The Top 25 Most Influential - Changemakers
- Subtitle: Cover Story
Chief Justice Robert Bauman
Chief Justice, British Columbia Court of Appeal, Vancouver
Chief Justice Robert Bauman has not been shy about warning of the threats facing the Canadian legal system. He became chief justice of British Columbia in mid-June following four years as chief justice of the Supreme Court of B.C. Since being named one of our most influential in 2012 for taking a strong stance on judicial independence, Bauman continues to be outspoken about problems of accessibility and accountability in the profession. Recently he highlighted his concerns in a speech before the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia, where he received the 2013 Bench Award. While many talk about access to justice issues, Bauman shook up the legal community when he warned these problems could be “potentially fatal to our profession as we know it.” At the same time, Bauman praised national access to justice initiatives, and urged lawyers to embrace change. In April, he called on lawyers to: “Wake up to the realities of these challenges; speak up about our value and our critical relevance in the lives of ordinary Canadians; and shakeup our attitudes toward lawyering.”
What voters had to say: “Chief Justice Bauman is an unfailing advocate of access to justice and should be applauded for his willingness to take on the system from within in order to foment change.”
Treasurer, Law Society of Upper Canada, Ottawa
As treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada, Tom Conway is overseeing a massive change in the profession, leading efforts to respond to the articling crisis in Ontario by proposing an alternative to articling through the introduction of the Law Practice Program. Now that the law society is accepting proposals for LPP pilot projects, Conway’s influence promises to reshape legal licensing in Ontario. He faced significant opposition to get it through and is now heralding further changes to legal training in the province. His leadership on this front will likely change the face of legal licensing across the country.
What voters had to say: “Tom has continued to push for change in his second term engaging with everyone from the law schools to sole practitioners to the national firms on law society issues.”
Chairman and chief executive officer,
McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Toronto
In a time of uncertainty in the legal profession, Marc-André Blanchard has been proactive in reimagining how big firms will deliver legal services in the future. Through his tenure as chairman and CEO of McCarthy Tétrault, he has introduced significant changes to the business of law. Under Blanchard, the firm was first to introduce legal project management to identify inefficiencies, make budgets more predictable, and increase value. He also helped establish a dedicated service delivery team that works to assess clients’ needs and creates staffing models using firm lawyers, in-house counsel, and third-party providers. He, too, has also made diversity a priority, and was recently given a Catalyst Canada Honours award for promotion of women in the profession.
What voters had to say: “Marc-André’s influence is creating a permanent shift in the way law firms operate and interact with clients and the public in Canada.”
Justice David M. Brown
Judge, Ontario Superior Court, Toronto
Justice David Brown has developed a reputation as much for his colourful delivery as for his outspoken judgments. Brown decried the court’s continued reliance on paper rather than an electronic document system as “scandalous.” He criticized the “motions culture” that sees lawyers preferring to bring complex motions rather than settle matters through a civil trial. For avoiding civil trials without good reason, Brown once likened counsel to a Dr. Seuss character who does not like “green eggs and ham.” In January, he issued injunctions to end railway blockades associated with the Idle No More protest movement. In the ruling, in which he scolded police for their passivity, Brown noted, “No person in Canada stands above or outside of the law.”
What voters had to say: “His tenacity and fearlessness in regard to trying to bring about change to our antiquated court system is to be commended.”
Dean, Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto
For the second year Lorne Sossin is one of our Top 25 Most Influential for his leadership in Canadian legal education. As dean of Osgoode Hall Law School since 2010, Sossin has been leading efforts at experiential education. With the Law Society of Upper Canada planning radical changes to legal licensing in Ontario, Sossin’s novel and creative approaches to legal education promise to play an important role in the profession in the coming years. He is the author of numerous books and articles, most recently as co-editor of Middle Income Access to Justice.
What voters had to say: “I do not understand how this leader in the profession does so much — truly an inspiration to the students at Osgoode.”
Page 1: Introduction
Page 2: Top 5 in Corporate-Commercial Law
Page 4: Top 5 in Criminal Law/Human Rights
Page 5: Top 5 in Government/Non-Profits/Associations
Page 6: Top 5 In-House Counsel
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.