Ontario Bar Association Celebrates Excellence in the Profession

  • May 04, 2015

TORONTO – Twenty-five Ontario lawyers are being recognized for their excellence and contributions to the legal profession by the Ontario Bar Association (OBA).

Nearly 17,000 Ontario lawyers belong to the Ontario Bar Association; these are lawyers who demonstrate a special commitment to encouraging and supporting a justice system that serves the public well.

“Members of the Ontario Bar Association are lawyers who have a special dedication to their profession,” says OBA President Orlando Da Silva. “They are leaders who advance the interests of the justice system, are committed to high quality professional development, and support a network for sharing practical experience, knowledge and ideas.”

Each year, the OBA recognizes lawyers who demonstrate both a commitment to the member-based organization that advances the interests of the justice system as well as those lawyers who make valuable contributions to specific practice areas within the profession.

“OBA Awards mark an outstanding achievement in a lawyer’s career, and provide a special opportunity to celebrate excellence within the profession,” adds Da Silva.

The OBA awards program follows two streams:

  1. the Association awards, which recognize lawyers who embody the core values of the OBA, and
  2. Sections awards, which recognize outstanding contributions in specific practice areas of the law.

The Association awards were presented Thursday, April 23rd at a sold-out awards gala at the OBA’s conference centre Twenty Toronto Street in Toronto, ON.

Lawyers honoured at this event include:

  • Julia Shin Doi, Ryerson University for her outstanding volunteer commitment in promoting the role of lawyers in Ontario.
  • Richard C. Halpern, Thomson Rogers; Mark M. Orkin, Q.C., Barrister and Solicitor; and The Honourable Paul R. Sweeny, Ontario Superior Court of Justice in recognition of exceptional career achievements.
  • Rocco Galati, Rocco Galati Law Firm Professional Corporation for his significant contributions to the advancement of justice.
  • Ranjan Agarwal, Bennett Jones LLP, for his contributions and achievements as a young lawyer in the field of continuing legal education and the development of law for the benefit of the profession and the citizens of Ontario.

Over the course of the next few months, the OBA will also be hosting a series of individual award events to acknowledge other top performing lawyers in specific practice areas.

These award winners and events include:

Kevin McElcheran, Commercial Dispute Resolution
Murray Klein Award of Excellence in Insolvency Law
May 6, 2015

Professor Brenda Cossman, University of Toronto
Award of Excellence in the Promotion of Women’s Equality
May 20, 2015

Mary Ellen Bench, City of Mississauga
Tom Marshall Award of Excellence for Public Sector Lawyers
May 25, 2015

Lawrence J. Swartz
Canadian Corporate Counsel Association – Ontario Chapter Award of Excellence
May 26, 2015

Donald V. Thomson, Walker Ellis
Award of Excellence in Real Estate Law
June 2, 2015

Liza Sheard, Evans Sweeny Bordin LLP
Award of Excellence in Trusts and Estates Law
June 3, 2015

Connie Reeve, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
Randall Echlin Mentorship Award for Labour and Employment Law
June 4, 2015

Alfred Kwinter, Singer Kwinter (Toronto) and the late Owen Smith (Regional)
Award of Excellence in Insurance Law
June 9, 2015 (Toronto) and June 25th (Sudbury)

Lorne Wolfson, Torkin Manes LLP
Award of Excellence in Family Law in Memory of James G. McLeod
June 11, 2015

Allan Leibel, Goodmans LLP
Award of Excellence in Municipal Law
June 11, 2015

L. Brian Swartz, Aecon Group Inc.
Award of Excellence in Construction and Infrastructure Law
June 11, 2015

H. Scott Fairley, WeirFoulds
Award of Excellence in International Law
June 16, 2015

David Wilken, Building Trades Workers’ Services
Ron Ellis Award for Excellence in Workers’ Compensation Law
June 23, 2015

Patricia Jackson, Torys LLP
Award of Excellence in Civil Litigation
October 22, 2015

Additional awards in Privacy, Franchise, Alternative Dispute Resolution, and Pensions and Benefits Law are expected to be announced soon. The latest information can be found at oba.org/About-US/Awards.  


Photos from the award ceremonies and interviews with the winners also available by request.

For more information:

Amy Clark, OBA Media Relations & Communications Manager
416-869-1047 x 364