Former Treasurer to receive honorary doctorate

Posted: 06/13/2014

Laurie H. PawlitzaInternationally recognized as a family law lawyer with a passion for family law reform, former Law Society Treasurer Laurie H. Pawlitza will receive an honorary LLD (honoris causa) from the Law Society at the afternoon Call to the Bar ceremony in Toronto on June 20.

She is being recognized for her dedication to her clients, her profession and her community.

During her two terms as Treasurer (2010-12), she led a number of important and groundbreaking initiatives to expand the inclusiveness of the Law Society and the legal profession, including the Articling Task Force, the Retention of Women in Private Practice and the Justicia Project.

Pawlitza received her BA (1980) and LLB (1983) from the University of Saskatchewan and was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1986. She quickly became recognized as a formidable and highly principled advocate.

In 1994, she launched an application challenging the constitutionality of adoption legislation that prevented same-sex couples from adopting their partners’ children. In so doing, she became one of the leaders in advancing the cause of the rights for gays and lesbians in Canada.

Pawlitza was first elected as a Law Society bencher in 2003 and went on to become the organization’s third woman Treasurer.

Named one of Canada’s “Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers in Canada” for 2012 by Canadian Lawyer magazine, she is also included in Best Lawyers® in Canada 2014 family law category.

A generous and insightful mentor, she is particularly committed to assisting women in advancing their legal careers and was a recipient of the Women’s Law Association President’s Award (2011).

She has also been honoured by the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund as a “Woman who Makes a Difference,” and received a Zenith Award from Lexpert (2013).

Pawlitza is very active in the legal community having served on a number of boards, including as director of LAWPRO and as a member of the Ontario Bar Association family law executive (1999-2003), the Family Law Rules Committee (2001-97) and trustee of The Lawyers’ Club (2000-07).

She is currently the Law Society’s representative on the Council of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, and continues to co-chair the Law Society’s Retention of Women in Private Practice Working Group.

She has also served as the chair and director of the Casey House Foundation (1998-2003) and was actively involved in Metro Central YMCA’s Regional Council (1998-2002). She serves on the board of trustees of the Royal Ontario Museum.

She is a partner at Torkin Manes LLP.