Law Society presents 2017 awards

Outstanding legal professionals honoured at annual awards ceremony 

Toronto, ON — Members of Ontario's legal professions were recognized for their exceptional career achievements and contributions to their communities at the annual Law Society Awards ceremony held on May 24, 2017, at Osgoode Hall in Toronto.

“Tonight's awards are among the highest professional honours granted by the Law Society of Upper Canada,” Treasurer Paul Schabas told those attending the ceremony.

“It is important that we publicly recognize those who bring distinction and honour to our professions. In doing so, we are not only recognizing the contributions they have made, but we are also identifying them as role models to other members and reaffirming the public’s confidence and trust in our professions.”

The following brief biographies highlight the achievements of the 11 medal and award recipients.

Law Society Medalists

Patrick Case, Guelph: Called to the Bar in 1988, Patrick Case has shown extraordinary leadership advocating for social justice in the area of equity and racism and has led the way in establishing policies and practices on how to address racism. 

Larry Chartrand, Ottawa: Called to the Bar in 1991, Larry Chartrand is widely recognized for his work advancing Aboriginal and Métis rights. He is a leader and an innovator in the study of Aboriginal Law and is one of the country’s top scholars on Métis constitutional rights.

Sarah E. Colquhoun, Thunder Bay: Called to the Bar in 1984, Sarah Colquhoun is a recognized for her leadership and advocacy, having devoted her career to increasing social justice for low income people and First Nation communities in Ontario’s Northwest. 

Michael Eizenga, Toronto: Called to the Bar in 1991, Michael Eizenga has established himself as an undisputed leader in the class action Bar. He is also recognized for his outstanding commitment to public service and volunteerism. 

Marie Henein, Toronto: Called to the Bar in 1992, Marie Henein is being recognized for her outstanding skills as a criminal defence lawyer with a deep and abiding commitment to the administration of justice and the rule of law.

Joanna Radbord, Toronto: Called to the Bar in 1999, Joanna Radbord is being recognized for her numerous contributions to LGBTQ rights, family law, constitutional and human rights in the province of Ontario.

Gary Yee, Toronto: Called to the Bar in 1985, Gary Yee is being recognized for his activism and advocacy for Chinese and other racialized communities, including the redress campaign against the Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act, as well as for his leadership in administrative justice and the tribunal sector. 

Lincoln Alexander Award

Thora H. Espinet, Toronto: Called to the Bar in 1984, Thora Espinet is recognized as one of the first Black women lawyers in Ontario. She has demonstrated a passion towards community service and leadership in promoting social change as well as addressing issues of discrimination and equality.

Laura Legge Award

Breese Davies, Toronto: Called to the Bar in 2000, Breese Davies has demonstrated extraordinary achievement and leadership throughout her career as a criminal defence and constitutional lawyer. She has contributed greatly to the advancement and retention of women criminal defence lawyers in Ontario.

William J. Simpson Distinguished Paralegal Award

Dena D. Castro, Hamilton: Licensed in 2012, Dena Castro has demonstrated extraordinary dedication and an exemplary work ethic as a licensed paralegal at a criminal law firm in Hamilton. In addition, she played a critical role in establishing the Drug Treatment Court Program for the Ontario Court of Justice in Hamilton and volunteers at numerous community and charitable organizations.

J. Shirley Denison Award

Grace Alcaide Janicas, Sault Ste. Marie: Called to the Bar in 1994, Grace Alcaide Janicas has worked in the community legal clinic system in northern Ontario for more than 20 years. She has shown a deep commitment to serving those most marginalized and disadvantaged in her work as a lawyer and through volunteer activities.  

More information about the Law Society Medal and Awards is available online.

The Law Society regulates lawyers and paralegals in Ontario in the public interest. The Law Society has a mandate to protect the public interest, to maintain and advance the cause of justice and the rule of law, to facilitate access to justice for the people of Ontario and act in a timely, open and efficient manner.

- 30 -

Media Contact: Susan Tonkin, Communications Advisor, stonkin@lsuc.on.ca | 416-947-7605

Follow @LawsocietyLSUC on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook