Law Times congratulates the 1,239 new lawyers who were called to the bar last month in five cities across Ontario. Ceremonies to mark the occasion were held in Ottawa, London, and Toronto.
On June 15, in London, during a ceremony at the London Convention Centre, 99 new lawyers became eligible to practise.
In Ottawa, during a ceremony at the National Arts Centre on June 17, 215 new lawyers were called to the bar. In Toronto, three ceremonies were held at Roy Thomson Hall on June 18 and 19, for 925 of Ontario’s new lawyers.
Law Society of Upper Canada Treasurer Derry Millar had some words of advice to the new crop of lawyers. “You are becoming members of a noble, learned, and honourable profession,” said Millar. “It is not a business and you cannot act as business people do.”
He added that, “I appreciate that for some of you today, the current economic climate may have created disappointments and challenges. Remember, the economy moves in cycles. We are at the bottom of a cycle now, but things will change and will improve and opportunities will present themselves sooner than you think.”
Millar also noted that the new lawyers may think that their education ended with completion of the licensing process. “It did not and cannot. Ongoing professional development and education are the foundations of legal competence.”
Every year, as part of its call ceremonies, the law society awards an honorary doctorate to a distinguished person who exemplifies the values of the legal profession.
This year’s recipients were: in Ottawa, George M. Thomson, senior director of the National Judicial Institute in recognition of a career that exemplifies the best of the legal profession; in London, Justice Sidney B. Linden for his many contributions to the administration of justice; and three people in Toronto, including Superior Court Justice Harriet Sachs for being a pioneer and role model for women in the legal profession, Major-General Richard Rohmer for his dedication to serving his country and its people, and Superior Court Justice Frances Kiteley for making women’s issues a law society priority.
In his speech, Thomson noted the diversity that is “reflected in those who now enter the profession.
It is one of the most powerful statements about the health and strength of the profession. Its impact will be that much greater once that diversity is equally apparent in all parts and at all levels of the profession and the justice system.”
Linden left the calls with these thoughts: “If we as lawyers wish to maintain our profession’s
independence and high place in society, we have to continually demonstrate not only that we possess
current knowledge and skills, but that we also possess the core values of honesty, integrity, and diligence.
These are the values that distinguish our profession and justify our right to practise law.”
Sachs’ message was for the calls to “use what you have learned and know. Don’t compromise on
connection. Start with yourself. Integrate who you are with who you become as a lawyer.
Take that into the world you work in.” Rohmer said more than half of the calls in the group he was speaking to were women. “What a wonderful, amazing, positive change in the gender complexion of the profession.”
Kiteley focused on technology and noted, “Armed with your law degrees and your status as lawyers,
you are the leaders of the connected generation. You have the opportunity to bring that knowledge to bear in the legal world both as service providers and as service consumers.
You know better than the thousands of lawyers that have preceded you what consumers of legal services are expecting. You know how to respond to that expectation.”
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