The Top 25 Most Influential 2016 - Young Influencers

  • Subtitle: Cover Story
Written by  Posted Date: August 1, 2016

Young Influencers

Ranjan Agarwal Partner, Bennett Jones LLP Toronto

Last year, Agarwal was counsel for Pro Bono Law Ontario in the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Hinse v. Canada (Attorney General) on the issue of indemnification for legal costs in private pro bono litigation. He is president of the South Asian Bar Association of Toronto, Canada’s largest minority bar association and North America’s largest South Asian bar association. He encourages legal leaders, judges, and policy-makers to think about diversity as integral to access to justice. Agarwal consistently calls for a more diverse bar and judiciary, saying it is fundamentally important to increasing public confidence in the justice system, especially among visible minority communities. Agarwal regularly acts for diversity-seeking groups in pro bono litigation. He is a member of the Ontario Bar Association’s equality committee, where he is spearheading the initiative to gather diversity statistics from all CPD presenters with a view to making it more reflective of the bar and the community. Agarwal is also an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law and regularly speaks on class actions, commercial litigation, employment, human rights, and constitutional law.

What voters had to say:

“Is an inspiration to all, with his tireless commitment to the law, including through many pro bono cases.”

“Amazing advocate on raising diversity in the law and access to justice.”

Aimée Craft Assistant professor, University of Manitoba, Robson Hall Faculty of Law Winnipeg

Craft is an emerging intellectual leader working on Anishinaabe and Canadian aboriginal law. Her research and advocacy work is grounded in valuing and living indigenous knowledge. Craft is currently doing research for the Anishinaabe nibi inaakonigewin project, working with Anishinaabe elders to better understand legal principles relating to water. She has worked with aboriginal organizations to organize conferences, develop strategic litigation, deliver public education, and engage in advocacy initiatives. She also developed a strong working relationship with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. Her ongoing work on the Federal Court Liaison Committee on the development of practice guidelines for aboriginal law matters and oral history evidence has been an important and substantive contribution to Canadian law.

What voters had to say:

“Helping our too-often neglected aboriginal nations.”

Nadia Effendi Partner, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP Toronto and Ottawa

Effendi is chairwoman of BLG’s Supreme Court of Canada agency group and a member of BLG’s commercial litigation and appeal and review groups. She recently acted for an intervenor in World Bank Group v. Wallace, which represents a significant development in the law, standing as one of only two SCC decisions addressing the scope of international organizations’ immunities and privileges. She represented the Law Society of Upper Canada in appeals in Trinity Western University v. The Law Society of Upper Canada. In June, she was before the Court of Appeal defending the Divisional Court decision that unanimously upheld the LSUC’s decision to deny accreditation to TWU’s prospective law school. The case engages fundamental issues of Constitutional and human rights and administrative law — including the delineation of equality rights, religious freedoms, and the LSUC’s jurisdiction as an administrative decision-maker.

What voters had to say:

“Nadia is one of the brightest and hardest-working advocates I know. Her passion for her clients’ causes and advocacy skills makes her one of the most influential young lawyers in Canada today.”

Louis-Alexandre Guay Counsel, Aboriginal Law Directorate, Quebec Regional Office, Department of Justice Canada Ottawa

Most recently, Guay was responsible for the multi-million-dollar settlement of Indian Day School litigation initiated against Canada. With his young team, he advanced the law of Crown responsibility and fiercely worked to change views from within government, selflessly working in the dark for the greater good of facilitating reconciliation of the Crown with First Nations. Guay has been working on Indian school files for more than a decade, contributing to the beginnings of the settlement of the Indian Residential Schools class action litigation against the Crown, and paved the way for the IRS dispute resolution process and thereafter the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and its day-to-day implementation via an independent assessment process. In this context, he has single-handedly participated in as many as 500 individual hearings.

What voters had to say:

“He’s a hard worker, one of the nicest people I know, so easy to work with and always there to help a colleague. He’s defending his cases with heart and passion! He is the young most influential Canadian lawyer!”

“A great lawyer and a great guy.”

Jessica Prince Senior policy adviser to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Ottawa

Prince was a top-tier Bay Street litigator who worked on high-profile cases including intervening for the Canadian Medical Association on the recent Carter case at the SCC. Since last November’s election, she has been working as senior policy adviser to Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould, who is working on many hugely influential issues at this time, including the inquiry into missing and murdered women, marijuana laws, and physician-assisted death. Prince’s work there is making a strong impact on her community. Prince is a very well connected lawyer and serves as a mentor to many young lawyers, particularly young women.

What voters had to say:

“She fits your category perfectly as a lawyer under 40 who is really making an impact in her communities and in the profession.”

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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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