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Home News 2022 Law Society Awards: Recognizing Excellence

2022 Law Society Awards: Recognizing Excellence

May 02, 2022

Members of Ontario's legal professions will be recognized for their outstanding career achievements and contributions to their communities at the annual Law Society Awards ceremony, which will be held on May 25, 2022.

A link to the virtual event will be available on the event listing the day of.

The following highlights the achievements of the 2022 recipients.

William J. Simpson Distinguished Paralegal Award

This award recognizes a licensed paralegal who has demonstrated a number of criteria, including outstanding professional achievement, outstanding contribution to the development of the profession, adherence to best practices and mentoring of others in best practices, a history of community service, and personal character that brings credit to the legal profession.

Paula Callaghan headshotPaula Callaghan Licensed in 2011, Paula Callaghan has demonstrated professionalism and outstanding achievement in her private practice, as well as a devotion to her duties in the field. Since obtaining her licence, she represents clients in Small Claims Court and at the Landlord and Tenant Tribunal. Ms. Callaghan has made great contributions to the development of the paralegal profession not only through teaching at various colleges, but also as the Paralegal Program Coordinator for Herzing College Ottawa and Toronto. She has volunteered tirelessly with the County of Carleton Law Association (CCLA) as former Chair of the Paralegal Committee and now as the newly elected Paralegal Trustee to the Board of Directors. Her efforts have focused on elevating the standing of paralegals as valued members of the CCLA and to promote collegiality between lawyers and paralegals. Ms. Callaghan is the 2021 recipient of the CCLA Paralegal Award.

In addition to running her practice and her work with the CCLA, Ms. Callaghan also finds time to mentor students and to volunteer for charitable works through the CCLA Lawyers Play and Lawyers Feed the Hungry and by providing pro bono legal services through Reach Canada. Her history of community service and personal character brings credit to the paralegal profession.

Lincoln Alexander Award

This is awarded annually in recognition of an Ontario lawyer or paralegal who has demonstrated long-standing interest and commitment to the public and to the pursuit of community service on behalf of residents of Ontario.

Lawrence Greenspon headshotLawrence Greenspon Called to the Bar in 1980, Lawrence Greenspon is highly respected in the Ottawa legal community. He is described as “a champion of the underdog” — someone who can handle the intersection of criminal law, civil liberties and civil litigation. He works tirelessly to advocate for his clients, ensuring that they get the benefit of the law and that the law develops in a way that respects human rights and fundamental principles of fairness.

Despite his busy legal practice, Mr. Greenspon is one of the most well-known philanthropists in Ottawa. He is involved in countless charities and community programs in the Ottawa area including being a co-founder of REACH (Resource Education Advocacy Centre for the Handicapped), the Snowsuit Fund Foundation, the Maharajah’s Ball and the Nordic Pole Walk for the Cancer Survivorship Centre. He helped the Motorcycle Ride for Dad go national. He has also been involved in countless other fundraising and volunteer initiatives around the world. Mr. Greenspon is known for his genuine compassion and concern for others and has dedicated his life to fighting inequality, injustice, poverty and illness.

Laura Legge Award

The Laura Legge Award recognizes women lawyers from Ontario who have exemplified leadership within the profession.

Marian Jacko headshotMarian Jacko Called to the Bar in 1998, Marian Jacko has made significant contributions to the legal professions by advancing access to justice for children, youth, Indigenous communities, victims of crime and survivors of human trafficking. Her extensive experience working in the child protection system coupled with her deep understanding of the disproportionately negative impact of this system on Indigenous and racialized children has enabled her to affect significant positive change. A compassionate leader, Ms. Jacko always puts her clients first and takes a trauma-informed approach to representing children’s interests — she does so with empathy, integrity and deep emotional intelligence. Ms. Jacko also led the establishment of an innovative program for survivors of human trafficking to obtain restraining orders against their trafficker.

She is a generous leader and mentor who provides leadership and guidance to younger lawyers and to the community through her extensive volunteer work. As the first Indigenous person appointed as the Children’s Lawyer for Ontario, Ms. Jacko is a trailblazer, leaving important footprints for Indigenous youth and younger lawyers to follow.

J. Shirley Denison Award

This award is bestowed annually to an Ontario lawyer or paralegal in recognition of significant contributions to access to justice and/or poverty issues.

Professor Francois Laroque headshotProfessor François Larocque Called to the Bar in 2002, François Larocque is a professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa and counsel at Power Law. He is the Research Chair on Language Rights and is a member of the University of Ottawa's Collège des chaires de recherche sur le monde francophone. As a lawyer and a policy-influencing academic, Professor Larocque undertakes research, testifies and presents reports to provincial and federal parliamentary committees and engages with community organizations to develop and improve Canadian jurisprudence, legislation and law that protect and frame language rights. In addition to being a fervent advocate for the equality of official languages, he is also a valuable ally in the protection and revitalization of indigenous languages.

One of his most recent accomplishments is his involvement in the modernization of the French Language Services Act in December 2021. Professor Larocque led the joint committee of the Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario and the Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario (AJEFO) that drafted a text of the new law, launched an online public consultation and made recommendations to the Minister of Francophone Affairs — many of which were included in the new Act. He also invented planctus.ca, an innovative web app that provides accessible information on language rights and streamlines multiple complaint mechanisms.

Law Society Medal

The Law Society Medal was first struck in 1985 as an honour to be awarded by the Law Society of Ontario to members who have made significant contributions to the profession. It is given to those who perform the ordinary tasks of a lawyer, but with such diligence or effectiveness or so much to the benefit of the profession as a whole, that they deserve recognition.

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

The honour is granted only to members of the Law Society of Ontario or in recognition of service given while a member of the Society.

Beth Beattie headshotBeth Beattie Called to the Bar in 1994, Beth Beattie has become an agent of change in the mental health space within the legal professions. Ms. Beattie shows extraordinary courage by sharing her lived mental health experience, in a bid to end the isolation that often accompanies mental health challenges.  She is committed to destigmatizing mental illness in the legal professions and leads discussions about how to make a cultural change in the legal community when it comes to conversations about mental health. She has inspired thousands of legal professionals with her message of hope.

Ms. Beattie has made an immeasurable impact through her advocacy by promoting awareness, compassion and inclusion. She is a national spokesperson for Bell Let's Talk and has reached audiences across Canada to help fight stigma and isolation associated with mental illness. Ms. Beattie is a true champion and is changing the way we approach managing mental health within the legal professions — a change even more pressing in the current environment of a pandemic.

Christopher Bredt headshotChristopher Bredt Called to the Bar in 1984, Christopher Bredt has made exceptional contributions to the legal profession in Ontario through his work with the Law Society, government, legal education, his pro bono and charitable work, and as a practicing lawyer and mentor. Actively engaged in pro bono work throughout his career, Mr. Bredt has represented members of the LGBTQ+ community, Indigenous peoples, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and others in many ground-breaking cases. Mr. Bredt is passionate about the power of education to foster development in Africa and has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro four times to raise money for the Canadian Organization for Development Through Education (CODE), a charity that focuses on women’s and children’s literacy in Africa. He is a champion of Indigenous artists, and together with his spouse, has established an Indigenous Art Curatorial Fund at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.

In addition to his many achievements as a skilled and fearless advocate, Mr. Bredt spends countless hours mentoring students and lawyers, while maintaining the highest ethical standards. He exemplifies the profession’s values of integrity, collegiality and civility.

Brian Gover headshotBrian Gover Called to the Bar in 1983, Brian Gover is widely recognized as one of Canada’s top advocates. He started his career in public service at the Crown Law Office – Criminal of the Ministry of the Attorney General and later became the Executive Legal Officer for the Superior Court of Justice. Mr. Gover left public service for private practice in 1994 and is well-recognized across the country as a leading expert in criminal law, regulatory law, professional discipline, Indigenous law and public inquiries. He was President of the Advocates’ Society from 2018-2019 and is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.

Over the years, Mr. Gover has committed to education, mentorship and advancing the broad interests of the legal profession and the public in Ontario. For nearly 40 years as a practising lawyer, he has devoted himself to a life of service to the law, the Court, the professions and his clients. Mr. Gover has a deep appreciation for how the law works and his healthy curiosity keeps him at the forefront of change.

Lorin MacDonald headshotLorin MacDonald (She/Her) Called to the Bar in 2010, human rights lawyer Lorin MacDonald is a renowned disability and accessibility changemaker. Born with profound hearing loss, her focus before and throughout her legal career has been creating an inclusive and accessible Ontario. In September 2004, Ms. MacDonald was the lead organizer of the Michael Lewis Memorial Symposium advocating for more robust disability legislation. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) was introduced six weeks later, becoming law in June 2005. She was then involved in developing two AODA regulations: Customer Service and Health Care.

Passionate about communication inclusion, Ms. MacDonald introduced captioning to Ryerson and Western Universities, the Superior Courts of London and Hamilton, and Mirvish Productions. To make events and training accessible to members, she successfully advocated for captioning with the Ontario Bar Association, the Law Society of Ontario, the Women’s Law Association of Ontario, and others. Ms. MacDonald’s volunteer activities include serving as a past member of the Ontario Courts Accessibility Committee for People with Disabilities, ARCH Disability Law Centre and the Law Society of Ontario’s Equity Advisory Group.

Deepa Mattoo headshotDeepa Mattoo Called to the Bar of Ontario in 2011 and India in 1998, Deepa Mattoo is described as a "feminist lawyer" — a leader in women's issues with extensive experience working with racialized and marginalized populations. Ms. Mattoo rebuilt her life after two bouts of emigration and transformed the lives of others here in Canada. She was one of the members in the early founding years of Ontario's first South Asian Legal Clinic. She spearheaded the clinic's work on the rights of survivors of non-consensual/forced marriage in Canada. Ms. Mattoo was The Law Foundation of Ontario's 2017 Community Leadership in Justice Fellow. She inspires future feminist lawyers through her role as an Adjunct Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, as the co-director of its feminist advocacy course.

A defender of women's human rights, Ms. Mattoo is a representative on the front lines and leader within women's services in Toronto, across Canada and among those she works with globally. She is the Executive Director of the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, an essential multi-service agency in Toronto that provides survivors with trauma-informed legal, counselling and interpretation services. 

Professor Albert Oosterhoff headshotProfessor Albert Oosterhoff Called to the Bar in 1966, Professor Albert Oosterhoff (Professor Emeritus, University of Western Ontario) is renowned as a leading legal scholar and author in the area of trusts and estates in Canada. The breadth and influence of Professor Oosterhoff's work is without parallel. Through his leadership, estates and trusts law in Canada has advanced significantly. His publication record spans the last 50 years and his scholarly writing has been cited by courts throughout Canada at least 490 times, including 119 times in various Canadian Courts of Appeal and 11 times by the Supreme Court of Canada. Professor Oosterhoff has also been consistently cited in articles, journals, newsletters, texts and annotations by his peers and fellow scholars over 369 times. Particularly noteworthy is that courts have relied on Professor Oosterhoff’s scholarly writing in at least 14 foundational cases.

The recipient of numerous awards over the years, his work has been highly recognized. Professor Oosterhoff’s commitment to the legal profession and lifetime commitment to the law, after nearly 62 years at the bar, is commendable.

Stuart Wuttke headshotStuart Wuttke Called to the Bar of Manitoba in 1996 and Ontario in 2006, Stuart Wuttke is a leader in Indigenous rights and policy reform. He has been pivotal to the development of new legislation at the federal level which is rights based, such as the new child and family services legislation. As General Counsel at the Assembly of First Nations, Mr. Wuttke successfully advanced the largest ever class action settlements, including the ongoing implementation of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (2006) and the more recent agreement in principle related to ending discrimination against Indigenous children and youth, and their families (2022). His profound expertise and involvement on the national stage in First Nations law has lent itself to the significant progress for First Nations and the advancement of reconciliation in Canada.

Mr. Wuttke is a fierce yet humble advocate who is dedicated to public service and his compassionate nature shows through his impactful work. He also mentors and supports Indigenous and non-Indigenous lawyers in the legal professions to advocate and defend Indigenous rights and human rights.

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