August 4, 2016

Canadian Lawyer Announces Its Top 25 Most Influential Figures in Justice System and Legal Profession

Toronto Canadian Lawyer, part of Thomson Reuters, has named the Top 25 Most Influential figures in the Canadian justice system and legal profession. The list, which is in its seventh year and is among the publication’s most-read features, honours select Canadians in five categories: Young Influencers, Government/Non-Profit, Changemakers, Criminal/Human Rights, and Corporate/Commercial.

This year’s honorees are:

Young Influencers

Top Vote Recipient:

Ranjan Agarwal, partner, Bennett Jones LLP, Toronto

Last year, Agarwal was counsel for Pro Bono Law Ontario in the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Hinse v. Canada (Attorney General). He is also president of the South Asian Bar Association of Toronto and consistently calls for a more diverse bar and judiciary, saying it is fundamental to increasing public confidence in the justice system, especially among visible minority communities. Agarwal regularly acts for diversity-seeking groups in pro bono litigation. He is a member of the Ontario Bar Association’s Equality Committee, where he is spearheading the initiative to gather diversity statistics from all continuing professional development presenters with a view to making CPD more reflective of the bar and the community. Agarwal is also an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law.

Additional honorees:

Aimée Craft, assistant professor, University of Manitoba, Robson Hall Faculty of Law, Winnipeg

Nadia Effendi, partner, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Toronto and Ottawa

Louis-Alexandre Guay, counsel, Aboriginal Law Directorate, Quebec Regional Office, Department of Justice Canada, Ottawa

Jessica Prince, senior policy adviser to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Ottawa


Top Vote Recipient:

Ian Binnie, member arbitrator, Arbitration Place, and counsel, Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP, Toronto

Binnie has not slowed down since retiring from the Supreme Court of Canada. In the past year, among many other high-profile engagements, Binnie was appointed as special arbitrator in the very public and controversial Senate expenses investigation. Binnie continues to serve as chairman of the United Nations Internal Justice Council. As for his role at Lenczner Slaght, Binnie shares strategic and practical advice as well as his dispute resolution expertise with colleagues and clients.

Additional honorees:

Catherine McKenna, minister of Environment and Climate Change and MP for Ottawa Centre, Ottawa

Justice Paul Perell, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Toronto

John Tory, mayor, Toronto

Jody Wilson-Raybould, justice minister and attorney general of Canada and MP for Vancouver-Granville, Vancouver


Top Vote Recipient:

Justice Rosalie Abella, Supreme Court of Canada, Ottawa

This year, Abella received an honorary law degree from Yale University. Among her many rulings from the SCC, Abella recently and again took a stand for equality rights in the Carter v. Canada decision. The decision was a landmark one and has already changed the legal landscape when it comes to assisted dying.

Additional honorees:

Chris Bentley, executive director, Ryerson University’s Law Practice Program and Legal Innovation Zone, Toronto

Craig Forcese, associate professor, University of Ottawa Faculty of Law

Kent Roach, professor and Prichard Wilson chair in Law and Public Policy, University of Toronto, Ottawa, Toronto

Justice Sheila Martin, Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, Calgary

Murray Sinclair, senator, chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Winnipeg

Criminal/Human Rights

Top Vote Recipient:

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 in the wake of the trial opened up a 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 given to how sexual assault trials are conducted. Her recent speaking engagements have drawn hundreds of attendees who want to be inspired and hear her war stories.

Additional honorees:

Donald Bayne, partner, Bayne Sellar Boxall, Ottawa

Lorne Waldman, Waldman & Associates, Toronto

Sarah Clarke, principal, Clarke Child & Family Law, Toronto

Cheryl Goodier, assistant Crown attorney, York Region, Newmarket, Ontario


Top Vote Recipient:

Éloïse Gratton, partner, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Montreal

Gratton is a forward thinker who leverages her in-depth understanding of privacy laws to practical business solutions. One of Canada’s foremost experts in the field of privacy, she authored a paper in April on online reputation and the right to be forgotten to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

Additional honorees:

Bindu Cudjoe, deputy general counsel and chief administrative officer, BMO Financial Group, Toronto

Neil Finkelstein, partner, McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Toronto

Carol Hansell, founder and senior partner, Hansell LLP, Toronto

Justice Frank Newbould, Ontario Superior Court, Toronto

All honourees were peer-nominated and voted upon by members of the Canadian legal profession. This year, nominations far surpassed all previous years, totalling more than 200, 70 of which were in the new Young Influencers category. The number of voters increased by 22 percent over last year, with 11,071 people participating.

“As always, we are very proud of Canada’s legal community and inspired by the incredible contributions of this year’s honourees,” said Karen Lorimer, publisher of Canadian Lawyer. “We thank our readers and the broader legal community for their nominations and another record turnout with more than 11,000 votes cast.”

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