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Biographies by Diverse Community

Biographies of Early and Exceptional Ontario Lawyers of Diverse Communities Arranged By Diverse Community


For each lawyer, this document offers some or all of the following information:
  • name of diverse community or heritage name
  • gender
  • year and place of birth; year of death where applicable
  • year admitted to the profession in Ontario (up to 1889, the year called to the bar and/or year admitted to the courts as a solicitor; from 1889, all lawyers admitted to practice were admitted as both barristers and solicitors, and all were called to the bar)
  • whether appointed K.C. or Q.C.
  • biographical notes
  • name of nominating person or organization if relevant
  • sources used in preparing the biography and suggestions for further reading
 
Please note that where possible, lawyers provided, approved or edited their own biographies, including the names of their community or heritage.
 
The biographies are ordered by name of diverse community, then by year called to the bar, then alphabetically by last name. Francophone lawyers have two entries each, in French then English. Lawyers associated with more than one community are listed under each diverse community. 

Diverse Communities Represented in the Biographies

The following is a list of all diverse communities and heritages with which the early and exceptional lawyers in this project are identified. Lawyers were asked to describe their own identities; their choice of names for their communities are included below. Biographies are ordered by the name of the community; biographies of lawyers belonging to more than one community are repeated for each community. If you are interested in a particular diverse community, please conduct a word search of this file using the diverse community names listed below.
  • Aboriginal
  • African Canadian
  • Anishinabek
  • Anishnabe/Ojibway
  • Antiochian Orthodox Christian
  • Austrian
  • Arab
  • Black
  • Black African
  • Bulgarian
  • Chinese
  • Dutch
  • Filipino
  • Finnish
  • Francophone
  • German
  • Greek
  • Hungarian
  • Indo-Guyanese
  • Irish Catholic
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Jewish
  • Jewish, Orthodox
  • Kanienkehaka/Haudenosaunee
  • Korean
  • Lebanese
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered or Two-Spirited
  • Lithuanian
  • Métis
  • Muslim
  • Persons with Disabilities
  • Polish
  • Quebecer
  • Romanian
  • Roman Catholic
  • Russian
  • Russian-Polish
  • Sikh
  • South Asian
  • Tamil
  • Ukrainian
  • Women

Heritage or Community: Aboriginal

Name: WHITE, Solomon
Male
Born 1836 on the Huron Reserve near Amherstburg, Ontario
Died 1911
Called to the Bar: 1865
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Solomon White was the first person of Aboriginal heritage called to the bar in Ontario. White was the son of a Wyandot chief and a Francophone woman. He practised in Windsor and Cobalt, though he was also a farmer, businessman, and politician. In 1877, he and his father gave up their Indian status by choice, and profited personally, by promoting the conversion of some Huron Reserve lands from commonly held to individually owned lands, thereby accelerating the assimilation of the Wyandot people. However, from 1878 to 1894 (except for 1886-1890), White sat as a Conservative member of the provincial parliament, the first Aboriginal member and “the first legislator in Ontario to voice native concerns and attitudes.” (Demski) He argued for the provincial enfranchisement of Aboriginals, for native land rights, and for clemency for Aboriginals who took part in the North-West Rebellion of 1885, positions that led to his defeat at the polls. He was named K.C. in 1908.
 
Derived solely from Peter E. Paul Demski, “Solomon White,” Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online v. 14 (University of Toronto/Université Laval). Web.

Heritage or Community: Aboriginal

Name: KERR, William John Simcoe

Male
Born 1840 at Brantford, Upper Canada
Died 1875
Called to the Bar: 1862
 
Biographical Information:
William John Simcoe Kerr was the second known member of the Law Society of Upper Canada of partial Aboriginal descent. He was the descendant of two powerful military leaders and allies, Chief Joseph Brant (Thayendanagea) of the Mohawks and Sir William Johnson, superintendent of Indians in the late eighteenth century. Simcoe Kerr functioned as an intermediary among the Iroquois and between the British and the Iroquois during the period in which Aboriginal peoples lost many powers of self-government. Four years after he became a lawyer, he assumed the hereditary chieftaincy of the Six Nations at Grand River, serving from 1866 to 1875. In 1870, Aboriginal leaders from across Canada met on Six Nations lands to strategize about laws constraining their peoples and lands. Kerr, elected chairman, offered interpretations of the existing acts, section by section, to worried and angry attendees. He also contributed to the Indian Act of 1876, the legislation that defined Indian status and set out policies and structures for the management and anticipated assimilation of Aboriginal peoples.
 
Nominated by Jacqueline Briggs. Sources: William J. Simcoe Kerr, The General Council of the Six Nations, and Delegates from Different Bands in Western and Eastern Canada (Hamilton, 1870) CIHM 05766; Sally Weaver, “The Iroquois: The Consolidation of the Grand River Reserve in the Mid- Nineteenth Century, 1847-1875,” in Edward S. Rogers and Donald B. Smith, eds., Aboriginal Ontario: Historical Perspectives on the First Nations (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1994), 182-212.

Heritage or Community: Aboriginal

Name: LICKERS, Norman
Male
Born 1913 in Six Nations Territory
Died 1987
Called to the Bar: 1938
 
Biographical Information:
In the history of Ontario’s legal profession, Norman Lickers was the first person of full Aboriginal heritage (both parents were First Nations). He earned a BA from the University of Western Ontario and became a lawyer at a time when Aboriginal people could lose their status under the Indian Act merely by graduating from university or by joining a profession. Lickers set up practice in Brantford. He soon began to speak on behalf of his community as well as his clients. In 1946, he was appointed by the federal government as counsel to the Standing Committee on Indian Affairs which sponsored important revisions to the Indian Act in 1951.

However, Lickers was disbarred from practice in 1950 for professional misconduct. He continued to advocate for his people. In 1969, he organized a protest against a policy that would have abolished special status for Aboriginals. A long-serving band councillor, he also founded educational and other organizations to preserve and promote Aboriginal culture.
 
Source: Jacqueline Briggs, "Norman E. Lickers: The Untold Story of the First Aboriginal Lawyer in Canada," unpublished paper, 2008; Constance Backhouse, “Gender and Race in the Construction of ‘Legal Professionalism’: Historical Perspectives” (2003), 2-12. 

Heritage or Community: Aboriginal

Name: ISAACS, Peter
Male
Born 1938 in Oshweken, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1966
 
Biographical Information:
Peter Isaacs is a Mohawk and one of the first Aboriginal lawyers in Ontario. In the 1960s, he was a partner in the leading Hamilton firm of Millar, Alexander, Tokiwa and Isaacs, a multi-ethnic firm whose successful real estate practice depended in part on its ability to attract clients of diverse communities. In 1995, he became one of the first judges of Aboriginal heritage, appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice in Stratford.
 
Source: Philip Sworden, "'A Small United Nations': The Hamilton Firm of Millar, Alexander, Tokiwa, and Isaacs, 1962-1993," in C. Wilton, ed. Inside the Law: Canadian Law Firms in Historical Perspective (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996), 469-97.

Heritage or Community: Aboriginal

Name: STAATS, Howard Edwin Male
Born 1940 in Six Nations Territory
Called to the Bar: 1966
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
One of the first Aboriginal lawyers in Ontario, Howard Staats practises in Brantford. Born and raised on the Six Nations Reserve, his determination to achieve without boundaries has enabled him to set an example to all, especially to Native youth, that all dreams are attainable. Many years of professionalism, compassion, confidence and proven results have made him a pillar of the Brant County legal community. Mr. Staats was named Q.C. in 1979. His achievements have inspired his own family as well; his son Mark Staats is currently practising with the firm, and a granddaughter is presently on her path to becoming a lawyer. 

Heritage or Community: Aboriginal

Name: OPEKOKEW, Delia
Female
Born in Saskatchewan
Called to the Bar: 1979
 
Biographical Information:
Delia Opekokew is one of the first Aboriginal women lawyers and the first to be called to the bar in both provinces of Ontario and Saskatchewan. In private practice, she has negotiated treaty rights and advised on Aboriginal law for clients across Canada. She helped resolve the land claim of the Canoe Lake Cree Nation, her home community. In Ontario, she served as counsel for the George family prior to the public inquiry into the shooting death of Dudley George in 1995. The National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation recognized her legal career and service with an award in 2009, and noted that, "Delia has used her upbringing to ground her work as she furthers the cause of justice for Aboriginal people, and the civil liberties and human rights for all Canadians."
 
See also " National Aboriginal Achievement Award Recipients: Profile of Delia Opekokew." naaf.ca. National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation. Web. October 2009. See transcript of interview with Delia Opekokew by A. Kirk-Montgomery, 2011, forthcoming.

Heritage or Community: Aboriginal; Anishnabe/Ojibway

Name: NAHWEGAHBOW, David
Male
Born 1956 in Little Current, Manitoulin Island, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1982
 
Biographical Information:
David C. Nahwegahbow is the son of a former chief of Whitefish River First Nation, a part of the Anishinabek Nation and is one of the first Anishinabe lawyers in Ontario. He received his law degree from the University of Ottawa in 1980 and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1982. He is the senior partner of the First Nations law firm Nahwegahbow, Corbiere, located on Rama Reserve, Ontario. Mr. Nahwegahbow is a founding member and former President of the Indigenous Bar Association in Canada (IBA), an organization of Indigenous lawyers. In 2003, he received the “IPC” (Indigenous People’s Counsel) designation from the IBA in recognition of his advocacy work on behalf of Indigenous peoples. He is the 2007 recipient of the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for “Law and Justice.” In 2008, Mr. Nahwegahbow received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Anishinabek Nation.
 
For more information on Nahwegahbow Corbiere, see nncfirm.ca. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: Aboriginal; Métis

Name: DUCHARME, Todd
Male
Born 1959 in Alliston, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1988
 
Biographical Information:
One of the first Aboriginal lawyers in Ontario, Todd Ducharme studied law at the University of Toronto and Yale Law School. He served on the board of the Criminal Lawyers Association for many years and became a prominent Toronto criminal lawyer, appearing at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada. In 1999, he was elected a Bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada and was re-elected as Regional Bencher for Toronto in 2003. In 2004, he was appointed to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, thereby becoming Canada's second Métis judge. Justice Ducharme has a particular interest in Aboriginal Law and also serves as a Deputy Judge of the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories, the Supreme Court of Yukon, and the Nunavut Court of Justice.

Heritage or Community: Aboriginal

Name: BAXTER, Evelyn
Female
Born 1967 in Sioux Lookout, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1993
 
Biographical Information:
Evelyn Baxter is one of Ontario’s first Aboriginal women lawyers. She is an Oji-Cree, born in northern Ontario. Growing up in a family that practised traditional pursuits (hunting, fishing, trapping), she and her siblings were also encouraged to pursue an education. Evelyn eventually became the first member of all of Nishnawbe Aski Nation (Treaty #9), which includes Marten Falls First Nation, her home community, to become a lawyer. Her work has centred on Aboriginal litigation and issues, notably resource development, through various positions and roles for Nishnawbe Aski Nation, among other clients. Currently employed in her own practice, she is an adjudicator for the Indian Residential Schools Canada Assessment Process and serves as duty counsel from her Thunder Bay office.

Heritage or Community: Aboriginal

Name: HARE, Susan Mabel
Female
Born 1952
Called to the Bar: 1995
 
Biographical Information:
Susan Hare is Ojibwe, of the M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island, and one of the first Aboriginal lawyers in Ontario. In addition to her general practice, which includes child protection, business and criminal law, she has worked as an adjudicator in the Grandview School for Girls Settlement and in the Indian Residential Schools adjudication. As a student at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, she helped to establish the Intensive Program in First Nations Lands, Resources and Governance, in 1993. She was elected a bencher of the Law Society in 2007.

Heritage or Community: Aboriginal; Anishinabek

Name: O'DONNELL, Marie E. (Tracey)
Female
Born 1966 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1995
 
Biographical Information:
Tracey O'Donnell is a member of the Red Rock Indian Band, located southeast of Thunder Bay, Ontario. She has focussed her career on providing legal services and support to First Nations, Aboriginal organizations and Aboriginal peoples in a range of areas. As a lawyer and member of the Anishinabek Nation, Ms. O'Donnell is extensively involved in the 42 First Nation Anishinabek self-government negotiations, First Nation constitution development and capacity development projects. She has shared her knowledge and expertise by volunteering on several boards of directors for Aboriginal-based organizations and by representing the Aboriginal community on a number of boards for other organizations and public institutions. In 2003, Ms. O'Donnell was elected as a bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada - the first Aboriginal woman ever elected. She has worked to balance her career with raising two daughters and a son, now aged 9, 6, and 2.

Heritage or Community: African Canadian

Name: ROSEMAY, Vibert T.
Male
Born 1935 in Georgetown, Guyana
Called to the Bar: 1971
 
Biographical Information:
Justice Vibert Rosemay was one of the first African Canadian lawyers elevated to the bench of the Ontario Court of Justice, in 1991. In 1973, he was appointed a member of the Canadian Consultative Council on Multiculturalism. In 1978, he co-founded the Delos Davis Law Guild in honour of one of the first Black lawyers in Ontario. He was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1983.

Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Québécoise d'origine africaine

Nom: WESTMORELAND-TRAORÉ, Juanita
Femme
Née en 1942 à Montréal au Québec
 Admission au Barreau: 1997
 
Biographie :
Me Juanita Westmoreland-Traoré est la première Canadienne d'origine africaine devenue doyenne d'une faculté de droit canadienne et une des premières juges noires. Après avoir obtenu son diplôme en droit de l'Université de Montréal et son doctorat de l'Université de Paris II, elle pratique le droit et fait de nombreuses présentations sur le droit au Québec. Dans la fonction publique, elle est commissaire à la Commission canadienne des droits de la personne (de 1983 à 1985), et en 1985, elle est la première présidente du Conseil des collectivités culturelles et de l'immigration au Québec. En Ontario, elle est Commissaire à l'équité en emploi de l'Ontario (de 1991 à 1995) et doyenne de la faculté de droit de l'Université de Windsor (de 1996 à 1999). En 1999, elle est nommée à la Cour du Québec. En 2005, l'Association du Barreau canadien remet à la juge Westmoreland-Traoré le prix « Les Assises » pour son travail de promotion de l'égalité dans la profession juridique. En 2009, le Barreau du Québec lui remet le Mérite Christine Tourigny.

Heritage or Community: African Canadian; Quebecer

Name: WESTMORELAND-TRAORÉ, Juanita
Female
Born 1942 in Montreal, Quebec
Called to the Bar: 1997
 
Biographical Information:
Juanita Westmoreland-Traoré is the first African Canadian dean of a Canadian law faculty and one of the first Black women judges. After earning a law degree from the Université de Montréal and a doctorate from the Université de Paris II, she practised and lectured on law in Québec. In public service, she was a Commissioner for the Canadian Human Rights Commission (1983 to 1985), and in 1985 she was the first chair of the Conseil des communautés culturelles et de l'immigration in Québec. In Ontario, she served as the Employment Equity Commissioner of Ontario (1991 to 1995), and dean of the University of Windsor’s Faculty of Law (1996-1999). In 1999, she was appointed to the Court of Québec.  In 2005, the Canadian Bar Association awarded Judge Westmoreland-Traoré the Touchstone Award for promoting equality in the legal profession. In 2009, the Québec bar awarded her the Christine Tourigny Merit Award.

Heritage or Community: Anishinabek; Aboriginal

Name: O'DONNELL, Marie E. (Tracey)
Female
Born 1966 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1995
 
Biographical Information:
Tracey O'Donnell is a member of the Red Rock Indian Band, located southeast of Thunder Bay, Ontario. She has focussed her career on providing legal services and support to First Nations, Aboriginal organizations and Aboriginal peoples in a range of areas. As a lawyer and member of the Anishinabek Nation, Ms. O'Donnell is extensively involved in the 42 First Nation Anishinabek self-government negotiations, First Nation constitution development and capacity development projects. She has shared her knowledge and expertise by volunteering on several boards of directors for Aboriginal-based organizations and by representing the Aboriginal community on a number of boards for other organizations and public institutions. In 2003, Ms. O'Donnell was elected as a bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada - the first Aboriginal woman ever elected. She has worked to balance her career with raising two daughters and a son, now aged 9, 6, and 2.

Heritage or Community: Anishnabe/Ojibway; Aboriginal

Name: NAHWEGAHBOW, David
Male
Born 1956 in Little Current, Manitoulin Island, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1982
 
Biographical Information:
David C. Nahwegahbow is the son of a former chief of Whitefish River First Nation, a part of the Anishinabek Nation and is one of the first Anishinabe lawyers in Ontario. He received his law degree from the University of Ottawa in 1980 and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1982. He is the senior partner of the First Nations law firm Nahwegahbow, Corbiere, located on Rama Reserve, Ontario. Mr. Nahwegahbow is a founding member and former President of the Indigenous Bar Association in Canada (IBA), an organization of Indigenous lawyers. In 2003, he received the “IPC” (Indigenous People’s Counsel) designation from the IBA in recognition of his advocacy work on behalf of Indigenous peoples. He is the 2007 recipient of the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for “Law and Justice.” In 2008, Mr. Nahwegahbow received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Anishinabek Nation.
 
For more information on Nahwegahbow Corbiere, see nncfirm.ca. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: Antiochian Orthodox Christian; Lebanese

Name: SHAMESS, Alfred Ely
Male
Born 1932 in Blind River, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1960
 
Biographical Information:
After graduating from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1960 and a brief period in practice in Sudbury with the law firm of Hawkins & Gratton, Alfred Shamess joined the legal department at Chrysler Canada Ltd. in Windsor, Ontario. He was Chrysler Canada’s legal representative on various external organizations, including the Canada Manufacturers’ Association, the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association (Canada) and the Windsor/Essex County Development Commission, on which he served as chairman for two years in the mid-1980s. In 1989, he transferred to the parent corporation, Chrysler Corporation in Highland Park, Michigan, as an international counsel on the staff of the General Counsel. In 1995, he was appointed acting director of insurance and risk management. When he retired in 1999, Mr. Shamess had served thirty-seven years with Chrysler in Canada and the United States.

Nominated by Bruce A. Thomas.

Heritage or Community: Arab

Name: SALHANY, Roger
Male
Born 1937 in Cornwall, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1964
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
In 1975, Roger Salhany was the first lawyer of Arab Canadian heritage to be elected as a bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada. He was a lecturer at the University of Windsor Law School from 1977-79, the Bar Admission Course from 1968-78, the Federation of Law Societies from 1972-79 and the Canadian Judicial Council Seminars from 1979-1993. He was appointed at Queen's Counsel in 1976. In 1978, he was appointed a judge of the Ontario County Court, later Ontario Court (General Division) and served as a justice of the Ontario Superior Court from 1991 to 1999. He is the author of eight works on criminal procedure, criminal evidence and civil practice. In 2008, he was appointed commissioner by the province of Manitoba of the Taman Inquiry into the investigation and prosecution following the death of a Manitoba woman. The fourteen recommendations in his report, which included the creation of an independent special investigative unit, were accepted by the Manitoba government and have been praised by other provinces.
 
Nominated by the Arab Canadian Lawyers Association. See also George Wright, "Introduction of The Honourable Roger Salhany, Q.C., CACOLE Conference Keynote Luncheon Speaker, Ottawa, On. June 9, 2009," cacole.ca. Canadian Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement. Web. Oct. 2009.

Heritage or Community: Arab

Name: LYNK, Michael
Male
Born 1952
Called to the Bar: 1984
 
Biographical Information:
Michael Lynk is one of the first lawyers of Arab Canadian heritage. He is currently Associate Dean (Academic) at Western Law, at the University of Western Ontario, and is an award-winning teacher. He has written on labour law, human rights law, and disability rights in the workplace.
 
Nominated by the Arab Canadian Lawyers Association.

Heritage or Community: Arab

Name: ASSAF, Dany H.
Male
Born 1969 in Edmonton, Alberta
Called to the Bar: 1996
 
Biographical Information:
A leading expert in competition law and foreign investment law, Dany Assaf is one of the first Ontario lawyers of Arab heritage. He also has a Middle East and Islamic finance practice and is fluent in spoken Arabic.
 
Nominated by the Arab Canadian Lawyers Association.

Heritage or Community: Austrian; Jewish

Name: LEVINTER, Isadore
Male
Born 1898
Died 1980
Called to the Bar: 1921
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Isadore Levinter was the son of Austrian immigrants who owned a furniture store at Spadina and Queen Streets in Toronto. In his practice, Levinter specialized in plaintiffs' work in personal injury case; according to Jack Batten, he was a "great strategist among civil litigators." Levinter also contributed to his profession's development. He was a founding director of the Advocates' Society (1963) and Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee of the Canadian Bar Association. He was the first Jewish lawyer elected as bencher of the Law Society, in 1956. Levinter served as a board member of the Beth Tzedec Congregation in Toronto.
 
Nominated by Morley L. Torgov. Sources: Christopher Moore, The Law Society of Upper Canada and Ontario Lawyers, 1797-1997 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997), 201; Jack Batten, Learned Friends: A Tribute to 50 Remarkable Ontario Advocates, 1900-1950 (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2005), 5.

Heritage or Community: Black

Name: SUTHERLAND, Robert
Male
Born 1830 in Jamaica
Died 1878
Called to the Bar: 1855
 
Biographical Information:
The son of an African-Jamaican mother and a Scottish father, Robert Sutherland is considered to be the first Black university student, university graduate, and lawyer in Ontario. Identified as "coloured" in the records of Queen's University, Kingston, he graduated with honours in classics and mathematics in 1852. After starting his career in Berlin (Kitchener), he practised in Walkerton until his death in 1878. He left his entire estate to Queen's University, and in so doing ensured the university's survival during a major financial crisis. In 2009, following an initiative by students, Queen's renamed a building Robert Sutherland Hall in honour of its first major benefactor.
 
Sources: Lance C. Talbot, "History of Blacks in the Law Society of Upper Canada," Law Society of Upper Canada Gazette 24:1 (March 1990) 65-70; Ian Malcolm, "Robert Sutherland: The First Black Lawyer in Canada?" Law Society of Upper Canada Gazette 26:2 (June 1992) 183-6; "Robert Sutherland," Queensu.ca, Queen's University. Web. 15 Sep. 2009.

Heritage or Community: Black

Name: DAVIS, Delos Rogest
Male
Born 1846 in Maryland, U.S.
Died 1915
Admitted as a Solicitor: 1884
Called to the Bar: 1886
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Delos Davis was the second Black man to become a member of the bar of Ontario. From 1871, he studied law and worked as a commissioner of affidavits and then as a public notary, but could not secure an articling position. Despite the opposition of the Law Society, he successfully petitioned the legislature for admission to the bar of Ontario by special statute, as a solicitor (1884) and as a barrister (1886). The admitting statutes state that “in consequence of prejudices against his colour, and because of his being of African descent he had not been articled to any attorney or solicitor.” He practised in Gesto and Amherstburg, and with his son Frederick did criminal and municipal work. He was appointed the first Black K.C. in the British Empire in 1910. As Owen Thomas notes, Davis, the son of a former slave, "did much to expand what was considered to be an acceptable role for Blacks in Canada."
 
Source: Owen Thomas, "Delos Rogest Davis," Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online v. 16 (University of Toronto/Université Laval). Web. See also Julius Isaac, "Delos Rogest Davis, K.C.," Law Society of Upper Canada Gazette 24:4 (December 1990).

Heritage or Community: Black

Name: DAVIS, Frederick Homer Alphonso
Male
Born 1871
Died 1926
Called to the Bar: 1900
 
Biographical Information:
Frederick Davis was the third Black lawyer in Canada, the first to be called to the bar in the twentieth century, and the last for more than two decades. He practised with his father, Delos Rogest Davis, in Amherstburg.
 
Source: Owen Thomas, "Delos Rogest Davis," Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online v. 16 (University of Toronto/Université Laval). Web.

Heritage or Community: Black

Name: CROSS, E. Lionel
Male
Born 1890 in San Fernando, Trinidad
Called to the Bar: 1924
 
Biographical Information:
The first Black lawyer to set up practice in Toronto, Ethelbert Lionel Cross was a journalist before he studied law at Dalhousie in Halifax and then Osgoode Hall. Cross had a mostly criminal practice. He became famous as a critic of racism and official tolerance of illegal Klu Klux Klan activities. In Oakville in 1930, Klan members held fiery demonstrations and terrorized an Oakville couple, a Black man named Ira Johnson and a white woman named Isabella Jones. Cross gathered support from Jewish groups and trade unions and galvanized public opinion to force the authorities to take action. The resulting court case was the first prosecution of its kind in Canada and ended in a conviction. Despite this success, as Susan Lewthwaite notes, Cross remained an outsider within the profession because of his race, origins, marginal clients, and social activism. In 1937, he was disbarred from the Law Society for appropriating client's funds.
 
Sources: Constance Backhouse, Colour-Coded: A Legal History of Racism in Canada (University of Toronto Press, 1999), 173-225; S. Lewthwaite, "Reconstructing the Lives and Careers of Lawyers: Ethelbert Lionel Cross, Toronto’s First Black Lawyer," in Constance Backhouse and W. Wesley Pue, eds. The Promise and Perils of Law: Lawyers in Canadian History (UBC Press, 2009), 193-223.

Heritage or Community: Black

Name: PITT, Bertrand Joseph Spencer
Male
Born 1892 in Grenada
Died 1961
Called to the Bar: 1928
 
Biographical Information:
B. J. Pitt may have been the fifth Black lawyer called to the bar in Ontario. He studied law at Dalhousie in Nova Scotia and then at the Middle Temple in London, England. Pitt was called to the bar of Nova Scotia in 1927. In Ontario, his articling principal was E. Lionel Cross, another early Black lawyer. In his wide-ranging practice, Pitt’s clients were mostly Polish Canadians, and Blacks whom he helped without payment. Pitt's influence on the history of Ontario's legal profession has been long-lasting: he encouraged and often took as articling students individuals who became the Black lawyers of the next generation (including James Watson, Myrtle Blackwood Smith, and George Carter). He was also a strong advocate for the Black community, serving as president of the United Negro Improvement Association in Toronto.
 
Sources: Lance C. Talbot, "History of Blacks in the Law Society of Upper Canada," Law Society of Upper Canada Gazette 24:1 (March 1990), 67-8; "Pitt, Benjamin," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009.

Heritage or Community: Black

Name: WATSON, James Edgar
Male
Born 1911
Died 1998
Called to the Bar: 1937
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
James Watson graduated from the University of Toronto and articled with B. J. Pitt in Toronto. In 1950, he became the Solicitor for the city of Windsor, one of the first Blacks in Canada to achieve such a position. As Robin Winks notes, the post-war years were characterized by a relative social openness in which Blacks, like Watson, began to appear more often in the professions and politics. Watson was also one of the first Black lawyers to be appointed Q.C., in 1954.
 
Source: Robin Winks, The Blacks in Canada: A History (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1971), 459. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: Black

Name: CARTER, George E.
Male
Born 1921 in Toronto, Ontario
Died 2018 in Toronto, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1949
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
George Carter, the oldest of fourteen children born to parents who emigrated from Barbados in 1920, was the second Black lawyer to be appointed a judge in Ontario, and the first Canadian-born Black judge. In 1941, after graduating from Harbord Collegiate in Toronto, Mr. Carter started at the University of Toronto. To fund his studies, he worked three summers travelling across Canada as a night porter on the trains. In 1943, he volunteered for service in the Second World War. After completing advanced training at Ipperwash and being chosen for the School of Instruction, he decided to rejoin civilian life in 1945.  He attended Osgoode Hall Law School with the assistance of the Department of Veterans Affairs. After he was called to the bar, he practised in his beloved Toronto for thirty years. In 1979, Mr. Carter was appointed as a judge of the Provincial Court (Criminal Division). He retired from the bench in 1996.
 
Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme. See also Linda V. Carter, “The Making of a Judge: Judge George E. Carter," for Omni Television, in production.

Heritage or Community: Black

Name: PERRY, Lloyd William
Male
Born 1919
Died 1997
Called to the Bar: 1950
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Lloyd Perry was one of the first Black lawyers to become Q.C., in 1962. He also served as the Official Guardian for Ontario, now the Public Guardian and Trustee. In 1995, he was appointed to the Order of Ontario.
 
Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: Black

Name: ALEXANDER, Lincoln
Male
Born 1922 in Toronto, Ontario
Died 2012
Called to the Bar: 1953
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Lincoln Alexander credited his West Indian mother’s teachings for his belief in the transformative power of education and his determination to break barriers. After serving in the Air Force in the Second World War, he attended McMaster University and Osgoode Hall. He practised in Hamilton until 1979, one of the first Black lawyers and Black QCs (1965) in Ontario. He also became the first Black federal member of Parliament in Canada (1968 to 1985), the first Black federal cabinet minister, and the first Black Lieutenant Governor in Canada, for Ontario, from 1985 to 1991. He then served as Chancellor of the University of Guelph for fifteen years. Among the many awards he received, he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada. In 2002, the Law Society of Upper Canada struck the Lincoln Alexander Award. The Society bestows it annually to an exceptional lawyer who, like the man it honours, has made outstanding contributions to the profession.
 
Nominated by Patrick Case. See also, Lincoln M. Alexander, Go to School, You're a Little Black Boy: The Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander, A Memoir (Hamilton: Dundurn Press, 1996).

Heritage or Community: Black

Name: BRAITHWAITE, Leonard A.
Male
Born 1923 in Toronto, Ontario
Died 2012
Called to the Bar: 1958
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Born in Toronto of West Indian immigrant parents, Leonard Braithwaite was raised in the Kensington Market area during the Great Depression. He served in the RCAF in 1943 overseas. He graduated from the University of Toronto (1950), Harvard University (MBA, 1952), and Osgoode Hall Law School (LLB 1958). In 1963, he became the first Black person elected to a legislature in Canada, and in 1999, the first Black lawyer elected to the governing council of the Law Society of Upper Canada. Braithwaite’s life-long actions in many fields have helped effect change and opened doors for aspiring minority Canadians. In 1964, his work led to the abolition of the 114-year-old law permitting segregation in Ontario schools. In 1971, partly because of his efforts on behalf of gender equality, girls were first chosen as pages in Queen’s Park. Braithwaite was awarded the Order of Canada in 1997 and the Order of Ontario in 2005.
 
See Ron Csillag, “Leonard Braithwaite, Canada’s first black parliamentarian, dead at 88,” theglobeandmail.com 20 April 2012. Web; “Stanley C. Lartey, "My Visit with Leonard A. Braithwaite, C.M., O.Ont., Q.C.," Ontario Black History Society. Web. Dec. 2009; Dawn Williams, Who's Who in Black Canada 2: Black Success and Black Excellence in Canada, A Contemporary Directory (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006), 75; Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: Black

Name: ISAAC, Julius A.
Male
Born 1928 in St. David’s, Grenada, West Indies
Died 2011 in Regina, SK
Called to the Bar: 1960
 
Biographical Information:
An immigrant in 1955, Julius Isaac became the first Black Chief Justice of any court in Canada and a leader of the West Indian communities of Ontario. He studied law at the University of Toronto. Despite his brilliance, his early career was difficult “because of the colour situation” according to his wife, Ann (Toronto Star). However, following a decade of private practice in criminal and civil litigation, and eighteen years with the federal Department of Justice, he was appointed to the Supreme Court of Ontario in 1989. In 1991 he received his groundbreaking appointment as Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Canada, serving until 1999. Isaac kept strong ties to the Caribbean, serving as a senior magistrate in Grenada (1976) and chair of an inquiry into politically linked violence in Jamaica (2002). Mr. Isaac was honoured widely for his achievements, for his mentorship of young lawyers, and for his contributions to his community. He received the Canadian Black Achievement Award in Law in 1994 and was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2006.
 
See Dawn Williams, Who's Who in Black Canada 2: Black Success and Black Excellence in Canada, A Contemporary Directory (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006), 182-3. Brian Seaman, "The Honourable Justice Julius Isaac: A Model of Productive Retirement," LawNow, March-April, 2007; Galit Rodan, “Canada’s First Black Chief Justice Dies,” Toronto Star, 20 July 2011.

Heritage or Community: Black

Name: PITT, Romain W. M.
Male
Born 1935 in Grenada
Died 2020
Called to the Bar: 1965
 
Biographical Information:
The nephew of B.J. Pitt, one of the first Black lawyers in Ontario, Romain Pitt was appointed to the Superior Court of Justice in 1994.

Heritage or Community: Black

Name: LAMPKIN, Vibert A. R.
Male
Born 1933 in Kitty, Georgetown, Guyana
Called to the Bar: 1969
 
Biographical Information:
Vibert Lampkin earned an LLB at the University of London. He qualified as a solicitor in England and Guyana where he practised from 1959 until 1967 when he and his wife Lorna migrated to Canada. In 1977, eight years after he was called to the bar in Ontario, he earned the LLM degree from Osgoode Hall Law School. He was appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice in 1982 and served until 2008. He was awarded honorary doctorates of laws by the Law Society of Upper Canada (2008) and by York University (2009). According to the citation for the latter, he was “a trailblazer and a mentor to the many lawyers who appeared before him...known for his knowledge of the law, civility and contribution to the body of criminal law, with 286 reported cases. Everyone who has appeared or worked in his court was aware of his respect and
compassion for people.”
 
See "The Honourable Justice Vibert Lampkin and Osgoode Professor Emeritus Paul Weiler to Receive Honorary Doctorate Degrees at Spring Convocation." Events and Bulletins. osgoode.yorkuniversity.ca. Osgoode Hall Law School York University, 24 June 2009. Web. Nov. 2009; “Law Society Presents Two Doctorates at Toronto Call to the Bar Ceremonies,” lsuc.on.ca The Law Society of Upper Canada. 19 June 2008. Web. Dec. 2009. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: Black

Name: MORTEN, Marvin
Male
Born 1944 in Toronto, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1974
 
Biographical Information:
“As a Provincial Court Judge in Peel,” Marvin Morten writes, “I tried, and still try, to improve the lot of children in the community, to give them a more solid footing and to help them focus on a positive future. Youth is the future and I saw too many of them, especially minorities, in the courts. Thus, I joined Rotary, becoming a Paul Harris Fellow, and I founded a new Rotary Club, Brampton Flower City Rotary, a club of Canadians of many ethnicities. I lent my name to the Marvin Morten Centre for Children and Families to help deal with violence. I mentored a young man in Big Brothers and the Peel Board of Education Programme. I was a director on the Sheridan College board and spoke at two of their convocations. I felt it a great honour to be named Brampton's Citizen of the Year 2002. In retirement, I continue on two boards geared to youth, Brampton Neighbourhood Resource Centre and One Voice One Team.”

Heritage or Community: Black

Name: FRASER, Hugh
Male
Born 1952 in Jamaica
Called to the Bar: 1979
 
Biographical Information:
Justice Fraser was one of the first Black lawyers appointed as a judge in Ontario. Prior to becoming a lawyer, he achieved international standing in sports, having won many national track and field championships and a bronze medal in the 1975 Pan Am games. He also competed in the 1976 Olympics. He has served on national sports organizations such as the Commonwealth Games. Since 1996, he has been a member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport, an international body that sits in Switzerland.  In 1993, Judge Fraser was appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice and sits in Ottawa.
 
See also Dawn Williams, Who's Who in Black Canada 2: Black Success and Black Excellence in Canada, A Contemporary Directory (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006), 147-8.

Heritage or Community: Black

Name: RAWLINS, Micheline
Female
Born 1951 in Montreal, Quebec
Called to the Bar: 1982
 
Biographical Information:
The Honourable Madam Justice Rawlins was the first Black woman appointed to the bench in Ontario, in 1992, to the Ontario Court of Justice. She is a graduate of McGill University (BA 1974) and of the law school at the University of Windsor (LLB 1978). She has served on various boards such as the University of Windsor Board of Governors (1985-87 and 1995-2004), Windsor Media Council, Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, and she has served as president of the Windsor Urban Alliance, Chatham Youth Soccer Association and the Distinguished Women in International Service. She received the African Canadian Achievement Award (1997), the National Congress of Black Women Award for Outstanding Contribution to Women, to Law and to Canada (2002) and was named Windsor Woman of the Year in 2004. She is the proud mother of sons, Gareth and Evan, who she considers to be her greatest achievements.
 
See also Micheline Rawlins, "An Autobiographical Sketch," Yesterday and Today: A Celebration of Fifty Years of the Ontario Crown Attorneys' Association (1996), 101.

Heritage or Community: Black

Name: ESPINET, Thora
Female
Born 1942
Called to the Bar: 1984
 
Biographical Information:
One of the first black women called to the bar in Ontario, Thora Espinet started her own law firm because she could not get a job. She opened her private practice in Scarborough but has been located for many years in North York. Ms. Espinet is a deputy judge of the Small Claims Court in Toronto. Until 2006, she was a chair of the Canada Pension Plan Review Tribunal. She also serves on the board of governors of Humber College.
 
See transcript of interview with Thora Espinet by A. Kirk-Montgomery, 2011, forthcoming. See also Tom Godfrey, “Sole Black Woman Lawyer in Class of ’84,” Contrast (13 Apr. 1984), 5.

Heritage or Community: Black

Name: CASE, Patrick
Male
Born 1950
Called to the Bar: 1988
 
Biographical Information:
Patrick Case has devoted his career to promoting human rights. He has been a trade unionist and a school trustee.  As a young lawyer in Toronto, both as a member of the private bar and as a staff lawyer at a legal clinic in Parkdale, Case worked to assist women who were victims of violence. He has served as chair of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, co-chair of the Court Challenges Program of Canada, and a member of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Currently, Case is the director of the Human Rights and Equity Office at the University of Guelph, and the chair of the board of the Human Rights Legal Support Centre. He also teaches in the areas of human rights and poverty law at Osgoode Hall Law School and at the University of Guelph.
 
See Robert Coates, “Lost in a Sea of White,” Canadian Lawyer (13 October 1989), 27-9. 

Heritage or Community: Black African

Name: ROACH, Charles
Male
Born 1933 in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Died 2012
Called to the Bar: 1963
 
Biographical Information:
Charles Roach emigrated to Canada in 1955 intending to become a priest but instead became one of the first African-Canadian lawyers in Ontario. A prominent civil rights lawyer with a primarily Black clientele, he has represented political asylum seekers (members of the Black Panthers in the 1960s) and domestic workers under threat of deportation (Jamaican nannies in the 1970s). One of his long-term causes is to increase the Black participation in the political process, particularly in voting. Another is to make Canada a republic. He is a also a vigorous proponent of African- Canadian heritage and culture and is a founder of Caribana, the annual celebration of Caribbean culture held in Toronto.
 
See also Christian Cotroneo, "In Pursuit of 'Greatness'; Four Local Black Mentors Recognized for their Years of Grassroots Effort in the Community," Toronto Star, 19 Dec. 2005, B02. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: Bulgarian

Name: GRUDEFF, John
Male
Born 1894 in Tirnovo, Bulgaria
Died 1985
Called to the Bar: 1926
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
John Grudeff was a leader of Ontario's small Bulgarian community in the early twentieth century. He graduated with a BA from the University of Toronto in 1922, and the following year received his Certificate of Naturalization as a citizen. In 1929, he was one of the founders of the William Gladstone Society, whose purposes included teaching English to Bulgarian immigrants and promoting a common culture to reduce political discord among them. He was made K.C. in 1945. He became a family court judge in Toronto in 1949.
 
Source: Mariela Dakova, "Bulgarians," The Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples. multiculturalcanada.ca Multicultural Canada. n.d. Web. Oct. 09.

Heritage or Community: Chinese

Name: YIP, Kew Dock
Male
Born 1906 in Vancouver, British Columbia
Died 2001
Called to the Bar: 1945
 
Biographical Information:
Kew Dock Yip was the first lawyer of Asian heritage in Canada. He was one of twenty-three children of a wealthy Vancouver merchant born in China. Yip was very well-educated, studying at Columbia University, the University of Michigan, and the University of British Columbia before settling on law as a career. Because “Orientals” were excluded from membership in the Law Society of British Columbia, Yip moved to Ontario, graduating from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1945. He took an office in Chinatown near Spadina Avenue in Toronto and became the first lawyer to offer Chinese-language services (Yip spoke several dialects). He was a leader in the successful campaign to end the exclusion of Chinese immigrants to Canada under the Chinese Exclusion Act, accomplished in 1947. His forty-seven years of practice and contributions to the legal and Chinese communities were recognized in 1998 when Kew Dock Yip received the Law Society Medal.
 
Nominated by the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers and the Association of Chinese Canadian Lawyers of Ontario. Sources: "First Chinese Called to the Bar," Toronto Star, 20 Sep. 1945, 12; Christopher Moore, "Law Times 'That's History' Excerpted Columns. The Ontario Legal Alphabet: Y is for Yip." christophermoore.ca. Christopher Moore. 2004. Web. Oct. 2009. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: Chinese

Name: GRANT, Gretta J.
Female
Born 1921 in London, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1946
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Gretta Grant, nee Wong, was the first woman lawyer of Chinese ancestry in Canada. Born in London, Ontario, to parents who owned a restaurant, she followed several of her seven siblings into the professions. She articled at McCarthy and McCarthy, a large law firm in Toronto, but eventually returned to London. After a few years as the assistant city solicitor in her home town, she practised law with her husband, J. Alan R. Grant, until his death in 1967. In that year, she took the position of Area Director of Legal Aid, at a time when legal aid was moving from a voluntary basis to a more extensive program partially paid by the province. Until her retirement in 1988, she worked to make legal services more accessible to members of disadvantaged communities. Ms. Grant was also the first female president of the Middlesex Law Association. In 2000, Ms. Grant was awarded the Law Society Medal for her contributions to the profession.
 
Nominated by the Middlesex Law Association, the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers, and the Association of Chinese Canadian Lawyers of Ontario. Source: Constance Backhouse, "Gretta Wong Grant: Canada's First Chinese-Canadian Female Lawyer," Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice 15 (1996) 3-46. constancebackhouse.ca. Constance Backhouse. Web. Oct. 2009. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: Chinese

Name: WANG, Kechin
Male
Born 1919
Died 2000
Called to the Bar: 1958
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Kechin Wang was one of the first Chinese Canadian lawyers, and an early Q.C. (1967) from that community. In 1971, he was appointed a provincial court judge in the family division, at Toronto.
 
Nominated by the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers.

Heritage or Community: Chinese

Name: POON, Sidney S.
Male
Born 1936 in Hong Kong
Called to the Bar: 1970
 
Biographical Information:
Sidney Poon writes that, “My legal training and knowledge has helped me greatly to serve the Chinese community in the 1980s and 1990s, to address and help promote social harmony among different ethnic groups by serving on the Canadian Ethnocultural Council, to promote employment equity for minority groups.” From 1978 to 1987, he served as Ontario president of the Federation of Chinese Canada Professionals and the national president of the Chinese Canadian National Council. He also was president of the Indo-Chinese Refugees’ Relief Trust Fund and a member of the City of Toronto’s Committee on Immigrant Settlement and Services. In 1985 he was awarded a Certification of Appreciation by the Chinese Community Centre of Ontario for outstanding and dedicated service to the community. Also in 1985, he became one of the first Chinese Canadian lawyers to be appointed Q.C. in Ontario.

Heritage or Community: Chinese

Name: ENG, Susan
Female
Born in Toronto, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1977
 
Biographical Information:
Susan Eng was one of the first women lawyers from the Chinese Canadian community. She served as the Chair of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Services Board (1991-1995). Today, as Vice-President, Advocacy, for CARP, Canada's largest national advocacy association for older Canadians, she campaigns for a better quality of life for Canadians as we age. She is also an activist in the Chinese Canadian community. She was co-chair of the Ontario Coalition of Chinese Head Tax Payers and Families, part of the campaign that resulted in a Parliamentary apology and redress for "62 years of legislated racism under the Head Tax and Exclusion Acts." Susan was a founding member of the Chinese Canadian National Council for Equality and the Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care.
 
Nominated by the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers. See "Susan Eng Bio," CARP.ca. CARP. n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2009.

Heritage or Community: Chinese

Name: MOHIDEEN, Fatima
Female
Born 1948 in Shanghai, China
Called to the Bar: 1978
 
Biographical Information:
The first bencher (elected member of the board of directors) of the Law Society of Upper Canada of Chinese heritage, Fatima Mohideen is the executive director of the Community Legal Clinic in Brantford.
 
Nominated by Avvy Go.

Heritage or Community: Chinese

Name: LOW, Wailan
Female
Born 1950 in Victoria, British Columbia
Called to the Bar: 1980
 
Biographical Information:
Wailan Low is one of the first Chinese Canadian judges in Ontario, and the first Chinese Canadian appointed to the Superior Court of Justice, in 1998.
 
Nominated by the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers.

Heritage or Community: Chinese

Name: YEE, Gary
Male
Born 1959 in Hong Kong
Called to the Bar: 1985
 
Biographical Information:
Gary Yee has a long history of achievements and public service in the equity-seeking and administrative justice communities. In 1987, he became the first Executive Director of the Metro Toronto Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic. That same year, Yee was elected National President of the Chinese Canadian National Council. In both roles, he was a champion for human rights and equity. In 1993, Yee became one of the first Chinese lawyers to chair a tribunal – Ontario’s Board of Inquiry, hearing public complaints about police misconduct. In 1999, he joined the Immigration and Refugee Board as Special Advisor. In 2009, Yee was appointed Chair of the Social Benefits Tribunal. In recognition of his contributions to the community and the administrative justice system, Yee received the 125th Anniversary Confederation Medal (1992), Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators Medal (1999), Golden Jubilee Medal (2002), and the Head of the Public Service Award (2003).
 
Nominated by the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers.

Heritage or Community: Chinese

Name: WONG, Mavin
Female
Born 1960
Called to the Bar: 1986
 
Biographical Information:
Mavin Wong became one of the first Chinese Canadian judges appointed in Ontario, in 2000. After graduating from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1986, Justice Wong served as a defence lawyer. She has written on criminal justice for young offenders. Justice Wong currently presides as a criminal judge in Toronto.
 
Nominated by the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers.

Heritage or Community: Chinese

Name: WONG, Chi-Wah (Tony)
Male
Born 1948 in Hong Kong
Died 2009
Called to the Bar: 1987
 
Biographical Information:
Tony Wong served Markham as a York regional councillor and MPP, elected in these positions from 1997 through 2006. His political interests and responsibilities included planning and economic development, emergency medical services, and community and immigrant services. He worked to improve relations between the large Chinese and Muslim communities in his riding. Wong was a founding member of the Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic.
 
Nominated by the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers.

Heritage or Community: Chinese

Name: GO, Avvy Yao-Yao
Female
Born 1963 in Hong Kong
Called to the Bar: 1991
 
Biographical Information:
Avvy Go is a founder and the Clinic Director of Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic. In 2001, she was elected as bencher (member of the governing body) of the Law Society of Upper Canada. Consistent with her life-long interest in advancing racial equality and promoting access to justice for low income immigrants, Avvy has served on a number of advocacy organizations in various capacities including as Vice Chair of the Canadian Court Challenges Program, President of the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter, and a founding member of the Colour of Poverty Campaign. Avvy was appointed to the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board as a part time member in 2005. In 2002 Avvy received the President's Award of the Women's Law Association of Ontario. She was also a recipient of the 2008 City of Toronto’s William P. Hubbard Award for Race Relations.

Heritage or Community: Chinese

Name: LI, Jinyan
Female
Born 1963
Called to the Bar: 1994
 
Biographical Information:
Jinyan Li is one of the first Chinese Canadian lawyers to hold a teaching position at a faculty of law. Her areas of expertise include taxation law and policy, pension law, social security law, and Chinese law. Professor Li taught law at the University of Western Ontario starting in 1991, then joined Osgoode Hall Law School of York University in 1999. From July 2009 to July 2010, she served as Interim Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School. She has been recognized for her writing and teaching excellence. In 2007, she received the Academic Excellence Award from the Canadian Association of Law Teachers. In 2009, she  received an Award of Merit for outstanding achievement from the Federation of Chinese Canadian Professionals (Ontario) Education Foundation, as well as the CPAC Professional Achievement Award for  Distinguished Professional Achievement from the Chinese Professionals Association of Canada.
 
Nominated by the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers.

Heritage or Community: Chinese

Name: MA, Lillian
Female
Born 1946
Called to the Bar: 1994
 
Biographical Information:
Dr. Ma's career has been in the public sector since 1994. She is one of the first Asian Canadian lawyers to chair an agency, board or commission. Among other positions, she has been a member of the Refugee Protection Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (since 1994) and a commissioner for the Ontario Human Rights Commission (1986-8). She is currently the chair of the Landlord and Tenant Board of Ontario. She is also active in legal and other organizations interested in services for diverse communities. She was a founding director of both the Chinese Canadian National Council (1980-1994) and the National Organization of the Immigrant and Visible Minority Women of Canada (1986-1988). Lilian Ma holds a doctorate in chemistry as well as a law degree.
 
Nominated by the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers.

Heritage or Community: Dutch

Name: HAGERMAN, Nicholas
Male
Born 1761 in New York
Called to the Bar: 1797
 
Biographical Information:
Nicholas Hagerman was one of the first practising lawyers of Upper Canada, and one of the ten men who founded the Law Society on 17 July, 1797, at Niagara-on-the-Lake. Hagerman was of Dutch ancestry and born in the colony of New York. A loyalist, he eventually settled in Adolphustown on the Bay of Quinte in 1784 and practised there until his death. He was also a farmer, militia captain and a justice of the peace. Hagerman was elected a bencher of the Law Society. His son, Christopher, became a prominent politician, lawyer and judge.
 
Source: Robert L. Fraser, "Christopher Alexander Hagerman," Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online v. 7. Web. On the founding of the Law Society of Upper Canada, see Christopher Moore, The Law Society of Upper Canada and Ontario Lawyers, 1797-1997 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997), 13-7.

Heritage or Community: Dutch

Name: MEYER, Willem John Bernard
Male
Born 1931 in Holland
Died 2010
Called to the Bar: 1958
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
According to Willem Meyer, his law career was more a tale of survival than importance. In 1950, he arrived in Canada from Holland with only a guitar and fifty dollars. He managed to enter Osgoode Law School aided by Dean Smalley Baker. His first articles were with Kimber and Dubin, who taught him the language and the craft of lawyering. In his practice, he served Dutch clients but soon learned Italian to serve the immigrants arriving in Toronto. He was able to attract good partners which broadened the practice considerably. The firm, long after his retirement, still uses his name, which pleased him. A few months before his death, he wrote, “I loved the law but was often struck by the profession’s clannishness. My real aim in life was to be independent and never to have a person with authority above me. This plan I was lucky to achieve.”
 
Nominated by Marten A. Mol, Canadian Netherlands Business and Professional Association. See transcript of interview of Lucy Meyer by A. Kirk-Montgomery, 2010, forthcoming.

Heritage or Community: Dutch

Name: POOLMAN, Willem George
Male
Born 1923 in Malang, Indonesia
Died 2009
Called to the Bar: 1958
 
Biographical Information:
Willem Poolman was one of the first Ontario lawyers of Dutch heritage. He studied law in the Netherlands at Leiden University, emigrating to Canada in the 1950s. He graduated from Trinity College at the University of Toronto and studied law at Osgoode Hall. In Toronto, he practised commercial, property and tax law. In addition to his legal career, Poolman devoted his energies to the Canadian film industry. He founded the first independent Canadian film distribution company in 1964, and introduced European and Quebecois directors to Ontario audiences. Mr. Poolman was made a life member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, and practised until his death in 2009.
 
Nominated by Andrew Frei. Source: Obituary. Toronto Globe & Mail , 11 June 2009. Web. July 2009.

Heritage or Community: Dutch

Name: VERBEEK, Leonard
Male
Born 1915
Died 2000
Called to the Bar: 1964
 
Biographical Information:
Leonard Verbeek was one of the first Ontario lawyers of Dutch background.
 
Nominated by Marten A. Mol, Canadian Netherlands Business and Professional Association.

Heritage or Community: Dutch

Name: GERRETSEN, John
Male
Born 1942 in Hilversum, The Netherlands
Called to the Bar: 1969
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
John Gerretsen is a long-time politician as well as a lawyer. He was elected by the people of Kingston, Ontario as councillor from 1972 to 1980, then as mayor from 1980 to 1988. He was a member and then the chair of the Ontario Housing Corporation from 1989 to 1995. He is the first lawyer of Dutch heritage to be elected as a Member of the Provincial Parliament (Liberal, for Kingston and the Islands, first elected 1995).  Also a cabinet member, he served as the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing from 2003 to 2007, and as the Minister of the Environment from 2007.

Heritage or Community: Dutch

Name: WILLEMSE, Conrad Albert
Male
Born 1947 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Called to the Bar: 1975
 
Biographical Information:
Conrad Willemse writes, “I immigrated with my family as an eleven year old from Amsterdam. My parents immediately connected with the DUCA credit union (whose name derives from the combined words, Dutch and Canadian), which provided social and financial support to Dutch immigrants. Today DUCA is one of Ontario’s largest credit unions, and is still community- oriented. I was a board member for many years and acted as its legal counsel in the development of its new head office site in Toronto. I was also a member and president of the board of the Dutch Canadian Business and Professional Association in the 1990s. I have also been on the board of the Dutch Luncheon Club, which has presented notable speakers of Dutch origin for fifty years. I love being able to connect and work in my Dutch language, and it has been a privilege to serve other members of the strong-rooted Dutch community.”
 
Nominated by Marten A. Mol, Canadian Netherlands Business and Professional Association.

Heritage or Community: Dutch

Name: VAN MELLE, Francine E.
Female
Born 1955
Called to the Bar: 1982
 
Biographical Information:
Francine Van Melle is one of the first woman lawyers of Dutch heritage in Ontario, and perhaps the first woman judge of that background in the province. She was born in Toronto soon after her parents emigrated from Holland. Van Melle graduated from McGill University in law in 1980. Certified as a specialist in family law, she practised in Oakville for eighteen years and taught family law through bar admission courses. She served as the president of the Halton County Law Association and was also a board member of the Advocates Society. In 2000, she was appointed to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. In 2009, Justice Van Melle was named Regional Senior Judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Central West Region).
 
Nominated by Ron van der Steen. See also Kim Arnott, "Family Law Lawyer Appointed Judge," Oakville Beaver, 30 Aug. 2000, B2. Web. September 2009.

Heritage or Community: Dutch

Name: JANSSEN, Charlotte
Female
Born 1960 in Saskatchewan
Called to the Bar: 1988
 
Biographical Information:
Charlotte Janssen is one of the first women lawyers of Dutch background.

Heritage or Community: Dutch

Name: VAN DER STEEN, Ronald H. A.
Male
Born 1959 in Oakville, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1998
 
Biographical Information:
One of the first lawyers of Dutch background, Ronald van der Steen practises commercial and civil litigation in Oakville.

Heritage or Community: Filipino

Name: BINAVINCE, Emilio
Male
Born 1935
Called to the Bar: 1971
 
Biographical Information:
One of the first lawyers of Filipino heritage, Emilio Binavince studied law in the Philippines and earned graduate degrees in the United States and Germany. He was the founding chairman of the joint MBA/LLB Program, the founder and faculty editor for several years of the Ottawa Law Review, and Professor of Law at the University of Ottawa. He is a member of the bars of Saskatchewan and the Philippines, as well as of Ontario, and has appeared as counsel in all levels of Canadian courts. Mr. Binavince's areas of practice are constitutional litigation, international trade and tax law; his clients include ethnocultural and charitable organizations and foreign investors in Canada, as well as Canadian investors overseas.
 
Nominated by the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers.

Heritage or Community: Filipino

Name: NATIVIDAD, Alicia
Female
Born 1950 in Manila, Philippines
Called to the Bar: 1983
 
Biographical Information:
Alicia S. Natividad was the first Filipino female lawyer to practise law in Canada. She practises in Ottawa, Ontario, in the areas of real estate, estates, wills, trusts, corporate/commercial, and litigation in these areas. She has used her legal knowledge and expertise to further her commitment to her profession and to Canada. In recognition of her outstanding contribution she has been awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, the Philippie Presidential Citation for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas Banaag Award, Ontario’s Leading Women, Building Communities Award, the 2007 Asian of the Year Award Finalist, the Business and Professional Women’s Award, among other awards and citations.
 
Nominated by Justice of the Peace Ivana Baldelli, Ottawa.

Heritage or Community: Filipino

Name: ANDAL, Ramon
Male 
Born 1955
Called to the Bar: 1989
 
Biographical Information:
Ramon Andal was called to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines in 1982; he is also the first member of the Philippine bar to practise in Toronto. Recognized as an authority in insurance law by courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada, he has contributed to the Canadian Encyclopedic Digest and co-authored the award-winning Insurance Law in Canada (Carswell, 1999). His practice encompasses insurance, litigation, human rights, employment, marine/transportation, and mental health law. He served as lawyer member of the Board of Inquiry under the Police Services Act and the Consent and Capacity Board which conducts reviews under the Mental Health Act. He has worked with Filipino and Chinese non-profit organizations on mental health, insurance, and human rights issues including the redress campaign on behalf of Chinese Head Tax payers. Mr. Andal is a founding director of the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers, and a committee member of Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care.
 
Nominated by Avvy Go.

Heritage or Community: Finnish

Name: MAKI, Kauko Elias
Male
Born 1914 in Mend Mine, Ontario 
Died 1989
Called to the Bar: 1940
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
One of the first lawyers of Finnish heritage in Ontario, Kauko Maki practised in Sudbury. He was appointed Q.C. in 1959.
 
Source: Francois-X. Ribordy, Les Avocats de Sudbury, 1891-1981 (Sudbury, On: Departement de Sociologie et d'Anthropologie, Université Laurentienne, 1982), 218. https://zone.biblio.laurentian.ca/dspace/handle/10219/110 . Web. Dec. 2009.

Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone; catholique romain

Nom: BABY, Charles
Homme
Né en 1806 à Québec
Décédé en 1871
Admission au Barreau: 1828
 
Biographie:
Charles Baby est fils de la famille Francophone catholique romaine la plus en vue du Haut- Canada. Son père, Jacques, qu'on appele aussi James, siège au comité exécutif et au conseil législatif du Haut-Canada. Me Baby prend part à la Rébellion de 1837 et 1838. Un des premiers avocats catholiques romains en Ontario, il pratique à York (Toronto) et à Sandwich (Windsor) dont il devient maire. Me Baby est aussi connu comme l'avocat qui a essayé d'aider Nelson Hackett, un esclave qui avait fui l'Arkansas et qui a été extradé aux États-Unis en 1842. Me Baby devient conseiller au Barreau du Haut-Canada en 1850 et y siège pendant une vingtaine d’années.
 
Nomination faite par Jean Yves Pelletier. Sources : Elizabeth Burrell and Evelyn G. McLean, A Mansion on the Detroit Frontier: The Duff-Baby Story, A Bicentennial Celebration (Windsor: Amis Duff-Baby, 1998); Elizabeth Abbott-Namphy, « Nelson Hackett », Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online v. 7 (University of Toronto/Université Laval) Web.

Heritage or Community: Francophone; Roman Catholic

Name: BABY, Charles
Male
Born 1806
Died 1871
Called to the Bar: 1828
 
Biographical Information:
Charles Baby was a scion of the most influential Francophone and Roman Catholic family in Upper Canada. His father, Jacques, sat on Upper Canada's Executive and Legislative Councils. Charles served in the Rebellions of 1837 and 1838. One of the first Roman Catholic lawyers in Ontario, he practised in York (Toronto) and Sandwich (Windsor), and became mayor of the latter. Baby is also remembered as the lawyer who tried to assist Nelson Hackett, a fugitive slave from Arkansas, who unsuccessfully fought extradition to the United States in 1842. Baby became a bencher of the Law Society in 1850 and served for about twenty years.
 
Nominated by Jean Yves Pelletier. Sources: Elizabeth Burrell and Evelyn G. McLean,  A Mansion on the Detroit Frontier: The Duff-Baby Story, A Bicentennial Celebration (Windsor: Amis Duff- Baby, 1998); Elizabeth Abbott-Namphy, "Nelson Hackett," Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online v. 7 (University of Toronto/Université Laval). Web.

Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone

Nom: LAPIERRE, Horace
Homme
Né vers 1846
Décédé en 1882 à Ottawa en Ontario
Admission comme procureur: 1866
Admission au Barreau: 1869
 
Biographie :
Horace Lapierre, fils de tailleur, était l’un des premiers avocats francophones ayant pratiqué sur la rue Sparks, à Ottawa, avec Martin O’Gara et Edward Remon.
 
Nomination faite par Jean-Yves Pelletier. Voir également l’annonce dans La Gazette d’Ottawa, 3 février 1879, 1.

Heritage or Community: Francophone

Name: LAPIERRE, Horace
Male
Born c. 1846
Died 1882 in Ottawa
Admitted as a Solicitor: 1866
Called to the Bar: 1869
 
Biographical Information:
Horace Lapierre, the son of a tailor, was an early Francophone lawyer who practised on Sparks Street in Ottawa with Martin O’Gara and Edward Remon.
 
Nominated by Jean Yves Pelletier. See also, advertisement, La Gazette d’Ottawa, 3 Feb. 1879, 1.

Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone

Nom: TAILLON, George
Homme Né en 1847
Décédé en 1885 
Admission comme procureur: 1866
Admission au Barreau: 1869
 
Biographie :
L’un des premiers avocats francophones ayant pratiqué avec William Mosgrove sur la rue Rideau à Ottawa.
 
Nomination faite par Jean-Yves Pelletier. Catalogué dans The Province of Ontario Gazetteer and Directory (Toronto: Robertson and Cook, 1869), 361.

Heritage or Community: Francophone

Name: TAILLON, George
Male
Born 1847
Died 1885
Admitted as a Solicitor: 1866
Called to the Bar: 1869
 
Biographical Information:
An early Francophone lawyer who practised with William Mosgrove on Rideau Street in Ottawa.
 
Nominated by Jean Yves Pelletier. Listed in The Province of Ontario Gazetteer and Directory (Toronto: Robertson and Cook, 1869), 361.

Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone

Nom: OLIVIER, Louis Adolphe
Homme
Né en 1850 à St-Joseph au Quebec
Décédé en 1888 à Ottawa au Ontario
Admission au Barreau: 1879
 
Biographie:
Me Louis Adolphe Olivier est le premier avocat franco-ontarien nommé à la magistrature en Ontario. Il est également le premier à recevoir un doctorat honorifique (L.L.D.) de l’Université d’Ottawa en 1888. Il est juge des comtés unis de Prescott et Russell depuis sa nomination en avril 1888 jusqu’à son décès prématuré en octobre 1888 lors d’une réunion d’amicale.
 
Nomination faite par Jean-Yves Pelletier. Sources : « Cabinet du recteur :  doctorats honorifiques », uottawa.ca. Université d’Ottawa. Web. Mars 2010; « Une courte histoire juridique de Prescott et Russell », Le Barreau de Prescott et Russell. 23 février 2007 Web. Mars 2010. Voir aussi Jean-Yves Pelletier, Nos magistrats (Ottawa : Éditions L'Interligne, 1989), p. 112.

Heritage or Community: Francophone

Name: OLIVIER, Louis Adolphe
Male
Born 1850 in St-Joseph, Quebec
Died 1888 in Ottawa, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1879
 
Biographical Information:
Louis Adolphe Olivier was the first franco-Ontarian lawyer appointed to the bench in Ontario. He was also the first recipient of an honorary doctorate (L.L.D.) from the University of Ottawa in 1888. He briefly served the United Counties of Prescott and Russell from his appointment in April 1888 until his premature death in October 1888 at a class reunion.
 
Nominated by Jean Yves Pelletier. Sources: "Office of the President: Honorary Doctorates," uottawa.ca. University of Ottawa. Web. March 2010; "A Short Legal History of Prescott and Russell," Prescott and Russell Law Association. 23 Feb. 2007 Web. March 2010. See also Jean Yves Pelletier, Nos Magistrats (Ottawa: Éditions L'Interligne, 1989), 112.

Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone

Nom: BELCOURT, Napoleon Antoine

Homme
Né en 1860 à Toronto en Ontario
Décédé en 1932
Admission au Barreau: 1884
Q.C.
 
Biographie :
En tant qu’avocat, éducateur, propriétaire de journal et politicien, Me Belcourt utilise ses talents et ses compétences pour défendre et promouvoir les écoles de langue française en Ontario. Il est un des rares avocats de la fin du dix-neuvième siècle à pratiquer au Québec et en Ontario. En 1896, il est été élu député libéral d'Ottawa, et, pendant une courte période, il est président de la Chambre des communes en 1904. En 1907, il est nommé au Sénat par le premier ministre Laurier. Me Belcourt devient responsable du premier Congrès des Franco-Ontariens en 1910. En 1914, il comparaît devant la Cour suprême de l'Ontario et plus tard devant le Comité judiciaire du Conseil privé de Londres en Angleterre, pour essayer d’empêcher le gouvernement de l'Ontario d'adopter des règlements qui allaient restreindre l'utilisation du français dans les écoles. Même s'il n'a pas gagné ces batailles juridiques, Me Belcourt et ses partisans ont eu une victoire partielle puisque les règlements n'ont pas tous été mis en œuvre.
 
Source : Hector Charlesworth, ed. Cyclopaedia of Canadian Biography (Toronto: Hunter-Rose, 1919), 61; « Profil biographique Napoléon-Antoine Belcourt, 1860-1932. » Ressources franco-ontariennes. n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2010.

Heritage or Community: Francophone

Name: BELCOURT, Napoleon Antoine
Male
Born 1860 in Toronto, Ontario
Died 1932
Called to the Bar: 1884
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Belcourt was a lawyer, educator, newspaper owner, and politician who used his talents and advantages to defend and promote French-language schooling in Ontario. He was one of the few lawyers in the late nineteenth century to practise in both Quebec and Ontario. In 1896, he was elected as a Liberal MP for Ottawa, serving briefly as Speaker of the House of Commons in 1904. In 1907 he was appointed to the Senate by Prime Minister Laurier. Belcourt became the head of the first Congress of Franco-Ontarians in 1910. In 1914, he appeared before the Supreme Court of Ontario and later the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London, England to try to prevent the Ontario government from implementing regulations that would restrict the use of French in its schools. Though they lost the legal battles, Belcourt and his supporters claimed a partial victory as hated “Regulation 17” was not fully implemented.
 
Source: Hector Charlesworth, ed. Cyclopaedia of Canadian Biography (Toronto: Hunter-Rose, 1919), 61; "Profil biographique Napoléon-Antoine Belcourt, 1860-1932." Ressources franco-ontariennes. n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2010.

Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone

Nom: VALIN, Joseph Alphonse

Homme
Né en 1856 à Ottawa en Ontario
Décédé en 1945
Admission au Barreau1884
 
Biographie:
M. Valin pratique à Ottawa et est un leader du barreau Francophone. Il est aussi un des fondateurs de l'Association de droit du comté de Carleton. De 1895 à 1934, il est juge des cours de district et de comté de l'Ontario, du district de Nipissing, après avoir été nommé par le premier ministre Mackenzie Bowell. Il est aussi un des tuteurs légaux des quintuplées Dionne.
 
Source : Philip Girard, « Politics, Promotion, and Professionalism: Sir Wilfrid Laurier's Judicial Appointments, » in Jim Phillips, R. Roy McMurtry, and John T. Saywell, eds., Essays in the History of Canadian Law: A Tribute to Peter N. Oliver (Toronto: The Osgoode Society, 2008), 198-9, fn 64. See also Jean Yves Pelletier, Nos Magistrats (Ottawa: Éditions L'Interligne, 1989), 121.

Heritage or Community: Francophone

Name: VALIN, Joseph Alphonse
Male
Born 1856 in Ottawa, Ontario
Died 1945
Called to the Bar: 1884
 
Biographical Information:
Joseph Valin was a leader of the Francophone bar and one of the first Francophone judges in Ontario. Practising in Ottawa, he was also a founder of the Carleton County Law Association. From 1895 until 1934, he served as judge of the Ontario County and District Courts, Nipissing District, named to the bench by Prime Minister Mackenzie Bowell. He also was appointed one of the official guardians of the Dionne quintuplets.
 
Source: Philip Girard, "Politics, Promotion, and Professionalism: Sir Wilfrid Laurier's Judicial Appointments," in Jim Phillips, R. Roy McMurtry, and John T. Saywell, eds., Essays in the History of Canadian Law: A Tribute to Peter N. Oliver (Toronto: The Osgoode Society, 2008), 198-9, fn 64. See also Jean Yves Pelletier, Nos Magistrats (Ottawa: Éditions L'Interligne, 1989), 121.

Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone

Nom: CARON, Jean Baptiste Thomas

Homme
Né en 1869 à Garneau au Québec
Décédé en 1944
Admission au Barreau: 1898
 
Biographie :
Thomas Caron obtient son diplôme de l'Université Laval en 1895. Après avoir été admis au Barreau, il combine le droit et la politique en devenant député libéral de 1907 à 1908. Me Caron est président de la Société Saint-Jean Baptiste locale. Il est nommé juge à la Cour de district de Cochrane en 1923. Me Caron est le seul juge francophone dans le grand district du Nord-Est de l’Ontario de 1923 à 1939.
 
Nomination faite par l'Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario. Source : Henry James Morgan, The Canadian Men and Women of the Time:  A Hand-book of Canadian Biography of Living Characters (Toronto: W. Briggs, 1912), 202. Avec l’aide de Jean-Yves Pelletier.

Heritage or Community: Francophone

Name: CARON, Jean Baptiste Thomas
Male
Born 1869 in Garneau, Quebec
Died 1944
Called to the Bar: 1898
 
Biographical Information:
Thomas Caron graduated from Laval University in 1895. After his call to the bar, he combined law with politics, serving as a Liberal Member of Parliament in 1907-8. Caron was the president of the local St. Jean Baptiste Society. He was appointed District Court Judge at Cochrane in 1923. Caron was the only French-speaking judge in this large district of northeastern Ontario from 1923 to 1939.
 
Nominated by the Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario. Source: Henry James Morgan, The Canadian Men and Women of the Time: A Hand-book of Canadian Biography of Living Characters (Toronto: W. Briggs, 1912), 202. With the assistance of Jean Yves Pelletier.

Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone

Nom: CHEVRIER, Edgar Rodolphe Eugène, c.r.

Homme
Né en 1887 à Ottawa en Ontario
Décédé en 1956
Admission au Barreau: 1912
 
Biographie :
Après ses études à l'Université d'Ottawa et à Osgoode Hall, E. R. E. Chevrier est admis au Barreau de l'Ontario et du Québec et pratique à Ottawa. Politicien libéral, il représente Ottawa à la Chambre des communes de 1921 à 1936. Me Chevrier laisse sa place en 1936 lorsque le premier ministre Mackenzie King fait de lui le premier Francophone à la Cour suprême de l'Ontario, à la chambre de la Haute Cour; cette nomination contrarie beaucoup d'anglophones à l’époque. Me Chevrier est aussi le premier Franco-Ontarien nommé à la Cour d'appel de l'Ontario en 1953.
 
Nomination faite par l'Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario. Voir Philip Girard, « Politics, Promotion, and Professionalism: Sir Wilfrid Laurier's Judicial Appointments », in Jim Phillips, R. Roy McMurtry, and John T. Saywell, eds., Essays in the History of Canadian Law: A Tribute to Peter N. Oliver (Toronto: The Osgoode Society, 2008), 189-93; « Mr. Justice E.R.E. Chevrier Passes, » Ottawa Citizen 27 Aug. 1956, 5. Web. 10 Apr. 2010.

Heritage or Community: Francophone

Name: CHEVRIER, Edgar Rodolphe Eugène
Male
Born 1887 in Ottawa, Ontario
Died 1956
Called to the Bar: 1912
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
After attending the University of Ottawa and Osgoode Hall, E. R. E. Chevrier became a member of the bars of Ontario and Quebec and practised in Ottawa. A Liberal politician, he represented Ottawa in the House of Commons from 1921 to 1936. Chevrier resigned his seat when Prime Minister Mackenzie King appointed him, in 1936, as the first Francophone to the Supreme Court of Ontario, High Court Division; his elevation upset many Anglophones. Chevrier was also the first Franco-Ontarian appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal in 1953.
 
Nominated by the Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario. See Philip Girard, "Politics, Promotion, and Professionalism: Sir Wilfrid Laurier's Judicial Appointments," in Jim Phillips, R. Roy McMurtry, and John T. Saywell, eds., Essays in the History of Canadian Law: A Tribute to Peter N. Oliver (Toronto: The Osgoode Society, 2008), 189-93; "Mr. Justice E.R.E. Chevrier Passes," Ottawa Citizen 27 Aug. 1956, 5. Web. 10 Apr. 2010.

Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone

Nom: PLOUFFE, Joseph A. Symaune

Homme
Né en 1893 à Saint-Hermas au Québec
Décédé en 1964
Admission au Barreau: 1919
 
Biographie :
L’un des premiers avocats francophones à pratiquer à Sudbury, Me Plouffe est nommé juge des tribunaux de comté et district de l'Ontario, pour le district de Nipissing, où il siège de 1936 à 1964.
 
Source : Francois-X. Ribordy, Les avocats de Sudbury, 1891-1981 (Sudbury, On : Département de sociologie et d'anthropologie, Université Laurentienne, 1982), p. 219. Web. https://zone.biblio.laurentian.ca/dspace/handle/10219/110. Dec. 2009. Voir aussi Jean-Yves Pelletier, Nos magistrats (Ottawa : Éditions L'Interligne, 1989), pp. 114-115.

Heritage or Community: Francophone

Name: PLOUFFE, Joseph A. Symaune
Male
Born 1893 in Saint-Hermas, Quebec
Died 1964
Called to the Bar: 1919
 
Biographical Information:
An early Francophone lawyer who practised in Sudbury, Plouffe became a judge of the Ontario County and District Courts, Nipissing District, from 1936-1964.
 
Source: Francois-X. Ribordy, Les Avocats de Sudbury, 1891-1981 (Sudbury, Ontario: Departement de Sociologie et d'Anthropologie, Université Laurentienne, 1982), 219. Web. https://zone.biblio.laurentian.ca/dspace/handle/10219/110. Dec. 2009. See also Jean Yves Pelletier, Nos Magistrats (Ottawa: Éditions L'Interligne, 1989), 114-5.

Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone

Nom: DESMARAIS, Jean-Noel

Homme
Né en 1897 à Masson au Québec
Décédé en 1983
Admission au Barreau: 1922
 
Biographie :
L’un des premiers avocats Francophones, J.-N. Desmarais est diplômé de l'Université d'Ottawa ainsi que de l'école de droit d’Osgoode Hall. Il a pratiqué le droit à Sudbury. Me Desmarais est un des fondateurs de l'Université Laurentienne, créée à partir d'une fédération de collèges de Sudbury en 1960.
 
Source : Francois-X. Ribordy, Les Avocats de Sudbury, 1891-1981 (Sudbury, Ontario : Département de Sociologie et d'Anthropologie, Université Laurentienne, 1982), 107-8, 215. Web. https://zone.biblio.laurentian.ca/dspace/handle/10219/110 Retrieved Dec. 2009.

Heritage or Community: Francophone

Name: DESMARAIS, Jean-Noel
Male
Born 1897 in Masson, Quebec
Died 1983
Called to the Bar: 1922
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
An early Francophone lawyer, J.-N. Desmarais was a graduate of the University of Ottawa as well as Osgoode Hall Law School. He practised in Sudbury. Desmarais was a founder of Laurentian University, created from a federation of Sudbury colleges in 1960.
 
Source: Francois-X. Ribordy, Les Avocats de Sudbury, 1891-1981 (Sudbury, On.: Departement de Sociologie et d'Anthropologie. Université Laurentienne, 1982), 107-8, 215. Web. https://zone.biblio.laurentian.ca/dspace/handle/10219/110 Dec. 2009.

Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone

Name: MERCIER, Raoul
Homme
Né en 1897 à Ottawa en Ontario
Décédé en 1961
Admission au Barreau: 1922
 
Biographie :
Raoul Mercier est le premier étudiant Francophone en droit à Osgoode Hall à gagner des prix pour l’art oratoire et les débats, qui à l'époque, sont faits seulement en anglais. Il revient à Ottawa pour ouvrir son cabinet de droit et aide de nombreux clients Francophones pauvres durant une dizaine d'années pendant la dépression. Au nom de sa participation et de sa contribution au Parti libéral dans le passé, il se permet de demander à Mitchell Hepburn, le premier ministre, le poste de procureur de la Couronne. Malgré l'opposition de certains avocats anglophones, il est nommé en 1935 procureur adjoint de la Couronne et devient le premier Francophone à occuper ce poste. En 1960, Me Mercier est président de l'Association des avocats de la Couronne de l'Ontario. Il s’investit dans de nombreux organismes culturels canadiens-français. À sa mort en 1961, il est le seul procureur de la Couronne Francophone en Ontario.
 
Sources : Constance Backhouse, « Rape in the House of Commons: The Prosecution of Louis Auger, Ottawa 1929, » in Jim Phillips, R. Roy McMurtry, and John T. Saywell, eds., Essays in the History of Canadian Law: A Tribute to Peter N. Oliver (Toronto: The Osgoode Society, 2008) 62, fn 44; John D. Ayre, « The Crown Attorneys of Ontario 1857-1957: A Biographical Survey, » unpublished manuscript, 2005, Archives du Barreau du Haut-Canada.

Heritage or Community: Francophone

Name: MERCIER, Raoul
Male
Born 1897 in Ottawa, Ontario
Died 1961
Called to the Bar: 1922
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Raoul Mercier was the first Francophone law student at Osgoode Hall to win medals for public speaking and debating, at the time conducted solely in English. He returned home to Ottawa to open a law practice through which he served many poor French-speaking clients for a dozen years into the Depression. Indebtedness and past service to the Liberal party encouraged him to petition Premier Mitchell Hepburn for a position as crown attorney. Despite the opposition of some Anglophone lawyers, in 1935 he was appointed assistant Crown Attorney, the first Francophone to serve in that office. In 1960 Mercier served as the president of the Ontario Crown Attorneys Association. He was also active in several French-Canadian cultural organizations. At his death in 1961, he was Ontario’s only Francophone crown attorney.
 
Sources: Constance Backhouse, “Rape in the House of Commons: The Prosecution of Louis Auger, Ottawa 1929,” in Jim Phillips, R. Roy McMurtry, and John T. Saywell, eds., Essays in the History of Canadian Law: A Tribute to Peter N. Oliver (Toronto: The Osgoode Society, 2008) 62, fn 44; John D. Ayre, "The Crown Attorneys of Ontario 1857-1957: A Biographical Survey," unpublished manuscript, 2005, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives.

Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone

Nom: ST. AUBIN, Alibert
Homme
Né en 1902 à Saint-Jean-de-Matha au Québec
Décédé en 1993
Admission au Barreau: 1933
 
Biographie: 
Né au Québec, Me Alibert St-Aubin s’installe en Ontario à l'âge de 12 ans. Il obtient son
baccalauréat en 1923 de l'Université d'Ottawa et son diplôme en droit d’Osgoode Hall en 1927. Me St-Aubin pratique le droit à Ramore et Kirkland Lake dans le Nord de l'Ontario pendant de nombreuses années. Il prend une part active au système d'écoles catholiques Francophones. De 1950 à 1977, il est juge dans le district de Sudbury. L'Université Laurentienne lui décerne un doctorat honorifique en droit en 1985.
 
Nomination faite par l'AJEFO. Voir aussi Donald Dennie, « Une Entrevue avec le Juge Alibert Saint-Aubin, » Revue du Nouvel-Ontario 10 (1988), 113-119. Web.
https://zone.biblio.laurentian.ca/dspace/handle/10219/236. Jan. 2010.

Heritage or Community: Francophone

Name: ST. AUBIN, Alibert
Male
Born 1902 in Saint-Jean-de-Matha, Quebec
Died 1993
Called to the Bar: 1933
 
Biographical Information:
Born in Quebec, Alibert St-Aubin moved to Ontario at the age of 12. He obtained his BA in 1923 from the University of Ottawa and his law degree from Osgoode Hall in 1927. St. Aubin practised law in Ramore and Kirkland Lake in Northern Ontario for many years. He was actively involved in the French Catholic school system. From 1950 to 1977, he served as a judge in the district of Sudbury. Laurentian University awarded him an honorary doctorate in law in 1985.
 
Nominated by the AJEFO. See also Donald Dennie, "Une Entrevue Avec le Juge Alibert Saint- Aubin," Revue du Nouvel-Ontario 10 (1988), 113-119. Web.
https://zone.biblio.laurentian.ca/dspace/handle/10219/236. Jan. 2010.

Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone

Name: BEAULNE, Jean-Pierre, c.r.

Homme
Né en 1925 à Ottawa en Ontario
Décédé en 2009
Admission au Barreau: 1955
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Le juge Beaulne a fait de nombreuses contributions à sa profession, à sa collectivité d'Ottawa et à la collectivité Francophone de l'Ontario. Il prend part à la Deuxième Guerre mondiale et à la guerre de Corée. En tant que juge, il est à la Cour de justice de l'Ontario pendant plus de 25 ans. Il préside aussi la Commission des plaintes du public contre la GRC (de 1992 à 1997). Par ailleurs, il enseigne la common law à l'Université d'Ottawa et aide à créer le programme de common law en langue française. Il est un des membres fondateurs de l'Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario (AJEFO). Il travaille aussi sans relâche pour que les Francophones de la région d'Ottawa aient le droit d'avoir les services de santé en français. De plus, il s’intéresse beaucoup à des organismes artistiques, y compris Théâtre Canada. Il a reçu plusieurs prix dont l'Ordre du mérite de l'Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario.
 
Source : Maria Cook, « Obituary: Judge was a Strong Defender of Linguistic Rights », Ottawa Citizen, 14 Jan 2009, F6. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: Francophone

Name: BEAULNE, Jean-Pierre
Male
Born 1925 in Ottawa, Ontario
Died 2009
Called to the Bar: 1955
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Justice Beaulne’s contributions to his profession, to his home community of Ottawa, and to the Francophone community of Ontario were extensive and varied. He served in both the Second World War and the Korean War. As a judge, he sat on the bench of the Ontario Court of Justice for more than 25 years. He also chaired the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP (1992-1997). In professional education, he was a teacher of common law at the University of Ottawa, and helped to create its Common Law French program. He was a founding member of the Association of French-Speaking Jurists of Ontario (AJEFO). He also campaigned to extend the rights of Ottawa-area Francophones to receive health services in the French language. In addition, he participated enthusiastically in many arts organizations, including Theatre Canada. Among other awards, he received the Order of Merit from the Association of French Speaking Jurists of Ontario.
 
Source: Maria Cook, "Obituary: Judge was a Strong Defender of Linguistic Rights," Ottawa Citizen, 14 Jan 2009, F6. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone

Nom : BEAULIEU, Lucien
Homme
Né en 1933 à Mutrie en Saskatchewan
Admission au Barreau: 1968
 
Biographie :
Lucien Beaulieu est d'abord travailleur social avant de devenir un des premiers juges Francophones en Ontario. Au début de sa carrière, il est aussi procureur adjoint de la Couronne à Toronto. En 1971, il devient directeur provincial des appels pour le Régime d'aide juridique de l'Ontario. Il est nommé à la Cour provinciale de l'Ontario (division de la famille) en 1973, et en 1993 devient membre de ce qui est maintenant la Cour supérieure de justice. Le juge Beaulieu est aussi juge adjoint de la Cour territoriale du Yukon à partir de 1989 et de la Cour suprême du Territoire du Yukon à partir de 1994. Parmi les nombreux organismes juridiques auxquels il a participé, soulignons l'Association internationale des magistrats de la jeunesse et de la famille de 2000 à 2004. Depuis sa retraite en 2008, il est conférencier de l'Institut national de la magistrature sur les questions de retraite et de déontologie judiciaire.
 
Nomination faite par l'Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario.

Heritage or Community: Francophone

Name: BEAULIEU, Lucien
Male
Born 1933 in Mutrie, Saskatchewan
Called to the Bar: 1968
 
Biographical Information:
Lucien Beaulieu began as a social worker but became one of the first Francophone judges in Ontario. In his early legal career, he was an assistant Crown Attorney in Toronto. In 1971, he became the Provincial Director of Appeals for the Ontario Legal Aid Plan. He was appointed to the Ontario Provincial Court (Family Division) in 1973, and in 1993 to what is now the Superior Court of Justice. Justice Beaulieu also served as deputy judge of the Territorial Court of the Yukon from 1989 and of the Supreme Court of the Yukon Territory from 1994, and the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories. He presided over special bilingual and French trials in all jurisdictions. Among many legal organizations to which he has contributed is the International Association of Youth and Family Court Judges and Magistrates (president, 2000 to 2004). Retired in 2008, he is now a guest lecturer with the National Judicial Institute on the subject of retirement and judicial ethics.
 
Nominated by the Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario.

Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone

Nom: LE DAIN, Gerald Eric

Homme
Né en 1924 à Montréal au Québec
Décédé en 2007

Admission au Barreau: 1968
 

Biographie :

Me Gérald Éric Le Dain est le premier Francophone de l'Ontario nommé à la Cour suprême du Canada. Après avoir servi outre-mer pendant la Deuxième Guerre mondiale, il obtient des diplômes de l'Université McGill et de l'Université de Lyon en France. Il est admis au Barreau du Québec en 1949; pendant les années 1950 et 1960, il enseigne à l'Université McGill et pratique le droit à Montréal. De 1967 à 1972, il est doyen de l'école de droit d’Osgoode Hall. De 1969 à 1973, il préside ce qu'on a appelé la Commission Le Dain sur l’usage des drogues à des fins non médicales. Il a recommandé la décriminalisation de l'utilisation de la marijuana. Le juge Le Dain siège d'abord en 1975 à la Cour d'appel fédérale et à la Cour d'appel de la cour martiale. Il est nommé à la Cour suprême du Canada en 1984 où il sert jusqu'en novembre 1988. En 1989, il est nommé Compagnon de l'Ordre du Canada.
 
Source : « L’honorable Gerald Eric Le Dain », scc-csc.gc.ca, Cour suprême du Canada. Web. Oct. 2009.

Heritage or Community: Francophone

Name: LE DAIN, Gerald Eric
Male
Born 1924 in Montreal, Quebec
Died 2007
Called to the Bar: 1968
 
Biographical Information:
Gerald Eric Le Dain was the first Francophone from Ontario appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada. After serving overseas in the Second World War, he earned degrees at McGill University and at the University of Lyon in France. He was called to the bar in Quebec in 1949; during the 1950s and 1960s, he taught at McGill University and practised law in Montreal. From 1967 to 1972, he was dean of Osgoode Hall Law School. From 1969 to 1973 he chaired what became known as the Le Dain Commission into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs. His report recommended the decriminalization of marijuana use. Justice Le Dain was first appointed to the bench in 1975, to the Federal Court of Appeal and the Court Martial Appeal Court. He was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada in 1984 and served until November 1988.  In 1989, he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada.
 
Source: "The Honourable Mr. Justice Gerald Eric Le Dain," scc-csc.gc.ca. Supreme Court of Canada. N.d. Web. Oct. 2009.

Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone

Nom: CHARRON, Louise V.
Femme
Née en 1951 à Sturgeon Falls en Ontario
Admission au Barreau: 1977
 
Biographie
La juge Charron siège à la Cour suprême du Canada depuis 2004 et est la première juge francophone née en Ontario nommée à la Cour suprême. Elle commence sa carrière juridique en pratique privée à Ottawa en droit civil et criminel. De 1978 à 1988, elle agit comme procureure adjointe de la Couronne pour Ottawa-Carleton et enseigne la common law en français à la faculté de droit de l'Université d'Ottawa. Elle commence sa carrière de juge en 1988. Elle est à la Cour de district d'Ottawa, à la Cour de justice de l'Ontario (division générale) et à la Cour d'appel de l'Ontario (nommée en 1995), ainsi qu'à la Cour de justice du Nunavut (de 1999 à 2004).
 
Nomination faite par l'Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario. Source :
« L’honorable Louise Charron », Cour suprême du Canada. Web, oct. 2009.

Heritage or Community: Francophone

Name: CHARRON, Louise V.
Female
Born 1951 in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1977
 
Biographical Information:
Madam Justice Charron has served on the Supreme Court of Canada since 2004, and is the first Ontario-born Francophone Supreme Court judge. She began her legal career in private practice in Ottawa in civil and criminal litigation. From 1978 to 1988, she was the Assistant Crown Attorney for Ottawa-Carleton and also a member of the Faculty of Law, teaching French common law, at the University of Ottawa. Her career on the bench began in 1988. She has served on the District Court in Ottawa, on the Ontario Court of Justice (General Division), on the Ontario Court of Appeal (appointed 1995), and on the Nunavut Court of Justice (1999 to 2004).
 
Nominated by the Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario. See "The Honourable Madam Justice Louise Charron," Supreme Court of Canada. N.d. Web. Oct. 2009.

Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone 

Nom: MÉTIVIER, Monique
Femme
Née en 1942 à Ottawa en Ontario

Admission au Barreau: 1979
 

Biographie :

Monique Métivier obtient son diplôme en droit en 1977 de l'Université d'Ottawa. Elle est nommée à la Cour supérieure de justice en 1995 et est la première femme nommée juge régionale principale de la région de l'Est.
 
Nomination faite par l'Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario.

Heritage or Community: Francophone

Name: MÉTIVIER, Monique

Female
Born 1942 in Ottawa, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1979
 
Biographical Information:
Monique Métivier obtained her law degree in 1977 from the University of Ottawa. She was appointed to the Superior Court of Justice in 1995 and is the first woman to be appointed as Regional Senior Justice for the Eastern region.
 
Nominated by the Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario.

Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone

Nom: LÉVESQUE, Gérard
Homme
Admission au Barreau: 1988
 
Biographie :
Dans le cadre de sa carrière juridique, comme avocat (en Alberta et en Ontario) et comme juge (Cour des petites créances de Toronto), rédacteur, éditeur et éducateur (faculté de droit de l'Université d'Ottawa), Gérard Lévesque lutte constamment pour les droits des Francophones dans les systèmes ontariens de justice criminelle et civile et dans le système de l'éducation. De 1991 à 2001, Me Lévesque est directeur général de l'AJEFO, le réseau des juges et avocats bilingues de l'Ontario.
 
Nomination faite par l'Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario.

Heritage or Community: Francophone

Name: LÉVESQUE, Gérard
Male
Called to the Bar: 1988
 
Biographical Information:
Throughout his legal career, as a lawyer (in both Alberta and Ontario), judge (Toronto Small Claims Court), writer, editor and educator (Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa), Mr. Lévesque has been a strong advocate for French language rights in the Ontario criminal and civil justice and education systems. From 1991 to 2001, Mr. Lévesque served as the Executive Director of the AJEFO, the network of bilingual judges and lawyers of Ontario
 
Nominated by the Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario.

Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Québécoise Francophone

Nom: BOUTET, Nathalie
Femme
Née en 1965 à Québec au Québec
Admission au Barreau: 1991
 
Biographie :
Me Nathalie Boutet est avocate en droit de la famille ainsi que formatrice en droit collaboratif et juge à la Cour des petites créances. Elle consacre sa carrière au bien-être des familles et des enfants. Son travail sur le droit collaboratif, le système le plus avancé de négociations pour les
couples qui se séparent, permet aux familles d'arriver à une entente à l’amiable. Me Boutet a joué un rôle essentiel dans le développement du droit collaboratif en France, en Italie et aux Bermudes. Lorsqu'elle a été présidente de l'AJEFO (Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario), le Barreau du Haut-Canada a accepté de modifier ses règles de déontologie pour obliger les avocats à expliquer à leurs clients bilingues qu'ils ont le droit d'utiliser le français ou l’anglais dans le système juridique. Elle obtient le prix de distinction de l'AJEFO en 2004.

Heritage or Community: Francophone; Quebecer

Name: BOUTET, Nathalie
Female
Born 1965 in Quebec City, Quebec
Called to the Bar: 1991
 
Biographical Information:
Nathalie Boutet is a family law lawyer, a collaborative law instructor, and a judge in the Small Claims Court. She is dedicated to the well-being of families and children. Her focus on collaborative law, the most evolved system of negotiation for separating couples, enables families to achieve peaceful and evolved separations. Nathalie is instrumental in the development of collaborative law in France, Italy and Bermuda. During her presidency at the AJEFO (Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario), the Law Society of Upper Canada agreed to amend the Rules of Professional Conduct to compel lawyers to advise their bilingual clients of their right to use French or English in the court system. She was awarded the AJEFO's Award of Distinction in 2004.

Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: Francophone

Nom: LEVASSEUR, Gilles
Homme
Admission au Barreau: 1994
 
Biographie:
J.L. Gilles LeVasseur, membre des barreaux de l'Ontario et du Québec, auteur et professeur d’université en droit, en gestion et en économie, est un fier franco-ontarien qui milite pour les droits constitutionnels et linguistiques des francophones en Ontario et dans le reste du Canada. Il est membre actif des principales organisations qui œuvrent pour la promotion de la langue et de la culture française en Ontario et au Canada. Il est actuellement président du Conseil de la Coopération de l’Ontario (CCO) et président de l’Association des auteurs et auteures de l’Ontario. Il a reçu, entre autres, le prix du lieutenant-gouverneur de l’Ontario pour la préservation du patrimoine franco-ontarien et la médaille du Jubilé de Sa Majesté pour contributions à la francophonie canadienne. Il a aussi reçu le prix Séraphin Marion pour sa contribution exceptionnelle au développement des francophones hors Québec.

Heritage or Community: Francophone

Name: LEVASSEUR, Gilles
Male
Called to the Bar: 1994
 
Biographical Information:
J.L. Gilles LeVasseur, member of the Ontario and Quebec bars, author and university professor of law, economics and business, is a proud Franco-Ontarian who is an activist for the constitutional and language rights of Francophones in Ontario and in the rest of Canada. He has been a leading member of many organizations working to promote French language and culture in Ontario and Canada. He is currently president of the Conseil de la Coopération de l’Ontario (CCO) and president of the Association des auteurs et auteures de l’Ontario. Among other awards, he has received the Lieutenant Governor's Ontario Heritage Award for his contributions to the preservation of Franco-Ontarian heritage and the Queen's Jubilee medal for his contributions to the Canadian Francophonie. He was also awarded the Séraphin Marion award for his outstanding contributions to Francophone rights outside Quebec.

Heritage or Community: German

Name: KLEIN, Alphonse Basil
Male
Born 1851
Died after 1926
Admitted as a Solicitor: 1874
Called to the Bar: 1879
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Alphonse Klein was the first German-speaking barrister in Ontario, and possibly the first German-speaking judge in Canada. He was a reeve in Walkerton, Ontario from 1892-3, and then appointed a judge for the County of Bruce in 1893.
 
Source: "Klein, Alphonse Basil Klein," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009.

Heritage or Community: German

Name: BITZER, Conrad
Male
Born 1853 in Preston, Ontario
Died 1903
Called to the Bar: 1881
 
Biographical Information:
Conrad Bitzer was the first German-speaking lawyer to practise in Berlin (Kitchener) and area, the largest enclave of Ontarians of German heritage. Bitzer's parents immigrated from Germany. After he earned a BA and was called to the bar, Bitzer returned to Berlin, Ontario to practise law with two prominent firms, and then on his own from 1892. Bitzer was a member of Berlin's political and business elite. He served as town councillor, mayor in 1892, sat on the local board of trade, and ran as a Liberal candidate in the federal election of 1900. His son, Arno, continued the practice at his death in 1903.
 
Source: Elizabeth Bloomfield, "Lawyers as Members of Urban Business Elites in Southern Ontario, 1860 to 1920," in Carol Wilton, ed., Beyond the Law: Lawyers and Business in Canada 1830 to 1930 (Toronto: Osgoode Society, 1990), 128, 134-6.

Heritage or Community: German 

Name: WISSLER, Henry
Male
Born 1860 in Salem, Ontario
Died 1953
Called to the Bar: 1886
 
Biographical Information:
Henry Wissler was one of the first German-speaking lawyers in Ontario. His parents, a Pennsylvania German father and a mother born in Scotland, founded the village of Salem in Wellington County. Wissler practised in Elora and Guelph.
 
Source: John Robert Connon, The Early History of Elora, Ontario and Vicinity (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University, 1975), 123-7.

Heritage or Community: German

Name: LUDWIG, Michael Hermann
Male
Born 1867 in Sebringville, Ontario
Died 1937
Called to the Bar: 1889
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Herman Ludwig won the Gold Medal at Osgoode Hall Law School and later taught at Osgoode from 1890 to 1892. A Toronto lawyer active in legal organizations, he was president of the Ontario Bar Association in 1913. He was elected a bencher from 1913 until 1936, when he was elected the first Treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada of German heritage.
 
Source: "Ludwig, Michael," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009.

Heritage or Community: German

Name: ROHLEDER, Frederick
Male
Born 1863 in Germany
Died ?
Called to the Bar: 1889
 
Biographical Information:
Frederick Rohleder emigrated from Germany in 1878, according to the 1911 census records, and thus was probably the first German person born outside of Canada to become a lawyer in Ontario. He practised in Berlin (Kitchener), Ontario.
 
Source: Elizabeth Bloomfield, "Lawyers as Members of Urban Business Elites in Southern Ontario, 1860 to 1920," in Carol Wilton, ed., Beyond the Law: Lawyers and Business in Canada 1830 to 1930 (Toronto: Osgoode Society, 1990), 129.

Heritage or Community: German; Jewish
Name: LEVY, Gabriel Herman
Male
Born 1874 in Hamilton, Ontario
Died 1941
Called to the Bar: 1898
K.C. 1921
 
Biographical Information:
The son of German-born Jewish parents who owned a wholesale jewellers in Hamilton, Gabriel Levy became a well-educated man and well-connected lawyer. He earned a BA at the University of Toronto before he was twenty and did post-graduate studies at the University of Bonn, Germany, before graduating from Osgoode Law School. In partnership with Sir John Gibson and others, he had a large corporate clientele among the city of Hamilton’s largest firms and institutions, including the Hamilton Street Railway and National Steel Car Co. He was also a director in several corporations and retained an interest in the large family jewellery concern. Following other family members who were its founding members, he became president of the first Reform Jewish congregation in Canada., the Hughson Street Synagogue. However, his “communal and philanthropic…activities [were] not confined to any one creed.” (Hart, 380) He belonged to prominent social clubs, and was the only Jew in Canada to be a member of the “Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite for the Dominon of Canada.” He was also an international champion whist player and sportsman.
 
Sources: Hector Charlesworth, ed. Cyclopaedia of Canadian Biography (Toronto: Hunter-Rose, 1919), 211; Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 380.

Heritage or Community: Greek

Name: BASSEL, John Peter
Male
Born 1921
Died 2000
Called to the Bar: 1947
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
John Bassel was the first lawyer of Greek descent called to the Ontario bar. He practised municipal law in Toronto. He was named Q.C. in 1962.

Nominated by the Hellenic Canadian Lawyers Association.

Heritage or Community: Greek

Name: CAMPBELL, Christopher George
Male
Born 1915
Died 2003
Called to the Bar: 1949
 
Biographical Information:
George Campbell served in the Second World War and was called to the bar in 1949 at the relatively late age of 34. After a short time in practice, he became the sheriff of Middlesex County. He was a captain in the First Hussars Association of London, Ontario.
 
Nominated by William Vorvis.

Heritage or Community: Greek

Name: FLORAS, Frederick
Male
Born 1924 in Antartikon, Florina, Greece
Called to the Bar: 1951
 
Biographical Information:
Fred Floras may be the first lawyer born in Greece to be called to the bar in Ontario. With his mother and sister, he emigrated from Macedonia at age four to join his father who worked in the Canada Packers slaughterhouse in Toronto. After graduating from Runnymede Collegiate in 1942, Fred enlisted in the RCAF and became a wireless operator and air gunner and was a commissioned officer.  In 1945, Fred attended the University of Toronto and then Osgoode Hall, with assistance provided under the Veterans Rehabilitation Act, though his father had to postpone his retirement for three years to pay for his schooling. In his law practice from 1951 to 1996, Fred provided real estate, corporate and commercial law services, often to the immigrants from Greece who came to Canada in the 1950s and 1960s. Fred has been married to Victoria for 58 years. They have three children, John, a cardiologist, Judith, and Stanley, the latter two practising lawyers in Toronto.
Nominated by the Hellenic Canadian Lawyers' Association. See also Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Hellenic Canadian Lawyers Association Files, "Notes of Interview with Fred Floras," 14 Aug. 2003.

Heritage or Community: Greek

Name: VORVIS, William
Male
Born 1927 in Guelph, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1951
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
William Vorvis' parents emigrated to Canada from Sparta. He became one of the first Ontario lawyers of Greek descent. Though he was proud of his Greek heritage, he experienced discrimination as a young lawyer and required the help of the head of the Law Society to get his first job with a law firm. Vorvis has practised in Guelph for more than five decades, mostly as a sole practitioner, and was named Q.C. in 1978. He has prosecuted cases of income tax fraud and related statutes. Over the years, at least seven students-at-law of diverse ethnic backgrounds have worked with him. He served as president of the Wellington Law Association. He has also contributed, often in leadership roles, to a wide range of community, political, religious and fraternal organizations. He has been legal counsel to various Hellenic-Canadian organizations, including a number of Greek Orthodox churches in Hamilton, Kitchener and Guelph.
 
Nominated by the Hellenic Canadian Lawyers' Association.

Heritage or Community: Greek 

Name: PANARITES, Stella Avura
Female
Born 1924 in Cobalt, Ontario
Died 1986
Called to the Bar: 1953
 
Biographical Information:
Stella Panarites attended Queen's University (BA, 1949). She was the first woman lawyer of Greek heritage to be called to the bar in Ontario. She practised in Orillia, Midland, Gravenhurst, and North Bay.
 
Nominated by the Hellenic Canadian Lawyers Association.

Heritage or Community: Greek

Name: FOURIEZOS, Charles T.
Male
Born 1930 in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1955
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Charles Fouriezos is one of the first lawyers and the first judge of Greek heritage in Ontario. He is a third generation Greek Canadian, his father and grandfather immigrating in 1897 and his mother in 1920. He began his practice in Sudbury in 1960 and worked for many years with the firm Miller-Maki. In 1969, he was appointed a provincial judge. He returned to private practice, mainly in commercial and corporate law, in the firm of Weaver, Simmons. In 1975, he was appointed Q.C.. He is the past president of the Sudbury and District Law Association. Fouriezos was a member of the Sudbury Urban Renewal executive and its vice-chairman for many years until completion of the renewal of the downtown of the city of Sudbury, in the 1970s. He is a long-time member and has been an officer of local Greek community organizations.
 
Nominated by the Hellenic Canadian Lawyers Association.

Heritage or Community: Greek

Name: COROS, George William
Male
Born 1930 in Toronto, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1956
 
Biographical Information:
One of the first lawyers of Greek heritage, Mr. Coros practised in Peterborough. Nominated by the Hellenic Canadian Lawyers Association.

Heritage or Community: Greek

Name: MANJURIS, George
Male
Born 1928
Died 2000
Called to the Bar: 1956
 
Biographical Information:
George Manjuris was one of the first lawyers of Greek heritage in Ontario. Nominated by the Hellenic Canadian Lawyers Association.

Heritage or Community: Greek

Name: LOUKIDELIS, Spyros Demosthenes
Male
Born 1930 in North Bay, Ontario
Died 2001
Called to the Bar: 1957
 
Biographical Information:
Spyros Loukidelis was a first-generation Greek Canadian.  His mother was highly educated and his father ran a restaurant in North Bay; both encouraged their sons' education. Loukidelis attended University of Toronto Law School (LLB 1955) and returned to North Bay to practise, as did his brother Ernest. In 1973, Loukidelis was appointed to the District Court of Ontario in Sudbury and by 1990 he was the Regional Senior Justice, Northeast Region, Ontario Court (General Division). Loukidelis was president of the Ontario County and District Court Judges Association in 1983. Throughout his life he served the Greek Orthodox Church, which in 1984 named him an Archon, a high lay honour. He was also a lifelong scholar of theology and classical studies. In 1992, he was appointed Chancellor of Sudbury's Thorneloe University, part of Laurentian University. Spyros retired from the bench in 1995.
 
Nominated by the Hellenic Canadian Lawyers Association. See also Jim Vavitsas, "The Loukidelis Brothers: Northern Greek Lights," The Legalese. Hellenic Canadian Lawyers Association. March 2004. Web. October 2009.

Heritage or Community: Greek

Name: ALLAN, Arthur Steven
Male
Born 1925 in Greece
Died 2009
Called to the Bar: 1958
 
Biographical Information:
Steve Allan arrived in Canada with his family from Greece in 1940 and settled in Toronto. He attended Trinity College at the University of Toronto and then Osgoode Hall. After his call to the bar in 1958, he practised civil law for the Crown for about fourteen years. In 1975, he switched to criminal work, often being assigned to prosecute policemen. He told an interviewer that, "he faced the best criminal lawyers in town...and got hammered on a regular basis." Mr. Allan remained with the Crown Attorney’s office until he retired in the late 1990s.
 
Nominated by the Hellenic Canadian Lawyers Association. See also Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Hellenic Canadian Lawyers Association Files, "Notes of Interview with Steve Allan," 14 Nov. 2003.

Heritage or Community: Greek

Name: SPEAL, George Nicholas
Male
Born 1932 in Kingston, ON
Died 2008
Called to the Bar: 1958
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
George Speal's parents were born in Greece and emigrated to Canada before the First World War. Speal became a lawyer and was named Q.C. in 1974.  Entering politics, he immersed himself in the concerns of his native city, joining many organizations and supporting local causes. He served as the mayor of Kingston when the Queen visited the city (1973) and when it hosted the Olympic sailing events (1976).  In 1997 he received the Distinguished Service Award from the Canadian Bar Association. He wrote his memoir for the Law Society of Upper Canada in 2002.
 
Nominated by the Hellenic Canadian Law Association. Source: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Hellenic Canadian Law Association Files, "George Nicholas Speal, Q.C." See also Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Heritage Committee Sole and Small Practitioners Memoir Project Files, George Speal Memoir (2002).

Heritage or Community: Greek

Name: KOKONIS, James D.
Male
Born 1932 in Toronto, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1959
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
James Kokonis is one of the first lawyers of Greek heritage to specialize in intellectual property litigation. He practises in Toronto with Smart & Biggar and takes cases at all levels of courts. He has written and lectured on the subject of intellectual property, and is recognized internationally as a top patent lawyer. He was appointed Q.C. in 1974. He is a member of the Advocates' Society.
 
Nominated by the Hellenic Canadian Lawyers Association.

Heritage or Community: Greek
Name: LOUKIDELIS, Ernest
Male
Born 1934 in North Bay, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1959
 
Biographical Information:
Ernest Loukidelis attended the University of Toronto (BA, 1954). After his call to the bar, he practised law in his home town of North Bay. Ernest served as president of the local Children's Aid Society, was on the Board of Governors of Nipissing University, and was elected as a city councillor. In 1980 he was appointed to the Ontario District Court, now known as the Ontario Court of Justice, in Parry Sound. After nearly thirty years on the bench, he retired in 2009 and moved back to North Bay. Ernest Loukidelis is one of the first lawyers of Greek heritage in Ontario, following his brother Spyros, who had also been appointed a judge.
 
Nominated by the Hellenic Canadian Lawyers Association. See also Jim Vavitsas, "The Loukidelis Brothers: Northern Greek Lights," The Legalese. Hellenic Canadian Lawyers Association. March 2004. Web. October 2009.

Heritage or Community: Greek 

Name: PAUL, Nicholas P.
Male
Born 1935 in Toronto, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1960
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Nick Paul attended University College and Osgoode Hall before being called to the bar. He began in litigation with a client base of Greek immigrants but gradually shifted to a wider commercial practice. In his later career, he acted as counsel in numerous mediations and arbitrations under the alternative dispute resolution programme, with experience in ecclesiastical cases. For many years until 2004, he served on the Osgoode Hall Alumni Association Board of Directors. He is proud of his sponsorship of the 1991 retroactive awarding of the LLB (law degree) to all lawyers who graduated from Osgoode Hall before it became a university.
 
Nominated by the Hellenic Canadian Lawyers Association. Forthcoming, transcript of interview with Nicholas Paul, by A. Kirk-Montgomery, 2010.

Heritage or Community: Greek

Name: VASILAROS, Leslie
Male
Born 1932 in Samos, Greece
Called to the Bar: 1967
 
Biographical Information:
Les Vasilaros was born in Samos, Greece on June 3, 1932. He lived in many places in Greece during World War II and the Greek civil war before coming to Canada, through Pier 21 in Halifax in November, 1951. Les settled in Kingston, Ontario where he began learning the English language. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1960 from McMaster University and thereafter graduated from the University of Toronto law school. He was called to the bar in 1967 and was therefore one of the first Greek-born persons to join Ontario’s legal profession. Les’ law practice serviced the needs of Greek-Canadians in real estate, commercial and estate planning law. He thoroughly enjoyed his role in advising and helping members of the Greek community to establish and build their lives in Canada. He acted as counsel for the Greek Orthodox Church of Toronto (Canada) and was a founding member of the Hellenic Canadian Lawyers Association.
 
Nominated by the Hellenic Canadian Lawyers' Association.

Heritage or Community: Greek

Name: TSAMPALIEROS, Gabriel Theodosios
Male
Born 1947 in Paradisi, Rodos, Greece
Died 2009
Called to the Bar: 1975
 
Biographical Information:
Gabriel Tsampalieros is one of a very few Ontario lawyers to be born in Greece. He became a partner with Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, but this son of a restauranteur left the practice to manage his wide holdings in the food service business. He was a passionate and generous supporter of the Ontario Science Centre, the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto, St. Michael’s Hospital of Toronto, and especially, the University of Ottawa, his alma mater. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by that University as “an entrepreneur with extraordinary vision; a champion of education; a philanthropist; a family man of great character; and a proud University of Ottawa graduate committed to ensuring that the time spent at his alma mater by
today’s students is a defining moment in their lives.”
 
Nominated by the Hellenic Canadian Lawyers' Association. Source: "Gabriel T. Tsampalieros,
D. University Citation 2007," uottawa.ca. University of Ottawa. Web. Dec. 2009.

Heritage or Community: Greek

Name: KARAKATSANIS, Andromache
Female
Born 1955
Called to the Bar: 1982
 
Biographical Information:
Andromache Karakatsanis joined the Ontario Public Service in 1987. She served as the Chair of the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario (1988-1995), Secretary of the Ontario Native Affairs Secretariat (1995-1997) and Deputy Attorney General for the province of Ontario (1997-2000) before becoming head of the Ontario Public Service. From 2000 to 2002, she also served as Secretary of the Cabinet and Clerk of the Executive Council. In 2002, she became the first woman judge of Greek heritage in Ontario, appointed to the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto. In March 2010, Madam Justice Karakatsanis was appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal. In October 2011, she was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada.
 
Nominated by the Hellenic Canadian Lawyers' Association. See also Christine Ward, "Ontario's Front Line," Continuum v. 25,3 (Winter 2003), 11. osgoodealumni.ca. Osgoode Alumni. Web; “The The Honourable Madam Justice Andromache Karakatsanis.scc-csc.gc.ca. The Supreme Court of Canada. N.d. Web. Nov. 2011.

Heritage or Community: Greek

Name: ALEXANDRIS, Georgina
Female
Born 1967
Called to the Bar: 1993
 
Biographical Information:
One of the first women lawyers of Greek heritage, Gina Alexandris was Past President of the Hellenic Canadian Lawyers' Association. From 2000-2009, she was Assistant Dean (Student Services) at Osgoode Hall Law School, where she was awarded for her dedication to her students and to the school. She is currently Director of the Internationally Trained Lawyers Program at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.
 
Nominated by the Hellenic Canadian Lawyers' Association.

Heritage or Community: Hungarian

Name: VASS, Ferenc
Male
Born 1914
Died c. 1990
Called to the Bar: 1948
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Ferenc Vass was one of the first lawyers and first Q.C. from the Ontario Hungarian community. He practised at College and Spadina in Toronto. He was active in the development of the Canadian-Hungarian Cultural Centre, and in other ways assisted newcomers.
 
Nominated by Frank Felkai of the Hungarian Helicon Society.

Heritage or Community: Hungarian

Name: KOVACS, Francis
Male
Born 1930
Died 1999
Called to the Bar: 1955
 
Biographical Information:
Francis Kovacs was appointed as judge in Welland County, Ontario Court (General Division), now the Superior Court of Justice, in 1971. In 1993, he presided at the controversial trial and conviction following a guilty plea of Karla Homolka on two counts of manslaughter, 1993.
 
Nominated by Frank Felkai of the Hungarian Helicon Society.

Heritage or Community: Hungarian

Name: EBERS, Cornell George
Male
Born 1917 in Budapest, Hungary
Died 1994
Called to the Bar: 1956
Q.C. 1970
 
Biographical Information:
Cornell Ebers earned a doctor of laws degree at the University of Budapest in 1943 but like many immigrants, had to start his studies over again in Canada. Ebers and his wife and child fled Russian-dominated Hungary in 1949. After a year in Italy, the family emigrated to Canada.
While attending classes at Osgoode Hall, Ebers worked as a cutlery salesman and as a hospital orderly to support his growing family. Ebers articled with J. E. Hare in Delhi, Ontario, where many Hungarian immigrants settled.
 
Nominated by and with information from Gabor Takach. See also “Drugs Her Baby, Flees as Russian Soldier,” unattributed newspaper clipping, [20 Sep 1956?], in "Ebers, Cornell George," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009.

Heritage or Community: Hungarian

Name: TOTH, Bernard
Male
Born 1930 in Port Colborne, Ontario
Died 2010
Called to the Bar: 1956
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Bernard Toth was a second-generation Canadian but one of the first lawyers in Ontario from the Hungarian community. He served as a Deputy Judge of the Small Claims Court at the City of Woodstock, Oxford County, for over 20 years. He was also active in assisting Hungarian Canadians in the tobacco-growing region (Tillsonburg, Delhi, Simcoe, Aylmer). In 2006, Mr. Toth was granted a life membership in the Law Society of Upper Canada. Nominated by Frank Felkai of the Hungarian Helicon Society.

Heritage or Community: Hungarian 

Name: DE SOMMER, Joseph A.
Male
Born 1928
Called to the Bar: 1965
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Longtime counsel to the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee, the agency responsible for protecting the rights and interests of mentally incapable Ontarians and for monitoring charities, among other roles, Joseph DeSommer is a past president of the Hungarian Helicon Society.
 
Nominated by Frank Felkai of the Hungarian Helicon Society.

Heritage or Community: Hungarian 

Name: FELKAI, Frank
Male
Born 1942 in Budapest
Called to the Bar: 1970
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Frank Felkai was the first 1956 Hungarian refugee appointed Q.C., in 1984. From 1970 to 1973, he was was executive assistant to the Minister of National Revenue, the Hon. Herb Grey. He was the first Hungarian refugee to seek election to the Parliament of Canada, in 1979-1980, in Don Valley West, Toronto. He was President of the Lawyers' Club in 1987, and Director of the Advocates' Society from 1995-8. Mr. Felkai has served as the Vice-President of the Hungarian Helicon Foundation, and as a director, in the 1970s, of Hungarian House in Toronto.
 
Nominated by Frank Palmay of the Hungarian Canadian Bar Association.

Heritage or Community: Hungarian

Name: LOFCHIK, Thomas R.
Male
Born 1943 in Hamilton, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1972
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Thomas Lofchik is one of the first lawyers of Hungarian descent. He practised in Hamilton, Ontario. In 1984, he was named Queen's Counsel, and in 1992, he was certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a specialist in civil litigation. He was appointed as a judge of the Superior Court of Justice in 1994.
 
Nominated by Frank Felkai of the Hungarian Helicon Society.

Heritage or Community: Hungarian 

Name: TAKACH, Gabor
Male
Born 1944 in Budapest, Hungary
Called to the Bar: 1973
 
Biographical Information:
One of the first lawyers born in Hungary to be called to the bar in Ontario. Nominated by Frank Palmay of the Hungarian Canadian Bar Association.

Heritage or Community: Hungarian 

Name: WAPPEL, Tom
Male
Born 1950 in Toronto, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1976
 
Biographical Information:
First person of Hungarian ancestry to be elected to the House of Commons. First elected in 1988 and re-elected five consecutive times in the riding of Scarborough Southwest. Retired in 2008. First person to speak the Hungarian language on the floor of the House of Commons. Founder and President, until his retirement, of the Canada Hungary Parliamentary Friendship Group. Worked with Hungarian-Canadian communities across Canada to advance issues important to them, both here and abroad. Organized and led the first, and only, delegation of Parliamentarians from the Friendship Group to visit Hungary (2000). Worked to successfully repatriate to Hungary a famous painting which had been relocated to Canada. The official announcement was made by Prime Minister Chretien during the visit of Hungarian Prime Minister Orban. Worked to advance tolerance, human rights and religious freedom for ethnic Hungarians in countries surrounding Hungary where they form a significant minority (e.g. Transylvania, Romania).
 
Nominated by Frank Felkai of the Hungarian Helicon Society.

Heritage or Community: Hungarian; Women 

Name: BONKALO, Annemarie E.
Female
Born in Stockholm, Sweden
Called to the Bar: 1978
 
Biographical Information:
Annemarie Bonkalo earned a master's degree in criminology from the University of Toronto and then a law degree from Queen's. She became the first female assistant Crown attorney in Peel Region and the first in that Crown attorney’s office to work part-time while raising her children. She was appointed as a judge to the Ontario Provincial Court (Criminal and Family Divisions) in 1990, presiding in Toronto and Brampton. Bonkalo has extensive prosecutorial, judicial and administrative experience. She is the first female Chief Justice of the Ontario Court of Justice (2007).
 
Nominated by Frank Felkai of the Hungarian Helicon Society. See Louise Harris, "Judicial Profile: Chief Justice Annemarie Bonkalo," Briefly Speaking 34, 2 (April 2009), 18-9. oba.ca Ontario Bar Association. Web. 15 Aug. 2009.

Heritage or Community: Hungarian 

Name: CZUTRIN, George
Male
Born 1950 in Hungary
Called to the Bar: 1978
 
Biographical Information:
George Czutrin was six years old when he fled Hungary with his parents in 1956. The family emigrated first to the United States. Czutrin became a school teacher in New York City before moving to Canada in 1973 and attending Osgoode Hall Law School. After being called to the bar, he practised in Hamilton. In 1993, he was appointed to the Unified Family Court in Hamilton (now the Family Court of the Superior Court of Justice). In 2007, he became a judge of the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto. Justice Czutrin is one of the first Ontario lawyers and judges to come from the Hungarian refugee community.
 
Nominated by Frank Felkai of the Hungarian Helicon Society.

Heritage or Community: Hungarian 

Name: PALMAY, Frank
Male
Born 1949 in Budapest, Hungary
Called to the Bar: 1978
 
Biographical Information:
Frank Palmay was a founding member of the Hungarian Canadian Bar Association. Of the Hungarian refugees who came to Canada in 1956, he is one of the first to become a lawyer. Palmay, also an engineer, is a partner in Lang Michener’s Toronto office and chair of the firm’s Corporate and Insurance Law Group. He is currently a director and member of the Corporate Governance Committee of Omega General Insurance Company.
 
In 2007, Frank completed six years as a trustee of Bloorview Kids’ Rehab (formerly Bloorview MacMillan Children’s Centre), and was chair of its Governance Committee and a member of its Executive and Research Committees (on which he currently sits as a community member). He was formerly a director and chair of Providence Centre, a hospital and home for the aged, and was a founding member of Save the Mothers, a charity devoted to partnering to improve the lives of mothers in the developing world.
 
Nominated by the Hungarian Canadian Bar Association.

Heritage or Community: Hungarian 

Name: WHITEHALL, Ivan G.
Male
Born 1942 in Budapest, Hungary
Called to the Bar: 1985
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Beginning in 1968, Ivan Whitehall has been called to the bars of British Columbia, Alberta, and the Yukon and Northwest Territories, as well as Ontario. His expertise is in Charter and Aboriginal litigation, and has been named as one of Canada’s best lawyers in the latter. Through his career, Whitehall appeared in courts of all levels, including a number of appearances as lead counsel in the Supreme Court of Canada. He was the senior litigator for the federal government, as the Chief General Counsel, Department of Justice, from 1989 to 2003. He also has extensive experience in out of court dispute resolution. Mr. Whitehall lectures on Aboriginal and public law litigation. He also was a visiting professor at Károli Gáspár University in Hungary, in cooperation with the Centre for International Legal Studies. Currently, Whitehall is counsel to the firm Heenan Blaikie LLP.
 
Nominated by Frank Felkai of the Hungarian Helicon Society.

Heritage or Community: Indo-Guyanese 

Name: PERSAUD, Mark M.
Male
Born 1961 in Georgetown, Guyana
Called to the Bar: 1993
 
Biographical Information:
Persaud is a social entrepreneur who has helped vulnerable communities including refugees, homeless and youth at risk since 1983 when he himself was briefly homeless when he arrived in Canada as a youth. He holds both LLB and LLM degrees from Osgoode Hall Law School. He also studied at the Center for Study of Values in Public Life at Harvard University. He held a range of positions with the Department of Justice as civil litigation counsel, prosecutor and counsel to the RCMP. An advisor to a federal Cabinet minister, he also chaired and advised on political campaigns at all levels.
 
Persaud is an outspoken critic of racism including the systemic racism he experienced at the Department of Justice.
 
Recognized for his extensive service in diverse communities, he was awarded the 2007 Public Sector Gold Key from Osgoode Hall Law School and nominated by the diplomatic community for the prestigious 2006 Seoul Peace Prize.

Heritage or Community: Irish Catholic

Name: O'REILLY, James
Male
Born 1823 in Westport, County Mayo, Ireland
Died 1875
Called to the Bar: 1847
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
James O’Reilly emigrated to Canada in 1832. Articling and studying with John Hagarty and other leading men of the bar in eastern Ontario, he became a prominent lawyer and businessman. He was well-connected in Catholic and legal circles through his involvement in lay and religious organizations, his terms as alderman and recorder of Kingston in the 1850s and 1860s, his service as a bencher of the Law Society from 1869 to 1875, and his large criminal and civil practice. His most famous case was the prosecution of Patrick Whelan, the assassin of D’Arcy McGee in 1868. In politics he was a Conservative and was asked to run for election as MP for South Renfrew by Sir John A. Macdonald to counter Catholic discontent with the party. He was elected but left politics in 1874, preferring law to politics. Swainson notes that O’Reilly rather than John O’Connor (see bio) would have been the first Irish Catholic appointed as a superior court judge, had he not died in 1875.
 
Source: Donald Swainson, "James O'Reilly," Dictionary of Canadian Biography v. 10 (University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2000); Nicholas Flood Davin, The Irishman in Canada, (Toronto: 1877), 367-71; George Spaight, reporter, “Trial of Patrick James Whelen for the murder of the Hon. Thomas d'Arcy McGee,” Ottawa Times 1868, Internet Archive, www.archive.org/details/cihm_23543. Web.

Heritage or Community: Irish Catholic; Persons with Disabilities 

Name: O'CONNOR, John, Jr.
Male
Born 1824 in Boston, Mass.
Died 1887 
Called to the Bar: 1854
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
John O'Connor was Ontario’s first Irish Catholic judge. He decided on the legal profession after he lost a leg in a lumbering accident at age 19; he used a wooden leg and cane. O’Connor began his legal career with the influential Roman Catholic Baby family in Windsor. He soon entered local politics and served in the 1850s and 1860s as councillor, reeve and warden of Essex County. After Confederation, he represented Essex from 1867 to 1874 as Ontario’s only Catholic member of Parliament, and thus was useful to the Conservatives during a a period in which Catholics were demanding greater influence in government and politics. O’Connor was also an outspoken opponent of the Fenian movement. However, he was disappointed in the minor cabinet positions he was given and unable, because of illness and political responsibilities, to maintain his law practice. He was appointed to the Queen’s Bench in 1884 but sat only three years before his death.
 
Sources: Donald Swainson, "John O'Connor," Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online v. 11 (University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2000). Web; David Read, Lives of the Judges of Upper Canada and Ontario (Toronto: Roswell & Hutchison, 1888), 425-34. See also J. C. Dent, The Canadian Portrait Gallery v. 4 (Toronto: J. B. Magurn, 1881), 164-5.

Heritage or Community: Irish Catholic 

Name: MURPHY, Nicholas
Male
Born c. 1842 in Ontario
Died 1907
Called to the Bar: 1864
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Nicholas Murphy, Q.C., was a leading Irish Catholic criminal lawyer in Toronto, and a prominent Canadian advocate of home rule for the Irish in the United Kingdom.
 
Source: Brian P. Clarke, Piety and Nationalism: Lay Voluntary Associations and the Creation of an Irish- Catholic Community in Toronto (McGill-Queen's University Press, 1993), 1850-1895, 226, 231.

Heritage or Community: Irish Catholic

Name: O'DONOHOE, John
Male
Born 1824 in Tuam, Galway, Ireland
Died 1902 
Called to the Bar: 1869
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
A leading Toronto Irish Catholic lawyer and lawyer, O’Donohoe was an astute politician who navigated through political and lay organizations for more recognition and patronage appointments for the Catholic community in Ontario. Briefly an MP for East Toronto in 1874, O’Donohoe was more effective in the meeting rooms of lay Catholic organizations he headed or founded, including the St. Patrick’s Benevolent Society in Toronto, the Ontario Catholic League in 1871, and the Toronto Land League. He led his supporters to the Reform party during
Confederation but switched to John A. Macdonald’s Conservative Party by 1877. In appreciation of his ability to keep Catholics Conservative in federal elections, Macdonald appointed him a senator in 1882.
 
Sources: Brian P. Clarke, Piety and Nationalism: Lay Voluntary Associations and the Creation of an Irish- Catholic Community in Toronto (McGill-Queen's University Press, 1993), 1850-1895, 221; for a brief discussion of the conflicts within the Catholic community and how they played out in in provincial and federal politics, with mention of O’Donohue, see Brian P. N. Beaven, "Christopher Finlay Fraser," Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online v. 12 (University of Toronto/ Université Laval, 2000).

Heritage or Community: Irish Catholic

Name: BARRY, John
Male
Born c. 1825 in Ireland
Died 1887 
Called to the Bar: 1870
 
Biographical Information:
John Barry was an alderman and eminent citizen in Hamilton. He may have been the first Irish Catholic lawyer in that city.
 
Source: Nicholas Flood Davin, The Irishman in Canada, (Toronto: Maclear, 1877), 379.

Heritage or Community: Irish Catholic 
Name: FOY, James Joseph Foy
Male
Born 1847 in Toronto, Ontario
Died 1916 
Called to the Bar: 1871
Q.C. 1883
 
Biographical Information:
J. J. Foy was a prominent Irishman, devout Roman Catholic, successful lawyer and important Tory politician. He served as crown attorney for York and was elected a bencher of the Law Society, serving from 1881 to 1891 and from 1901 to 1906. First elected as a MPP in 1898, he was Attorney General in the Conservative provincial government of Premier Whitney from 1905 to 1916. Irish Canadian newspapers held up Foy’s success as an example of the rising acceptance and importance of Irish Catholics in the wider community. He was described by an admirer quoted in Canadian Men and Women of the Time as “one of the whitest of public men.”
 
Sources: Nicholas Flood Davin, The Irishman in Canada, 659; Charles W. Humphries, "Whitney, Sir James Pliny," Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online, v. 14 (University of Toronto/Université Laval); Mark G. McGowan, The Waning of the Green: Catholics, the Irish and Identity in Toronto, 1887 – 1922 (Montreal & Kingston: Queen’s University Press, 1999), 215; Henry James Morgan, The Canadian Men and Women of the Time, 2nd ed. (Toronto: Wm Briggs, 1912), 416; George Wilkie, ed. The Bench and Bar of Ontario (Toronto: Brown-Searle, 1905), 267.

Heritage or Community: Italian

Name: COSENTINO, Joseph Augustus
Male
Born 1908 in Toronto, Ontario
Died 1981 
Called to the Bar: 1935
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
One of the first Ontario lawyers of Italian heritage, Joseph Cosentino attended law school after he graduated from the University of Toronto in 1932.
 
Source: "Cosentino, Joseph," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009.

Heritage or Community: Italian 

Name: AGRO, Angelo J.
Male
Born 1911
Died 1999
Called to the Bar: 1937
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
The large Italian community of Hamilton welcomed home Angelo Agro, the son of illiterate Sicilian immigrants, when he opened his practice in Hamilton in 1937. For more than fifty years, he ran his office to suit his working-class immigrant clientele; he opened on weekends and evenings and offered a wide range of services in English and Italian, the first in the city and one of the first in the province to do so. He spoke out against the restrictive covenants common in the 1930s and 1940s that prevented some Hamilton property owners from selling to Italians, Jews and other minority groups. Agro was a legal pioneer who inspired other young men of diverse communities to become lawyers. Ex-partner Mario Bartolini told journalist James Elliott that Agro was “the big shoe in the door. He got his foot in, jammed it open, and the rest of us were able to squeeze by.”
 
Source: James Elliott, "Italian Lawyer was a Pioneer," Hamilton Spectator, 15 Dec. 1999, A12.

Heritage or Community: Italian

Name: VANNINI, Ilvio Anthony
Male
Born 1915 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Died 1998 
Called to the Bar: 1943
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
I. Anthony Vannini was the first lawyer of Italian heritage to be appointed a judge in Ontario, to the District Court of Algoma, from 1966 to 1990, and as a justice of the Ontario Court of Justice, from 1990 to 1991. Before he was elevated to the bench, he spent more than two decades as a litigator and community contributor in Sault Ste Marie and was the president of the Algoma District Law Association. In 1998, the local Italian community established an award of merit in his honour.
 
Source: Roger Yachetti, "Three Italian Canadian Pioneers in the Law," Italian Canadiana 15 (2001), 44-6. utoronto.ca/iacobucci. The Frank Iacobucci Centre for Italian Canadian Studies, Department of Italian Studies, University of Toronto. Web. Feb. 2010.

Heritage or Community: Italian

Name: AGRO, John Louis
Male
Born 1919
Died 1998 
Called to the Bar: 1949
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
The son of Sicilian immigrants, John Agro was a prominent criminal and litigation lawyer in Hamilton. In 1959 he became the first Hamilton lawyer of Italian heritage to be named Queen’s Counsel. He was also one of the first Italian-Canadian benchers of the Law Society of Upper Canada, from 1983 to 1987. For many years from 1976, he chaired the Hamilton Harbour Commission, overseeing the revitalization of Hamilton’s bayshore. He was one of the founders of the Canadian Football League Players Association. In 1984, he was named Hamilton’s Italian- Canadian Citizen of the Year. John Agro was awarded the Law Society Medal in 1992.
 
Sources: Roger Yachetti, "Three Italian Canadian Pioneers in the Law," Italian Canadiana 15 (2001), 41-4. utoronto.ca/iacobucci. The Frank Iacobucci Centre for Italian Canadian Studies, Department of Italian Studies, University of Toronto. Web. Feb. 2010; "Agro, John," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: Italian

Name: PETRONE, Alfred
Male
Born 1925 in Port Arthur, Ontario
Died 2009
Called to the Bar: 1953
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Alfred Petrone was an entrepreneur, a proud Italian-Canadian, an athlete, but above all an advocate. In his Port Arthur practice, he was counsel for the defence in thousands of criminal trials; he became known for his brilliant courtroom tactics, his oratory, and his empathy for clients. With a few other lawyers, he fought successfully to end capital punishment in Canada, one of his proudest accomplishment. His clients included many poor people who paid him in fish or moose or not at all (Shufelt), and he was a strong supporter of a provincial legal aid system. By all accounts, Petrone was “larger than life,” and a remarkable lawyer.
 
Nominated by Christopher Watkins. Source: “Alfred Petrone Obituary,” sargentandson.com Web. Dec. 2009. See also, “Alfred Anthony Petrone,” in Jack Batten, Learned Friends: A Tribute to Fifty Remarkable Ontario Advocates, 1950-2000 (Irwin Law, 2005); Tim Shufelt,“Titan for the Bar Dies,” lawtimesnews.com 19 Dec. 2009.

Heritage or Community: Italian

Name: STORTINI, Ray
Male
Born 1929 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1960
 
Biographical Information:
Ray Stortini’s parents emigrated from Italy to Sault Ste. Marie. After working as a Great Lakes seaman, a steel plant labourer, and an insurance adjuster, Ray decided on a career in law.
Following a decade in general practice, he became one of the first judges of Italian origin in Ontario when he was appointed as a judge of York County at Toronto in 1971. In Toronto, he
established Canada’s first community service order program. He returned north as a judge of the Algoma District Court in 1976, then in 1990 the Superior Court of Justice. He studied French in order to preside over trials in both official languages. Since his retirement from the bench in 2004, he has continued to be a leader in a wide variety of community organizations, most recently through his successful campaign to build a lighthouse on St. Joseph Island in the St. Mary's River near Sault Ste. Marie. In 2011, Ray Stortini was appointed to the Order of Ontario for initiating the community service program for non-violent offenders.
 
See Dan Bellerose, “Two from Sault receive Order of Ontario,” saultstar.com, 2 Feb. 2012, Web; Ray Stortini, Only in Canada: Memories of an Italian Canadian (2006). See transcript of interview with the Honourable Ray Stortini by A. Kirk-Montgomery, 2011, forthcoming.

Heritage or Community: Italian 

Name: IANNI, Ronald William
Male
Born 1935 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Died 1997 
Called to the Bar: 1963
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
A distinguished Italian-Canadian academic, Ronald Ianni studied at the University of Windsor, and became dean of the Faculty of Law and later president of his alma mater. He contributed to many Windsor and international organizations, serving as president of the local United Way, legal representative on the Canadian delegation to the United Nations, and vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
 
Source: Patrick Lesage, "The Legacy of Ron Ianni," Italian Canadiana 15 (2001), 30-37. utoronto.ca/iacobucci. The Frank Iacobucci Centre for Italian Canadian Studies, Department of Italian Studies, University of Toronto. Web. Feb. 2010.

Heritage or Community: Italian 

Name: YACHETTI, Roger Dennis
Male
Born 1940 in Hamilton, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1966
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Roger Yachetti's parents were determined that their son would be a lawyer after they sued a meat packer and a butcher, who sold them tainted meat, and could not afford to appeal their loss at trial (Yachetti v. John Duff & Sons and Paolini [1942], O.R. 682). He did indeed become a distinguished Hamilton litigation lawyer and leader of the local bar and community. He was the first president of the Law Clerks’ Association, having served as law clerk to the Chief Justice of the High Court of Ontario. In practice in Hamilton, he was the founding president of the Hamilton Criminal Lawyers’ Association. He also served sixteen years as a bencher of the Law Society and is now an ex-officio bencher for life. In addition to many awards for his contributions to his city, in 2004 he received the Emilius Irving Award from the Hamilton Law Association for service to his legal community.

Heritage or Community: Italian 

Name: IACOBUCCI, Frank
Male
Born 1937 in Vancouver, British Columbia
Called to the Bar: 1970
CC, Q.C., LSM
 
Biographical Information:
Frank Iacobucci, the son of Italian immigrants, has been an exceptional lawyer, educator, public servant, and judge. In 1967 he became a professor of law and administrator at the University of Toronto, serving as dean of the Faculty of Law from 1979 to 1983, then vice-president and provost of the university. In 1985 he was named Deputy Minister of Justice and Deputy Attorney General of Canada. He was appointed Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Canada in 1988, and served there until his 1991 appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada. He retired from the Court in 2004, served the University of Toronto as Interim President, and then became counsel to the Torys law firm. He has received many awards in Canada and abroad, recognizing his distinguished legal career and contributions to the Italian Canadian community; those include the Law Society Medal (1987), Commendatore (Italy) (1993), and the Order of Canada (2008).
 
See also "Biographical Sketch of the Honourable Mr. Justice Frank Iacobucci," Italian Canadiana Vol 15 (2001), 7-9. utoronto.ca/iacobucci. The Frank Iacobucci Centre for Italian Canadian Studies, Department of Italian Studies, University of Toronto. Web. Feb. 2010; "The Honourable Frank Iacobucci, C.C., Q.C., LL.D." Torys LLP. Web. Dec. 2009; Kirk Makin, "An Emotional Champion for the Accused," Toronto Globe and Mail, 7 April 2000, A07. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: Italian 

Name: MARROCCO, Frank N.
Male
Born 1945 in Toronto, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1972
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Before his appointment to the bench, Frank Marrocco was a prominent litigator and leader of the bar. His high-profile cases include his defence of Lawrencia Bembenek from 1990 to 1992 in her attempt to avoid extradition to the United States. He was the lead prosecutor in the Bre-X Securities prosecution and the lead counsel for the province of Ontario in the Walkerton Inquiry, from 2000-2002. Mr. Marrocco was first elected as a bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada in 1995. In 2003, he was elected its Treasurer, thereby becoming the first Italian- Canadian to hold the Society’s highest office. In 2005, he was appointed to the Superior Court of Justice. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the Law Society in 2008 in recognition of his distinguished career and service.
 
See “Law Society Presents Two Doctorates at Toronto Call to the Bar Ceremonies,” lsuc.on.ca The Law Society of Upper Canada. 19 June 2008. Web. Dec. 2009.  Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: Italian

Name: FAVRET, Lucia
Female
Born 1957
Called to the Bar: 1986
 
Biographical Information:
Lucia Favret has appeared in both sides of the courtroom, as a Crown counsel for the Federal Department of Justice in Toronto specializing in consipiracy prosecutions (1991 to 1998) and as a criminal defence lawyer (1998 to 2004). She has served as president of the Canadian Italian Advocates Organization.  In 2004, she was appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice and presides in Newmarket, On.

Heritage or Community: Japanese

Name: OIYE, Kazuo George
Male
Born 1926 In Vancouver, British Columbia
Called to the Bar: 1954
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Kazuo Oiye is one of the first Ontario lawyers of Japanese heritage. He was named Q.C. in 1968 and is a Life Member of the Law Society of Upper Canada.
 
Other: Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: Japanese

Name: TOKIWA, Paul Yoshiharu
Male
Born 1927 in Ocean Falls, British Columbia
Died 1994
Called to the Bar: 1962
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
After enduring the injustices meted out to Japanese-Canadians in British Columbia during the Second World War, Paul Tokiwa and his family moved to Toronto. He became one of the first lawyers of Japanese heritage in Ontario, a partner until 1983 with Millar, Alexander, Tokiwa, and Isaacs. Its principals, uniquely for the period, belonged to several diverse communities, respectively Irish, Black, Irish, Japanese, and Aboriginal; the firm was known as Hamilton's "United Nations" law firm. Philip Sworden considers that this relatively small law office "was a leader in addressing the issue of race and the practice of law...[and] an inspiration to other visible minority lawyers."
 
Source: P. Sworden, "'A Small United Nations': The Hamilton Firm of Millar, Alexander, Tokiwa, and Isaacs, 1962-1993," in C. Wilton, ed. Inside the Law: Canadian Law Firms in Historical Perspective (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996), 469-97.

Heritage or Community: Japanese

Name: OMATSU, Maryka
Female
Born 1948 in Hamilton, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1977
 
Biographical Information:
Maryka Omatsu is the first East Asian Canadian woman judge. She was appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice in Feb. 1993. Prior to her appointment, practised in Toronto in environmental, human rights, criminal and immigration law. She was also the chair of the Ontario Human Rights Appeals Tribunal and was an adjudicator for the Law Society Clients' Fund. Her award-winning book, Bittersweet Passage, is the story of her community's and her own family's experience of injustice and discrimination during the Second World War, and of the campaign for redress, in which Omatsu played a key role.
 
Nominated by Sandra Nishikawa and by the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers. See Maryka Omatsu, Bittersweet Passage: Redress and the Japanese-Canadian Experience (Toronto: Between the Lines, 1992.

Heritage or Community: Japanese

Name: IMAI, Shin
Male
Born 1950 in Tokyo, Japan
Called to the Bar: 1980
 
Biographical Information:
Shin Imai is one of the first Ontario lawyers of Japanese heritage, and a specialist in Aboriginal law and rights of indigenous peoples.  A faculty member of Osgoode Hall Law School since 1997, he is the Director of the Intensive Program in Aboriginal Lands, Resources and Governments. He also teaches and writes on indigenous rights in Latin America and on alternative dispute resolution, an area of law he practised in his prior positions as counsel with the Ministry of the Attorney General and as a staff lawyer at Keewaytinok Native Legal Services in Moosonee. Mr. Imai has twice won Osgoode’s Excellence in Teaching Award and was the recipient of the York University-Wide Teaching Award in 2010.
 
Nominated by Sandra Nishikawa and by the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers.

Heritage or Community: Japanese 

Name: NAKATSURU, Shaun
Male
Born 1960 in Alberta
Called to the Bar: 1988
 
Biographical Information:
Shaun Nakatsuru's father was confined as an enemy alien by the Canadian government during the Second World War. His son became one of the first Japanese-Canadian judges, in 2006, when he was appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice at Toronto.  Nakatsuru developed legal expertise in two main areas before his appointment. In criminal law, he was both a defence lawyer and prosecutor; he has taught trial advocacy and written a textbook on criminal law. In constitutional law, he was a litigator with the Ministry of the Attorney General, appearing many times on the province’s behalf before the Supreme Court of Canada. He was also prosecutor and counsel for Ontario’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.
 
Nominated by Sandra Nishikawa.

Heritage or Community: Japanese "Sansei" (third generation Canadian of Japanese ancestry)

Name: SUGIYAMA, Constance
Female
Born in Canada
Called to the Bar: 1979
 
Biographical Information:
Among the first lawyers “of colour” on Bay Street, Ms Sugiyama was also one of the first Asian women to make partner at a major Canadian law firm (in 1985). She is a leading practitioner in corporate law and mergers and acquisitions and has advised domestic and international businesses in connection with some of the largest and most complex transactions in Canada. Ms Sugiyama is also an experienced director and is widely recognized as a leader in the broader community. Currently, she is the Chair of the Hospital for Sick Children, serves on the boards of the Toronto International Film Festival, SickKids Foundation, Canada Health Infoway and LuminaTO and is an advisor to Women in Capital Markets and the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre.
 
Nominated by Sandra Nishikawa.

Heritage or Community: Jewish

Name: HELLMUTH, Isidore Frederick
Male
Born 1854 in Sherbrooke, Quebec
Died 1944 
Called to the Bar: 1877
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Sometimes considered the first Ontario lawyer of partial Jewish heritage, Hellmuth was, in practice, a prominent Anglican. He was the son of Isaac Hellmuth, a rabbi who by the time of his son's birth had converted to Christianity, married an Anglican woman, and become an Anglican bishop and educator. His mixed religious heritage is an example of the difficulties of categorizing people into single and discrete communities based on ancestry. Hellmuth had an illustrious career in the law. He was a barrister of the Inner Temple, England, and became a bencher of the Law Society (elected from 1911-1926). Hellmuth also was an early tennis star, the winner of the first Canadian international tennis championship in 1881.
 
Sources: Christopher Moore, The Law Society of Upper Canada and Ontario Lawyers, 1797-1997 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997), 179; H.E. Turner, "Isaac Hellmuth," Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online, v.13 (University of Toronto/Université Laval); "Hellmuth, Isidore," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009; “Hall of Fame/Players/Isidore F. Hellmuth,” tenniscanada.com. Web. June 2010.

Heritage or Community: Jewish

Name: KING, Samuel
Male
Born 1867 in Whitby, Ontario
Died 1963
Called to the Bar: 1891
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Samuel King became the first lawyer in Ontario known to be Jewish when he was called to the bar in 1891. As Christopher Moore notes, the first few Jewish lawyers, including Samuel King, did not experience the professional barriers that Jewish law students faced after the First World War. King was the son of German-Austrian immigrants who prospered as leather merchants. He was well-educated and became part of the legal and social establishment, and was a member of several elite clubs including the Royal Canadian Yacht Club (Moore, 179).
 
Source: Christopher Moore, The Law Society of Upper Canada and Ontario Lawyers, 1797-1997 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997), 179; "King, Samuel," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009; 1891 Census of Canada, Ontario, Ontario South, Whitby, Charles King household; automatedgenealogy.com, Web.

Heritage or Community: Jewish; German

Name: LEVY, Gabriel Herman
Male
Born 1874 in Hamilton, Ontario
Died 1941 
Called to the Bar: 1898
K.C. 1921
 
Biographical Information:
The son of German-born Jewish parents who owned a wholesale jewellers in Hamilton, Gabriel Levy became a well-educated man and well-connected lawyer. He earned a BA at the University of Toronto before he was twenty and did post-graduate studies at the University of Bonn, Germany, before graduating from Osgoode Law School. In partnership with Sir John Gibson and others, he had a large corporate clientele among the city of Hamilton’s largest firms and institutions, including the Hamilton Street Railway and National Steel Car Co. He was also a director in several corporations and retained an interest in the large family jewellery concern.

Following other family members who were its founding members, he became president of the first Reform Jewish congregation in Canada., the Hughson Street Synagogue. However, his
“communal and philanthropic…activities [were] not confined to any one creed.” (Hart, 380) He belonged to prominent social clubs, and was the only Jew in Canada to be a member of the
“Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite for the Dominon of Canada.” He was also an international champion whist player and sportsman.
 
Sources: Hector Charlesworth, ed. Cyclopaedia of Canadian Biography (Toronto: Hunter-Rose, 1919), 211; Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 380.

Heritage or Community: Jewish

Name: COHEN, Arthur
Male
Born c. 1882 in Toronto, Ontario
Died 1975 
Called to the Bar: 1906
 
Biographical Information:
Arthur Cohen was a highly educated lawyer at a time when there was no prerequisite for university education for a career in law. He earned two degrees at the University of Toronto and became the gold medallist in his graduating class at Osgoode Hall Law School. He practised in an elite Toronto firm and was able to offer articling positions to young Jewish law students in a period in which anti-Semitism blocked their access to most law offices. Cohen appeared before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London, England, when that was the court of last resort for Canadians (Moore, 179-80). He was also a pioneer of the Canadian film industry.
 
Sources: Christopher Moore, The Law Society of Upper Canada and Ontario Lawyers, 1797-1997 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997), 179-80; "Cohen, Arthur," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009.

Heritage or Community: Jewish; Polish

Name: SINGER, Louis Michael
Male
Born 1885 in Galicia, in the Austrian Empire
Died 1959 
Called to the Bar: 1908
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Of Polish heritage, Louis Singer arrived in Toronto in 1886 with his parents. Singer won the Gold Medal at Osgoode Hall Law School. He was one of the first Jewish lawyers in Toronto, specializing in bankruptcy and corporate law. In 1914, he became the second Jewish alderman of the city. He was an eloquent speaker who argued against the disenfranchisement of foreign-born citizens in the First World War. In the 1930s, Singer often represented the management side in labour disputes with the needle trades unions.
 
Sources: Laurel Sefton MacDowell, Renegade Lawyer: The Life of J.L. Cohen (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001), 51-2. Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 384.

Heritage or Community: Jewish

Name: DAVIS, Lionel
Male
Born ca. 1884 in Toronto, Ontario
Died 1943 
Called to the Bar: 1909
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Lionel Davis belonged to an old Toronto Jewish business family and became part of the legal establishment. When he joined Beatty Blackstock in 1910, three years after he was called to the bar, he was one of the first non-Christian lawyers to be hired by a large firm in Toronto. The event signifies that progressive firms of the day were looking beyond immediate family connections to find talented associates, according to C. Ian Kyer. Davis later moved into his own practice, contributed pro bono advice to many, and ran the family business.
 
Sources: Christopher Moore, The Law Society of Upper Canada and Ontario Lawyers, 1797-1997 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997), 179; See also C. I. Kyer, "The Transformation of an Establishment Firm: From Beatty Blackstock to Faskens, 1902-1915," in Carol Wilton, ed., Inside the Law: Canadian Law Firms in Historical Perspective (Toronto: Osgoode Society, University of Toronto Press, 1996), 187, 194.

Heritage or Community: Jewish

Name: KING, Oscar Herman
Male
Born 1886 in Ontario
Died 1962
Called to the Bar: 1910
 
Biographical Information:
Oscar King, whose parents emigrated from Austria and Bavaria by 1870, practised in Toronto in one of the first Jewish law firms in Ontario.
 
Source: 1901 Census of Canada, Ontario, Toronto (Centre), Ward 3, 604, Joseph King household; automatedgenealogy.com, Web.

Heritage or Community: Jewish; Polish

Name: SINGER, Joseph
Male
Born 1890 in Toronto, Ontario
Died 1967
Called to the Bar: 1911
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Joseph Singer was a Toronto politician and lawyer from a prominent Jewish family with roots in Polish Galicia. After winning the Osgoode Hall Law School Gold Medal and the inaugural VanKoughnet Scholarship in 1911, he practised with his brother, Abraham, in Toronto. In 1916, he was founder and first president of the Jewish Political Association, whose members were interested in education, immigration and other "problems affecting the Jewish people." Singer was first elected as a city councillor in Toronto, in 1920, and in 1923, became the first Jewish person to win city-wide election to the Board of Control. According to The Jew in Canada, he led the successful campaign against corruption in the Toronto police department. He also took part in provincial politics and was at one time the Deputy Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party. Singer was active in many Jewish organizations.
 
Sources: "Jewish Political Association," Toronto Star, 16 April 1915, 2; "Singer, Joseph," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009; Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 380.

Heritage or Community: Jewish; Russian

Name: MEHR, Samuel Max
Male
Born 1885 in Russia
Died 1968 
Called to the Bar: 1912
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Samuel Mehr was an early Jewish lawyer in Ontario and the key figure in a court case that changed how the Law Society deals with complaints of misconduct against its members. Mehr was disbarred by the Law Society of Upper Canada in 1954 for "conduct unbecoming a barrister and solicitor" – he kept funds that belonged to his client, the government of Nationalist China, because, Mehr stated, the monies were owed to him. The Law Society's decision to disbar him was twice upheld in court, but Mehr appealed his case to the Supreme Court of Canada. He argued that the proceedings of the Discipline Committee deciding his status were unfair. The Supreme Court agreed, Sam Mehr was reinstated, and the Law Society began to formalize its discipline hearings. Since 1955, only Law Society Discipline Committee members who hear the evidence are qualified to take part in discipline decisions that affect the careers of Ontario lawyers.
 
Source: Christopher Moore, The Law Society of Upper Canada and Ontario Lawyers, 1797-1997 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997), 248. See also Mehr v. The Law Society of Upper Canada, [1955] S.C.R. 344. Judgments of the Supreme Court of Canada. Supreme Court of Canada.
Web. Oct. 2009.

Heritage or Community: Jewish

Name: SINGER, Abraham
Male
Born 1887 in Ontario
Died 1966
Called to the Bar: 1912
 
Biographical Information:
With his brother E. Frederick Singer, Abraham Singer, whose parents emigrated from Austria, was one of the early Jewish lawyers in Toronto.
 
Nominated by Morley L. Torgov.

Heritage or Community: Jewish

Name: SINGER, Ephraim Frederick
Male
Born 1889 in Toronto, Ontario
Died 1953
Called to the Bar: 1912
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
E. Frederick Singer graduated from the University of Toronto in 1909 with a BA and in 1912 with his LLB. He practised with his brother Abraham, who was called to the bar the same year. Like several other early Jewish lawyers, Singer was active in Jewish organizations and supported Jewish causes. He served as president of Mount Sinai Hospital from 1922 and of the Big Brother Movement, Jewish Branch. In 1929, as a Conservative in a downtown Toronto immigrant riding, Singer became the first Jewish member elected to the Ontario Legislature. He was also the first Jewish politician in Canada to promote legislation to protect Jews from discrimination. In 1931, he successfully introduced legislation that prohibited insurance companies from engaging in discriminatory practices, but it was unenforceable, and ineffective against growing antisemitism.
 
Sources: "Singer, Ephraim Frederick," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009; Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 392; Stephen Speisman, “Antisemitism in Ontario,” in Alan T. Davies, ed., Antisemitism in Canada: History and Interpretation (Waterloo, On.: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1992), 122; James W. St. G. Walker, “The ‘Jewish Phase’ in the Movement for Racial
Equality in Canada,” Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal 34,1 (Mar. 2002), 1-29.

Heritage or Community: Jewish

Name: HERLICK, Carl M.
Male
Born 1891 in Austria
Died 1966
Called to the Bar: 1913
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Carl or Max Herlick or Herzlich was schooled in New York City and Toronto, and returned to university in New York to obtain an LLB in 1910. He subsequently practised in Toronto. Like many of his Jewish colleagues of the period between the World Wars, Herlick advertised his services in the Toronto Jewish Directory.
 
Source: Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 402; Toronto Jewish Directory 1925 (Publishing Advertising Company, Toronto, v. 1925) and 1931 (International Publishing Agency, Toronto, 1931). Ontario Jewish Archives. Web. 10 July 2009.

Heritage or Community: Jewish

Name: PHILLIPS, Nathan
Male
Born 1892 in Brockville, Ontario
Died 1976
Called to the Bar: 1913
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Nathan Phillips' maternal grandparents emigrated from Lithuania to Cornwall, Ontario, in the 1850s; his father was Polish, born in Russia. Phillips decided as a young man to become both a lawyer and a politician. He articled with Robert Smith, a Liberal politician and later a Supreme Court justice.  In 1929, he became the youngest K.C. in Ontario and perhaps the Commonwealth. He practised general law for ten years, and served as president of the County of York Law Association. He is reported to have said, "The greatest satisfaction a lawyer can get in his profession...is to win a decision which shatters a long-standing injustice." (Toronto Star) Phillips entered municipal politics in 1923. After several failed attempts to win a seat as a provincial Conservative MPP, he became the first Jewish mayor of Toronto (1955-1962), though he preferred to be known as "mayor of all the people." Phillips is remembered for the new Toronto City Hall (1965); the square bordering it is still called Nathan Phillips Square.
 
Sources: "Nathan Phillips, 83, 'Mayor of All the People,' Dies," Toronto Star, 7 January 1976, A10; Nathan Phillips, Mayor of All the People (Toronto; Montreal : McClelland and Stewart, 1967); Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 397.

Heritage or Community: Jewish; Russian

Name: FACTOR, Samuel
Male
Born 1891 in Russia
Died 1962
Called to the Bar: 1915
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Samuel Factor emigrated from Russia as a small child with his parents and settled in Toronto. He interrupted his law practice in 1917 for World War I army service as a squadron leader. Factor began his political career as a member of the Board of Education in 1923. In 1930, he became the first Jewish Member of Parliament elected from Ontario (Liberal), and for fifteen years represented a mostly immigrant and Jewish downtown Toronto riding. He was appointed a York County Court judge in 1945 and served on the bench for seventeen years. Samuel Factor believed that drug addiction was a medical problem and spoke out against harsh criminal treatment of addicts.
 
Sources: "Judge Samuel Factor was MP 15 years," Toronto Star, August 22, 1962, 25. Web; Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 403.

Heritage or Community: Jewish

Name: SHULMAN, Percy
Male
Born c. 1893
Died 1968
Called to the Bar: 1916
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
One of the first generation of Jewish lawyers in Ontario, Percy Shulman practised with Samuel Factor. He was the first president of the Reading Law Club, founded 1947, the main organization for Jewish lawyers who were barred from membership in the Advocates Society until 1952.
 
Nominated by Morley L. Torgov. See Sophia Sperdakos, A Forum for Discussion and a Place of Respite: Jewish Lawyers and Toronto’s Reading Law Club,” forthcoming 2011.

Heritage or Community: Jewish

Name: FINKLE, Henry Mortimer
Male
Born 1893 in Toronto, Ontario
Died 1962
Called to the Bar: 1917
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Harry Finkle, or Finklestein, was one of the first generation of Jewish lawyers in Ontario. In his early career, he worked in the office of the Judge Advocate General in the Department of Militia and Defence. He also practised with Jacob Pearlstein, another early Jewish lawyer.
 
Source: Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 402.

Heritage or Community: Jewish

Name: GOODMAN, David Bertram
Male
Born c. 1894 in Acton, Ontario
Died 1969 
Called to the Bar: 1917
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
David Goodman won the silver medal at Osgoode Hall Law School. His firm, Goodman & Goodman (his son Eddie joined in 1947) attracted able young Jewish lawyers who found it difficult to secure positions in non-Jewish firms. Known as a philanthropist, and a Conservative in his politics, David Goodman founded a firm that grew to be one of the largest in Toronto by the 1950s.
 
Sources: Christopher Moore, "How Eddie Goodman Changed Legal Practice," lawtimesnews.com
Sep. 2006. Web. Jan. 2010; "The Goodman-Schipper Chair: Honouring Two Great Graduates of the Faculty of Law," Nexus: University of Toronto Faculty of Law Alumni Newsletter. University of Toronto Faculty of Law. Spring 2000. Web. March 2010.

Heritage or Community: Jewish

Name: COHEN, Jacob Laurence
Male
Born c. 1902 in Manchester, England
Died 1950
Called to the Bar: 1918
 
Biographical Information:
Jacob Cohen was a Jewish immigrant and became a brilliant and radical lawyer. According to his biographer, Laurel MacDowell, Cohen was "one of the first specialists in labour law...an architect of the Canadian industrial relations system... a formidable advocate in the 1930s and 1940s on behalf of working people." A Marxist, he had a complicated and sometimes troubled relationship with established institutions, including the Law Society. He was disbarred in 1947 (after being convicted of assault) and reinstated in 1950, shortly before his death, possibly a suicide. He wrote his own epitaph: "He championed all the wrong people in all the right things."
 
Source: Laurel Sefton MacDowell, Renegade Lawyer: The Life of J.L. Cohen (University of Toronto Press, 2001).

Heritage or Community: Jewish; Polish

Name: ROTENBERG, Meyer
Male
Born 1894 in Ivansk (Iwaniska), Russian Poland
Died 1958
Called to the Bar: 1918
 
Biographical Information:
Meyer Rotenberg's father was a banker and steamship agent who brought many Jews, including his son, from Russian Poland to Toronto. Meyer became a businessman and lawyer who won the bronze medal at Osgoode Hall Law School. In 1924, he married Mattie Levi who was the first woman and the first Jew to earn a doctorate in physics at the University of Toronto, and later became a CBC journalist. They had five children, all of whom were educated at the first Jewish day school in Toronto, founded and directed by their mother.
 
Source: Michael Brown, "Mattie Rotenberg," Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 20 March 2009. Jwa.org. Jewish Women's Archive. Web. 25 February 2010. 

Heritage or Community: Jewish

Name: GOLDFIELD, Benjamin
Male
Born 1891 in Russia
Died 1944
Called to the Bar: 1919
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
The Goldfield family left Russia and arrived in Canada 1898. By 1911, the family had a butcher shop in Ottawa. Goldfield became the second Jewish lawyer in Ottawa. He was “a leader of Ottawa Jewry,” active in Jewish religious and relief organizations including the Canadian Jewish Immigration Society and the Hebrew Sunday School.
 
Source: Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 399; 1911 Census of Canada, Ontario, Ottawa Ward 29, Moir Goldfield household, automatedgenealogy.com, Web; death notice, Toronto Globe and Mail, 20 June 1944, 5.

Heritage or Community: Jewish

Name: PEARLSTEIN, Jacob David
Male
Born 1894 in Montreal, Quebec
Died 1983
Called to the Bar: 1919
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Jacob David Pearlstein grew up in Hamilton and attended the University of Toronto, graduating with a BA in 1916. He practised with H. M. Finkle, another early Jewish lawyer. He was
reported to take “an active interest in all Jewish Movements.”
 
Source: Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 402.

Heritage or Community: Jewish 

Name: GLASS, John Judah
Male
Born 1895 in Lachva, Russia
Died 1973 
Called to the Bar: 1920
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
The son of a furrier, John Judah Glass migrated with his parents from Russia to England and finally to Canada, arriving in 1908 at age 13. He earned a BA from the University of Toronto in 1917. Glass was active in city and provincial politics from the 1920s. Following the example of E.F. Singer, another early Jewish lawyer-politician (see biography), Glass searched for legislative and legal solutions to combat the antisemitism of the day. As chair of the Toronto Parks Commission, he was able to prohibit “Gentiles Only” signs on city-owned beach property (though they proliferated on private property). While MPP (Liberal) for the largely immigrant ward of St. Andrew in Toronto from 1934 through 1943, Glass tried to introduce legislation against racial slander, unsuccessfully. He was active in Jewish organizations and served as president of the Canadian Federation of Polish Jews. In 1945, Glass was disbarred from the Law Society of Upper Canada but readmitted in 1959.
 
Sources: 1911 Census of Canada, Ontario, Toronto South, Maurice Glass household, automatedgenealogy.com, Web; Stephen Speisman, “Antisemitism in Ontario,” in Alan T. Davies, ed., Antisemitism in Canada: History and Interpretation (Waterloo, On.: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1992), 122; James W. St. G. Walker, “The ‘Jewish Phase’ in the Movement for Racial Equality in Canada,” Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal 34,1 (Mar. 2002), 1-29.

Heritage or Community: Jewish 

Name: KERT, Lawrence
Male
Born 1896
Died 1976
Called to the Bar: 1920
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Lawrence Kert was an early Jewish lawyer and a founding member of the Toronto Lodge of B'nai Brith.
 
Nominated by Morley L. Torgov.

Heritage or Community: Jewish

Name: LUXENBERG, Benjamin
Male
Born 1897 in Brooklyn, New York
Died 1993
Called to the Bar: 1920
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
At Osgoode Hall Law School, Benjamin Luxenberg was a top law student, winning the Silver Medal in his graduating class, and securing an articling position with Sir Allen Aylesworth, a bencher and prominent politician. Luxenberg became a pioneer in bankruptcy law. Christopher Moore cites his bankruptcy practice as an example of one way in which Jewish lawyers worked around the discrimination they faced - by developing legal specialties which in turn brought them clients from beyond the Jewish community. Benjamin Luxenberg was awarded the Law Society Medal in 1990.
 
Sources: Christopher Moore, The Law Society of Upper Canada and Ontario Lawyers, 1797-1997 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997), 201; Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 403. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: Jewish; Austrian

Name: LEVINTER, Isadore
Male
Born 1898
Died 1980
Called to the Bar: 1921
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Isadore Levinter was the son of Austrian immigrants who owned a furniture store at Spadina and Queen Streets in Toronto. In his practice, Levinter specialized in plaintiffs' work in personal injury case; according to Jack Batten, he was a "great strategist among civil litigators." Levinter also contributed to his profession's development. He was a founding director of the Advocates' Society (1963) and Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee of the Canadian Bar Association. He was the first Jewish lawyer elected as bencher of the Law Society, in 1956. Levinter served as a board member of the Beth Tzedec Congregation in Toronto.
 
Nominated by Morley L. Torgov. Sources: Christopher Moore, The Law Society of Upper Canada and Ontario Lawyers, 1797-1997 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997), 201; Jack Batten, Learned Friends: A Tribute to 50 Remarkable Ontario Advocates, 1900-1950 (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2005), 5.

Heritage or Community: Jewish

Name: ROEBUCK, Joseph
Male
Born 1898
Died 1968
Called to the Bar: 1921
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
An early Jewish lawyer who practised in Toronto, Joseph Roebuck advertised his services in the Toronto Jewish Directory of 1925.
 
Nominated by Morley L. Torgov. Toronto Jewish Directory 1925 (Publishing Advertising Company, Toronto, 1925), 161. Ontario Jewish Archives. Web. 10 July 2009.

Heritage or Community: Jewish

Name: SCHOTT, Maxwell
Born 1895 in London, Ontario
Died 1982
Called to the Bar: 1921
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Maxwell Schott was the son of Russian-Polish immigrants who were scrap metal dealers in St. Thomas, Ontario. Schott attended the University of Toronto (BA, 1918) and became the first Jewish lawyer in Windsor.
 
Sources: Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 406; 1911 Census of Canada, Ontario, Elgin West, St. Thomas, I. Schott household, automatedgenealogy.com, Web.

Heritage or Community: Jewish

Name: FOX, Benjamin
Male
Born 1897 in Budapest, Hungary
Called to the Bar: 1922
 
Biographical Information:
Benjamin Fox was born in Budapest to Austrian Jewish parents in 1899. By 1911, his family was running a dry goods store in Orillia. Benjamin was educated there and at the University of Toronto. In 1918, he served overseas with the Tank Corps. After his call to the bar in 1922, he practised in Ottawa with Samuel Lepofsky, another early Jewish lawyer. According to the Canadian Jewish Review, Fox was “the first Jewish representative on the Ottawa School Board and…the first municipal representative to be elected unopposed by the citizens of Ottawa,” in 1924. Fox left the law in 1929.
 
Sources: Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926); 1911 Census of Canada, Ontario, Simcoe East, Orillia, Joseph Fox household; automatedgenealogy.com, Web; Canadian Jewish Review, 4 Jan. 1924, 23.

Heritage or Community: Jewish 

Name: DENBERG, Dan Solomon
Male
Born 1895 in Russia
Died 1982
Called to the Bar: 1923
 
Biographical Information:
Born and schooled in Russia, Dan Denberg emigrated to Winnipeg about 1914. He earned his
B.A. from the University of Manitoba in 1921. Denberg moved to Toronto in 1922. Beyond his practice, he wrote on Zionist themes for newspapers and journals. Sources: Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 405.

Heritage or Community: Jewish; Russian

Name: CROLL, David Arnold
Male
Born 1900 in Moscow, Russia
Died 1991
Called to the Bar: 1924
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
A passionate proponent of welfare and other types of social assistance, Croll moved into politics from his law office. He became one of the first Jewish mayors in Canada, in Windsor, 1930-34. In provincial politics, he was a Liberal organizer and MPP, first elected in 1934. Under Premier Mitch Hepburn, Croll became Ontario's first Jewish cabinet minister. His portfolios included Public Welfare and Labour. During the 1937 United Auto Workers strike, when Hepburn aligned with General Motors, Croll resigned from cabinet, writing that “I would rather walk with the workers than ride with General Motors.” After another stint as Windsor's mayor, and war service, Croll shifted to federal politics and was elected MP (1945-1955). Blocked by anti- Semitism from a federal cabinet post, he became Canada's first Jewish senator (1955) and continued an energetic activist career until his death in 1991.
 
Sources: Jonathan V. Plaut, The Jews of Windsor, 1790-1990: A Historical Chronicle (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 2007), 99-108; Jerry S. Grafstein, "The Life and Times of the Late Senator David Croll." beth-tzedec.org. Beth Tzedec Congregation of Toronto, 26 Dec. 2005. Web. 8 August 2009; "Croll, David," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009.

Heritage or Community: Jewish 

Name: GOLDSTICK, David
Male
Born c. 1896
Died 1944
Called to the Bar: 1924
 
Biographical Information:
An early left-wing politician-lawyer, David Goldstick was elected to the Toronto City Council in the 1940s and was a member of the Civil Liberties Association of Toronto. Goldstick defended at least one Communist in court. With J. L. Cohen and the Civil Liberties Association of Toronto, he worked on behalf of a Ukrainian organization whose property was seized by the federal government as an anti-communist measure during the Second World War.
 
Source: Laurel Sefton MacDowell, Renegade Lawyer: The Life of J.L. Cohen (University of Toronto Press, 2001), 34, 189-92, note 159 on 339.

Heritage or Community: Jewish

Name: KEYFETZ, Murray
Male
Born 1900
Died 1985
Called to the Bar: 1924
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Murray Keyfetz was an early Jewish lawyer and an active supporter of Toronto's Baycrest Hospital and home for elderly Jewish citizens.
 
Nominated by Morley L. Torgov. See Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 405.

Heritage or Community: Jewish 

Name: ROEBUCK, Manning Harold
Male
Born 1901
Died 1997
Called to the Bar: 1924
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
An early Jewish lawyer.

Nominated by Morley L. Torgov.

Heritage or Community: Jewish; Polish 

Name: LIEFF, Abraham Herman
Male
Born 1903 in Antopol, now Belarus
Died 2007
Called to the Bar: 1926
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Abraham Lieff became the first Jewish magistrate in Ontario, appointed by Liberal premier Mitch Hepburn in Ottawa in the 1930s. In 1963, he was appointed the first Jewish judge on the Superior Court of Ontario (the first Jewish judge in Canada was appointed in British Columbia, in 1914).  He was sworn in wearing a yarmulke and holding the Old Testament.  Sometimes called the "father of Ontario family law," in his Ottawa practice he specialized in divorce petitions when divorce required a special act of Parliament. As a judge, he was a pioneer in the use of pretrial conferences. Lieff was married to Sadie Lazarovitz, also a lawyer and one of the first graduates of McGill University’s Faculty of Law.
 
Source: "Poor immigrant worked way up to Superior Court." jewishtoronto.net. United Jewish Appeal Federation of Greater Toronto. N.d. Web. 9 August 2009. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: Jewish

Name: BAKER, Annie Epstein
Female
Born 1908
Died 2005
Called to the Bar: 1929
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Annie Epstein Baker may have been the first Jewish woman called to the bar in Ontario.

Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: Jewish
Name: CATZMAN, Frederick Murray
Male
Born 1907
Died 2003
Called to the Bar: 1929
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Despite winning the Silver Medal at Osgoode Hall Law School (1929), Fred Catzman, like many Jewish lawyers of his generation, had difficulty finding an articling position. However, he became a prominent lawyer and advisor to the Ontario government. He wrote the Bulk Sales Act of Ontario, and co-authored the Personal Property Security Law of Ontario in 1976 and the Personal Property Security Act in 1989. He was also active in professional organizations, serving as Vice Chairman of the Canadian Bar Association (Ontario Commercial Law Section) for twenty-five years from 1949. Fred was awarded the Law Society of Upper Canada Medal in 1986 and the Order of Ontario in 2002.
 
Source: "The Fred M. Catzman, Q.C., L.S.M. Award," Osgoode Hall Financial Assistance Bursaries. osgoode.yorkuniversity.ca. Osgoode Hall Law School York University. n.d. Web. September 2009. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: Jewish; Russian

Name: GROSSMAN, Helen
Female
Born c. 1905 in Zitomar, Russia
Died 1988
Called to the Bar: 1929
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
One of the first Jewish women lawyers, Helen Grossman articled with E.F. Singer K.C., one of the first Jewish male lawyers. In 1930, as did several other women lawyers, she began a career with the Agricultural Development Board of Ontario.
 
Nominated by Morley L. Torgov. Source: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 62.

Heritage or Community: Jewish; Russian

Name: BORINS, Norman
Male
Born 1906 in Kiev, Russia
Died 1991 
Called to the Bar: 1930
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Norman Borins, born Borinsky, became the first Jewish Crown Attorney in Ontario, for York County. He was named a Q.C. in 1930 and was a founding member of the Advocates' Society in 1963.
 
Source: "Borins, Norman," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives.

Heritage or Community: Jewish; Russian 

Name: FINKELMAN, Jacob
Male
Born 1907 in Russia
Died 2003 
Called to the Bar: 1930
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Jacob Finkelman left Hamilton for Toronto where he earned a BA, MA, and LLB at the University of Toronto. He became the first Jewish full-time teacher at the University of Toronto law school, serving from 1930 until 1967. His area of expertise was Canadian labour law.  He was the first chair of the Ontario Labour Relations Board in 1944 and was associated with that organization for more than thirty years. His publications focused on collective bargaining in the public sector. In 1967, he started a practice in labour law and mediation, and was "well-known for his genuine desire to resolve conflicts." His contributions were recognized with his appointment as an Officer in the Order of Canada in 1976. A prize in labour law at the University of Toronto and the library at the Public Service Labour Relations Board are both named in his honour.
 
Source: "Jacob Finkelman, O.C., Q.C., LL.D, 1907 – 2003." pslrb-crtfp.gc.ca. Public Service Labour Relations Board. Feb. 2010. Web. March 2010.

Heritage or Community: Jewish; Lithuanian

Name: SHERIZEN, Lily I.
Female
Born 1906 in Mozir, Lithuania
Died 1991 
Called to the Bar: 1930
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Lily Sherizen was one of the first Jewish women lawyers. Associated with David B. Goodman
K.C. until 1944, she went into private practice in Toronto in 1945. As Chair of the Public Welfare Committee of the Women's Law Association in 1947, she was an advocate for prison reform and for better treatment and rehabilitation of "juvenile delinquents." She also served as president of the WLAO in 1951-1953.
 
Source: Abby Bushby, "The Early Years." wlao.on.ca The Women's Law Association of Ontario. 14 Jan. 2000. Web. 15 Aug. 2009. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: Jewish; Romanian

Name: COHN, Tmima Mamie Littner
Female
Born 1907 in Montreal, Quebec
Died 1989
Called to the Bar: 1932
 
Biographical Information:
Tmima Cohn was inspired to go into law by her father, a Romanian-born Orthodox Jew who marched in a suffragist parade in Toronto, and by her mother, who was a teacher, Bible scholar, and early advocate of women’s rights. After graduating from the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall Law School, she was called to the bar in 1932. She found the profession unwelcoming to a Jewish woman lawyer and like other women of the period, she stopped practising when she had children. As a lay person, she actively promoted environmental issues and the rights of women in the United States where she lived most of her life, by offering her
services at free legal clinics, giving talks on women’s rights, and writing a handbook of legal rights for women in Florida in 1976.
 
Sources: Betsy Ford, "Lawyer Enlightens Women on Their Rights," Daytona Morning Journal, 6 Sep. 1976, 14. Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 17.

Heritage or Community: Jewish; Polish

Name: GOTFRID, Samuel
Male
Born 1907
Died 2007
Called to the Bar: 1932
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Samuel Gotfrid achieved fifty years of commercial law practice in Toronto, during a period in which law students from most diverse communities struggled to find articling positions, and later, clients. In his early practice, Gotfrid relied on his fraternity brothers from Sigma Alpha Mu. He soon became the principal of record to another fraternity brother, Bora Laskin, the future Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. In the early 1950s, Gotfrid offered an articling position over the telephone to a man who warned him he was a "Negro" -- Lincoln Alexander, the future Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. "It bothered me that a fellow had to demean himself in that way to apply for a job," recalled Gotfrid. (Girard, 61).
 
Sources: Philip Girard, Bora Laskin: Bringing Law to Life (Toronto: Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, 2005), 60-5; Lincoln M. Alexander, Go to School, You're a Little Black Boy: The Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander, A Memoir (Hamilton: Dundurn Press, 1996), 60-1.
Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: Jewish 

Name: MUSKAT, Clara Halperin
Female
Born 1912 in Toronto, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1935
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Clara Halperin was the only woman to graduate from the honours law programme at the University of Toronto in 1932. She was one of the first female Jewish lawyers in Ontario. She possessed a ferociously sharp intellect: she was only nineteen years old when she began her legal studies after gaining her B.A. 

Freshly after graduation she was granted a job interview with a leading firm. She believed the interview was going well until they asked, “Halperin…is that a Jewish name?” She responded in the affirmative and never heard back from them. In her early career, she worked closely with a Jewish lawyer named Onie Brown. To commemorate him after he died she started a scholarship for students in need of financial assistance in his name at Osgoode Hall Law School. Clara Muskat, as she became after her marriage, continued her solo law practice in Toronto well into her eighties.
With the assistance of Jeff Halperin.

Heritage or Community: Jewish; Russian

Name: LASKIN, Bora
Male
Born 1912 In Fort William, Ontario
Died 1984
Called to the Bar: 1936
 
Biographical Information:
Bora Laskin's parents were Russian Jewish immigrants who settled in what is now Thunder Bay, Ontario. Therefore, as his biographer, Philip Girard, notes, Laskin was doubly an outsider in the legal world of the 1930s, as a Jew during a time of rising anti-Semitism and as a non-Torontonian when connections in Toronto were critical to one's career. However, his great abilities and personal and legal ambition drove Laskin's legal achievements. After studying law at the University of Toronto and Osgoode, he earned an LL.M. from Harvard Law School in 1936. He became a law professor, teaching at the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall Law School from 1940 to 1965, his expertise in labour and constitutional law. In 1965, he was appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal. In 1970, he became the first Jewish lawyer to be appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada. Bora Laskin was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada from 1973 until his death in 1984. According to Girard, a central theme of Laskin's life was his "quest to reshape the law and through it, Canadian society." (11)
 
Source: Philip Girard, Bora Laskin: Bringing Law to Life (Toronto: Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, 2005). See also Neil Finkelstein and Constance Backhouse, eds. The Laskin Legacy: Essays in Commemoration of Chief Justice Bora Laskin (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2007).

Heritage or Community: Jewish

Name: HIMEL, Irving
Male
Born 1915 in Toronto, Ontario
Died 2001 
Called to the Bar: 1938
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Irving Himel was one of the first labour and immigration lawyers and a civil rights activist. In the 1950s, he fought against restrictive covenants in real estate.  Working with early Chinese Canadian lawyer Kew Dock Yip and others, he helped to get the Chinese Exclusion Law repealed in 1947. Himel was a proponent of Diefenbaker's Bill of Rights. He wrote on civil liberties in legal journals, newspapers, and magazines, and was a founder and director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
 
Nominated by Bert Raphael. Source: Heather Royce-Roll, "Irving Himel, 86, 'sought justice for all peoples,'" Toronto Star, 21 July 2001, A27. See also I. Himel, "Criminal Procedure in the Soviet Union: A Study in Comparative Jurisprudence", Obiter Dicta (1938).

Heritage or Community: Jewish; Russian 

Name: GOLDSTICK, Iva Sarah Kaplan
Female
Born 1904 in Yaraslov, Russia
Died 1986
Called to the Bar: 1943
 
Biographical Information:
Sarah Goldstick was one of the first Jewish women lawyers, and widow of David Goldstick, a labour lawyer.
 
Nominated by Morley L. Torgov.

Heritage or Community: Jewish

Name: DUBIN, Charles Leonard
Male
Born 1921 in Hamilton, Ontario
Died 2008
Called to the Bar: 1944
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Charles Dubin was a brilliant litigator and one of the first Jewish judges in Ontario, appointed in 1973 to the Ontario Court of Appeal. From 1990 to 1996, Dubin served as the first Jewish Chief Justice of Ontario. He also headed important inquiries and royal commissions including the Dubin Inquiry into the use of drugs in amateur sports in 1990. He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada. Charles Dubin and his accomplished wife, Anne, also a lawyer, were devoted partners in support of many non-profit causes.
 
Sources: Tracey Tyler, "Charles Dubin, 87: Legal Giant Became National Icon," Toronto Star, 21 Oct. 2008. Web. 10 August 2009; Sandra Martin, "Charles Dubin: Judge who Probed Use of Drugs in Sports was 'a Complete Man of the Law,'" Toronto Globe and Mail, 21 Oct. 2008. Web. 10 August 2009; "Osgoode Entrance Award Honours Memory of Charles and Anne Dubin," Yfile. York University. 23 July 2009. Web. 21 Sep. 2009.

Heritage or Community: Jewish

Name: GOODMAN, Edwin Allan
Male
Born 1918 in Toronto, Ontario
Died 2006 
Called to the Bar: 1947
Q.C.
Biographical Information:
A corporate lawyer, Progressive Conservative strategist for both the provincial and the federal parties, patron of the arts, and a war hero. In the words of Christopher Moore, Eddie Goodman "helped usher in the era when you could be a Jewish lawyer without that being the defining characteristic of your career." He was made Q.C. in 1954, was a bencher of the Law Society from 1966 until his death, and was appointed an officer of the Order of Canada in 1992.
 
Source: Christopher Moore, "How Eddie Goodman Changed Legal Practice," Law Times (Sep. 2006). Web. See also Eddie Goodman, Life of the Party: The Memoirs of Eddie Goodman (Toronto: Key Porter, 1988).

Heritage or Community: Jewish

Name: ROBINS, Sydney Lewis
Male
Born 1923 in Toronto, Ontario
Died 2014 in Toronto, Ontario
Called to the Bar:
1947
Q.C., LSM
 
Biographical Information:
For the first three decades of his career, Sydney Robins practised corporate, commercial and labour law in Toronto, mostly as a litigator. Robins served his profession as an author and teacher, and through leadership roles in the Canadian Bar Association, the Law Foundation of Ontario (he was its founding chair in 1974), and the Law Society of Upper Canada (he was the first Jewish Treasurer, 1971 to 1974). In 1976, he was appointed to the Supreme Court of Ontario, then to the Court of Appeal for Ontario in 1981. Before he retired from the bench in 1998, he served on several Ontario provincial commissions. Beyond his legal career, he has committed time and energy to health and other not-for-profit organizations. In 2000, Mr. Robins was awarded the Law Society Medal for “outstanding service in accordance with the highest ideals of the legal profession.” Today he is counsel at Goodmans.
 
See also Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Sydney Robins fonds, PF188; Jack Batten, Learned Friends: A Tribute to 50 Remarkable Ontario Advocates, 1900-1950 (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2005), 60-1. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: Jewish 

Name: DUBIN, Anne Ruth
Female
Born 1926
Died 2007
Called to the Bar: 1951
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
In 1945, Anne Levine married Charles Dubin, the future Chief Justice of Ontario, launching a team soon to be famous in legal and philanthropic circles.  At Osgoode Hall Law School in 1951, she earned the bronze medal for scholarship. A pioneering woman in corporate law, she became managing partner at Kimber and Dubin. Later she became a partner in Tory, Tory, DesLauriers & Binnington. She gave her time and expertise to a variety of legal causes, including law reform, legal aid, and juvenile justice. She also served on the boards of numerous health, cultural, and educational organizations, including the Canadian Red Cross, the Elizabeth Fry Society, and the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry. In 1972, she became the first woman elected to the Toronto General Hospital Board Foundation.
 
Source: "Anne Dubin, York University Honorary Governor." Yfile. York University. 7 Aug. 2007. Web. 20 Sep. 2009.

Heritage or Community: Jewish

Name: ZALEV, Carl
Male
Born 1928 in Thamesville, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1953
 
Biographical Information:
Carl Zalev was Windsor’s first Jewish judge, appointed in 1972 to the County Court of the County of Essex. He was the first Canadian judge to preside at the Annual Advocacy Institute of the Institute of Continuing Legal Education, hosted by the University of Michigan and the American Bar Association at Ann Arbor, Michigan, in May 1975. In 1990, he was appointed Judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Mr. Zalev is married (Victoria) with two sons, Matthew and Joshua. He has also served as President of the Congregation Shaar Hashomayim of Windsor from 1967 to 1970.

Heritage or Community: Jewish

Name: GELLER, John Arthur
Male
Born 1930 in Toronto, Ontario
Died 2015
Called to the Bar: 1955
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Jack Geller blazed a trail for Jewish lawyers who followed him into Toronto's legal establishment. In 1959, at Arnoldi, Parry & Campbell, he became the first Jewish lawyer to be invited to partnership in a prominent Bay Street firm. Mr. Geller was lead counsel for Upper Lakes Shipping during the Royal Commission on the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1961. From 1992 to 2001, he served as vice-chair then acting chair of the Ontario Securities Commission. He contributed greatly to the Canadian Jewish community, as president of the National Jewish Immigrant Aid Society (1969-1971) and the Canadian Council for Reform Judaism (1984). He helped to change the exclusive National Club in Toronto by becoming its first Jewish member and by making the motion to admit women members for the first time. Among other honours, he was named honorary life president of Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto. Jack Geller suffered a stroke in 2002 that afflicted his ability to read and speak. In 2008, he and his wife, Sybil, were awarded the Ambassador Award by the Aphasia Institute, for their work in raising awareness of the communication disorder.

Heritage or Community: Jewish
Name: FRIEDLAND, Martin L.
Male
Born 1932 in Toronto, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1960
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Martin Friedland's "outstanding contributions to the Canadian legal system and to the administration of justice" were recognized by the Governor General when he was invested as Companion of the Order of Canada in 2003. He has served on the Law Reform Commission of Canada (1971-2). A distinguished educator, he has taught at Osgoode Hall Law School and later at the University of Toronto, where he was dean of the law school (1972-9). His scholarly writings on judicial accountability and his eighteen books, numerous articles and reports on a wide range of topics have been influential in Canada and abroad. He has also invigorated the study of the history of crime and criminal justice through prize-winning books for academic and general audiences. In The Trials of Israel Lipski (1984) and The Case of Valentine Shortis (1986) Friedland shows that politics, culture and personality, not just the law, shaped the outcomes in two fascinating nineteenth century murder trials.
 
See also Martin L. Friedland, My Life in Crime and Other Academic Adventures (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007); Order of Canada Citation, "Martin L. Friedland, C.C., Q.C., Ph.D., LL.D., F.R.S.C.," Governor General of Canada, Governor General of Canada. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: Jewish 

Name: ABELLA, Rosalie Silberman
Female
Born 1946 in Stuttgart, Germany
Called to the Bar: 1972
 
Biographical Information:
An honoured and influential jurist and scholar. Born in a Displaced Person's Camp in Germany, she emigrated to Canada with her parents in 1950. Abella was a litigator in private practice until, at the age of 29, she became a judge on the Ontario Family Court in 1976, making her Canada's first Jewish and first pregnant woman to be appointed to the Bench in Canada. She chaired the Ontario Labour Relations Board, the Ontario Law Reform Commission, and the Royal Commission on Equality in Employment, where she created the term and concept of employment equity. In 2004, she became the first Jewish woman appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has 27 honorary degrees. She and her husband, historian Irving Abella, have two sons, Jacob and Zachary, both lawyers.

Heritage or Community: Jewish, Orthodox 

Name: GOTTLIEB, Gary Lloyd
Male
Born 1943 in Toronto, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1970
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
A bencher since 1995, Gary Gottlieb is the first Orthodox Jewish member of the governing board of the Law Society of Upper Canada. He writes, “My motivation to become a bencher was to be a voice for the ordinary sole practitioner at Osgoode Hall, but during the course of my time as a bencher I am happy that artificial barriers that may have deterred Orthodox Jewish lawyers from running for bencher have been eliminated and the Law Society has become a leader in the promotion of religious tolerance and inclusiveness.” Because of the leadership of Mr. Gottlieb and his fellow bencher Bob Aaron, Law Society meetings are no longer held on days that would
conflict with any bencher’s religious observance. Further, the Law Society has adopted a statement of principles on Respect for Religious and Spiritual Beliefs and approved his motion that anti-Semitism and all forms of religious discrimination be discouraged. Mr. Gottlieb is a sole practitioner in Toronto.
 
See "Respect for Religious and Spiritual Beliefs: A Statement of Principles of the Law Society of Upper Canada," lsuc.on.ca. Law Society of Upper Canada. 10 March 2005.

Heritage or Community: Kanienkehaka/Haudenosaunee

Name: DETLOR, Aaron
Male
Born 1967 in Belleville, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1998
 
Biographical Information:
Aaron Detlor has devoted his career to advancing First Nations lands issues. He is counsel to the Whitefish Lake First Nation who have set precedent with an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which recognizes that First Nations are entitled to have compound interest considered in the assessment of damages for breaches of fiduciary duty. Detlor has also assisted the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council who have asserted rights to a twenty-kilometre wide band of land in south-western Ontario along the Grand River which was formally recognized in the Haldimand Proclamation of 1784. Detlor and the HDI argue that the Haudenosaunee/Six Nations should have influence on the future development of these lands as well receive fees from developers and municipalities.

Heritage or Community: Korean 

Name: STEINBERG, Jenny Chu
Female
Called to the Bar: 1986
 
Biographical Information:
One of the first Korean Canadian lawyers, Jenny Chu Steinberg is an expert on securities and corporate law, including mergers and acquisitions. She is a member of the Securities Advisory Committee of the Ontario Securities Commission. Previously a partner in Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP, she is now a partner of Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP.
 
Nominated by the Korean Canadian Lawyers’ Association.

Heritage or Community: Korean 

Name: KIM, Eunice
Female
Born 1960 in Seoul, Republic of Korea
Called to the Bar: 1987
 
Biographical Information:
Eunice Kim is one of the first women lawyers in Ontario of Korean heritage. After graduating from the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall Law School, she was admitted to the New York and Ontario bars in 1987 and practised commercial law in New York City for five years. Specializing in real estate, she serves as commercial and international trade counsel to businesses in both Canada and the United States. She served as a legal advisor in Toronto to the Counsel General of the Republic of Korea, and is fluent in both written and oral Korean.
 
Nominated by the Korean Canadian Lawyers’ Association.

Heritage or Community: Korean 

Name: SHIN DOI, Julia S.
Female
Born 1967 in Seoul, Korea
Called to the Bar: 1994
 
Biographical Information:
Julia S. Shin Doi is one of the early Korean Canadian women to practise law in Ontario and is among the first Korean Canadians to publish a legal textbook, teach law, and direct a legal clinic (Osgoode Business Clinic). Ms. Shin Doi is Adjunct Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School and practises corporate/commercial, intellectual property and privacy law. She is co-founder of the Korean Canadian Lawyers Association (1995) and the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (2007). She was appointed general counsel and secretary of the Ryerson Board of Governors in 2011.
 
Ms. Shin Doi and her family immigrated to Canada from South Korea in 1969. She grew up in Toronto, Ontario and served in volunteer leadership roles in the Korean Canadian community. She is married to lawyer, Michael Doi, a third generation Japanese Canadian, and they have two children.
 
Nominated by the Korean Canadian Lawyers Association. See also, “Julia Shin Doi appointed general counsel and secretary of the Board of Governors,” ryerson.ca/ryersontoday, 27 July 2011. Web.

Heritage or Community: Korean 

Name: AN, Juyung Jacqueline
Female
Born 1962 in Daegu, South Korea
Called to the Bar: 1998
 
Biographical Information:
Jacqueline An has practised criminal law as a sole practitioner since her call to the bar. She has conducted hundreds of jury trials, constitutional challenges, judge-alone trials, and appeals involving a wide variety of charges such as drug trafficking, homicide, and assault. As a criminal lawyer, Jacqueline has been profiled on Korean and Canadian legal television shows and in newspapers and magazines, including a 2010 Korean documentary on a cult and gang rape case in which Jacqueline was involved in as the lead defence counsel.
 
Jacqueline An is active within the Korean community as a lawyer and advisor. For many years she was the legal advisor to the Korean Consul General, and served as the Vice President of KCWA (Korean Canadian Women’s Association). She is now serving as the President of KOWIN
(Korean Women’s International Network), Toronto chapter, and as the Vice President of FACL (Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers).
 
Nominated by the Korean Canadian Lawyers' Association.

Heritage or Community: Korean 

Name: CHO, Meerai
Female
Born 1951 in Busan, South Korea
Called to the Bar: 2002
 
Biographical Information:
Meerai Cho was a human rights activist and journalist in South Korea before coming to Canada. For many years, she was a labour activist in Toronto, organizing and helping low income immigrant workers. She co-founded the Korean Canadian Women’s Association and the Canadian Coalition for Comfort Women Redress. She decided to go into law and graduated from the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Law. Ms. Cho practises immigration and refugee law in Toronto.
 
Nominated by Avvy Go.

Heritage or Community: Lebanese; Antiochian Orthodox Christian

Name: SHAMESS, Alfred Ely
Male
Born 1932 in Blind River, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1960
 
Biographical Information:
After graduating from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1960 and a brief period in practice in Sudbury with the law firm of Hawkins & Gratton, Alfred Shamess joined the legal department at Chrysler Canada Ltd. in Windsor, Ontario. He was Chrysler Canada’s legal representative on various external organizations, including the Canada Manufacturers’ Association, the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association (Canada) and the Windsor/Essex County Development Commission, on which he served as chairman for two years in the mid-1980s. In 1989, he transferred to the parent corporation, Chrysler Corporation in Highland Park, Michigan, as an international counsel on the staff of the General Counsel. In 1995, he was appointed acting director of insurance and risk management. When he retired in 1999, Mr. Shamess had served thirty-seven years with Chrysler in Canada and the United States.
 
Nominated by Bruce A. Thomas.

Heritage or Community: Lebanese

Name: THOMAS, Bruce A.
Male
Born 1933 in Toronto, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1960
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Bruce Thomas is one of the first Ontario lawyers of Lebanese heritage to be named Q.C. (1978). Thomas' grandparents were born in Syria during the Ottoman empire, emigrated to Northern Ontario in the 1890s, and prospered in the retail trades. He was raised in Midland and is a graduate of Upper Canada College, the University of Western Ontario, and Osgoode Hall Law School. Thomas is a leading lawyer in Canadian insurance law and litigation. Having retired as partner from Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, he is a founding partner of Thomas Gold Pettingill LLP. He is married to Gayle Eva Lepine, with whom he has four children: Andrea Thomas-Hill, James Thomas, Liane Thomas-Hicks, and Bruce Edward Alexander Thomas.
 
Nominated by the Arab Canadian Lawyers Association.

Heritage or Community: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered or Two-Spirited 

Name: SCOTT, Ian
Male
Born 1934 in Ottawa, Ontario
Died 2006 
Called to the Bar: 1959
Q.C. 1973
 
Biographical Information:
Ian Scott set out “to make a difference,” in the words of the title of his memoir, and as the leading cabinet member in David Peterson’s Liberal government and especially as the Attorney General of Ontario from 1985 to 1990, he did. An innovative courtroom lawyer who took some of the first Charter cases to the Supreme Court, he brought his advocate's skills and sensibilities to politics. He introduced many reforms including pay equity, no-fault insurance, freedom-of- information legislation. His reforms of the justice system included restructuring of the courts, abolishing Queen’s Counsel appointments and introducing an independent advisory committee to make judicial appointments more merit-based; the latter measure resulted in a bench that
became more representative of Ontario’s diversity. He was also one of the first politicians to identify himself as gay, though he waited until his political career ended. He left politics in 1992 and returned to practice until a stroke two years later stopped a brilliant political and legal career.
 
Sources: Christopher Moore, "Ian Scott was Advocate and Politician," Law Times, 16 Oct. 2006; Denise Balkisoon, "Out Law: Gay Lawyers Don't Hide in Closets Anymore," Canadian Lawyer, Spring 2008. See also Ian Scott with Neil McCormick, To Make a Difference: A Memoir (Toronto: Stoddart, 2001).

Heritage or Community: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered or Two-Spirited

Name: NORTON, Keith
Male
Born 1941 in Claremont, Ontario
Died 2010
Called to the Bar: 1971
QC 1978
 
Biographical Information:
Keith Norton was a powerful advocate for diverse communities and one of the first Canadian politicians to identify himself publicly as a gay man. After a few years in private practice in Kingston, he entered local and then provincial politics in 1975. He was a key cabinet member in Progressive Conservative governments from 1977 to 1985, in education, social services, and in health, the latter during the first years of the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s. Norton did not make public his sexual orientation until the 1990 election. He was defeated in his Toronto riding by another prominent and gay (though not openly so) politician and lawyer, Ian Scott of the Liberal Party (see biography). After leaving politics, Norton served as head of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (1992 to 1996) and the Ontario Human Rights Commission (1997-2005). He is remembered for his campaign against mandatory retirement on the basis of age, and as an activist for gays and persons with disabilities.
 
Sources: Robert Benzie, "Keith Norton, 69: Gay Cabinet Minister Fought for Equal Rights," Toronto Star 2 Feb. 2010; Randall Pierce, "I Remember Keith Norton," Toronto Globe and Mail, 16 Feb. 2010.

Heritage or Community: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Two-Spirited 

Name: URSEL, Susan
Female
Born 1958
Called to the Bar: 1986
 
Biographical Information:
Susan Ursel is one of the first openly lesbian lawyers in Ontario. Ursel practises in the areas of labour, pensions and benefits, employment equity, and human rights. She has advocated for the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Two-Spirited) community in several groundbreaking legal battles for the equality rights of gay men and lesbians. She appeared in Egan v. Canada, the first Supreme Court decision on equality rights of gay men and lesbians. She has also acted in or been involved with cases dealing with the rights of persons with HIV/AIDS, adoption rights of same sex couples, the meaning and extent of religious freedom, and the rights of trans individuals. She was also one of the team of lawyers who litigated the Jane Doe v Metro Police case. Her contributions to the LGBT community have been honoured through her
induction into the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Archives’ National Portrait Collection. Ursel was a founder of Pro Bono Law Ontario, an organization that encourages lawyers to provide pro bono legal services to low income persons.
 
See: Jane Doe v. Toronto (Metropolitan) Commissioners of Police, [1989] O.J. No. 471, 58 D.L.R. (4th) 396; Egan v. Canada, [1995] 2 S.C.R. 513; Hamilton Gay Pride Case (Oliver v. Hamilton (City) (No.2)), (1995), 24 C.H.R.R. D/298 (Ont. Bd. Inq.); Dwyer v. Toronto, [1996] O.H.R.B.I.D. No. 33;
Rosenberg v. Canada (Attorney General), [1998] O.J. No. 1627, 38 O.R. (3d) 577; M. v. H. [1999]
S.C.J. No. 23, [1999] 2 S.C.R. 3; Trinity Western University v. British Columbia College of Teachers, [2001] 1 S.C.R. 772, [2001] S.C.J. No. 32; Brillinger et al v Brockie et al, [2002] O.J. No. 2375, 222 D.L.R. (4th) 174; Hogan et al (Stonehouse et al v. Crown in Right of Ontario), [2006] O.H.R.T.D. No. 34, 2006 HRTO 32; CAW and 407/ETR (407 ETR Concession Co. and C.A.W.-Canada, Loc. 414 (Black) (Re)), [2007] O.L.A.A. No. 34, 158 L.A.C. (4th) 289; OSSTF v. York District School Board, [2008] O.L.A.A. No. 442, 176 L.A.C. (4th) 97; Honda v. Keays, [2008] 2 S.C.R. 362, [2008] S.C.J. No. 40.

Heritage or Community: Lithuanian; Jewish

Name: SHERIZEN, Lily I.
Female
Born 1906 in Mozir, Lithuania
Died 1991
Called to the Bar: 1930
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Lily Sherizen was one of the first Jewish women lawyers. Associated with David B. Goodman
K.C. until 1944, she went into private practice in Toronto in 1945. As Chair of the Public Welfare Committee of the Women's Law Association in 1947, she was an advocate for prison reform and for better treatment and rehabilitation of "juvenile delinquents." She also served as president of the WLAO in 1951-1953.
 
Source: Abby Bushby, "The Early Years." wlao.on.ca The Women's Law Association of Ontario. 14 Jan. 2000. Web. 15 Aug. 2009. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: Métis

Name: PIERCE, Helen M.
Female
Born 1953
Called to the Bar: 1982
 
Biographical Information:
Helen Pierce earned a degree in social work before she studied law. She practised in Sault Ste. Marie from 1982 until 2001. She was appointed to the Superior Court of Justice at Thunder Bay in 2001 and thus may be the first Métis lawyer to become a judge in Ontario. In 2009, she was appointed Regional Senior Judge of the Northwest Region. Madam Justice Pierce is active in continuing legal education and in a variety of legal organizations, including the Advocates' Society, the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice, the Ontario Association of Superior Court Judges, and the Canadian Superior Court Judges Association. She is also the Honorary Colonel of the Lake Superior Scottish Regiment.
 
Nominated by the Honourable Justice Todd Ducharme.

Heritage or Community: Métis; Aboriginal

Name: DUCHARME, Todd
Male
Born 1959 in Alliston, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1988
 
Biographical Information:
One of the first Aboriginal lawyers in Ontario, Todd Ducharme studied law at the University of Toronto and Yale Law School. He served on the board of the Criminal Lawyers Association for many years and became a prominent Toronto criminal lawyer, appearing at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada. In 1999, he was elected a Bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada and was re-elected as Regional Bencher for Toronto in 2003. In 2004, he was appointed to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, thereby becoming Canada's second Métis judge. Justice Ducharme has a particular interest in Aboriginal Law and also serves as a Deputy Judge of the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories, the Supreme Court of Yukon, and the Nunavut Court of Justice.

Heritage or Community: Muslim; South Asian 

Name: ALI, Syed Mumtaz
Male
Born 1926 in India
Died 2009 
Called to the Bar: 1962
 
Biographical Information:
Syed Ali was the first male South Asian lawyer called to the bar in Ontario, in 1962, and a leading proponent of Shariah law, based on the Qur’an. He studied theology, arts and Muslim law at several universities in India, Pakistan, and England. He also practised law for five years in Pakistan before emigrating to Canada in 1960. After graduating from Osgoode Hall Law School, he took his legal oath over the Qur'an, the first time the Qur'an was used during the ceremony. He worked for the government of Ontario as legal counsel in corporate law. In 2003, after his retirement, he founded the Islamic Institute of Civil Justice as an arbitration body to settle civil disputes under Shariah law, as permitted under the 1991 Ontario Arbitration Act. Since 2006 such faith-based arbitrations are no longer permitted within the Act.
 
Nominated by the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association, and the South Asian Lawyers Association. Source: "Syed Mumtaz Ali, 1st Muslim lawyer in Canada, dies at 82," CBC.ca. 17 July 2009. Web. 19 July 2009.

Heritage or Community: Muslim; South Asian 

Name: BHABHA, Feroza
Female
Born 1958 in Johannesburg, South Africa
Called to the Bar: 1987
 
Biographical Information:
Feroza Bhabha immigrated to Canada from South Africa when she was ten years old. Her legal career has mostly been in government, as counsel in the federal Department of Justice in tax litigation, and as Crown counsel in criminal law at the Ministry of the Attorney General for Ontario, where she was one of the first visible minority counsels. (Her heritage includes Indian, Scottish, and Italian ancestors). In her fifteen years as a Crown counsel, she argued cases at all levels of court. In 2006, she was appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice.
 
Nominated by the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association. See "SAWW Awards, 1999." n.d. South African Women for Women. Web. 10 Oct. 2009.

Heritage or Community: Muslim

Name: NAQVI, Yasir
Male
Born 1973 in Pakistan
Called to the Bar: 2001
 
Biographical Information:
Yasir Naqvi and his family immigrated to Canada in 1988 after the Pakistani government imprisoned his father for leading a pro-democracy march. Mr. Naqvi obtained his law degree (LLB) from the University of Ottawa, and is a member of the bars of Ontario, England and Wales. He practised international trade law with Lang Michener LLP and Flavell Kubrick LLP before joining the Centre for Trade Policy and Law (CTPL) as counsel and director. In 2007, Mr. Naqvi, a Liberal, was elected as MPP for Ottawa Centre, and in 2009 he was elected President of the Ontario Liberal Party.
 
Nominated by the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association.

Heritage or Community: Persons with Disabilities; Irish Catholic 

Name: O'CONNOR, John, Jr.
Male
Born 1824 in Boston, Mass.
Died 1884
Called to the Bar: 1854
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
John O'Connor was Ontario’s first Irish Catholic judge. He decided on the legal profession after he lost a leg in a lumbering accident at age 19; he used a wooden leg and cane. O’Connor began his legal career with the influential Roman Catholic Baby family in Windsor. He soon entered local politics and served in the 1850s and 1860s as councillor, reeve and warden of Essex County. After Confederation, he represented Essex from 1867 to 1874 as Ontario’s only Catholic member of Parliament, and thus was useful to the Conservatives during a a period in which Catholics were demanding greater influence in government and politics. O’Connor was also an outspoken opponent of the Fenian movement. However, he was disappointed in the minor cabinet positions he was given and unable, because of illness and political responsibilities, to maintain his law practice. He was appointed to the Queen’s Bench in 1884 but sat only three years before his death.
 
Sources: Donald Swainson, "John O'Connor," Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online v. 11 (University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2000). Web; David Read, Lives of the Judges of Upper Canada and Ontario (Toronto: Roswell & Hutchison, 1888), 425-34. See also J. C. Dent, The Canadian Portrait Gallery v. 4 (Toronto: J. B. Magurn, 1881), 164-5.

Heritage or Community: Persons with Disabilities

Name: MACLELLAN, Archibald Leitch
Male
Born 1832 in Greenock, Scotland
Died 1902 
Admitted as a Solicitor: 1860
 
Biographical Information:
Archibald MacLellan was the first deaf lawyer in North America, and his brother, Duncan, was the second. The sons of a Scottish merchant and shipowner, they were educated at the Glasgow Institution for the Deaf and Dumb. After emigrating, Archibald studied law at Osgoode Hall Law School and clerked for prominent lawyers during the 1850s. He scored high marks in his examinations in 1860. However, the judges (who with the Law Society were responsible for the regulation of solicitors) were surprised and dubious when he applied to be admitted. They were soon convinced by the testimony of MacLellan's masters and other experts as to his capabilities for running a law office. Archibald practised in Madoc, Belleville, Campbellford and Trenton, with his brother from 1865 and also with L.U.C. Titus, and with the help of his hearing sister, Catherine. He died in 1902. See the biography of Duncan MacLellan for more on their practice.
 
Nominated by Ann-Marie Langlois. Sources: Clifton F. Cargin, Deaf Heritage in Canada: A Distinctive, Diverse and Enduring Culture (Whitby, On: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1996) 251-3 and 514, fn. 10; William Robert Roe, Peeps Into the Deaf World (Derby, UK: Bemrose & Sons, 1917), 342; 1851 Scotland Census, Parish: Dunoon and Kilmun; ED: 9; Page: 10; Line: 6; Roll 944, Ancestry.com. Web; McLellan, Archibald, Scottish Old Parochial Records (OPR) Births, Greenock 1832, compiled by the General Register Office, UK. Scotlandspeople.gov.uk, General Register Office. Web; 1891 Census of Canada, Ontario, West Hastings, Trenton, Archibald MacLellan household; automatedgenealogy.com, Web. With the assistance of Michael Olson, Gallaudet University, Florida.

Heritage or Community: Persons with Disabilities 

Name: MACLELLAN, Duncan
Male
Born 1836 in Greenock, Scotland
Died 1920
Admitted as a Solicitor: 1865
 
Biographical Information:
Duncan MacLellan was the second deaf lawyer in North America. He was congenitally disabled as was his older brother Archibald (see biography). The MacLellan siblings built a profitable chancery and common law practice serving mining industry clients and working for other lawyers in eastern Ontario, and at least once Duncan appeared before the Court of Appeal. Using neither lip-reading nor the single-handed signing system taught to deaf children in the province at that time, they communicated with each other in a double-handed alphabet they had learned in Scotland. An unmarried sister, Catherine, helped in the office and was their interpreter for four decades. In 1907, a few years after the deaths of his brother (1902) and sister, Duncan closed his office. His last years were sad and he died in the House of Providence in Kingston in 1920. However, the story of the MacLellans’ success in the legal and hearing worlds was used to inspire deaf children in Ontario in the 1870s and is remembered in a Canadian history of deaf persons.
 
Nominated by Ann-Marie Langlois. Sources: Clifton F. Cargin, Deaf Heritage in Canada: A Distinctive, Diverse and Enduring Culture (Whitby, On: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1996) 251-3 and 514, fn. 10; William Robert Roe, Peeps Into the Deaf World (Derby, UK: Bemrose & Sons, 1917), 342; “He is Deaf and Dumb, and Yet he Appeared as Counsel at Osgoode Hall,” The Silent Worker [Trenton, New Jersey] v. 6, 1 (Sep. 1893), 11; 1851 Scotland Census, Parish: Dunoon and
Kilmun; ED: 9; Page: 10; Line: 6; Roll  944.  Ancestry.com. Web; 1891 Census of Canada, Ontario, West Hastings, Trenton, Archibald MacLellan household; automatedgenealogy.com, Web; McLellan, Duncan, Scottish Old Parochial Records (OPR) Births, Greenock 1836, compiled by the General Register Office, UK. Scotlandspeople.gov.uk, General Register Office. Web. With the assistance of Michael Olson, Gallaudet University Archives.

Heritage or Community: Persons with Disabilities

Name: STEWART, William
Male
Born ?
Died ?
Called to the Bar: 1891
 
Biographical Information:
William Stewart attended Queen's University, earning the gold medal in mathematics. Shortly after graduating with a BA, he became blind as a result of smallpox contracted in Montreal in 1878 or 1885 (the newspaper accounts vary). He was the first blind student of Osgoode Hall, aided in his studies by his friends, and the first blind lawyer in the history of the Law Society of Upper Canada, but nothing about his subsequent career is known.
 
Sources: "A Totally Blind Prospective Lawyer," St. Andrews, N.B. Pilot Bay 6, 28 (15 Nov. 1888), 4; "A Blind Barrister," Nelson (New Zealand) Evening Mail 25, 188 (Aug. 10, 1891), 4.

Heritage or Community: Persons with Disabilities 

Name: O’CONNOR, Michael Joseph
Male
Born 1862
Died 1945
Called to the Bar: 1892
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Michael Joseph O'Connor was a successful criminal lawyer for over 20 years. According to his obituary, he was "a brilliant speaker, he could address a jury with no mean display of oratorical talent and his success as a criminal lawyer seemed assured. But a physical ailment in the form of catarrh [inflammation of the mucous membranes of the respiratory system] lost to him the power of his voice." He was subsequently appointed Deputy Magistrate in the Ottawa Police Court at age 69, retiring in 1932 at age 79.
 
Contributed by Ann-Marie Langlois. Source: "O’Connor, Michael," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database. Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2010.

Heritage or Community: Persons with Disabilities 

Name: CARRUTHERS, Charles Wattie
Male
Born 1886 in Avening, Ontario
Died 1976
Called to the Bar: 1911
 
Biographical Information:
Charles Carruthers was blind from age 5. He graduated from the Ontario School for the Blind and earned a BA from the University of Toronto before attending law school. However, his legal career lasted only two years. Carruthers changed professions and became a well-known osteopathic doctor in Toronto.  He was one of the founders of the Canadian National Institute of the Blind.
 
Sources: "Singer, Joseph," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009; "CNIB Founders: Charles Carruthers," www.cnib.ca, Canadian National Institute for the Blind, n.d. Web. May 2010.

Heritage or Community: Persons with Disabilities 
Name: RYAN, John Aloysius
Male
Born c.1894 in Toronto, Ontario
Died 1931
Called to the Bar: 1919
 
Biographical Information:
Despite being blind, John Ryan was able to secure an articling position with a Roman Catholic lawyer, Thomas O'Connor, in Toronto. He was called to the bar shortly after he was married in 1919, but by 1927, he had left the practice of law. By the time he died of heart disease, at only 36 years old, he had become a hotel keeper, as his father had been.
 
Sources: "Ryan, John Aloysius," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009; John Aloysius Ryan-Henrietta Robinson, Ontario Marriage Registration (1919), Archives of Ontario MS932_478; Ancestry.com Web. June 2010; John Ryan, Ontario Death Registration (1931), Archives of Ontario MS 935_416, Ancestry.com Web. June 2010.

Heritage or Community: Persons with Disabilities; Women

Name: PARSONS, Vera L.
Female
Born 1889
Died 1973
Called to the Bar: 1924
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Vera Parsons was a scholar and a courtroom lawyer. After graduating with a degree in English from the University of Toronto, she did postgraduate work in comparative languages at Bryn Mawr College (MA) and at the University of Rome. Home in Toronto, she applied her language abilities in work with Italian immigrants, but “decided to become a lawyer when an Italian girl was jailed for vagrancy and she could do nothing about it.” (Toronto Star) Parsons was the first woman student at Osgoode Hall Law School to win a medal, the silver.  She then became the first woman criminal lawyer in Ontario, was probably the first woman lawyer to appear before judge and jury, and first to defend an accused murderer. She preferred litigation and especially appellate work. Parsons was also one of the first women lawyers with a disability; she used a cane as a result of contracting polio. Vera Parsons practised law for almost fifty years.
 
Sources: Christopher Moore, "Law Times 'That's History' Excerpted Columns. The Ontario Legal Alphabet: P is for Parsons." christophermoore.ca. Christopher Moore. n.d. Web. 10 July 2009; “Vera Parson, 83, Criminal Lawyer,” Toronto Star 20 Feb. 1973; Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 40; Jack Batten, Learned Friends: A Tribute to 50 Remarkable Ontario Advocates, 1900- 1950 (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2005), 10-11.

Heritage or Community: Persons with Disabilities

Name: TOPPING, Victor
Male
Born 1896 in Hartlepool, England
Died 1937 
Called to the Bar: 1934
 
Biographical Information:
Victor Topping moved to Canada in 1913 and attended the University of Toronto, graduating in 1917 with a B.Sc.  He volunteered with the Royal Air Force during the First World War. On April 4th, 1918, his plane crashed at Castle Bromwich, England, and Topping suffered serious burns to his face. He underwent several major operations for facial reconstruction during the next four years. After his discharge, Topping married Dr. Agnes Helen White (d. 1952) in 1923 and at some point returned to Canada. He worked as a civil engineer for a number of years before devoting his time to tennis and badminton (he seems to have been quite successful at both sports). He entered Osgoode Hall Law School in 1931 and was called to the bar in 1934. Little is known about his legal career, other than its brevity. Topping died of a heart attack on December 27th, 1937; he was only 41.
 
Contributed by Paul Leatherdale. Source: "Topping, Victor," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database. Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009.

Heritage or Community: Persons with Disabilities 

Name: MCCORMACK, Charles Stewart
Male
Born 1929
Died 1992
Called to the Bar: 1959
Q.C. 1982
 
Biographical Information:
Charlie McCormack lost his sight after he was hit by a baseball at 9 years old. He attended the Ontario School for the Blind in Brantford, then graduated from McMaster University. One of the few blind lawyers in Ontario, he was called to the bar in 1957. "Loss of sight is an inconvenience, but it is not a handicap," he told an interviewer in that year.
 
Source: Charlie McCormack as told to John Schneller, "It Helps to Have Humour," Obiter Dicta, Spring 1957, 13-15.

Heritage or Community: Persons with Disabilities 

Name: TURNBULL, Brian
Male
Born 1944 in Scotland
Died 2006 
Called to the Bar: 1991
 
Biographical Information:
Brian Turnbull harnessed his competitive spirit to overcome his disabilities and help his clients. He became paraplegic at age 17 when the car he was a passenger in was struck by a drunk driver. He had to give up his dreams of professional football but he became an outstanding paraplegic athlete. He won a gold medal in swimming and competed in several other sports in the 1976 Pan American Games in Winnipeg. After a number of years in the security business in Barrie, he decided to enter the legal profession. At Osgoode Hall Law School, he excelled in moot competitions (in which teams of law students argue hypothetical cases before judges). Turnbull developed a successful criminal practice in Barrie. He became an innovative advocate for his clients; he was one of the first to offer the defence of addiction to gambling in a fraud case and to organize a sentencing circle for an Aboriginal client.
 
Source: Catherine Dunphy, "Brian Turnbull, 62: Life lived full Out," Toronto Star, 8 May 2006. Web.

Heritage or Community: Persons with Disabilities

Name: WATKINS, Christopher C.
Male
Born 1959
Called to the Bar: 1995
 
Biographical Information:
Christopher Watkins practises in Thunder Bay, mostly in poverty law, and serves clients with mental health and other disabilities on a pro bono basis.  Since a 1988 automobile accident, he has suffered chronic pain, arthritis, and lung illnesses. He has worked to raise awareness about disability issues by appearing in the media, taking on cases with mental health issues, involving himself in politics and fund-raising, and climbing mountains around the world. With David Shannon, he became one of the first persons with disabilities to reach the North Pole, on 11 April 2009. Watkins has been honoured for his contributions, including an award from the city of Thunder Bay for outstanding achievement and another from the province of Ontario for his volunteer work. He is also an honorary knight of the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem.
 
Nominated by Corrina Phillips. For more information on the historic North Pole expedition, see teamindependence.ca. Web. Oct. 2010. Forthcoming: transcript of interview by A. Kirk- Montgomery, 2011.

Heritage or Community: Persons with Disabilities

Name: SHANNON, David William
Male
Born 1963
Called to the Bar: 1996
 
Biographical Information:
David Shannon is a lawyer with disabilities who has practised in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Accompanied by lawyer Christopher Watkins (see biography), Shannon became the first person with paraplegia to reach the North Pole, in April 2009. Shannon has received many awards and honours for his legal and community work for and with persons with disabilities, including his promotion of civil rights for persons who are subject to medico-legal incarceration. In 2011, for his advocacy on behalf of Canadians with disabilities, David Shannon was honoured with both the Order of Ontario and the Order of Canada. In 2012, Shannon was appointed director and CEO of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.
 
Nominated by Corrina Phillips. See David Shannon, Six Degrees of Dignity: Disability in an Age of Freedom (Creative Bound, 2007). Forthcoming: transcript of interview by A. Kirk-Montgomery, 2011.

Heritage or Community: Polish; Jewish

Name: SINGER, Louis Michael
Male
Born 1885 in Galicia, in the Austrian Empire
Died 1959
Called to the Bar: 1908
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Of Polish heritage, Louis Singer arrived in Toronto in 1886 with his parents. Singer won the Gold Medal at Osgoode Hall Law School. He was one of the first Jewish lawyers in Toronto, specializing in bankruptcy and corporate law. In 1914, he became the second Jewish alderman of the city. He was an eloquent speaker who argued against the disenfranchisement of foreign-born citizens in the First World War. In the 1930s, Singer often represented the management side in labour disputes with the needle trades unions.
 
Sources: Laurel Sefton MacDowell, Renegade Lawyer: The Life of J.L. Cohen (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001), 51-2. Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 384.

Heritage or Community: Polish; Jewish
Name: SINGER, Joseph
Male
Born 1890 in Toronto, Ontario
Died 1967
Called to the Bar: 1911
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Joseph Singer was a Toronto politician and lawyer from a prominent Jewish family with roots in Polish Galicia. After winning the Osgoode Hall Law School Gold Medal and the inaugural VanKoughnet Scholarship in 1911, he practised with his brother, Abraham, in Toronto. In 1916, he was founder and first president of the Jewish Political Association, whose members were interested in education, immigration and other "problems affecting the Jewish people." Singer was first elected as a city councillor in Toronto, in 1920, and in 1923, became the first Jewish person to win city-wide election to the Board of Control. According to The Jew in Canada, he led the successful campaign against corruption in the Toronto police department. He also took part in provincial politics and was at one time the Deputy Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party. Singer was active in many Jewish organizations.
 
Sources: "Jewish Political Association," Toronto Star, 16 April 1915, 2; "Singer, Joseph," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009; Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 380.

Heritage or Community:Polish; Jewish

Name: ROTENBERG, Meyer
Male
Born 1894 in Ivansk (Iwaniska), Russian Poland
Died 1958
Called to the Bar: 1918
 
Biographical Information:
Meyer Rotenberg's father was a banker and steamship agent who brought many Jews, including his son, from Russian Poland to Toronto. Meyer became a businessman and lawyer who won the bronze medal at Osgoode Hall Law School. In 1924, he married Mattie Levi who was the first woman and the first Jew to earn a doctorate in physics at the University of Toronto, and later became a CBC journalist. They had five children, all of whom were educated at the first Jewish day school in Toronto, founded and directed by their mother.
 
Source: Michael Brown, "Mattie Rotenberg," Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 20 March 2009. Jwa.org. Jewish Women's Archive. Web. 25 February 2010.

Heritage or Community: Polish; Jewish

Name: LIEFF, Abraham Herman
Male
Born 1903 in Antopol, now Belarus
Died 2007 
Called to the Bar: 1926
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Abraham Lieff became the first Jewish magistrate in Ontario, appointed by Liberal premier Mitch Hepburn in Ottawa in the 1930s. In 1963, he was appointed the first Jewish judge on the Superior Court of Ontario (the first Jewish judge in Canada was appointed in British Columbia, in 1914).  He was sworn in wearing a yarmulke and holding the Old Testament.  Sometimes called the "father of Ontario family law," in his Ottawa practice he specialized in divorce petitions when divorce required a special act of Parliament. As a judge, he was a pioneer in the use of pretrial conferences.
 
Source: "Poor immigrant worked way up to Superior Court." jewishtoronto.net. United Jewish Appeal Federation of Greater Toronto. N.d. Web. 9 August 2009. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: Polish; Jewish

Name: GOTFRID, Samuel
Male
Born 1907
Died 2007
Called to the Bar: 1932
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Samuel Gotfrid achieved fifty years of commercial law practice in Toronto, during a period in which law students from most diverse communities struggled to find articling positions, and later, clients. In his early practice, Gotfrid relied on his fraternity brothers from Sigma Alpha Mu. He soon became the principal of record to another fraternity brother, Bora Laskin, the future Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. In the early 1950s, Gotfrid offered an articling position over the telephone to a man who warned him he was a "Negro" -- Lincoln Alexander, the future Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. "It bothered me that a fellow had to demean himself in that way to apply for a job," recalled Gotfrid. (Girard, 61).
 
Sources: Philip Girard, Bora Laskin: Bringing Law to Life (Toronto: Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, 2005), 60-5; Lincoln M. Alexander, Go to School, You're a Little Black Boy: The Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander, A Memoir (Hamilton: Dundurn Press, 1996), 60-1. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: Polish

Name: OKULOSKI, Helen Frances
Female
Born 1912
Died 1993
Called to the Bar: 1935
Q.C. 1955
 
Biographical Information:
Helen Okuloski was the first Polish lawyer in Hamilton and one of the city’s first women lawyers. Her parents were immigrants who ran a chain of dry goods stores in the city. According to her sister Rosalie Hobbs, for fifty years, from 1938 to 1988, Ms. Okuloski worked at the corner of Barton and Sherman in the downtown area and served a “large ethnic clientele because of her
understanding of their needs and backgrounds.” She was also “very protective” of women clients who, she maintained, were “handicapped by being women.” She was admired by many, including an articling student who became the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Honourable Lincoln Alexander. Ms. Okuloski was joined in the practice by her younger brother, Edward. She was a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association and an honorary member of the Hamilton Law Association.
 
Sources: “Okuloski: One of First Female Lawyers,” Hamilton Spectator, 23 Sep. 1993, D2. Lincoln M. Alexander, Go to School, You're a Little Black Boy: The Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander, A Memoir (Hamilton: Dundurn Press, 1996), 66-7.

Heritage or Community: Polish 

Name: OKULOSKI, John Edward
Male
Born 1922 in Hamilton, Ontario
Died 1965 
Called to the Bar: 1948
 
Biographical Information:
Of Polish heritage, Edward Okuloski articled and then practised with his older sister, Helen, in Hamilton, Ontario.

Heritage or Community: Polish 

Name: PREOBRAZENSKI, Christophe
Male
Born 1951 in Toronto, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1981
 
Biographical Information:
Christophe Preobrazenski's practice is now restricted to criminal law. He explains, “Early on in my career, I volunteered on a weekly basis with several Polish community groups, providing pro bono legal services to those individuals who had difficulty accessing legal services due to language restrictions. That led to my decision to concentrate on criminal law.” Mr. Preobrazenski is a former assistant coach to the Canadian National Junior Judo team and a Pan American Games
athlete and medalist. “Fitness remains an important part of my life, providing the framework for how I approach law,” he writes.
 
See also Bruce McDougall, “Law’s Changing Face,” Canadian Lawyer (November 1991), 14-7.

Heritage or Community: Quebecer; Francophone 

Name: BOUTET, Nathalie
Female
Born 1965 in Quebec City, Quebec
Called to the Bar: 1991
 
Biographical Information:
Nathalie Boutet is a family law lawyer, a collaborative law instructor, and a judge in the Small Claims Court. She is dedicated to the well-being of families and children. Her focus on collaborative law, the most evolved system of negotiation for separating couples, enables families to achieve peaceful and evolved separations. Nathalie is instrumental in the development of collaborative law in France, Italy and Bermuda. During her presidency at the AJEFO (Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario), the Law Society of Upper Canada agreed to amend the Rules of Professional Conduct to compel lawyers to advise their bilingual clients of their right to use French or English in the court system. She was awarded the AJEFO's Award of Distinction in 2004.

Heritage or Community: Quebecer; African Canadian

Name: WESTMORELAND-TRAORÉ, Juanita
Female
Born 1942 in Montreal, Quebec
Called to the Bar: 1997
 
Biographical Information:
Juanita Westmoreland-Traoré is the first African Canadian dean of a Canadian law faculty and one of the first Black women judges. After earning a law degree from the Université de Montréal and a doctorate from the Université de Paris II, she practised and lectured on law in Québec. In public service, she was a Commissioner for the Canadian Human Rights Commission (1983 to 1985), and in 1985 she was the first chair of the Conseil des communautés culturelles et de l'immigration in Québec. In Ontario, she served as the Employment Equity Commissioner of Ontario (1991 to 1995), and dean of the University of Windsor’s Faculty of Law (1996-1999). In 1999, she was appointed to the Court of Québec.  In 2005, the Canadian Bar Association awarded Judge Westmoreland-Traoré the Touchstone Award for promoting equality in the legal profession. In 2009, the Québec bar awarded her the Christine Tourigny Merit Award.

Heritage or Community: Roman Catholic 

Name: MACDONELL, Angus
Male
Died 1804
Called to the Bar: 1797
 
Biographical Information:
Angus Macdonell was a founding member of the bar of Upper Canada in 1797, so he cannot be credited with diversifying an institution that he helped to create. However, he was the first Catholic member of a bar that would be dominated for more than a century by Protestants. His loyalist Scottish credentials, ability to speak French, and ambitious, restless nature explain his prominence in the turbulent early days of Upper Canada. Macdonell was appointed the first speaker of its House of Assembly. With limited and varying success, he was also a chemist, inventor, poet, man of business, and politician, and from 1794, an attorney. He became the Law Society's third Treasurer in 1801. Along with more than two dozen other passengers, including other leaders of the colony’s legal profession, Macdonell died during a storm on Lake Ontario in the wreck of the HMS Speedy, on route to Newcastle to defend an Ojibwe man who was charged with murder.
 
Derived from Allan J. MacDonald, "Angus Macdonell," Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online v. 5 (University of Toronto/Université Laval). Web. See also Brendan O'Brien, Speedy Justice: The Tragic Last Voyage of His Majesty's Vessel Speedy (Toronto: Osgoode Society, University of Toronto Press, 1992).

Nom du patrimoine ou de la collectivité: catholique romain; Francophone

Nom: BABY, Charles
Homme
Né en 1806 à Québec
Décédé en 1871 
Admission au Barreau: 1828
 
Biographie:
Charles Baby est fils de la famille Francophone catholique romaine la plus en vue du Haut- Canada. Son père, Jacques, qu'on appele aussi James, siège au comité exécutif et au conseil législatif du Haut-Canada. Me Baby prend part à la Rébellion de 1837 et 1838. Un des premiers avocats catholiques romains en Ontario, il pratique à York (Toronto) et à Sandwich (Windsor) dont il devient maire. Me Baby est aussi connu comme l'avocat qui a essayé d'aider Nelson Hackett, un esclave qui avait fui l'Arkansas et qui a été extradé aux États-Unis en 1842. Me Baby devient conseiller au Barreau du Haut-Canada en 1850 et y siège pendant une vingtaine d’années.
 
Nomination faite par Jean Yves Pelletier. Sources : Elizabeth Burrell and Evelyn G. McLean, A Mansion on the Detroit Frontier: The Duff-Baby Story, A Bicentennial Celebration (Windsor: Amis Duff-Baby, 1998); Elizabeth Abbott-Namphy, « Nelson Hackett », Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online v. 7 (University of Toronto/Université Laval) Web.

Heritage or Community: Roman Catholic; Francophone 

Name: BABY, Charles
Male
Born 1806
Died 1871
Called to the Bar: 1828
 
Biographical Information:
Charles Baby was a scion of the most influential Francophone and Roman Catholic family in Upper Canada. His father, Jacques, sat on Upper Canada's Executive and Legislative Councils. Charles served in the Rebellions of 1837 and 1838. One of the first Roman Catholic lawyers in Ontario, he practised in York (Toronto) and Sandwich (Windsor), and became mayor of the latter. Baby is also remembered as the lawyer who tried to assist Nelson Hackett, a fugitive slave from Arkansas, who unsuccessfully fought extradition to the United States in 1842. Baby became a bencher of the Law Society in 1850 and served for about twenty years.
 
Nominated by Jean Yves Pelletier. Sources: Elizabeth Burrell and Evelyn G. McLean,  A Mansion on the Detroit Frontier: The Duff-Baby Story, A Bicentennial Celebration (Windsor: Amis Duff- Baby, 1998); Elizabeth Abbott-Namphy, "Nelson Hackett," Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online
v. 7 (University of Toronto/Université Laval). Web.

Heritage or Community: Roman Catholic

Name: DIGNAN, Ralph Hubert
Male
Born 1863 In London, Ontario
Died 1935
Called to the Bar: 1898
 
Biographical Information:
A third generation Irish Canadian, R. H. Dignan was one of the first Roman Catholic lawyers in the London, Ontario area. He served for many years as the registrar of deeds for the County of Middlesex. One of his sons became Bishop Ralph Hubert Dignan of Sault Ste. Marie.
 
Sources: Francis G. Carter, The Middlesex Bench and Bar (London, On.: Middlesex Law Association, 1969), 13; Ralph Hubert Dignan, Ontario death registration 024444 (1935); digital image, Ancestry.com, citing microfilm MS 935, reel 394, Archives of Ontario, Toronto.

Heritage or Community: Roman Catholic; Women 

Name: MCNULTY, Mary
Female
Born c. 1895 in Ottawa, Ontario
Died 1972
Called to the Bar: 1918
 
Biographical Information:
The ninth woman lawyer in Ontario and one of the first Roman Catholic women lawyers, Mary McNulty was the first woman on the debating team at Osgoode Hall Law School. She was described as "charmingly feminine" and a "mere slip of a girl" in a 1918 newspaper story about Ottawa's first woman lawyer. She told the reporter that "women in Ontario have been neglecting an opportunity" by not joining the profession in larger numbers; however, like many of her generation, she left the practice of law. (The second woman lawyer in Ottawa did not arrive until 1950). Mary McNulty became Mary Fix after she married, and began a career as an overseas buyer for the T. Eaton Company. In the 1950s, Mary Fix became the first woman reeve of what was then Toronto Township, later the town of Mississauga.  A park in Missisauga is named in her honour.
 
Sources: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 9, pasted article from Ottawa Citizen,"First Woman Lawyer Here is Charmingly Feminine", n.d. [probably 1918]; Eileen Mitchell Thomas, “Women Lawyers in the Association, One Century,” 107-8, in William C. V. Johnson, ed., The First Century: Essays on the History of the County of Carleton Law Association by Various Hands on the Occasion of the Association’s Centenary, 1888-1988 (Ottawa?, On.: Bonanza Press Limited, 1988).

Heritage or Community: Roman Catholic

Name: LYNCH, Emily Frances
Female
Born 1900
Died 1962
Called to the Bar: 1925
Q.C. 1957
 
Biographical Information:
One of the first Roman Catholic women lawyers in Ontario, Emily Lynch practised in her father Daniel’s law firm in Windsor. She also served as an alderman in that city.
 
Source: "Lynch, Emily," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009.

Heritage or Community: Roman Catholic 

Name: O'ROURKE, Jean Elizabeth
Female
Born 1908 in Caledonia, Ontario
Died 1974 
Called to the Bar: 1931
K.C. 1948
 
Biographical Information:
Jean O’Rourke was one of the first female Roman Catholic lawyers in Ontario, the daughter of a hotel keeper in Caledonia. She articled and worked in the law office of Edward J. Murphy in Toronto. She also served as president of the Women’s Law Association of Ontario in 1938 and 1939.
 
Source: "O’Rourke, Jean," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009.

Heritage or Community: Roman Catholic; Ukrainian 

Name: STAYSHYN, Walter
Male
Born 1934 in Hamilton, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1963
 
Biographical Information:
Walter Stayshyn earned his BA (1958) and a “letter” for football and basketball at McMaster University. After graduating from Osgoode Hall Law School (LLB, 1961), he returned to Hamilton to article with John Agro, an early outstanding trial lawyer of Italian heritage. Stayshyn became a founding partner of Borkovich and Stayshyn. In 1975, he was one of the first Ukrainian-Canadian lawyers to be appointed to the bench, following Walter Tuchtie, a parental friend for whom he was named. As a Superior Court justice in a challenging period, Stayshyn served almost 35 years, including a decade as a supernumerary judge. For decades he also contributed his energies to volunteer work with local health and service agencies, including as chairman of the Hamilton-Wentworth Legal Aid Area Committee, the District Health Council, the Hamilton Hospitals’ Joint Action Committee, St. Joseph’s Foundation, and as honorary chairman of the Hamilton Multiple Sclerosis Carnation Campaign.
 
See also Barbara Brown, "Stayshyn Has Seen Good, Bad, and Ugly," Hamilton Spectator, 13 Nov. 1999; Barbara Brown, "Bittersweet Departure for Judge," Hamilton Spectator, 14 Nov. 2009.

Heritage or Community: Romanian; Jewish 

Name: COHN, Tmima Mamie Littner
Female
Born 1907 in Montreal, Quebec
Died 1989 
Called to the Bar: 1932
 
Biographical Information:
Tmima Cohn was inspired to go into law by her father, a Romanian-born Orthodox Jew who marched in a suffragist parade in Toronto, and by her mother, who was a teacher, Bible scholar, and early advocate of women’s rights. After graduating from the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall Law School, she was called to the bar in 1932. She found the profession unwelcoming to a Jewish woman lawyer and like other women of the period, she stopped practising when she had children. As a lay person, she actively promoted environmental issues and the rights of women in the United States where she lived most of her life, by offering her
services at free legal clinics, giving talks on women’s rights, and writing a handbook of legal rights for women in Florida in 1976.
 
Sources: Betsy Ford, "Lawyer Enlightens Women on Their Rights," Daytona Morning Journal, 6 Sep. 1976, 14. Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 17.

Heritage or Community: Russian; Jewish 

Name: MEHR, Samuel Max
Male
Born 1885 in Russia
Died 1968
Called to the Bar: 1912
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Samuel Mehr was an early Jewish lawyer in Ontario and the key figure in a court case that changed how the Law Society deals with complaints of misconduct against its members. Mehr was disbarred by the Law Society of Upper Canada in 1954 for "conduct unbecoming a barrister and solicitor" – he kept funds that belonged to his client, the government of Nationalist China, because, Mehr stated, the monies were owed to him. The Law Society's decision to disbar him was twice upheld in court, but Mehr appealed his case to the Supreme Court of Canada. He argued that the proceedings of the Discipline Committee deciding his status were unfair. The Supreme Court agreed, Sam Mehr was reinstated, and the Law Society began to formalize its discipline hearings. Since 1955, only Law Society Discipline Committee members who hear the evidence are qualified to take part in discipline decisions that affect the careers of Ontario lawyers.
 
Source: Christopher Moore, The Law Society of Upper Canada and Ontario Lawyers, 1797-1997 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997), 248. See also Mehr v. The Law Society of Upper Canada, [1955] S.C.R. 344. Judgments of the Supreme Court of Canada. Supreme Court of Canada.
Web. Oct. 2009.

Heritage or Community: Russian; Jewish

Name: FACTOR, Samuel
Male
Born 1891 in Russia
Died 1962 
Called to the Bar: 1915
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Samuel Factor emigrated from Russia as a small child with his parents and settled in Toronto. He interrupted his law practice in 1917 for World War I army service as a squadron leader. Factor began his political career as a member of the Board of Education in 1923. In 1930, he became the first Jewish Member of Parliament elected from Ontario (Liberal), and for fifteen years represented a mostly immigrant and Jewish downtown Toronto riding. He was appointed a York County Court judge in 1945 and served on the bench for seventeen years. Samuel Factor believed that drug addiction was a medical problem and spoke out against harsh criminal treatment of addicts.
 
Sources: "Judge Samuel Factor was MP 15 years," Toronto Star, August 22, 1962, 25. Web; Arthur D. Hart, ed., The Jew in Canada (Jewish Publications Ltd., 1926), 403.

Heritage or Community: Russian; Jewish 

Name: CROLL, David Arnold
Male
Born 1900 in Moscow, Russia
Died 1991
Called to the Bar: 1924
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
A passionate proponent of welfare and other types of social assistance, Croll moved into politics from his law office. He became one of the first Jewish mayors in Ontario, in Windsor, 1930-34. In provincial politics, he was a Liberal organizer and MLA, first elected in 1934. Under Premier Mitch Hepburn, Croll became Ontario's first Jewish cabinet minister. His portfolios included Public Welfare and Labour. During the 1937 United Auto Workers strike, when Hepburn aligned with General Motors, Croll resigned from cabinet, writing that “I would rather walk with the workers than ride with General Motors.” After another stint as Windsor's mayor, and war service, Croll shifted to federal politics and was elected MP (1945-1955). Blocked by anti- Semitism from a federal cabinet post, he became Canada's first Jewish senator (1955) and continued an energetic activist career until his death in 1991.
 
Sources: Jonathan V. Plaut, The Jews of Windsor, 1790-1990: A Historical Chronicle (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 2007), 99-108; Jerry S. Grafstein, "The Life and Times of the Late Senator David Croll." beth-tzedec.org. Beth Tzedec Congregation of Toronto, 26 Dec. 2005. Web. 8 August 2009; "Croll, David," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009.

Heritage or Community: Russian; Jewish 

Name: GROSSMAN, Helen
Female
Born c. 1905 in Zitomar, Russia
Died 1988
Called to the Bar: 1929
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
One of the first Jewish women lawyers, Helen Grossman articled with E.F. Singer K.C., one of the first Jewish male lawyers. In 1930, as did several other women lawyers, she began a career with the Agricultural Development Board of Ontario.
 
Nominated by Morley L. Torgov. Source: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 62.

Heritage or Community: Russian; Jewish 

Name: BORINS, Norman
Male
Born 1906 in Kiev, Russia
Died 1991
Called to the Bar: 1930
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Norman Borins, born Borinsky, became the first Jewish Crown Attorney in Ontario, for York County. He was named a Q.C. in 1930 and was a founding member of the Advocates' Society in 1963.
 
Source: "Borins, Norman," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives.

Heritage or Community: Russian; Jewish

Name: FINKELMAN, Jacob
Male
Born 1907 in Russia
Died 2003
Called to the Bar: 1930
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Jacob Finkelman left Hamilton for Toronto where he earned a BA, MA, and LLB at the University of Toronto. He became the first Jewish full-time teacher at the University of Toronto law school, serving from 1930 until 1967. His area of expertise was Canadian labour law.  He was the first chair of the Ontario Labour Relations Board in 1944 and was associated with that organization for more than thirty years. His publications focused on collective bargaining in the public sector. In 1967, he started a practice in labour law and mediation, and was "well-known for his genuine desire to resolve conflicts." His contributions were recognized with his appointment as an Officer in the Order of Canada in 1976. A prize in labour law at the University of Toronto and the library at the Public Service Labour Relations Board are both named in his honour.
 
Source: "Jacob Finkelman, O.C., Q.C., LL.D, 1907 – 2003." pslrb-crtfp.gc.ca. Public Service Labour Relations Board. Feb. 2010. Web. March 2010.

Heritage or Community: Russian; Jewish 

Name: LASKIN, Bora
Male
Born 1912 In Fort William, Ontario
Died 1984
Called to the Bar: 1936
 
Biographical Information:
Bora Laskin's parents were Russian Jewish immigrants who settled in what is now Thunder Bay, Ontario. Therefore, as his biographer, Philip Girard, notes, Laskin was doubly an outsider in the legal world of the 1930s, as a Jew during a time of rising anti-Semitism and as a non-Torontonian when connections in Toronto were critical to one's career. However, his great abilities and personal and legal ambition drove Laskin's legal achievements. After studying law at the University of Toronto and Osgoode, he earned an LL.M. from Harvard Law School in 1936. He became a law professor, teaching at the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall Law School from 1940 to 1965, his expertise in labour and constitutional law. In 1965, he was appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal. In 1970, he became the first Jewish lawyer to be appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada. Bora Laskin was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada from 1973 until his death in 1984. According to Girard, a central theme of Laskin's life was his "quest to reshape the law and through it, Canadian society." (11)
 
Source: Philip Girard, Bora Laskin: Bringing Law to Life (Toronto: Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, 2005). See also Neil Finkelstein and Constance Backhouse, eds. The Laskin Legacy: Essays in Commemoration of Chief Justice Bora Laskin (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2007).

Heritage or Community: Russian; Jewish 

Name: GOLDSTICK, Iva Sarah Kaplan
Female
Born 1904 in Yaraslov, Russia
Died 1986
Called to the Bar: 1943
 
Biographical Information:
Sarah Goldstick was one of the first Jewish women lawyers, and widow of David Goldstick, a labour lawyer.
 
Nominated by Morley L. Torgov.

Heritage or Community: Russian-Polish; Jewish 

Name: FINBERG, Isidor
Male
Born 1892 in Ontario
Died 1946
Called to the Bar: 1914
 
Biographical Information:
Of Russian Polish ancestry, Isidor Finberg was a prize-winning student at law school and became one of the first Jewish lawyers in Ontario.
 
Source: "More Scholarships Won by Jewish Students," Canadian Jewish Times, 13 June 1913, 28.

Heritage or Community: Sikh; South Asian 

Name: CHANDHOKE, Inderpaul Singh
Male
Born 1952 In Ludhiana, Punjab, India
Called to the Bar: 1996
 
Biographical Information:
In 1979, Inderpaul Singh Chandhoke was the first baptised Sikh to become justice of the peace in the Ontario Court of Justice.  He served as senior justice of the peace and administrative secretary to the Justices of the Peace Review Council from 1994 to 1996. In 2002, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal for outstanding contributions to the community.

Heritage or Community: South Asian; Muslim 

Name: ALI, Syed Mumtaz
Male
Born 1926 in India
Died 2009
Called to the Bar: 1962
 
Biographical Information:
Syed Ali was the first male South Asian lawyer called to the bar in Ontario, in 1962, and a leading proponent of Shariah law, based on the Qur’an. He studied theology, arts and Muslim law at several universities in India, Pakistan, and England. He also practised law for five years in Pakistan before emigrating to Canada in 1960. After graduating from Osgoode Hall Law School, he took his legal oath over the Qur'an, the first time the Qur'an was used during the ceremony. He worked for the government of Ontario as legal counsel in corporate law. In 2003, after his retirement, he founded the Islamic Institute of Civil Justice as an arbitration body to settle civil disputes under Shariah law, as permitted under the 1991 Ontario Arbitration Act. Since 2006 such faith-based arbitrations are no longer permitted within the Act.
 
Nominated by the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association, and the South Asian Lawyers Association. Source: "Syed Mumtaz Ali, 1st Muslim lawyer in Canada, dies at 82," CBC.ca. 17 July 2009. Web. 19 July 2009.

Heritage or Community: South Asian 

Name: COUTO, Ayres Victor
Male
Born 1930 in India 
Called to the Bar: 1966
 
Biographical Information:
Justice Couto was the first lawyer of South Asian heritage to be appointed as a provincial judge in Ontario, in 1984, and also was the first lawyer of South Asian heritage to be appointed as Queen's Counsel, in 1978.
 
Source: Sutapa Bridgman,"Firsts and Notable Accomplishments by South Asian Men and Women of the Bar," South Asian Lawyers Association, 2002. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: South Asian 

Name: KHOORSHED, Minoo F.
Male
Born 1938 in India
Called to the Bar: 1968
 
Biographical Information:
Minoo Khoorshed was a lawyer in Bombay before he emigrated to Canada in 1963. In Ontario, he practised in Timmins and London. In 1971, he joined the public sector, prosecuting cases of environmental pollution for the Ministry of the Environment. In 1992, he was appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice and became one of the first judges of South Asian heritage. Justice Khoorshed, who sits in Brampton, speaks several South Asian languages.
 
Source: Sutapa Bridgman,"Firsts and Notable Accomplishments by South Asian Men and Women of the Bar," South Asian Lawyers Association, 2002.

Heritage or Community: South Asian

Name: JURIANSZ, Russell
Male
Born 1946 in Pune, India
Called to the Bar: 1974
 
Biographical Information:
Russell Juriansz immigrated to Canada on April 5, 1955, when he was eight years old. He
graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School, where he was president of the students’ council, in 1972. Before his appointment to the bench, his work in the public and private sectors focused on human rights law. He was General Counsel to the Canadian Human Rights Commission and a partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon. On March 17, 1998, he became the first South Asian to be appointed to the Superior Court of Justice, then called the Ontario Court (General Division). Justice Juriansz was President of the Ontario Superior Court Judges’ Association from April 2002 until March 2004, when he became the first person of colour to be appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal, the highest court in Ontario.
 
See Sutapa Bridgman, "Firsts and Notable Accomplishments by South Asian Men and Women of the Bar," South Asian Lawyers Association, 2002.

Heritage or Community: South Asian

Name: AMERASINGHE, Christopher Ajith
Male
Born 1940 in Colombo, Sri Lanka
Called to the Bar: 1976
 
Biographical Information:
Christopher Amerasinghe studied law at the University of Ceylon from 1960 to 1963, and then practised law in Sri Lanka until he emigrated to Canada in 1974. After working as counsel at the Ontario Securities Commission, he joined the federal Department of Justice in 1977. He has been counsel for the Attorney General of Canada in important criminal, war crimes and class action cases. He helped to establish the Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Section of the Department of Justice in 1987. He received the title of Queen's Counsel from the Federal Government in 1986. Before his retirement in 2007, Mr. Amerasinghe was a Senior General Counsel at the Department of Justice in Toronto.
 
See Sutapa Bridgman,"Firsts and Notable Accomplishments by South Asian Men and Women of the Bar," South Asian Lawyers Association, 2002.

Heritage or Community: South Asian 

Name: SAREEN, Iva
Female
Born 1950 in Kolkata, India
Called to the Bar: 1979
 
Biographical Information:
Iva Sareen was the first woman of South Asian heritage to be called to the bar of Ontario.

Heritage or Community: South Asian

Name: ANAND, Raj
Male
Born 1955 in New Delhi, India
Called to the Bar: 1980
 
Biographical Information:
Mr. Anand is a leading practitioner in human rights, civil litigation, and administrative law. He was the first South Asian-born chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (1988-9) and has served on several administrative tribunals, task forces, and inquiries. A teacher of administrative law at two law schools, and a prolific writer, Mr. Anand has advanced diversity in the legal profession. He has represented ethnic minorities and many other disadvantaged groups in Charter equality litigation, and worked to establish the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario. For representing those “whose cause may be politically or socially unpopular or against the mainstream,” he became the first recipient of the Advocates’ Society Award of Justice in 1997. He received the Law Society Medal in 2003 and was named the Indo-Canadian Chamber of Commerce Professional Man of the Year in 2007. He was also a bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada.
 
Nominated by the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers. See Sutapa Bridgman,"Firsts and Notable Accomplishments by South Asian Men and Women of the Bar," South Asian Lawyers Association, 2002.

Heritage or Community: South Asian 

Name: RAY, Sheila
Female
Born 1956 in Nigeria
Called to the Bar: 1981
 
Biographical Information:
Sheila Ray was the first South Asian Canadian woman lawyer to become an Ontario judge: in 1992, she was appointed to preside in Toronto at the provincial criminal court, now the Ontario Court of Justice. She is a frequent public legal education speaker, participates on the OJEN Courtrooms and Classrooms sub-committee for the Toronto Region, acts as an instructor to students of the Trial Practice Course at Osgoode Hall Law School, has organized and participated on judicial education panels, and has facilitated judicial education workshops. A bilingual jurist, she has distinguished herself as an authority on interpreter issues affecting the courts. Justice Ray is a Dalhousie graduate. Prior to becoming a judge, she served as a lawyer with the Federal Department of Justice, where, among other accomplishments, she represented public sector employers in precedent setting litigation and assisted the department with major criminal law reform initiatives on sentencing and sexual assault.
 
Nominated by the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers. See also Sutapa Bridgman,"Firsts and Notable Accomplishments by South Asian Men and Women of the Bar," South Asian Lawyers Association, 2002.

Heritage or Community: South Asian 

Name: KRISHNA, Vern
Male
Born 1943
Called to the Bar: 1983
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
As a young lawyer of South Asian heritage, Vern Krishna used to feel like an outsider in Canada, he told a reporter in 2002, but he became a member of the bars of Nova Scotia (1977), Alberta (1981), and Ontario (1983), and a leader in his profession. Mr. Krishna was both the first South Asian bencher of the Law Society of Ontario, in 1991, and the first person of colour to be elected its Treasurer, serving from 2001 through 2003. He is also a leading accountant. An expert in tax law, he is the author of fifteen texts on domestic and international tax, including the Fundamentals of Canadian Income Tax, now in its tenth edition. Mr. Krishna has taught law at the University of Ottawa since 1981. He has also has served on the Ontario Securities Commission. He practises dispute resolution, tax litigation, wealth management and international tax law.
 
See Bill Rogers, "Krishna Ascendant," Canadian Lawyer (May 2002). billrogers.ca. Web. Oct. 2009. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: South Asian

Name: CARASCO, Emily
Female
Born 1948 in Bombay, India
Called to the Bar: 1984
 
Biographical Information:
After earning her LLB in Uganda, Emily Carasco attended Harvard where she obtained LL.M and S.J.D degrees. Dr. Carasco became the first woman law professor of South Asian heritage in Ontario in 1980. She teaches and writes in the areas of family, immigration and public international law at the University of Windsor. In her academic position and on Ontario government boards and commissions, Dr. Carasco has advocated for equity, equality and human rights particularly of women and children. She was one of the first to speak out on the rights of Aboriginal children to be raised in their own cultures, and on the complexities of the intersectionality of race and gender. In 2006, the Law Society of Upper Canada awarded Dr.
Carasco an Honorary LLD for her commitment and solid contributions to improving race and gender equity issues.
 
See also Sutapa Bridgman,"Firsts and Notable Accomplishments by South Asian Men and Women of the Bar," South Asian Lawyers Association, 2002.

Heritage or Community: South Asian; Muslim

Name: BHABHA, Feroza
Female
Born 1958 in Johannesburg, South Africa
Called to the Bar: 1987
 
Biographical Information:
Feroza Bhabha immigrated to Canada from South Africa when she was ten years old. Her legal career has mostly been in government, as counsel in the federal Department of Justice in tax litigation, and as Crown counsel in criminal law at the Ministry of the Attorney General for Ontario, where she was one of the first visible minority counsels. (Her heritage includes Indian, Scottish, and Italian ancestors). In her fifteen years as a Crown counsel, she argued cases at all levels of court. In 2006, she was appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice.
 
Nominated by the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association. See "SAWW Awards, 1999." n.d. South African Women for Women. Web. 10 Oct. 2009.

Heritage or Community: South Asian

Name: ANAND, Gita
Female
Called to the Bar: 1988
 
Biographical Information:
Gita Anand is one of the first South Asian women to become a lawyer in Ontario. She was educated in London, England, and Nova Scotia, receiving her LLB from Dalhousie Law School. She is a member of the bars of Nova Scotia and Ontario. A partner at Miller Thomson LLP, she advises management on labour relations and employment law; her clients include several Ontario ministries and large corporations in the health and non-profit sectors. She represents employers before provincial and federal administrative tribunals and the Ontario Labour Relations Board, and in litigation at all levels of court in Ontario. Ms. Anand is a former member of Miller Thomson’s National Executive Committee, and currently chairs the National Labour and Employment Specialty Group and the firm’s Diversity Committee.

Nominated by Madam Justice Sheila Ray.

Heritage or Community: South Asian

Name: GUPTA, Neena
Female
Born 1963 in Oakland, California, U.S.
Called to the Bar: 1989
 
Biographical Information:
As an instructor at Queen's University and the University of Toronto in the 1990s, Ms. Gupta was one of the first Ontario law teachers of South Asian heritage.  She was a founding member of the Canadian Bar Association’s National Equity Committee and one of the first South Asian lawyers to be on the CBA’s board. As one of the first female senior directors of the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce and JVS, she focused on helping immigrants succeed in business and employment. She was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2001 on the nomination of the CBA for her contributions to the legal profession in matters of equity. In 2007, she was appointed to the Law Commission of Ontario, whose mandate is to investigate issues and recommend measures to make provincial laws more effective and accessible. Ms. Gupta is a partner at Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP.
 
See also Sutapa Bridgman,"Firsts and Notable Accomplishments by South Asian Men and Women of the Bar," South Asian Lawyers Association, 2002.

Heritage or Community: South Asian 

Name: KISSOON, Dhaman Persaud
Male
Born 1956 in Guyana
Called to the Bar: 1991
 
Biographical Information:
Dhaman Kissoon is a criminal lawyer practising in Toronto. He has been a lecturer at Queen's University Faculty of Law since 1990. He was honoured by the students for his teaching at the Faculty of Law. He is also a mentor for young lawyers from the South Asian community. Mr. Kissoon sits on the boards of many charitable organizations within the Etobicoke and South Asian communities. He is the co-chair of Advocates for Etobicoke Youth, an organization that provides guidance and creates opportunities for underprivileged youths in the Etobicoke area. For more than ten years, he has been on the advisory board for the Etobicoke Sports Hall of Fame. Mr. Kissoon is a past president of the Brampton Flower City Rotary Club. Rotary recently presented him with the Paul Harris Fellowship award in recognition of his outstanding community involvement.
 
See also Sutapa Bridgman,"Firsts and Notable Accomplishments by South Asian Men and Women of the Bar," South Asian Lawyers Association, 2002.

Heritage or Community: South Asian 

Name: LAL, Stindar K.
Male
Born in Kigoma, Tanzania, East Africa
Called to the Bar: 1991
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Stindar Lal earned his law degree at Middle Temple, London, and has been called to the Bars of England, India, Nova Scotia, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut, as well as Ontario.  Most of his career in Canada has been in the public service of Ontario and the Northwest Territories, serving as deputy minister in several ministries. He was a key legal advisor in the constitutional development of the Territories and was involved in the process leading up to the patriation of the Constitution of Canada particularly as it related to the entrenchment of Aboriginal rights.  He also served as general counsel to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and chair of the Inuvialuit Arbitration Board, a quasi-judicial body constituted under the Western Arctic (Inuvialuit) Final Agreement to arbitrate disputes with the governments of Canada, the two Territories, and industry. In April 2010, he was appointed as the Complaints Resolution Commissioner for the Law Society of Upper Canada.
 
Nominated by the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers. See Sutapa Bridgman, "Firsts and Notable Accomplishments by South Asian Men and Women of the Bar," South Asian Lawyers Association, 2002.

Heritage or Community: South Asian 

Name: RAY-ELLIS, Soma
Female
Born 1964
Called to the Bar: 1992
 
Biographical Information:
Soma Ray-Ellis was the first woman of South Asian origin to clerk for the Superior Court of Ontario. She specializes in employment and human rights law. In 1996, she co-drafted the Rules of Practice for the Ontario Board of Inquiry (Human Rights). She has published extensively in employment law including the Halsbury’s Laws of Canada volume on Discrimination and Human Rights (2008) and a text on federal equity laws (2002). Through her writing, speaking engagements and national media appearances, she has interpreted human rights and employment laws for legal and general audiences. Her work and leadership have been recognized by, among others, the Women Entrepreneurs who awarded her the Business Leadership Award and the South Asian Bar who named her Lawyer of the Year (Female) (2008). She is the first and only female lawyer to be inducted by India Abroad Newspaper to its “Power List of South Asian Professionals” (2009).
 
See also Sutapa Bridgman,"Firsts and Notable Accomplishments by South Asian Men and Women of the Bar," South Asian Lawyers Association, 2002.

Heritage or Community: South Asian 

Name: MUNDI, Kamaljit Kaur
Female
Born 1970 in India
Called to the Bar: 1993
 
Biographical Information:
One of the first South Asian women lawyers in Ontario, Kamaljit Mundi articled and practised at Torys LLP and subsequently as in-house counsel at TLC Vision before commencing a private practice at RZCD Law Firm LLP in Mississauga. She has always been involved in her community. She was one of the founders of the South Asian Professionals' Association, a networking group for the young South Asian professional community. As part of this organization, she mentored South Asians aspiring to become lawyers. She served as Vice President of Indian Rainbow Community Services, a non-profit agency that assists the South Asian community and new immigrants to Canada. Ms. Mundi has also served on the board of directors of the United Way of Peel Region. She believes that it is of utmost importance to make a meaningful contribution to the community and her legal background has facilitated her ability to do so.
 
See also Sutapa Bridgman,"Firsts and Notable Accomplishments by South Asian Men and Women of the Bar," South Asian Lawyers Association, 2002.

Heritage or Community: South Asian; Sikh 

Name: CHANDHOKE, Inderpaul Singh
Male
Born 1952 In Ludhiana, Punjab, India
Called to the Bar: 1996
 
Biographical Information:
In 1979, Inderpaul Singh Chandhoke was the first baptised Sikh to become justice of the peace in the Ontario Court of Justice.  He served as senior justice of the peace and administrative secretary to the Justices of the Peace Review Council from 1994 to 1996. In 2002, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal for outstanding contributions to the community.

Heritage or Community: South Asian

Name: PAWAGI, Manjusha B.
Female
Born 1967 in Amravati, Maharashtra, India
Called to the Bar: 1997
 
Biographical Information:
One of the first women lawyers of South Asian heritage appointed to the bench, Manjusha Pawagi is a family court judge of the Ontario Court of Justice, Brampton. Her first career was as a writer. She studied journalism at Stanford University and worked as a reporter for the Associated Press and CBC Radio. Her children's book, The Girl Who Hated Books, was translated into 15 languages including Cantonese, Urdu, and Marahti (her native tongue), and made into an award-winning animated short by the National Film Board. The heroine, Meena, happens to be South Asian, but that is not the point of the story, just a reflection of Canadian reality. Justice Pawagi’s work as a lawyer focused on children, at the Children's Aid Society of Toronto and the Office of the Children's Lawyer. She has been active in legal education and in children's education, working for children's literacy in India.

Heritage or Community: Tamil

Name: COOMARASWAMY, Ari
Male
Born c. 1932 in Sri Lanka (Ceylon)
Died 1988
Called to the Bar: 1974
Q.C. 1981
 
Biographical Information:
Ari Coomaraswamy grew up in Ceylon and Britain and studied law at Cambridge University. He was called to the bar in London in 1955 and returned to Ceylon to practise as a criminal lawyer. With his family, he emigrated to Canada in 1972; his father, Sir Vellupillai Coomaraswamy, had served as Ceylonese high commissioner to Canada in the 1950s. Soon after he was called to the Ontario bar in 1974, Mr. Coomaraswamy joined the Department of Justice as a criminal litigation specialist. He was well-regarded for his leadership in the Toronto office and for his dedicated and expert prosecution of white-collar crime and extradition cases. His most famous case was that of Cathy Evelyn Smith who was extradited in 1986 to the United States for a murder charge relating to the death of John Belushi, a comedian. Mr. Coomaraswamy died of a heart attack in his office, aged only 56.
 
Nominated by Anusha Aruliah. Source: "Obituary: Ari Coomaraswamy, Lawyer, made name in white-collar crime and extradition cases," Toronto Globe and Mail, 26 July 1988, A18. CPI.Q (Canadian Periodicals). Web. 29 June 2010.

Heritage or Community: Ukrainian 

Name: HUMENIUK, Theodore
Male
Born 1891
Died 1978
Called to the Bar: 1923
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Thomas Humeniuk was the first Ukrainian lawyer to practise in Toronto and a leader of the Ukrainian community in the 1920s and 1930s. He arranged the first Ukrainian Orthodox mass held in Toronto in the Ukrainian language in 1926, and as president of the parish, helped to
establish regular services and raise funds for building St. Vladimir’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church. According to Andrew Gregorovich, Humeniuk worked to unite the Ukrainian community, which was divided by religious differences (Catholic versus Ukrainian Orthodox). He helped to establish a cultural and social centre in 1927.
 
Nominated by John Yaremko. Source: Andrew Gregorovich, “The Ukrainian Community in Toronto, 1914-1971,” in "Ukrainians in Toronto," special issue, Polyphony 10, (1988), 48-54.

Heritage or Community: Ukrainian 

Name: TUCHTIE, Walter
Male
Born 1906 in Montreal, Quebec
Died 1980 
Called to the Bar: 1932
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Walter Tuchtie was a prominent Hamilton criminal lawyer. His most famous case was the Evelyn Dick murder trial in 1946 and 1947. Tuchtie defended Evelyn Dick and her parents, and later only Dick's father, Donald MacLean. According to the Toronto Star, Tuchtie had taken part in ten murder trials and was a former partner of C. W. Bell, a prominent criminal lawyer. Tuchtie later served as a senior provincial magistrate, the first from Hamilton's Ukrainian community.
 
See “Counsel Asks Torso Widow Be Allowed Visit By Kin,” Toronto Star 27 March 1946, 3. See also Brian Vallée, The Torso Murder: The Untold Story of Evelyn Dick (Toronto: Key Porter, 2001).

Heritage or Community: Ukrainian

Name: YATCHEW, John
Male
Born 1895 in Winnipeg, Manitoba
Called to the Bar: 1933
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Educated in Manitoba and the United States, John Yatchew practised in Windsor and specialized in divorce cases. He was one of the first Ontario lawyers of Ukrainian heritage. He also translated Ukrainian literature for English publications.
 
Source: S. S., "Advice to Young Married Couples," Ukrainian Weekly (27), 3 July 1937, 2. Web. Dec. 2009.

Heritage or Community: Ukrainian 

Name: CHUMAK, Olga
Female
Born 1917 in Toronto, Ontario
Died 2003 
Called to the Bar: 1944
 
Biographical Information:
Olga Chumak was the first woman lawyer of Ukrainian heritage in Ontario. In 1947, Ms. Chumak married Dr. Martin Chepesiuk and continued to practice law. She was an advocate for Ukrainian culture and traditions throughout her life.
 
Source: Olga Chepesiuk obituary, Toronto Globe and Mail, 6 June 2003, S7. Web.

Heritage or Community: Ukrainian 

Name: YAREMKO, John
Male
Born 1918 in Welland, Ontario
Died 2010
Called to the Bar: 1944
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
John Yaremko was the first person of Ukrainian heritage to graduate from an Ontario faculty of law. In a long career in politics, he was a path breaker not only for Ukrainian-Canadians but for all Ontarians of diverse communities. From 1951 until 1975, he was a Progressive Conservative member of the Provincial Parliament of Ontario, and the first Ukrainian-Canadian MPP or MLA. He applied his legal training and immigrant sensibilities to representing his downtown Toronto riding and in many posts as a provincial cabinet minister; he served as the first Minister of Citizenship (1971-2) and the first Solicitor General (1972-4). For his public service and wide- ranging philanthropy that has benefitted, among other institutions, the University of Toronto, and helped to preserve Ukrainian culture and history in Canada, he received many awards. In 2009, he was the first recipient of the federal Paul Yuzyk Award for Multiculturalism, for his lifelong advocacy in education, human rights and multiculturalism.
 
Nominated by Hélène Yaremko-Jarvis. See obituary, Toronto Star, 9 Aug. 2010. Web. Forthcoming: transcript of interview by A. Kirk-Montgomery, 2009.

Heritage or Community: Ukrainian 

Name: WYCHOWANEC, Stephanie Jessie
Female
Born 1933 in Montreal, Quebec
Called to the Bar: 1959
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Stephanie Wychowanec is one of the first women lawyers of Ukrainian heritage in Ontario. She is also one of the first women to reach the highest levels of the Ontario civil service. After a short period in private practice, she joined the Treasurer of Ontario in 1961 and then moved to the Ontario Energy Board. In 1971, she was appointed Queen's Counsel. She served as deputy minister of the Ontario Justice Secretariat from 1984 through 1987, only the third woman in the province’s history to attain this rank. Ms. Wychowanec was the chair of the Ontario Energy Board from 1988 to 1991. She told reporter Christine Ward, “I helped prove that women can succeed in law as well as men.”
 
See also Christine Ward, "The Changing Tide," Continuum 33 (2009), 16. Osgoode Alumni. Web. October 2009.

Heritage or Community: Ukrainian 

Name: SOPINKA, John
Male
Born 1933 in Broderick, Saskatchewan
Died 1997
Called to the Bar: 1960
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
John Sopinka’s mother, who emigrated with his father in the 1920s, never learned to read or write but Sopinka was the first person of Ukrainian heritage to be appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada, in 1988. Before his appointment, Sopinka was a renowned trial lawyer and wrote an authoritative text on the law of evidence. He served many high-profile clients including the Aga Khan, and he was an elected bencher of the Law Society from 1983 to 1988. His interest in Ukrainian issues also shaped his career. He was the advocate for the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association as it participated in the Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals in 1985.
In 1988, he was lead counsel at an International Commission on the Ukrainian Famine. Sopinka was also the first Supreme Court justice in decades to be appointed without having been a judge in a lower court.
 
Source: Christopher Guly, "Supreme Court Justice John Sopinka dies at 64," Ukrainian Weekly, v. 65, 48 (November 30, 1997). Web. Nov. 2009; "Sopinka, John," Law Society of Upper Canada Past Member Database, Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, 2009. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: Ukrainian; Roman Catholic 

Name: STAYSHYN, Walter
Male
Born 1934 in Hamilton, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1963
 
Biographical Information:
Walter Stayshyn earned his BA (1958) and a “letter” for football and basketball at McMaster University. After graduating from Osgoode Hall Law School (LLB, 1961), he returned to Hamilton to article with John Agro, an early outstanding trial lawyer of Italian heritage. Stayshyn became a founding partner of Borkovich and Stayshyn. In 1975, he was one of the first Ukrainian-Canadian lawyers to be appointed to the bench, following Walter Tuchtie, a parental friend for whom he was named. As a Superior Court justice in a challenging period, Stayshyn served almost 35 years, including a decade as a supernumerary judge. For decades he also contributed his energies to volunteer work with local health and service agencies, including as chairman of the Hamilton-Wentworth Legal Aid Area Committee, the District Health Council, the Hamilton Hospitals’ Joint Action Committee, St. Joseph’s Foundation, and as honorary chairman of the Hamilton Multiple Sclerosis Carnation Campaign.
 
See also Barbara Brown, "Stayshyn Has Seen Good, Bad, and Ugly," Hamilton Spectator, 13 Nov. 1999; Barbara Brown, "Bittersweet Departure for Judge," Hamilton Spectator, 14 Nov. 2009.

Heritage or Community: Women 

Name: MARTIN, Clara Brett
Female
Born 1874 in Toronto, Ontario
Died 1923
Called to the Bar: 1897
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Clara Brett Martin's remarkable achievement was to become the first woman lawyer, not only in Ontario but in the British Commonwealth, in 1897. In the process, she experienced opposition, discrimination and ridicule and she showed determination, courage and a sense of her own place in history. In 1989, newly discovered evidence of Martin's anti-Semitic attitudes and actions provoked hot debate. Historians, lawyers and feminists discussed the difficulties in recognizing and applauding the special achievements of pathbreakers like Martin without condoning their failings. Martin's record also stimulated discussion on how much scholarly attention, positive and negative, should be given to the first individual from any given community, in preference to the first few, or the first generation who drive changes such as diversifying the bar.
 
Nominated by John Clarke of the Simcoe Law Association. See Constance Backhouse, "To Open the Way for Others of my Sex': Clara Brett Martin's Career as Canada's First Woman Lawyer," Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 1 (1985) 1-41; “Clara Brett Martin: Canadian Heroine or Not?” Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 5 (1992), 263; Marlee Kline and Brenda Cossman,“‘If not now when’: Feminism and Anti-Semitism Beyond Clara Brett Martin” (1992) Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 5 (1992), 298; Lynne Pearlman, “Through Jewish Lesbian Eyes: Rethinking Clara Brett Martin," Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 5 (1992), 320.

Heritage or Community: Women 

Name: POWLEY, Eva Maude
Female
Born 1875 in Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1902
 
The second woman called to the bar in Ontario and in Canada, Eva Powley practised in Port Arthur, Ontario. In 1908, she was interested in learning about women lawyers in other parts of Canada (there was only one, Mabel Penery French, admitted to the New Brunswick Bar in 1907) and wrote to the Law Society of British Columbia asking about the rules under which women could be admitted in that province (there were none until the same Mabel Penery French was admitted to the Bar of British Columbia in 1912 following a legislative amendment). By 1933, Powley was living in Winnipeg, "engaged in a coal business," and no longer practising, like many of the first generation of women lawyers, including Mabel Penery French.
 
Source: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 2; Mary Jane Mossman, The First Women Lawyers: A Comparative Study of Gender, Law and the Legal Professions (2006), 82-88.

Heritage or Community: Women 

Name: WRIGHT, Geraldine Bertram
Female
Born ?
Died 1967 
Called to the Bar: 1907
 
Biographical Information:
The third woman lawyer called to the bar in Ontario, Geraldine Robinson Wright was a founding member of the Women's Law Association of Ontario and served as its third president in 1920.
She practised law in St. Thomas for two years with her husband, Ward Wright, a bencher of the Law Society, but later devoted most of her time to painting and service work.
 
Source: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 3. Obituary, Law Society Gazette 1,1 (May 1967).

Heritage or Community: Women 

Name: HEWSON, Grace Ellen
Female
Born 1885 in Barrie, Ontario
Died 1973 
Called to the Bar: 1908
 
Biographical Information:
Grace Hewson Knight was the daughter of Judge Charles Hewson who presided on Manitoulin Island and in the Sudbury District. Ms. Hewson practised mostly real estate law. In 1912 she married Cyril W. Knight, a geologist. She was the fourth woman to be called to the bar in Ontario, but according to her obituary, “she always preferred to be called the fourth in the British Empire to demonstrate how slow all countries were in recognizing women’s rights.”
 
Source: Obituary reprinted in Through the Years: Manitoulin History and Genealogy 3, 11 (September 1986), 29; Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 2.

Heritage or Community: Women 

Name: CAIRNS, Jean
Female
Born 1886
Died 1982
Called to the Bar: 1913
 
Biographical Information:
The fifth woman called to the bar in Ontario, Jean Cairns used her married name, Mrs. P. R. Morris, from 1917. She was the first woman member of the Hamilton Law Association. She practised with her husband and later her daughter.
 
Sources: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 2; "HLA History." n.d. The Hamilton Law Association. Hamilton Law Association. Web. February 2010.

Heritage or Community: Women

Name: LAUGHTON, Mary Elizabeth
Female
Born c. 1890
Called to the Bar: 1915
 
Biographical Information:
The seventh woman to become a lawyer in Ontario, and a graduate of the University of Toronto in 1912, Mary Buckley and her lawyer husband Harry Laughton practised together in Toronto.
Her 1920 magazine article exhorted women to take up the profession of law; "a woman lawyer," she wrote, "has an exceedingly important place in the community." In 2004, she was honoured by the Women's Law Association of Ontario as a founding member.
 
Sources: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933; Mary Laughton, "Women in Law", MacLean's Magazine 33 (April 20, 1920), 74.

Heritage or Community: Women

Name: PATERSON, Edith Louise
Female
Born 1891 in Vancouver, British Columbia
Died 1980
Called to the Bar: 1915
 
Biographical Information:
The sixth woman to be called to the bar in Ontario, and the second to be called in British Columbia (in 1916), Edith Paterson grew up in Vancouver but was educated in Montreal and Toronto. She was one of the few female lawyers of the 1920s to appear in court, mostly in civil and divorce cases. In 1929 she became a judge of the juvenile court, the first member of Law Society of British Columbia and the second woman to be so appointed. She returned to private practice and eventually married Hamilton Read, her law partner of more than twenty years, and like most practising women lawyers of the period, did not have children. Edith Paterson retired in 1970 after a career lasting more than five decades.
 
Sources: Joan Brockman, "Exclusionary Tactics: The History of Women and Visible Minorities in the Legal Profession in British Columbia," in John McLaren and Hamar Foster, eds., Essays in the History of Canadian Law: British Columbia and the Yukon (Toronto: Osgoode Society, University of Toronto Press, 1995), 529-35, n. 195 at 559; Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933. See also the Law Society of British Columbia Legal Archives, Edith Paterson fonds.

Heritage or Community: Women 

Name: ALFORD, Gertrude
Female
Born 1891
Died 1975
Called to the Bar: 1916
 
Biographical Information:
A member of the first cohort of women lawyers in Ontario, Gertrude Alford worked as a
“typewriter” in the City Clerk’s Office of Belleville before becoming a lawyer. She practised for many years in Trenton and Belleville in the firm of Mikel & Alford. She also worked several years in the Department of the Attorney General.
 
Source: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933.

Heritage or Community: Women 

Name: CHERRIER, Theresa
Female
Born 1890 in Ontario
Died 1961 
Called to the Bar: 1918
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
The eleventh woman lawyer in Ontario, and the third woman Q.C., Theresa Cherrier was a stenographer before she became a student at law. She practised in Hamilton with W. T. Evans, whose practice she took over when the latter was elevated to the bench.
 
Source: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933. 1911 Census of Canada, Ontario, Hamilton West, Alexander Doston household; automatedgenealogy.com, Web.

Heritage or Community: Women; Roman Catholic 

Name: MCNULTY, Mary
Female
Born c. 1895 in Ottawa, Ontario
Died 1972
Called to the Bar:
1918
 
Biographical Information:
The ninth woman lawyer in Ontario and one of the first Roman Catholic women lawyers, Mary McNulty was the first woman on the debating team at Osgoode Hall Law School. She was described as "charmingly feminine" and a "mere slip of a girl" in a 1918 newspaper story about Ottawa's first woman lawyer. She told the reporter that "women in Ontario have been neglecting an opportunity" by not joining the profession in larger numbers; however, like many of her generation, she left the practice of law. (The second woman lawyer in Ottawa did not arrive until 1950). Mary McNulty became Mary Fix after she married, and began a career as an overseas buyer for the T. Eaton Company. In the 1950s, Mary Fix became the first woman reeve of what was then Toronto Township, later the town of Mississauga.  A park in Missisauga is named in her honour.
 
Sources: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 9, pasted article from Ottawa Citizen,"First Woman Lawyer Here is Charmingly Feminine", n.d. [probably 1918]; Eileen Mitchell Thomas, “Women Lawyers in the Association, One Century,” 107-8, in William C. V. Johnson, ed., The First Century: Essays on the History of the County of Carleton Law Association by Various Hands on the Occasion of the Association’s Centenary, 1888-1988 (Ottawa?, On.: Bonanza Press Limited, 1988)

Heritage or Community: Women

Name: PALEN, Helen Beatrice
Female
Born 1885
Died 1971
Called to the Bar: 1918
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Helen Palen was a court reporter in a law office in Belleville before she became one of the first women lawyers and one of the first to be named K.C. (1935). She practised for ten years in Toronto but spent most of her career in the public service. For a period, Palen was the assistant to Toronto Police Magistrate Colonel George T. Denison. In 1923, she was appointed the Deputy Registrar of the Ontario Securities Commission. According to a 1930 newspaper article, she was one of only three women lawyers employed by the Ontario government. Helen Palen became the first woman Registrar of the Supreme Court of Ontario.
 
Source: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 9; unattributed article, "Government Employs Three Women Lawyers," n.d. [1930?], n. p.; 1911 Census of Canada, Ontario, Hastings West, Belleville, Ezekiel Palen household; automatedgenealogy.com, Web.

Heritage or Community: Women

Name: CAMPEAU, Lovedy Josephine
Female
Born 1894 in Ontario
Died 1980 
Called to the Bar: 1919
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Ms. Campeau was one of the first women lawyers in Ontario, and the first to practise in Essex County. Her doctor father had French Canadian ancestors and her mother was of English heritage. She was the fourth woman to be named Q.C. in Ontario, in 1950. In the early 1930s, she had an extensive real estate and estates practice in Windsor and did some court work. She was one of the two legal agents for the Agriculture Development Board for the County of Essex. After she married, she practised as Mrs. G. C. Scott.
 
Sources: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 17; 1901 Census of Canada, Ontario, Essex South, Colchester, W.J. Campeau household; automatedgenealogy.com, Web.

Heritage or Community: Women

Name: HODGINS, Apha Isabella
Female
Born 1892 in Lucan, Ontario
Died 1983
Called to the Bar: 1919
 
Biographical Information:
Alpha Hodgins, an early female lawyer, was the first Ontario woman law student to earn a top class mark (for commercial law). She practised in Bowmanville and Toronto in the area of wills and insurance trust agreements for insurance agencies, and in the later 1930s, for a firm specializing in mining law. She was the first female president of the Northumberland Law Association.
 
Source: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933.

Heritage or Community: Women 

Name: LEE, Muriel
Female
Born c. 1894
Called to the Bar: 1919
 
Biographical Information:
After graduating from the University of Toronto in 1916, Muriel Lee became the 15th woman lawyer called to the bar in Ontario. She worked in the law firm of her father, Lyman Lee, K.C., in Hamilton, Ontario. She appears to have discontinued her practice after she married, about 1921, and became known as Mrs. Bruce Monroe.
 
Source: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 16.

Heritage or Community: Women

Name: LOWN, Norma
Female
Born c. 1889
Called to the Bar: 1919
 
Biographical Information:
The 13th woman lawyer in Ontario, Norma Lown worked in Toronto for Starr, Spence and Company in stock certificate transfers and company law work.
 
Source: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 14.

Heritage or Community: Women 

Name: SILK, Aileen Isabel
Female
Born c. 1896
Died 1943
Called to the Bar: 1919
 
Biographical Information:
The 14th woman lawyer, Aileen Silk earned a BA at the University of Toronto. She practised in Toronto until her marriage in 1923, when she changed her name to Mrs. James Bicknell.
 
Source: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 15.

Heritage or Community: Women

Name: DENTON, Laura
Female
Born c. 1891
Called to the Bar: 1920
 
Biographical Information:
Laura Denton (later Mrs. George Duff) was a co-founder of the Women's Law Association and organized its first meeting in 1919 in the law office of her father, Frank Denton, with whom she worked. She and her brother, Frank, carried on her father's practice after his death, at least until 1923. For many years, she was elected to the Senate of Victoria College, University of Toronto.
 
Source: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933.

Heritage or Community: Women

Name: KINNEAR, Helen Alice
Female
Born 1894 in Cayuga, Ontario
Died 1970 
Called to the Bar: 1920
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Helen Kinnear broke several barriers for women lawyers in Canada and abroad. From her home town of Port Colborne, she was active in Liberal political associations and became the first woman in the Commonwealth to be appointed K.C., in 1934. Apparently the first woman to appear before the Supreme Court of Canada, in 1935, Kinnear was also the first woman lawyer in the British Empire to be appointed to a superior court judgeship, as the County Court Judge of Haldimand, in 1943. A few years later, she told a Chatelaine magazine reporter that, “When she marries, the woman gives up her income and her economic independence. That's the root of a great deal of domestic strife." In 1965 she became the first woman to receive a medal from the John Howard Society of Ontario for her public service, contributions to the profession, and concern for the rights of the offender.
 
Nominated by Robert Yantz of the Haldimand Law Association. See Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 21 and Vol. 8, unattributed newspaper clipping, "Award John Howard Medal to Judge Helen Kinnear," n.d. [April 1965], n.p.; Elsie Jenkins, "Hi, Judge," Chatelaine, May 1949.

Heritage or Community: Women

Name: ROBINSON, Vera Alexandra
Female
Born c. 1897
Died 1979
Called to the Bar: 1920
 
Biographical Information:
Vera Robinson entered into partnership with another early woman lawyer, Helen Currie. She later became a law librarian, first at the Phillips Stewart Library at Osgoode Hall in 1927 and then at the York County Law Library in 1930. Vera Robinson served as the seventh president of the Women's Law Association in 1928. In 1935, she married Henry L. Cartwright, a lawyer in Kingston. She became a partner in his firm and practised under her married name.
 
Source: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 47.

Heritage or Community: Women 

Name: TAYLOR, Gladys Verona
Female
Born c. 1897
Called to the Bar: 1920
 
Biographical Information:
Verona Taylor (after her marriage, also known as Mrs. Joshua Whatmough) did not practise law but joined the York County Law Library as librarian, a position she held from 1920 to 1930. She was a legal scholar and the co-author of Annotations to the Revised Statutes of Ontario, 1927.
 
Sources: Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 18; John D. Honsberger, The County of York Law Association: A History of the First Hundred Years, 1885-1995 (Toronto: County of York Law Association, 1989), 105. See G. V. Taylor and F. C. Snider, Annotations to the Revised Statutes of Ontario, 1927 (Toronto: Carswell, 1930).

Heritage or Community: Women; Persons with Disabilities

Name: PARSONS, Vera L.
Female
Born 1889
Died 1973
Called to the Bar: 1924
K.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Vera Parsons was a scholar and a courtroom lawyer. After graduating with a degree in English from the University of Toronto, she did postgraduate work in comparative languages at Bryn Mawr College (MA) and at the University of Rome. Home in Toronto, she applied her language abilities in work with Italian immigrants, but left social welfare for the law. Parsons was the first woman student at Osgoode Hall Law School to win a medal, the silver.  She then became the first woman criminal lawyer in Ontario, was probably the first woman lawyer to appear before judge and jury, and first to defend an accused murderer. She preferred litigation and especially appellate work. Parsons was also one of the first women lawyers with a disability; she used a cane as a result of contracting polio. Vera Parsons practised law for almost fifty years.
 
Sources: Christopher Moore, "Law Times 'That's History' Excerpted Columns. The Ontario Legal Alphabet: P is for Parsons." christophermoore.ca. Christopher Moore. n.d. Web. 10 July 2009; Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 40; Jack Batten, Learned Friends: A Tribute to 50 Remarkable Ontario Advocates, 1900-1950 (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2005), 10-11.

Heritage or Community: Women 

Name: HYNDMAN, Margaret
Female
Born 1902 in Palmerston, Ontario
Died 1991 
Called to the Bar: 1926
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
“Forget your sex and expect no quarter,” Margaret Hyndman advised women lawyers, but she was a trailblazer and pioneer who fought for women’s rights through her long career. Hyndman specialized in company law and litigation. In 1945, she became the first woman director of a Canadian trust company. She was the first Canadian woman to appear before the Privy Council in London. She contributed to many legal and women’s organizations, serving as the national (1946-8) and international (1956) president of the Federation of Business and Professional Women. Among her numerous causes and projects, she helped to shape the province’s legislation on equal pay for equal work in 1951. Hyndman was honoured for her contributions. She was the second woman K.C. in the British Empire, in 1938; she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1973; and she received the Law Society Medal in 1986.
 
See LSUCA Margaret Hyndman fonds, M257. Jack Batten, Learned Friends: A Tribute to 50 Remarkable Ontario Advocates, 1900-1950 (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2005), 12-3. Donn Downey, "Toronto Lawyer Set Precedents for Women," Toronto Globe and Mail, 25 Jan. 1991, D08. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: Women 

Name: WIGLE, Ruby Mildred
Female
Born 1893 in Manitoba
Called to the Bar: 1926
 
Biographical Information:
Ruby Wigle (after her marriage, Fish) became one of the first female town solicitors in Ontario, of Preston (1931-1933). She later moved to Sault Ste Marie, her home town. to practise with her husband.
 
Source: "Hall of Fame Members: Lida Bell Pearson Sturdy." cambridge.ca. Corporation of the City of Cambridge. n.d. Web Nov. 2009. Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 1, [1895?]-1933, 47. See also, Ruby M. Wigle, “Sisters in Law,” Canadian Bar Review 6 (June 1927), 419.

Heritage or Community: Women 

Name: FERGUSON, Edra
Female
Born 1907 in St. Thomas, Ontario
Died 2011 
Called to the Bar: 1930
 
Biographical Information:
Edra Iles Sanders started running errands at her father’s law firm when she was twelve. She became the first woman lawyer in St. Thomas, and one of very few in Ontario in the 1930s. In 1936, she was elected the first female and youngest ever alderman in her city. As a “young go- getter” of the Conservative Party, she gave speeches on women’s rights and obligations: she argued that, “Woman has the same right and same economic status as man, the right to take her place in the affairs of the world” (Times Journal). After her marriage in 1940 and while raising her children, she continued to practise part-time and to serve in philanthropic, civic and legal organizations. In 1962, she became the first judge appointed to the new Division Court of Ontario, now the Small Claims Court of Ontario. Later she served as a Juvenile and Family Court Judge. She began a long and active retirement in 1975. In 2011, Edra Ferguson was appointed to the Order of Canada for her achievements in law and politics and for her advocacy of women’s rights.
 
Sources: Mary Sanders, “St. Thomas is Proud of Pioneer in Women’s Consciousness, Politician, Judge, Housewife," St. Thomas Times Journal, 6 June 1981; Law Society of Upper Canada Archives, Women's Law Association of Ontario fonds, Scrapbooks, PF58-19, Vol. 8, n.p.; Laura Serra, "The Oldest Living Torontonians Tell All," Toronto Globe and Mail, 18 June 2010.

Heritage or Community: Women 

Name: VAN CAMP, Mabel
Female
Born 1920 in Blackstock, Ontario
Died 2012
Called to the Bar: 1947
 
Biographical Information:
Mabel Van Camp was the first woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court of Ontario, in 1971, by Pierre Trudeau. The first from her community to attend university, she was later the first female member of the Royal Canadian Military Institute. By the time she retired in 1995, she had inspired and broken a path for the women judges who followed, including Madam Justice Rosalie Abella and Madame Justice Janet Boland. In 2003, she was appointed to the Order of Ontario.
 
See William I. Atkinson, "‘I Am the Damn Judge’: Ontario’s First Madam Justice Sometimes Went Unrecognized When People Were Expecting A Man,” Globe and Mail, 9 Aug. 2012.

Heritage or Community: Women

Name: LAIRD, Marjorie Alice Ransier
Female
Born 1923
Died 1997
Called to the Bar: 1948
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Marjorie Laird, later Palmer, was the first woman senior solicitor in a Canadian province, appointed to the Ontario Attorney General's Office in 1957.

Heritage or Community: Women

Name: LEGGE, Laura
Female
Born 1923 in Courtland, Ontario
Died 2010 
Called to the Bar: 1948
Q.C. 1966
 
Biographical Information:
For more than five decades, Laura Legge practised as a solicitor in Toronto while she was leading legal and community service organizations. A passionate defender of the traditional rights and duties of the profession, she was elected the first woman bencher of the Law Society in 1975. In 1983, she was elected its first woman Treasurer, the Ontario bar's highest office. Legge never described herself as a feminist. However, she valued the personal and professional support she gained early in her career from the Women’s Law Association, and was its president from 1964 to 1966. Beyond her official roles, she served as a beloved mentor to many young women lawyers. Her models were Margaret Hyndman (see bio) and other path-breakers who befriended and advised her. Their message was, “You’re a lawyer, get on with in and do it. We did it.”  And so did Laura Legge. In recognition of her contributions and achievements, the Law Society not only awarded her an honorary Doctor of Laws in 1988, but also established the Laura Legge Award in 2007 to honour other women who exemplify leadership within the profession.
 
Quote from Law Society of Upper Canada, Past Treasurers' Project, Transcript of Interviews with Laura Legge by A. Forrest (2004), 123. See also, Sandra Martin, “First Woman to Head Ontario’s Law Society was a Tough But Quiet Barrier Breaker,” The Globe and Mail, 30 Oct. 2010. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: Women

Name: BOLAND, Janet Lang
Female
Born 1923 in Kitchener, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1950
Q.C. 1965
 
Biographical Information:
Janet Boland’s legal career, like all her life, has been, “a challenging adventure,” in her words. In first year at Osgoode Hall Law School, she was one of only 6 women in a class of 500. Half of the class failed. While raising three sons, she developed a commercial practice and reported for Ontario Weekly Notes before joining White Bristol and then Lang Michener. In 1972, she became Ontario’s second federally-appointed woman judge following Mabel Van Camp in 1971. Her first criminal case “involved 20 pounds of heroin and a life sentence.” In 1976, she was appointed to the Supreme Court of Ontario and subsequently presided over 78 murder trials. In the wake of revisions to family law, Justice Boland introduced the principles of joint custody to Ontario courtrooms in Baker v Baker (1978). In 2000, she married Dr. Taylor Statten. She continues her adventures, especially on the golf course and in Algonquin Park.
 
See transcript of interview of the Honourable Janet Boland by A. Kirk-Montgomery, 2012.

Heritage or Community: Women

Name: LAMARSH, Judy (Julia Verlyn)
Female
Born 1924 in Chatham, Ontario
Died 1980
Called to the Bar: 1950
Q.C.
 
Biographical Information:
Like her father, Judy LaMarsh was a Liberal and a lawyer, but she left her Niagara Falls practice to become an MP in 1960. In 1963, she became the first Ontario woman lawyer (and the second woman ever) to serve in the federal Cabinet. As Minister of Health and Welfare she fought to bring in the Canada Pension Plan and medicare. She also served as Secretary of State during Canada's centennial in 1967. Despite her achievements, she felt isolated and attacked as the only woman in Parliament at the time. She was critical of her opponents and colleagues, including Prime Minister Pearson. She left politics in 1968 to return briefly to her law practice, but was more successful as a CBC journalist and author of a candid political memoir. In her last decade, she served as a royal commissioner and advocated for women's rights, outspoken and outstanding to the end.
 
Source: Arthur Johnson, "Ex Health Minister Brought in Pension Plan, Medicare," Toronto Globe and Mail, 28 Oct. 1980, 4. See also Judy LaMarsh, Memoirs of a Bird in a Gilded Cage (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1969).

Heritage or Community: Women 

Name: WILSON, Bertha
Female
Born 1923 in Kirkcaldy, Scotland
Died 2007 
Called to the Bar: 1959
 
Biographical Information:
Bertha Wilson, the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada, trained as a teacher before she emigrated to Canada in 1949. She earned her LLB at Dalhousie University and was called to the bar of Nova Scotia in 1957. From 1959 to 1975, she practised law and became a partner with Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt in Toronto. In 1975, she was the first woman appointed to the Court of Appeal for Ontario. She became the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada, taking her seat in 1982, just before the Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into force. According to her biographer, Ellen Anderson, through her pioneering jurisprudence, her post-retirement study of gender equality in the legal profession (1993), and her leading role in the Royal Commission for Aboriginal Peoples (1991-1996), Bertha Wilson “helped to create a shifting Canadian consensus about justice, about fairness, and about reciprocal rights and responsibilities.” (xvii)
 
Source: Ellen Anderson, Judging Bertha Wilson: Law as Large as Life (The Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History by University of Toronto Press, 2001).

Heritage or Community: Women 

Name: FERNS, Barboura Ann
Female
Born 1947 in Orangeville, Ontario
Called to the Bar: 1974
 
Biographical Information:
Barboura Ferns helped to open the area of criminal law to women lawyers when she became the first female Assistant Crown Attorney in Ontario, joining the staff of approximately thirty-four male lawyers in the Toronto office. An advocate for women’s rights as well as a path-breaker, in the late 1970s she sat on the first Premier's Committee on Domestic Violence, which marked the beginning of modern-day policies on this issue. She was also instrumental in implementing in Ontario the Young Offender's Act of 1982. Ms. Ferns retired in 2009.
 
Nominated by Cidalia C. Faria. See Barboura Ferns, "Barboura Ferns, The First Female Assistant Crown Attorney," Yesterday and Today: A Celebration of Fifty Years of the Ontario Crown Attorneys' Association (1996), 33-34. Interviewee, Osgoode Society Oral History Programme.

Heritage or Community: Women; Hungarian

Name: BONKALO, Annemarie E.
Female
Born in Stockholm, Sweden
Called to the Bar: 1978
 
Biographical Information:
Annemarie Bonkalo earned a master's degree in criminology from the University of Toronto and then a law degree from Queen's. She became the first female assistant Crown attorney in Peel Region and the first in that Crown attorney’s office to work part-time while raising her children. She was appointed as a judge to the Ontario Provincial Court (Criminal and Family Divisions) in 1990, presiding in Toronto and Brampton. Bonkalo has extensive prosecutorial, judicial and administrative experience. She is the first female Chief Justice of the Ontario Court of Justice (2007).
 
Nominated by Frank Felkai of the Hungarian Helicon Society. See Louise Harris, "Judicial Profile: Chief Justice Annemarie Bonkalo," Briefly Speaking 34, 2 (April 2009), 18-9. oba.ca Ontario Bar Association. Web. 15 Aug. 2009.
 
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