2015 Law Society Award recipients share remarks

Posted: 05/28/2015

Group shot of 2015 Law Society Award recipients with Treasurer Janet MinorTreasurer Janet E. Minor and the Law Society welcomed more than 200 guests to Osgoode Hall to honour this year’s Law Society Award recipients.

In her opening remarks, the Treasurer reinforced the importance of the Law Society Awards.

“Today, with a membership surpassing 47,000 lawyers and more than 7,000 licensed paralegals, it is important that we publicly honour those who bring distinction and honour to our professions,” said Treasurer Minor. “In doing so, we are not only recognizing the contributions they have made, but we are identifying them as role models to other members and reaffirming the public’s confidence and trust in our profession.”

Eleven exceptional legal professionals whose careers represent the highest level of achievement and commitment to serving the public and the professions delighted the standing-room only crowd with messages of appreciation, access to justice and equality as they offered a glimpse of their diverse experiences.

Following are excerpts from the remarks given by each recipient:

Law Society Medal recipients

Craig R. Carter, LSM, CS
“I love real estate law. I love reading cases. I love looking for the simple thread of justice that runs through the law. And in Canada, given our weather, our real estate and structures are fundamental to who we are; cottages, hockey arenas, theatres, libraries, museums, transit systems, offices, shopping centres, airports, parks, and for most Canadians, their homes, the oasis in their lives. So real estate matters and it is never ever simple.”

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Prof. Adam M. Dodek, LSM
“My scholarly mission has been and will continue to be to attempt to think deeply and critically about the issues faced by our profession, by individual lawyers, by the courts, and by our system of government and politics. But to do so in a way that is both relevant and accessible to members of the profession and the public. Because the Law exists for the benefit of all Canadians.”

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Susan Eng, LSM
“The law defines the parameters of our world; tells us how things are but also, allows us pursue what they should be. Whatever else we do with our legal training, however many people we keep out of jail or away from trouble, I believe the law is always our servant in the cause of a better tomorrow.”

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Faisal Joseph, LSM
“As long as I can remember, I always wanted to become a lawyer, or a drummer, and I was lucky enough to be both. I knew I would never be rich with law being my chosen profession, but I have enjoyed each and every day in a court room with the utmost respect for and the privilege of having people trust me with their lives or their futures.”

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John B. Laskin, LSM
“Let me conclude with a special acknowledgement of someone whom I am, regrettably, no longer able to thank in person for his letter of support – A. Alan Borovoy, LSM, the former General Counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, who passed away earlier this month. As I understand what led to my receipt of this award, my work with Alan and on behalf of the CCLA was certainly among the contributing factors.”

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H.J. Stewart Lavigueur, LSM
“It is so important for the practice of law to continue in our rural communities, that I feel the Law Society should consider some initiatives for our young lawyers to take advantage of the rewards of practising and living in a small community such as Eganville. You may not become financially wealthy in a small town, but you become wealthy in so many other ways, clients become friends and acquaintances. Just as I have supported them in the past, when I needed their help after my wife passed away 3 years ago, they were all there for me and my family.”

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E. Patrick Shea, LSM, CS
“The concept of remembering our WWI articling students may have been mine, but it was our collective project – as a profession – to honour these men for what they sacrificed. It allows us to recognize in a tangible way not only the loss suffered by their families, but the loss to the profession – and to the country – when they did not return to fulfill their aspirations of becoming lawyers.”

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Chantal Tie, LSM
“I only have to look around me to know that many of my colleagues, fighting for equality for women, immigrants and refugees, or the poor, are equally, if not more deserving. So in that spirit, I choose to accept the award on behalf of all the countless others who work on the same important issues.”

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William J. Simpson Distinguished Paralegal Award recipient

W. Paul Dray
“What makes this award special is that I had the pleasure of working with “Bill” Simpson in developing the model for paralegal regulation. […] Congratulations to the first Paralegal Standing Committee for making more changes to the Law Society Act in two years than has occurred in the past 200.”

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Lincoln Alexander Award recipient

Paul Le Vay
“Every time a Francophone accused is forced to trial in English, that a French-speaking parent is obliged to fight for custody in English or that a Francophone tenant must resist eviction in English, we are a little less who we are and who we aspire to be. As lawyers, we can make a difference about that. I thank the Law Society for recognizing it in this award.”

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Laura Legge Award recipient

Kimberly Murray
“I want to put a challenge to Convocation. Think until you feel. Be the First group of Benchers to collectively stand with Indigenous peoples. Be the First Law Society to endorse the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. Be the first Law Society to lend your voice to the national call for a Public Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Think until you feel, and then take action.”

Read Murray’s speech