The Top 25 Most Influential - Page 3

  • Subtitle: Cover story
Written by  Posted Date: August 1, 2011

Criminal/Human Rights Law

The Top 25 Most InfluentialAlan Young
Associate professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto

Last September, Alan Young championed the case in which the Ontario Superior Court struck down three of the country’s prostitution laws. In June, he was back at the Ontario Court of Appeal, arguing the federal and provincial governments should be protecting sex workers and not pursuing laws that interfere with their security of the person. Young, who appeared last year in our Top 25 Most Influential, is notorious for providing legal services (often pro bono) to individuals whose alternative lifestyles have led them to the courtroom — one of his most significant cases was the “bondage bungalow” dominatrix case in 1998. He is also the director of the Osgoode Hall Innocence Project, which investigates suspected cases of wrongful conviction and imprisonment.

What the inside panel had to say:

“Young is unafraid to take on some of the toughest, and least palatable, issues in society but his work is invaluable in upholding every Canadian’s Charter rights.”

Photo: Jean Sorensen
Photo: Jean Sorensen
Joseph Arvay

Partner, Arvay Finlay, Vancouver

One of Canadian Lawyer’s Top 25 Most Influential in 2010, Joseph Arvay continues to push the boundaries. This year he argued the case for the Insite injection site and whether it falls under provincial or federal jurisdiction, and will be working with the B.C. Civil Liberties Association in a fight to decriminalize assisted suicide. He’ll contend the law removes a person’s right to make decisions about their body and also restricts physicians’ freedom to administer compassionate end-of-life care. He is often involved in constitutional cases and recently represented the plaintiff in a landmark case granting children of sperm donors the same rights regarding access to information about their birth parents as adopted children.

What voters had to say:

“Not only is Joe a master of telling the story in a factum, his oral arguments are irrepressible. At the May 2011 appeal of the Insite case before the SCC, Joe, having run the clock out, seamlessly asked the chief justice: ‘There have been a lot of questions, I wonder if I have another five or 20 minutes?’ He got five more minutes to finish — that done with about 24 counsel gowned and sitting in the courtroom.”

The Top 25 Most InfluentialMarie Henein
Principal, Henein and Associates, Toronto

Marie Henein successfully represented former Ontario attorney general Michael Bryant and continues to be one of the most sought-after criminal lawyers in the country. She is the president of The Advocates’ Society and an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, providing mentoring to younger lawyers. She is also one of the founders of the Ontario Court of Appeal’s Appellate Duty Counsel program, which sees top defence counsel represent inmates pro bono.

What the inside panel had to say:

“Marie Henein is a key go-to lawyer for high-profile accused in Toronto. As president of The Advocates’ Society, she’s also helping shape the legal profession in Canada.”

The Top 25 Most InfluentialClayton Ruby
Partner, Ruby Shiller Chan, Toronto

Clayton Ruby is famous for standing up for the little guy. In the past, he’s gone to bat for pit bull dog owners in the face of the Ontario government’s push to criminalize the breed. In May, he launched one of many civil lawsuits against the Ontario government and its controversial G20 law and the ensuing arrest of British filmmaker Charles Veitch. He has devoted his professional career to ensuring that those who are underprivileged and who face discrimination are given a fair shake in the justice system, including the likes of Donald Marshall, Guy Paul Morin, and the Dionne quintuplets. He was counsel in the Supreme Court of Canada case that established a constitutional guarantee to a speedy trial and is a strong proponent of freedom of the press.

What the inside panel had to say:

“Clay may take on the sexy pit bull cases and get tons of publicity but he also fights for the little guy in important criminal and constitutional law cases.”

The Top 25 Most InfluentialBeth Symes
Partner, Symes & Street, Toronto

Beth Symes is a strong advocate, not only of women’s rights, but of strengthening the role of women in the legal profession. She is a bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada and was one of the founders of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund. She is also a founder of the Feminist History Society and Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators. In December, she was awarded the Order of Canada for her work promoting women’s rights in the legal profession.

What voters had to say:

“Best lawyer in Canada, bar none.”
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Gail J. Cohen

One of Canada’s most experienced and respected legal journalists, Gail J. Cohen is the former editor in chief of Canadian Lawyer and Law Times, who was responsible for the editorial direction of all the publications in the group, which also includes Candian Lawyer InHouse, Canadian Lawyer 4Students, and the daily Legal Feeds blog. Gail has covered the legal profession in Canada as a reporter and editor since 1997, which had put her in a prime position to access and engage thought leaders in the regulatory, legal, and business realms. Canadian Lawyer and its editorial team have been the recipients of many journalism awards and their publications are highly respected throughout the legal profession in Canada and abroad.

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