Advancing Human Rights: Susan Ursel Receives 2019 Law Society Medal

Posted: 05/17/2019

Susan UrselCalled to the Bar in 1986, Susan Ursel has dedicated her career to seeking progressive change for her clients, championing equality rights for the LGBTQ+ communities and leading in labour and employment law.

Susan has made significant contributions to the legal profession which include being named to the Independent Advisory Board for the Supreme Court of Canada Justices and working on ground-breaking cases that have focused on equality rights of gay men and lesbians, educational rights of children in gay and lesbian families, and human rights cases for transsexual/transgender communities.

Currently, as labour counsel, Susan works primarily with public sector and broader public sector trade unions and associations. Her practice encompasses pay equity, human rights and more. Susan’s involvement in LGBTQ+ initiatives have had considerable impact in advancing human rights in Canada and abroad.

Susan is one of this year’s recipients of the Law Society Medal which is awarded to Ontario lawyers who have made a significant contribution to the profession.

What does this award mean to you?

The LSM is one of the most significant demonstrations of support our legal community can give each other. I am so honoured to be one of this year’s recipients. It is an affirmation of our profession’s respect for the contributions of diverse members of the Law Society.

What drives you (or has driven you) in your legal career?

Laws are just and fair and workable only insofar as they also embody kindness and humanity, and address the needs of all members of our communities. Laws and the practice of law must represent the highest of our ideals, not the basest of our instincts. These are the principles that have motivated me throughout my career.

What piece of advice do you have for new legal professionals beginning their career?

Be sensible and take the opportunities the world presents you with. And within those opportunities you will find there are still other chances to do work that truly calls to you. It never ceases to amaze me what good work the world will present you with, if only you come to it with a willingness to embrace both the sensible and the wonderful.

The Law Society Medal is given for outstanding service within the profession, whether in the area of practice, in the academic sphere, or in some other professional capacity where the service is in accordance with the highest ideals of the legal profession. It may be awarded for devotion to professional duties over a long term or for a single outstanding act of service.

This year, 12 outstanding members of the legal professions will be honoured with Law Society awards on May 22nd.