August 4, 2014

Canadian Lawyer Names Top 25 Most Influential Figures in Justice and Legal Profession

List honours key Canadians from the justice system and legal profession across five categories

EAGAN, Minn. – Canadian Lawyer, a Thomson Reuters business, has named the Top 25 Most Influential figures in the Canadian justice system and legal profession. The list, now in its sixth year, honours select Canadians in one of five categories: Changemakers, Government/Non-Profit/Associations, Criminal Law/Human Rights, Corporate/Commercial, and The World Stage.

This year’s honorees are:

Top Vote Recipient – Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, Ottawa

McLachlin, who also appeared on this list in 2010, earned headlines and praise this year after squaring-off with Prime Minister Stephen Harper over appointments to the top court, but her work to improve access to justice – particularly challenging the profession on the lack of women in the law and on the bench – has solidified her persona as an approachable face of the judiciary.

Additional honorees:
Rocco Galati, Rocco Galati Law Firm, Toronto
Adam Dodek, vice dean, University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, Ottawa
Mark Morris and Lena Koke, co-founders, Axess Law PC, Toronto
Colin Lachance, CEO, CanLII, Ottawa

Top Vote Recipient – André Marin, ombudsman, Province of Ontario, Toronto

For the second year in a row, Marin appears on this list as a tenacious advocate for Ontarians, including his review of electric utility billing practices, his reports on jailhouse brutality and the Transportation Ministry tracking drivers with uncontrolled hypoglycemia.

Additional honorees:
Malcolm Mercer, partner and general counsel, McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Toronto
Amy Sakalauskas, child protection lawyer, Nova Scotia Department of Justice, Halifax
Edgar Schmidt, former general counsel, Department of Justice, Ottawa
Justice Murray Sinclair, judge, Provincial Court of Manitoba, Winnipeg

Criminal Law/Human Rights
Top Vote Recipient – Alan Young, professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto

Young, who has appeared on the list almost every year, is known for his work providing free legal services for people whose alternative lifestyles may bring them into conflict with the law. Last year, he successfully argued the legality of the country’s prostitution laws in an effort to protect the health and safety of prostitutes nationwide.

Additional honorees:
Elizabeth Grace, Lerners LLP, Toronto
Joseph Arvay, partner, Farris, Vancouver
Jason Madden, partner, Pape Salter Teillet LLP, Toronto
Bob Rae, senior partner, Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP, Toronto

Top Vote Recipient – Simon Fish, general counsel, BMO Financial Group, Toronto

Named Canada's General Counsel of the Year in 2013, Fish has led the effort to reshape the external counsel model, encouraging greater diversity and promoting sustainability. In 2013, under Fish's guidance, BMO became one of the first financial institutions in Canada to ask its external law firms to report on diversity metrics of their workforce, and by 2016, BMO expects 40 percent of its executives to be women.

Additional honorees:
Justice Geoffrey Morawetz, judge, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Toronto
Peter Griffin , managing partner, Lenczner Slaught, Toronto
Justice Paul Perell, judge, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Toronto
Waleid Soliman, partner, Norton Rose Fulbright, Toronto

The World Stage
Top Vote Recipient – Louise Arbour, recently retired president and CEO, International Crisis Group, Belgium

Arbour, a former Supreme Court of Canada justice, and the International Crisis Group have worked to promote peace in regions worldwide, including Central African Republic, Colombia, Niger and Mexico. Previously, she served as the high commissioner for human rights with the United Nations and the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

Additional honorees:
Moya Greene, chief executive, Royal Mail, London, UK
Murray Klippenstein, founding partner, Klippensteins, Barristers & Solicitors, Toronto
Pascal Paradis, executive director, Lawyers Without Borders Canada, Quebec City
Fiona Sampson, executive director, The Equality Effect, Toronto

All honourees were peer-nominated and voted-upon by members of the legal profession. With more than 100 nominees and more than 6,000 votes cast, the Canadian Lawyer editorial team decided the Top 25. Top vote recipients were named in each category with four additional, unranked honourees recognized in each category.

“As we looked at this year’s list – from ‘Changemakers’ who are catalysts for advancing the legal profession, to ‘The World Stage,’ which recognizes Canadians influencing law and society beyond our borders – we were truly amazed by the calibre of the honourees,” said Gail J. Cohen, editor in chief of Canadian Lawyer. “We are proud to recognize these individuals who promote the rule of law both home and abroad. Congratulations.”

For more on the 2014 Top 25 Most Influential, including profiles of all of this year’s honorees, visit

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