Monday, April 4, 2016

Fourteen members of Ontario’s legal profession will be recognized by the Law Society of Upper Canada for outstanding career achievements and contributions to their communities at the annual awards ceremony in May.

The 2016 Lincoln Alexander Award recipient is Mary Lou Dingle. Recognized for her lifetime of service to the Hamilton community, Dingle is called a trailblazer, mentor, and role model to numerous lawyers. She has a high level of expertise as a solicitor and a great knowledge of estates and trusts. Among those nominated for the Law Society Medal are Jennifer E. Babe and Ronda Bessner.

Babe, a solicitor at Miller Thomson LLP, “exemplifies leadership” in the profession through her work with clients, her teaching and writing, and community service. Babe is chairwoman of the firm’s pro bono committee and donates many hours to the development of projects in conjunction with Pro Bono Law Ontario and Ryerson University. 

Visiting professor at Osgoode Hall Law School and adjudicator on the Consent and Capacity Board are but two of the many hats Bessner wears in the legal profession. She has made significant contributions to Ontario and its legal community through her involvement in the Women’s Law Association, serving the people in five public inquiries, and recently co-designing and co-chairing a pre-inquiry roundtable on Canada’s missing and murdered indigenous women.

Ronald Caza, Orlando Da Silva, David Estrin, Linda Gehrke, Kathy Laird, Professor Errol Mendes, Peter Rosenthal, and Prof. Frederick Zemans round out the remaining eight recipients of the Law Society Medal.

The recipient of the William J. Simpson Distinguished Paralegal Award is John Tzanis. The recipient of the Laura Legge Award is Lisa Borsook. Jenny Vuay Quan will take home the J. Shirley Denison Award. The ceremony will take place on May 25.

The Law Society is seeking nominations for the 2016 Human Rights Award. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the advancement of human rights and/or the promotion of the rule of law.
Members from all communities, practice areas, firm sizes, and regions across the province are eligible.

Nominations can be submitted to the Law Society by May 31.

2015 Mundell Medal Recipients
Julie Macfarlane and Justice Todd Archibald are this year’s recipients of the David Walter Mundell Medal for excellence in legal writing. Macfarlane, a professor at the University of Windsor Faculty of Law, is the author of many legal academic articles and books as well as a weekly blog. With a bestselling book, The New Lawyer, and thousands of regular readers of her blog, Macfarlane writes “extensively and influentially” on the need to modernize the justice system and legal profession.

Archibald is a judge in the Superior Court of Justice whose “outstanding” legal writing has made a “huge contribution” to the practice of law.

Law Times reported the president of the Chartered Shorthand Reporters’ Association of Ontario has been fielding complaints since the province outsourced production of court transcripts. The poll question last week asked our readers if they noticed a difference in quality since the outsourcing began. The vast majority — 90.5 per cent of respondents — say yes, they have noticed the quality has deteriorated and have concerns about the outsourcing.

The remaining 9.5 per cent indicated they noticed no quality change and are content with the current system. 

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