Ranjan Agarwal will become first South Asian lawyer to lead the OBA

The Bennett Jones LLP partner was elected to the Ontario Bar Association’s board as second vice president

Ranjan Agarwal will become first South Asian lawyer to lead the OBA
Ranjan Agarwal

Bennett Jones LLP partner Ranjan Agarwal was elected to the Ontario Bar Association’s board as second vice president, putting him in line to lead the organization in 2022. 

The Ontario Bar Association says Agarwal will be the first lawyer of South Asian descent to lead the OBA, which was founded in 1907.

Agarwal is a past president of the South Asian Bar Association of Toronto and is co-head of the class actions practice at Bennett Jones. He has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada on more than a dozen cases and has taught class action law at the University of Toronto. He has also had other leadership roles in the Advocates’ Society and OBA. He is called in Ontario and Saskatchewan.

Taking over for Colin Stevenson, Charlene Theodore will become president on Sept. 1 this year, and will be followed by Karen Perron next year. Theodore will be the 10th woman and the first black lawyer to lead the organization since its founding. She has already undertaken a major new project: Running the Black Business Law Clinic, which opened June 1.

Theodore will enter office as the OBA navigates the impacts of COVID-19. The OBA has been part of a group that has had daily calls on COVID and the courts.

“We also collect feedback from the bar, collate it and provide it to the Law Society, courts and MAG each day in order to get clarification or action for the bar as quickly as possible,” Stevenson told Law Times earlier this year. “When decision-makers get advice from the bar upfront, it avoids the need for clarification and adjustment down the road. In the end, quick collaboration saves time.”

The OBA also announced other new board members: 

  • Treasurer: Jeffrey Percival
  • Immediate Past-President: Colin Stevenson 
  • Secretary: Kelly McDermott
  • Chair of Professional Development: Wade Poziomka
  • Chair of Sections: Adrian Ishak
  • Regional Director – Central East: Derek Friend Regional Director – Central West: Kiran Gill Regional Director – Central South: Erica Lamont Regional Director – East: Craig Stehr
  • Regional Director – Northeast: Trevor Kestle                                                      
  • Regional Director – Northwest: Kathleen Commisso
  • Regional Director – Southwest: Doug Ferguson 
  • Regional Director – Toronto: Signa Daum Shanks                                              
  • Student Chair: Avechi Chimara
  • Young Lawyers Division – Central Chair: Selina Mamo
  • Young Lawyers Division – East Chair: Susana M. Lee
  • Young Lawyers Division – North Chair: Samuel Crowe
  • Young Lawyers Division – Southwest Chair: Madelaine Hofford 

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