Timothy Lutes has worked for LAO for over two decades and manages some of its most complex cases
The 2019 Sidney B. Linden Award goes to Legal Aid Ontario’s Timothy Lutes, making this the first time a lawyer from LAO’s staff has received the award.
Named after LAO’s first chairman, the award honours exceptional individuals who go out of their way to assist low‑income Ontarians in their pursuit of access to justice. Lutes will be the 13th recipient of the award, in a ceremony scheduled for March.
Lutes has been with LAO for more than two decades. Joining as a per diem duty counsel, he was then promoted to supervisory duty counsel for Simcoe County. In the course of his legal career, he has appeared before all levels of the court system.
Since 2011, he has served as a staff lawyer with LAO’s provincial case management office. As a case manager for the big case management program, he handles and determines the budgets for some of the most expensive and complex trial defences funded by LAO. Collaborating with defence counsel and the judiciary, he helps to ensure that these cases progress smoothly and that public funds are used appropriately.
According to Charles Harnick, chairman of LAO’s board, Lutes is respected by judges, defence lawyers, Crown attorneys and court staff alike. “We heard the story repeatedly that Tim is always available for defence counsel, at any time of day or night, to answer any questions, or to offer advice or assistance with their case,” Harnick added. “He does all this because he wants the best for clients and for the public good.”
Jeff Hershberg, partner at Rusonik, O'Connor, Robbins, Ross & Angelini LLP, nominated Lutes for the award. He praised Lutes for his commitment, passion and dedication to his legal aid work. “He clearly understands the importance of the Legal Aid plan and is very mindful of the need for it to be sustainable,” Hershberg said.
Lutes said that he felt humbled by all the support. “I applaud the dedication and excellence of the private bar in their continued and professional representation of the most vulnerable,” he added.