to 4 hours of legal advice to survivors of sexual violence who reside in Ontario. Michael is also a proud supporter of the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, a critical organization that offers legal, counselling and interpretation services to marginalized and racialized populations of women who have survived violence.
In 2012, Michael acted as second chair in a year-long Indigenous and historical flooding trial, which featured the calling of elders, other members of the First Nation community and experts, and was conducted as an electronic (paperless) fashion. He co-authored an article, published in The Litigator (June, 2013), entitled “E-Trials by fire: GAME ON!“, which described the experience. He has also acted for various First Nations in matters involving Band Council elections, Indigenous child welfare organizations, and hydro-electric matters.
Michael was also published in the September, 2014 edition of The Litigator, for his article entitled “Ontario Disability Support Plan, Ontario Words and Other Systems“, which includes a discussion on structured settlements, claw backs for clients on social assistance and other welfare benefits, and other considerations when entering into settlement discussions. Michael was also the co-author of ” Defence Strategies in Sexual Assault Claims: What Was Old is New Again“, published in the September, 2015 edition of The Litigator.
Michael also enjoys helping other lawyers traverse the important legal, professional, ethical and procedural challenges lawyers face on a frequent basis, especially in these complex practice areas. He maintains a Legal Practice and Procedure blog, designed to help young, new, and even more experienced, lawyers navigate through the complex practice and procedure encountered in civil litigation. He also volunteers as an advisor with the Law Society of Ontario’s Coach and Advisor Network, and has taught several professional development courses, for the Ontario Bar Association, Seneca College and in-house.
Prior to joining Rochon Genova, Michael practiced at an international law firm in New York primarily in the areas of corporate finance, securities and commercial law, working with clients on initial public offerings, financial filings, mergers and acquisitions and strategic global investment/expansion strategies. Michael subsequently worked at a boutique law firm in Toronto in the areas of construction law, employment law, and commercial litigation, where he represented clients at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Appeal, as well as at various tribunals, including the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, the Real Estate Council of Ontario and the License Appeal Tribunal.
Michael has applied his corporate, securities and commercial experience towards some of the firm’s major cases in securities litigation, providing ongoing assistance and support throughout the process. By applying his unique perspective and broad range of experience, Michael is able to provide a unique paradigm through which to approach and manage these types of cases.
Michael obtained his Honours Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Western Ontario in 2005 and his LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2008. While attending law school, Michael worked as a division leader for the Community & Legal Aid Services Programme in the Youth & Education and Employment Law divisions where he represented clients at the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, the Toronto Small Claims Court, and the Ontario criminal courts.
Michael was called to the New York State Bar in March of 2009 and to the Ontario Bar in February of 2010.
- “When I first contacted Michael, I was intimidated and overwhelmed by the prospect of civil litigation. Michael demystified the process for me, explaining everything in clear and concise terms. He and Jennifer kept me well-informed throughout, making sure any decisions I made were supported by all the evidence at hand. The emphasis was on working together to achieve a fair settlement. More importantly, Michael and Jennifer consistently expressed a genuine sense of care in my own well-being. That care meant as much to me as the eventual outcome.” – S.C.
- “Thank you so very much Michael for all your hard work and for supporting me through finding closure. Indeed, there has been so many positive outcomes including having confronted Mr. X, having heard his side, his apology and willingness to make things right. The experience was rewarding in many ways and I will always be able to look back on it proudly. Thank you for handling things so well, especially in your discussions with Mr. X and reiterating things to me. All in all, I feel peace, like I have nothing to be ashamed of and everything has been laid on the table. I can move forward knowing wrongs have been made right and that’s a powerful feeling.” – J.G.
- “I was a victim of a sexual assault which haunted me for many years. It was something I had a very difficult time talking about but was also unable to stop thinking about. I watched a program on sexual assault victims and I believe it is what gave me the motivation to reach out to Michael. As soon as I sent him that first email, I worried. I panicked that I had done the wrong thing, I did not think there was any way I could tell my private and very personal story to a stranger. I worried what he would think of me.He personally replied almost right away. He wrote back to me with the words I needed to hear. I knew right away that I found someone who was not judging me, was listening to me and was going to be there for me.We had a phone call later that day. After speaking with Michael, I felt so strong, so right, so wronged. During that conversation, he made me feel stronger than any therapist has been able to.
Michael offered very solid advice. I had absolute confidence in him. He explained every step of the process to me and again delivered it in a way that made me feel that this was important not just to me but also to him. I truly believe that Michael was not only looking out for my best interest financially but most importantly he was looking out for me emotionally. He listened to me, he is honest and caring and believed in me.
Michael was able to have a settlement offer to me within weeks. He told me he would but I was surprised when it happened. He works very hard and is obviously excellent at his work. I wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of him, he knows the law so well, I’m sure it would feel intimidating.
Money is not what helped bring some closure to my sexual assault. What helped was exactly what Michael had said would help, it was holding the person accountable. Michael made this person take accountability for the assault. Michael helped bring me some closure, he helped heal my wound.” -Val X.
- “I contacted Michael to help with a case that was crucial to my recovery from a very traumatic situation, after being a victim of crime. He was very professional and kind, he kept me informed and was also extremely empathetic and understanding in the way he shared information with me.Michael worked very hard to get the best possible outcome and as a result, my life has taken a very positive turn and my family and I are looking forward with much positivity.I highly recommend anyone to consult with Michael on their civil matter.” – M.B.
- “Michael was extremely kind throughout the entire process. Not once did I feel judged or misunderstood. He made me feel like he was always looking out for my best interests and that I was always in control of the situation. I would recommend him to anyone that’s even just thinking about moving forward with a suit. Great guy all around!” – K.B.
- “My experience with Michael Wilchesky was incredibly positive. Michael’s knowledge, professionalism, dedication, constant timely communication and updates provided me with confident reassurance throughout the entire process. I am beyond grateful for the way that Michael handled my case and he exceeded my expectations in all aspects, including the end result of my case. With Michael and his team, you never feel as though you are “just another client”. I would highly recommend him to anyone seeking his professional legal assistance.” – R.A.
- “I had a great experience with ROCHON GENOVA. They handled my issue with great sincerity and urgency. Michael Wilchesky represented me from beginning to end, allowing me to open up to him which made a difficult matter to deal with manageable. I highly recommend Michael and ROCHON GENOVA for their honesty, integrity and true sincerity. They helped me in many ways to deal with the issues that I have.” – A.F.
- “I feel so lucky to have had you as my lawyer. I’m so grateful for your expertise and kindness throughout this process. You made things so much easier for me. I don’t think I would have had a successful outcome without you. Thank you for all your hard work, and everything you’ve done for me. It is greatly appreciated. I would not hesitate to recommend you to anyone.” – C.N.
- “Although I could not start my action right away, Michael provided free legal advice and helped to explain my options so that I was well prepared to commence my action as soon as I could. Throughout the process, Michael was a pleasure to work with, and I felt like my best interest was always his top priority. He made himself available at almost all hours, even answering emails after 10pm on weekdays, and on weekends. He is an easy person to talk to, and always made time for my questions. I am truly grateful for his work, and would recommend him, and his firm to anyone looking for a meaningful resolution to a civil sexual assault litigation.” – A.R.
- “I am very pleased to provide a recommendation for Mr. Michael Wilchesky of Rochon Genova Law Firm. I retained Rochon Genova regarding a childhood sexual assault civil suit. Mr. Wilchesky worked closely with me for several years. I found him to be very easy to talk to, professional and compassionate. He paid close attention to detail and explained processes and procedures when things were unclear. I offer my highest recommendation!” – L.W.
- “Michael and his team had me at ease from the moment I first entered the office. All my anxiety and fears were addressed and a plan of action was then put on the table for me. The team took initiative immediately and professionally. The door and phone lines were always open for me when questions or fears came into the equation and I was never left alone waiting for a response. The process was long and difficult and sometimes I questioned my ability to carry on through to the end. Michael and his team were there to listen to my concerns and validate my feelings. I was supported and encouraged to do what was best for me. In the end, we were victorious and I was very pleased with the outcome. I would highly recommend Michael and his team’s law services for all litigation needs.” – J.S.
- “During the most difficult time in my life, the best decision I could have made was to contact Rochon Genova. Michael Wilchesky helped guide me through the entire process, step by step with patience and compassion. Michael listened and understood what I was trying to achieve with a civil suit, and provided the closure I was desperately seeking. Michael and the staff at Rochon Genova were collectively a pleasure to interact with and made a very stressful time seem manageable. They have given me my life back and I can’t thank them enough!” – S.M.
- “It is my privilege to recommend Michael Wilchesky, an excellent lawyer, who spent the time to ensure our case proceeded in the right direction. He was very caring and we were kept informed every step of the way. Thanks to his attention to detail and terrific work ethic we achieved a great result.” – M.C.
- “Michael Wilchesky represented me in a difficult matter. He was easy to talk to and very understanding. Michael is a professional in his field and will work for YOU to get YOU the money you deserve. He did for me. He answered all my emails and calls promptly. He answered every question I had no matter how silly or minor I thought it was or how many times I had already asked it. He was there for me every time, never left me wondering about anything, and explained everything very clearly in a way I could understand. Michael is a good lawyer and a good man, someone you want on your side.” – T.M.
- “I want to thank you for all of your help and support throughout my legal battle. I felt both pride and comfort having you defend me. Before finding you, I had sought legal advice from other lawyers. Many of them told me that I didn’t have a case and that I certainly didn’t have a case worth pursuing. That being said, knowing that you believed in me and my case from the beginning has provided me with a greater sense of confidence. I can say with certainty that it has helped me in my healing process. Thank you for all that you do. I am truly very grateful.” – Z.G.
Community Involvement & Interests
- Michael has always placed a strong emphasis on volunteering in the community in various capacities. Since his call to the bar, Michael has applied his legal skills and training by volunteering as duty counsel at the Toronto Small Claims Court, as a coach and judge for student mock trial competitions, and as a lawyer for the Law Society’s free Lawyer Referral Service. Michael currently volunteers with the Independent Legal Advice Pilot Program for Survivors of Sexual Assault, providing legal advice to survivors of sexual assault to help them make informed decisions about their next steps. He also volunteers as an advisor with the Law Society of Ontario’s Coach and Advisor Network, and has taught several professional development courses, for the Ontario Bar Association, Seneca College and in-house.
Areas of Practice
- Civil sexual and institutional abuse
- Indigenous Rights
- New York, 2009
- Ontario, 2010
- Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
- LL.B. with Honours – 2008
- University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario
- B.A. with Honours – 2005
- Major: Psychology
- “E-Trials by fire: GAME ON!” , The Litigator, June, 2013
- Ontario Disability Support Plan, Ontario Words and Other Systems , The Litigator, September, 2014
- Defence Strategies in Sexual Assault Claims: What Was Old is New Again , The Litigator, September, 2015
- Your First Civil Trial (YLD) – Speaker, Ontario Bar Association, 2014
- Guest Lecturer at Seneca College (Paralegal Program) – Civil Sexual Assault Litigation: Why Do It? – November 29th, 2019
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Canadian Bar Association
Pro Bono Activities
- Duty Counsel at the Small Claims Court, 2009 – 2011
- Lawyer Referral Service, 2009 – 2011
- Volunteer with the Legal Advice Pilot Program for Survivors of Sexual Assault, 2016 – Present
- Volunteer Advisor with the LSO’s Coach and Advisor Network, 2018 – Present
- Class Actions
- Personal Injury
- Accident Benefits And Tort Claims
- Back And Spinal Injuries
- Catastrophic Injuries
- Chronic Pain
- Commercial Vehicles And Public Transportation
- Depression, PTSD
- Disability Claims, Denial Of Insurance
- Facebook plays a growing role in many personal injury cases
- Head And Brain Injuries
- Major Insurance Claims
- Motorcycle Accidents And Amputation
- Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Occupier’s Liability
- Pedestrian And Bicycle Accidents
- Wrongful Death
- Aviation Law
- Breach of Privacy
- Commercial Litigation
- Sexual Abuse/Sexual Assault
- Indigenous Rights
- Employment Litigation