Law Society welcomes new lawyers and recognizes two distinguished leaders
On September 23, 2016, the Law Society of Upper Canada called 282 new lawyers to the Bar of Ontario at a ceremony at Roy Thomson Hall. This included 36 new lawyers from the inaugural class of Lakehead University’s Bora Laskin Faculty of Law.
Recognizing new lawyers
Law Society Treasurer Paul Schabas presided over the ceremony, conferring upon the candidates the degree of Barrister-at-Law.
“As lawyers, you have the capacity to make a difference,” Treasurer Schabas reminded the crowd. “Your job is to use the law, and to develop the law, for the good of your clients and the good of society.”
Treasurer Schabas also acknowledged that the practice of law can be challenging. He encouraged the new lawyers to seek support from friends, family, and the Law Society itself, which provides coaching and advisory services, mentoring, advice lines, extensive continuing education, and other supports.
Welcoming Lakehead graduates
A special address was given by Bora Laskin Faculty of Law Dean Angelique EagleWoman to welcome Lakehead University’s first graduates.
“This Charter Class brought our law school to life,” said Dean EagleWoman. “It is with great pride that we mark this occasion and wish you all the best in your legal careers.”
The law school opened in 2013 as the first to serve Northern communities in Ontario.
Awarding honorary degrees
The Law Society also recognized two distinguished leaders in law and social justice by conferring upon them honorary Doctor of Laws degrees (LLDs).
Professor David N. Weisstub was the first to accept his degree. An internationally distinguished leader in forensic psychiatry and human rights, he is recognized as a true pioneer in the development of law and mental health. During his address to the crowd, he encouraged new lawyers to also take on pioneering roles.
“Inevitably there will be ground-breaking initiatives taking place. These will be led by those who have entered the Bar today,” said Professor Weisstub. “May we all express the hope that in these pursuits you will seek the good, the just, and even the beautiful.”
The second LLD was conferred to Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler of Nishnawbe Aski Nation. Grand Chief Fiddler is a highly respected leader who has championed the cause for truth and social justice for First Nation communities.
Grand Chief Fiddler continued championing those causes during his address, which focused on reconciliation and highlighted the story of Charlie “Chanie” Wenjack.
“All of us need to know the true history of this country, including the dark chapters of the residential school experience, in order for us to achieve true reconciliation,” Grand Chief Fiddler said. “… All of you have an amazing opportunity to be part of this historic journey.”