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Justice LaForme receives honorary LLD at Call to Bar ceremony

September 28, 2017

TORONTO, ON September 27, 2017 - The Law Society of Upper Canada today presented an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, honoris causa (LLD), to The Honourable Harry S. LaForme at its Call to the Bar ceremony in Toronto.

The Law Society awards honorary doctorates to distinguished people in recognition of outstanding achievements in the legal profession, the rule of law or the cause of justice. An honorary LLD is presented at each Call to the Bar ceremony and LLD recipients serve as inspirational keynote speakers for the new lawyers attending the ceremonies.

Called to the Bar in 1979, Justice LaForme is recognized as a highly respected and dedicated leader within the legal profession and the Indigenous community. He is Ojibwa and a member of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. 

Prior to his appointment to the Bench, Justice LaForme practised principally in the area of Aboriginal law involving the Constitution and Charter. He was appointed a judge to the Ontario Court of Justice (General Division) in 1994, followed by his appointment to the Court of Appeal for Ontario in 2004. He is the first Indigenous person to be appointed to a Canadian appellate court.  (See full biography online.) 

Law Society Treasurer Paul Schabas awarded the honorary LLD to Justice LaForme, who then delivered separate keynote addresses to new lawyers attending the respective ceremonies. A total of 225 new lawyers were called to the Bar today. 

In his remarks to the newly called lawyers, Treasurer Schabas said, “Your Call to the Bar today is a wonderful achievement that we celebrate, as much for what you have accomplished to get here, as it is a celebration of what is to come. It is to you that we look to continue to develop our laws - preserve the rule of law.”

The Law Society regulates lawyers and paralegals in Ontario in the public interest. The Law Society has a mandate to protect the public interest, to maintain and advance the cause of justice and the rule of law, to facilitate access to justice for the people of Ontario and act in a timely, open and efficient manner.
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Media contact: Susan Tonkin at 416-947-7605, or

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