Lawyers and paralegals recognized for career achievements, community efforts
The Law Society of Ontario will present the 2021 Law Society Medals, the Lincoln Alexander Award, the Laura Legge Award, the J. Shirley Denison Award and the William J. Simpson Distinguished Paralegal Award in a virtual ceremony on May 26.
The recipients for the Law Society Medal, which distinguishes those who have significantly contributed to the legal profession, include Peter Griffin, Eldon Horner, Judith Huddart, Susan Kyle, Candice Metallic, Janice Payne and Poonam Puri.
The law society is recognizing Griffin, a civil litigator admitted to the bar in 1980, for his advocacy, precedent-setting decisions and commitment to education and mentorship. Horner, called to the bar in 1995, is being recognized for the efforts he devoted to his local law association, to the Federation of Ontario Law Associations and to his local community of South Dundas. Huddart, admitted to the bar in 1982, is being recognized for her work as founding member and president of the Ontario Collaborative Law Federation and in promoting family law in Canada. And Kyle, who was called to the bar in 1993, served as Ontario’s first female assistant deputy attorney general, criminal law division, and has helped to modernize criminal law in the province.
The law society is also honouring Metallic, admitted to the B.C. bar in 1997 and to the Ontario bar in 2006, for her contributions to the advancement of law reform, Indigenous rights in Canada and legal and social justice for Indigenous peoples. Payne was called to the bar in 1976 and was one of Ottawa’s first female private practitioners, practising both condominium law and employment law. Puri is a legal scholar, mentor and professor, was admitted to the bar in 1999, and co-founded Osgoode Hall Law School’s Investor Protection Clinic.
This year, the law society has expanded the Lincoln Alexander Award, which recognizes those showing long-standing commitment to the public and to community service, to include not only lawyers but also paralegals. The recipient, Rochelle Ivri, was licensed in 2012, was the first paralegal and immigration consultant appointed as one of Canada’s ten citizenship judges and was the first African-Canadian professor in Mohawk College’s paralegal program.
The Laura Legge Award, which honours women lawyers demonstrating leadership within the legal profession, goes to Dr. Beverly Jacobs (Mohawk Nation/Haudenosaunee), who was called to the bar in 2003, who has served as associate dean (academic) at the University of Windsor Faculty of Law and whose work has aimed to address gendered colonial violence against Indigenous people and to restore Indigenous legal orders.
The law society will present the J. Shirley Denison Award, which distinguishes those contributing significantly to access to justice or poverty issues, to Laurie Joe, admitted to the bar in 1987, who has served as a lawyer with Community Legal Services of Ottawa and as a founding member of Justice for Indigenous Women. Joe has assisted clients with immigration, refugee and disability law issues.
The William J. Simpson Distinguished Paralegal Award, which recognizes paralegals demonstrating certain criteria, goes to Kathleen Cooper, licensed in 2012, who works at the Canadian Environmental Law Association and whose efforts have advocated for environmental justice and for the improvement of the lives of low-income Canadians.
The law society also announced that it would be presenting its Human Rights Award to Payam Akhavan at a virtual event in June. Akhavan, admitted to the bars of Ontario and the State of New York, has served as an international human rights lawyer, as a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, as a United Nations prosecutor and human rights officer in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia during the Yugoslav war and as counsel in noteworthy cases before the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, the European Court of Human Rights and the Supreme Courts of Canada and of the U.S.