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Lawyers Helping Lawyers

  • June 02, 2020

When Ontario was hit hard by the global pandemic, lawyers worried about how they would be able to continue serving their clients, move critical matters forward and take care of their many and varied responsibilities – their own wellbeing included — amidst the upheaval. Many found the answers, the avenues and the assurance they needed at the OBA, where from day one staff and volunteers sprang into action to provide vital clarity and supports.

Since that very first week of provincial lockdown, the OBA has prepared and provided 60 priority and essential recovery PD programs (in addition to 70 regular programs by webcast) and kept membership regularly informed of justice sector developments while successfully advocating for solutions that would allow lawyers to practice optimally in exceptionally challenging times.

The Association was able to act so quickly and effectively thanks, in large part, to our dedicated OBA lawyers whom you can learn a little about below. Their combined expertise; productive relationships with peers, government and stakeholders; and commitment to member and public service contribute positively to the profession every day.


Adela MallAdela Mall

Manager of Professional Development and Policy Lawyer

Sections served: Class Actions Law, Pensions and Benefits Law

Adela was at the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto serving as the Acting Director of the Internationally Trained Lawyers Program before she joined the OBA team four and a half years ago, lured by the Association’s favourable reputation and by “the diversity and quality of the work” in which she would be engaged.

She has a leading role and takes pride in OBA efforts to “provide value to our members and other stakeholders in our justice community in a timely manner.” A prime example of this came in March when the provincial shutdown produced great uncertainty in the legal community and swift, relevant guidance was required. “I was so impressed with how quickly our members pulled together the first Priority PD on Force Majeure issues on March 19, which had over 800 registrants and dealt with a key legal issue that arose from the pandemic,” says Adela. Prior to the current crisis, there were other issues of great importance to the profession that the OBA was contending with in a concerted, constructive fashion. Among the advocacy activities Adela was gratified to have been a part was, “the Class Actions Law Section’s on-going involvement in providing submissions on how the Class Proceedings Act can be amended.” Looking forward, she’s keen “to provide PD on all the novel legal issues that will arise from the global pandemic.”

Fun facts: Artistic and athletic, when she was younger Adela entertained the notion of becoming a photojournalist, and now, with the gym out of the question and regular routine out the window, she says she’s taken the opportunity “to diversify my workout regime and try out new exercises.”


Laura DowsleyLaura Dowsley

Professional Development and Policy Lawyer

Sections served: Administrative Law, Education Law, Environmental Law, Health Law, Municipal Law, Natural Resources Law, Privacy Law, Public Sector Lawyers

When Laura joined the OBA two years ago, she brought a passion for policy work that propelled her though a number of government roles (including, most recently, Senior Policy Advisor to the Attorney General of Ontario) that she now applies to advancing the concerns of OBA member lawyers.

As someone who has wanted be a lawyer for as long as she can remember, applying her expertise toward addressing issues within the justice sector keeps her busy and motivated to do even more. In the past year, she’s found it especially rewarding to work on advocacy on the Legal Aid Ontario file in efforts to safeguard and enhance access to justice.  In the coming months, she looks forward to helping to develop program plans for 2020-2021. As she notes, “Given the pandemic, the issues facing the legal profession have changed significantly over the last two months and will continue to change for years to come.”

Fun fact: With more time at home, Laura is not just baking bread; she’s taken it up a notch to bagels – always doing more!


Ebony RoseEbony Rose

Professional Development and Policy Lawyer

Sections served: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Civil Litigation, Construction and Infrastructure Law, Insolvency Law, Insurance Law, International Law, Information Technology and Intellectual Property Law, Taxation Law

The newest member of the lawyer team, Ebony has been with the Association for a brief, but action-packed, three months that have no doubt felt much longer! She comes to the OBA from Osgoode Hall Law School where she developed graduate and international programs and brings litigation experience from McCarthys – all of which have enabled her to play an important role in advocacy, program and resource development, making a big impact in a relatively short period.


Lindsay van RoosendaalLindsay van Roosendaal

Professional Development and Policy Lawyer

Sections served: Aboriginal Law, Child & Youth Law, Constitutional, Civil Liberties and Human Rights Law, Citizenship and Immigration Law, Criminal Justice, Elder Law, Family Law, Trusts and Estates Law

Lindsay practiced family law at a full-service Toronto firm before joining the OBA seven years ago. “I was volunteering with the OBA myself as a member of the YLD CLE Committee, and thought: Wouldn’t it be fun if this was my full-time job?” she recalls.

During the pandemic, Lindsay has been working tirelessly with the Trusts and Estates Law Section Executive to advocate (successfully) for virtual witnessing of wills and powers of attorney at a time when in-person witnessing is difficult. In her collaboration with this and her other sections, she has been impressed by the dedication and generosity of members. “I was blown away by the willingness of so many volunteers to jump into the uncertainty and share their insights on the legal issues arising during the pandemic with their colleagues through our Priority PD programs,” she says.

Fun facts: The always nimble and sure-footed Lindsay reveals that were she not a lawyer she’d be coaching burgeoning dancers as a ballet teacher. She claims her best or worst (maybe both?) pandemic-prompted habit to be “online shopping from local Niagara region wineries.”


Melanie CapobiancoMelanie Capobianco

Manager of Career & Business Development Services

Sections served: Law Practice Management, SOGIC, Sole, Small Firm & General Practice, Student Division, Women Lawyers’ Forum, Young Lawyers Division

Melanie Capobianco came to the OBA six years ago from her role as counsel at McCarthy Tetrault. Earlier this year, she took on a new position within the Association as Manager of Career & Business Development Services, where her unique experience and insight contribute not only to policy and PD initiatives, including the award-winning OBA Mindful Lawyer Series, but lend vision to OBA career services—from law school through retirement—and partner firm relations. 

Her work offers a great deal of variety, from which she derives a lot satisfaction, but one aspect holds a special place in her heart. “There are many rewarding aspects of my job,” she notes, “but by far the most rewarding is the privilege – and I do think it is truly a privilege! —to work on the development of mental health and wellness initiatives for lawyers.”

Fun facts: Young Melanie aspired to be an archeologist or a diplomat. Her penchant for diplomacy no doubt comes into play in her current role, and her archaeological inclinations may have something to do with her discovery-focused pandemic-prompted habit of “going for a walk in the evenings to look for colourful painted rocks in our neighbourhood.”


Roy BornmannRoy Bornmann

Professional Development and Policy Lawyer

Sections served: Business Law, CCCA – Ontario, Charity Law, Entertainment, Franchise Law, Labour and Employment Law, Media and Communications Law, Real Property Law, Workers’ Compensation

With a diverse background in public service and private practice, Roy came to the OBA last year from the Ontario Ministry of Labour where he served as Chief of Staff to the Minister for three years. His legislative experience brings dimension, direction and strength to OBA submissions to government.


Find all upcoming OBA Recovery PD programs and the latest justice sector updates here.