LSO names recipients of 2020 awards: Mary Birdsell, Arleen Huggins, Heather Joy Ross and others…

The Law Society Medal, which honours significant contributions to the legal profession

LSO names recipients of 2020 awards: Mary Birdsell, Arleen Huggins, Heather Joy Ross and others…
Arleen Huggins

The Law Society of Ontario has named the recipients of its 2020 awards.

Recipients of the Law Society Medal, which honours significant contributions to the legal profession, include the following:

  • Jeff Berryman, professor and former dean at the Faculty of Law at the University of Windsor

  • Marie Chen, staff lawyer at the Income Security Advocacy Centre

  • Dr. Ron Ellis (PhD Law), inaugural Chair of the Worker’s Compensation Appeals Tribunal and recognized leader in administrative law

  • Arleen Huggins, past president of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers and current head of the employment law group at Koskie Minsky LLP

  • Gilbert Labine, former director of the Criminal Lawyers Association and past president of the Thunder Bay Law Association

  • Colonel Vihar Joshi (Ret’d), military officer and lawyer with the Office of the Judge Advocate General, where he served for almost three decades

  • Heather Joy Ross (LLB), founder of the South West Region Women’s Law Association

  • Dr. Dianne Saxe (PhD Law), former Environmental Commissioner of Ontario

  • Donald V. Thomson, recognized leader in real estate law

The Lincoln Alexander Award, which honours commitment to the public through community service, will be given to John E. Valeriote, who has held leadership positions in various community and fundraising initiatives in Guelph, including the Guelph Community Foundation, the Rotary Foundation of Guelph and the Guelph Museum’s Fundraising Campaign.

The Laura Legge Award, which goes to women lawyers who are leaders in the profession, will be received by Jacqueline Lewis, president of Egale, a charitable organization that focuses on improving the lives of LGBTQ12S people in Canada. She led the establishment of the Egale Centre, a crisis centre for homeless LGBTQ12S youth, and founded refugee law firm Lewis & Associates.

The J. Shirley Denison Award, which honours important contributions to access to justice or poverty issues, goes to Mary Birdsell, executive director at Justice for Children and Youth (JFCY) and founder of JFCY’s legal outreach program focusing on the needs of homeless young people.

The William J. Simpson Distinguished Paralegal Award, which recognizes outstanding and distinguished paralegals, will be received by Michelle L. Haigh, senior partner at Precision Paralegal Services. Alongside the Paralegal Standing Committee, she was instrumental in advancing paralegal regulation in Ontario.

“Each award recipient is deserving of recognition,” said LSO’s treasurer, Malcolm Mercer, in the news release by LSO. “Each recipient provides a worthy example of professional service.”

The awards ceremony is set for May 27, but may be postponed to a later date depending on the advice of public health authorities.

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