Trail blazing judge and Nobel Peace Prize nominee receive honorary LLDs from Law Society

TORONTO, ON — The Law Society of Upper Canada presented honorary Doctor of Laws degrees, honoris causa (LLD), to The Honourable Juanita Westmoreland-Traoré and Sheila Watt-Cloutier, at Call to the Bar ceremonies held in Toronto on June 26 at Roy Thomson Hall.

The Law Society awards honorary doctorates to distinguished people in recognition of outstanding achievements in the legal profession, the rule of law or the cause of justice. Recipients serve as inspirational keynote speakers for the new lawyers attending the Call to the Bar ceremonies.

The Honourable Juanita Westmoreland-Traoré, OQ

A true legal pioneer, The Honourable Juanita Westmoreland-Traoré, received her honorary LLD at the morning Call ceremony. She was recognized for advancing social justice and equality rights not only through her work as a lawyer, professor, and judge, but also through her personal journey, shattering systemic barriers and stereotypes.

She entered the legal profession at a time when it was considered an unconventional career path for women, and even more so for a woman of colour. She was the first Black Dean of a Canadian law school and the first Black judge appointed to the Court of Québec.

See full biography.

Sheila Watt-Cloutier, OC

Former Canadian President of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) from 1995 – 2002, Sheila Watt-Cloutier received her honorary LLD at the afternoon Call ceremony. She received the honour for being an outstanding, transformative force in advancing human rights in the struggle to secure global health and justice — and the cultural survival of the Inuit and Arctic Indigenous peoples who are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

In 2007, Watt-Cloutier was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her advocacy showing the cumulative devastating effects that global climate change has had on the culture, the economy, the environment, and the people of the Arctic.

See full biography.

Law Society Treasurer Paul Schabas awarded the honorary LLDs to the two recipients who then delivered separate keynote addresses to new lawyers attending the respective ceremonies. A total of 687 new lawyers were called to the Bar on June 26.

In his remarks to the newly called lawyers, Treasurer Schabas said, “As lawyers, you have the capacity to make a difference. Your education and training, and your position as a member of the profession, empowers you and, in turn, can empower others. Your job is to use the law, and to develop the law, for the good of your clients and the good of society.”

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.

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Media contact: Michael Gambacorta at 416-947-3300, ext. 5220 or mgambaco@lsuc.on.ca  

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