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Law Society announces 2021 award recipients

March 10, 2021

TORONTO, ON — 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 virtually, on May 26, 2021.

“It is important that we publicly acknowledge those who bring distinction and honour to our professions,” said Law Society Treasurer Teresa Donnelly. “In doing so, we recognize the contributions they have made, while identifying them as role models to other members, colleagues and stakeholders, and reaffirming the public’s confidence and trust in the legal professions.”

The awards presented in May will include: The Law Society Medal, The Laura Legge Award, The William J. Simpson Distinguished Paralegal Award, The J. Shirley Denison Award and The Lincoln Alexander Award which was expanded to include paralegals in its eligibility criteria this year.

The following highlights the achievements of the 2021 recipients.

Law Society Medal

Peter Griffin Called to the Bar in 1980, Peter Griffin is recognized as one of Canada’s top civil litigators. Through precedent-setting decisions, exceptional advocacy, unwavering commitment to education and mentorship, and his involvement in positively advancing the legal profession and broader community – Mr. Griffin represents the very best in the legal profession.

Eldon Horner Called to the Bar in 1995, Eldon Horner has been a long-time passionate advocate of solicitor issues across the province. He has devoted his time to the betterment of the profession through his work with his local law association and the Federation of Ontario Law Associations. Additionally, he has demonstrated outstanding dedication to his local community of South Dundas.

Judith Huddart Called to the Bar in 1982, Judith Huddart is being recognized for her leadership and contributions to the advancement of family law in Canada. As a founding member and subsequent president of the Ontario Collaborative Law Federation, she has helped establish an interdisciplinary collaborative approach to family law which supports safe, accessible and non-litigious resolutions for families.

Susan Kyle Called to the Bar in 1993, Susan Kyle has dedicated her entire career to public service. She is Ontario’s first female Assistant Deputy Attorney General, Criminal Law Division. An inspirational leader, she is an agent of change in the development and modernization of criminal law and the administration of justice in the province of Ontario.

Candice S. Metallic Called to the Bar in B.C. in 1997 and Ontario in 2006, Candice Metallic is a true champion who has devoted her career to law reform and the advancement of legal and social justice for Indigenous Peoples. Her leadership and groundbreaking work have been transformative in advancing Indigenous rights in Canada.

Janice Payne Called to the Bar in 1976, Janice Payne was one of the first women in private practice in Ottawa. During the 1980s she was a pioneer as she argued pivotal precedent-setting cases and wrote, interpreted and litigated Ontario’s condominium laws. Having shifted her area of practice, she is now one of the top Canadian lawyers in employment law.

Professor Poonam Puri Called to the Bar in 1999, Professor Puri is one of Canada’s most influential legal scholars. Her research has led to significant policy and regulatory reform. She is a thoughtful professor and generous mentor to law students and young lawyers. Her trailblazing pro bono efforts to improve access to justice led to the establishment of Osgoode Hall Law School’s Investor Protection Clinic, the first of its kind in Canada.

Lincoln Alexander Award

Rochelle Ivri Licensed in 2012, Rochelle Ivri is the first African-Canadian professor in Mohawk College’s Paralegal Program. She is the first paralegal and immigration consultant appointed as one of 10 citizenship judges in Canada. Additionally, Rochelle is committed to enriching the Hamilton-Niagara communities where she sits on the boards of Bravo Niagara!, the Niagara Region Women's Advisory Committee and the FAB Foundation.

Laura Legge Award

Dr. Beverly Jacobs (Mohawk Nation/Haudenosaunee) Called to the Bar in 2003, Dr. Jacobs is Associate Dean (Academic) at the University of Windsor, Faculty of Law. She is a consultant, researcher, writer and public speaker. Her work focuses on ending gendered colonial violence against Indigenous people and restoring Indigenous legal orders. She is a member of the Order of Canada. 

J. Shirley Denison Award

Laurie E. Joe Called to the Bar in 1987, Laurie Joe has been a lawyer with Community Legal Services of Ottawa since 1994. She advocates on behalf of clients in the areas of immigration, refugee and disability law. She has worked with the Women and War program of the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa and is a founding member of Justice for Indigenous Women (J4IW) in addition to teaching part-time for various law schools and the Law Society of Ontario.

William J. Simpson Distinguished Paralegal Award

Kathleen Cooper Licensed in 2012, Kathleen Cooper is a senior researcher and paralegal at the Canadian Environmental Law Association, a legal aid clinic dedicated to environmental and public health for low-income Ontarians. She is a leading voice for environmental justice and contributes to consultations at all levels of government. Her work has significantly improved the lives of low-income people across Canada.

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 to act in a timely, open and efficient manner.

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Media contact: Jennifer Wing, Senior Communications Advisor, External Relations and Communications, at 416-947-3455 or jwing@lso.ca. Follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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