Law Times congratulates the 1,263 new lawyers who were called to the bar this month in three cities across Ontario. Ceremonies to mark the occasion were held in Ottawa, London, and Toronto.
For a PDF list of all the new lawyers, click here.
On June 16 in Toronto, Law Society of Upper Canada Treasurer Derry Millar addressed the crop of new lawyers by emphasizing the importance of the independence of the legal profession. “The right to self-governance and regulation is a privilege,” he said.
“We must be ever mindful that public confidence and the protection of its interests are essential prerequisites to the independence of the legal profession. We must also be vigilant not to erode public confidence in our capacity to govern the profession.”
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 Supreme Court of Canada Justice Thomas Cromwell; Ontario Chief Justice Warren Winkler; Diana Lynn Fuller, one of the first female Crown prosecutors in the province; former LSUC treasurer Gavin MacKenzie; and Abdulrahim Ali Chahbar, a lay bencher of the law society.
MacKenzie, in his speech on June 16, vowed to continue the Convocation tradition of “unoriginal advice offered up by a self-important speaker wearing a gown in which he looks ridiculous.” In doing so, he touched on five key areas, including the need for the new lawyers to be optimists.
“Lawyers have to be skeptical,” he said. “That is part of the job description. But don’t be cynical. You have to live in the same world whether you are an optimist or a pessimist, but if you are an optimist you will accomplish more, not to mention that you’ll probably have more fun.
“But your optimism will be tested, so you have to be disciplined. Self-discipline should inform your work habits and restrain your emotions in the face of provocation. Many problems lead lawyers into encounters with the law society that are less pleasant than today’s, but a lack of self-discipline is the root cause of most. You should discipline yourself so that others will not have to.”
In receiving his honorary degree, Winkler spoke about what it means to be lawyer. He also emphasized the notion of the practice of law as a “helping profession,” something his predecessor, Roy McMurtry, used to talk about. “Perhaps I’ll make the point even more bluntly,” Winkler said.
“In my view, anyone who enters the profession of law to get rich enters it for the wrong reason and is bound ultimately to be unhappy and unfulfilled. Again, I don’t wish to demean or trivialize the importance of economic success. And, indeed, you can make a good living in the practice of law, but if that is your only or primary goal, then a far more deeply satisfying one, the pursuit of professional excellence, will elude you.”
For more Law Times lists for 2010, see "Nearly 1,600 AG staff earn over $100,000" and "Top 20 law firms of 2010."