The Ontario Bar Association honoured the cream of its membership at its annual awards gala last night.
OBA President Lee Akazaki presented the President’s Award to LEAF, the Women’s Legal Educational and Action Fund during the event at the Park Hyatt Hotel in downtown Toronto, hailing the organization as a “standard-bearer” of constitutional judicial review of state actions.
In its 26-year history, “bringing the Charter to the people is what LEAF’s lawyers have done so well,” Akazaki said, pointing to LEAF interventions that helped enshrine equal pay for equal work and rape shield laws among many others.
“LEAF has helped to skillfully thread equality law through the modern tapestry of Canadian society. For that, we, the Ontario Bar Association, the voice of the legal profession, is justly proud.”
The OBA also handed out its Linda Adlam Manning Award for volunteerism to Ottawa lawyer Alayna Miller, whose bulging resume belies her 2007 year of call. Miller, who sits on the OBA’s Young Lawyers’ Division East, co-chaired the OBA mentorship program when it was piloted in 2009, before its province-wide launch last year.
In addition, distinguished service awards were presented to former OBA president, Heather McGee, now an Ontario Superior Court judge. Former CBA president Eugene Meehan (decked out in a kilt) was also recognized, as well as charity law heavyweight John Hodgson, who died earlier this year. His widow Joan was at the ceremony to accept the award.
And University of Ottawa Professor Constance Backhouse capped a spectacular week by winning the Mundell Medal for Legal Writing, which recognized her contribution to the field of legal history. On Monday, she was also returned to Convocation, having received more votes than any other candidate in the Law Society of Upper Canada’s bencher elections.