The Top 25 Most Influential 2016 - Criminal/Human-Rights

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


Marie Henein Partner, Henein Hutchison LLP Toronto

Henein’s defence of Jian Ghomeshi and all that has surrounded that high-profile case underpinned her recent substantial level of influence. The personal attacks and negative treatment she received in the wake of the trial opened up a much wider public discussion on the role of women in the law and as professionals overall. The very public case she was defending also heightened the level of examination of the way sexual assault trials are conducted. Henein’s place as a well-respected member of the bar who mentors many young women, particularly in the male-dominated criminal bar, has been cemented. Her recent speaking engagements have drawn hundreds of attendees to be inspired and hear her war stories. Henein is strong and unflinching in her dedication to the law and a role model to many inside and outside the legal profession.

What voters had to say:

“A true powerhouse and an inspiration for all those pursuing the rights of the accused.”

“Excellent work defending a man who public opinion had already turned against; excellent work defending herself when criticized for it.”

Donald Bayne Partner, Bayne Sellar Boxall Ottawa

In what was perhaps the second-most high-profile criminal case in the last year, Bayne represented embattled Senator Mike Duffy who faced 31 counts of fraud, breach of trust, and bribery over Senate expenses. Bayne’s arguments resulted in Duffy’s acquittal on all of them. The ruling was not appealed, but the senator is still facing a battle in the Red Chamber over repayments of some expenses. Because of the outcome of the trial, however, there is speculation the ruling could stave off attempts to charge other senators with similar crimes. Post-trial, there have also been changes to Senate spending rules. Bayne is a giant of the criminal bar with a four-decade career working on seminal murder, war crimes, and extradition cases as well as high-profile inquiries such as Somalia and Maher Arar.

What voters had to say:

“Donald Bayne was a fierce advocate and tactically brilliant lawyer on Duffy. There is no one else like him.”

Lorne Waldman Waldman & Associates Toronto

A previous Top 25 honouree multiple times, Waldman’s influence is once again highlighted by the high-profile cases he’s worked on and brought to public attention. He was co-counsel in Ishaq v. Canada at the Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal. The right of women to wear niqabs during their citizenship ceremonies became a major election issue throughout Canada. He was also co-counsel for JP and GJ at the Supreme Court of Canada in the November 2015 decision B010 v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) and was involved in litigation challenging changes to the Citizenship Act that allowed for the revocation of Canadian citizenship of individuals who had been convicted of certain crimes (treason, espionage, and terrorism).

What voters had to say:

“Lorne Waldman is always willing to take on controversial cases with the aim of ensuring all Canadians are treated equally and fairly.”

Sarah Clarke Principal, Clarke Child & Family Law Toronto

Clarke was co-counsel for First Nations Child and Family Caring Society in Caring Society v. Canada, a case that led to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal finding that the federal government’s underfunding of First Nations child welfare programs discriminates against Canada’s aboriginal people. Described as “groundbreaking” from both legal and social perspectives, the case left the door wide open for similar applications around services such as education, health care, and policing. She has worked extensively with and for First Nations on child welfare and adoption proceedings. She has argued civil and family law matters before all levels of court in Ontario, the Federal Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada.

What voters had to say:

“Outstanding in every way, compassionate, and a great leader offering inspiration and encouragement to others in her field to follow her path. There’s no challenge too big for her to handle.”

Cheryl Goodier Assistant Crown attorney, York Region Newmarket, Ont.

Currently, Goodier is the child abuse and sexual violence lead in York Region. She has had tremendous influence in the courts, essentially transforming the way cases of child abuse and sexual abuse are handled in positive ways. She is a skilled and fearless advocate, who invariably handles any serious — and often difficult to prosecute — criminal case involving sexual abuse of children in the Newmarket courthouse. Handling these cases effectively as a Crown involves intelligence, tenacity, dedication, and concern for the most vulnerable members of our community. She is frequently sought after by other counsel and police officers for advice and guidance in this area.

What voters had to say:

“Cheryl’s prosecution strategies are second to none. Her passion and dedication to the rights of victims of child abuse shines through everything she does. Cheryl’s a game changer and is most deserving of this award.”

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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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