A Tribute to One of the Faculty's Intellectual Luminaries

From the Spring 2000 issue of Nexus

The application of economic analysis to the study of law has been shaped by the seminal work of Prof. Michael J. Trebilcock, the first incumbent of the Faculty's new Chair in Law and Economics. Fittingly, on Michael's retirement, the chair will bear his name.

Born in a small, sheep-farming community in New Zealand's foothills country, Michael began his study of law in a first-degree part-time programme at the University of Canterbury. After graduate work at Australia's University of Adelaide, Michael moved with distinction to academic posts in Quebec, in the United States as a visiting scholar, and, finally, to U of T in the 1970s.

As the founding director of the Law and Economics Programme and the Centre for the Study of State and Market, Michael's scholarship ranges almost without limit over eleven different areas of law. It is Michael's special gift to apply the insights of philosophy, political science, economics, and even psychology, across the disciplines to illuminate legal problems from an entirely fresh angle. His achievements have been recognized with many honours and awards, including that of University Professor, the university's highest honour, in 1990, and the Canada Council Molson Prize for Social Sciences and Humanities in 1999, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the cultural and intellectual life of Canada.

The Chair in Law and Economics was created by the vision of Brian Levitt '73, David Macdonald '81, N. Murray Edwards '83, and two anonymous donors. A Montrealer by birth, Brian Levitt took an undergraduate degree in applied science and engineering at U of T, followed by an LL.B. at the Faculty. After articling at Blakes, he began his career as director of the Policy and Interpretation Division of the Anti-Inflation Board of Canada. Brian joined Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt as an associate and then became a partner, before entering the corporate world as president of Imasco Ltd. in 1991. He now combines the positions of president and CEO for Imasco. Among Brian's other Canadian and American directorships are CT Financial Services, Inc., Westbury Canadian Life Insurance Company, Montcrest School, and the First Federal Savings & Loan Association of Rochester, New York. In addition, he has published a number of articles about business law. Brian has been a dedicated alumnus and friend of the law school, serving as co-chair, with V. Maureen Kempston Darkes '73, of the Campaign for Law. He also chairs
the law school's Strategic Development Board.

N. Murray Edwards was a young tax lawyer in Calgary when he undertook his first business venture with Canadian Natural Resources. Since then, there have been many more. Under Murray's leadership, Canadian Natural Resources and other companies, such as Edco Financial Holdings, have flourished. Murray is not only an able business manager, often described as having a magic touch with organizations, but also an expert who draws on his legal background and knowledge of tax strategies to protect the future of junior but growing resource companies. As a corporate leader noted for his unpretentious personal style, Murray has also been a catalyst in garnering support for charitable organizations among members of the Calgary business community.

David Macdonald articled with Blakes after taking his B.A. and his LL.B. at the University of Toronto. Soon after being called to the bar, he spent some years in London, England, as part of the corporate finance team of S.G. Warburg, becoming a director in 1987. He returned to Canada in 1989 and, in the next year, was asked to head up the corporate finance division. He is responsible for Burning Warburg Dillon Read's corporate-finance business and is a joint managing director of the firm. As head of corporate finance he has overseen a broad range of domestic and cross-border equity financings, mergers and acquisitions, and advisory assignments concerned with privatization.

The U of T law school has consistently accepted the challenge of rethinking the role of legal education and legal scholarship in an interdisciplinary and international world. By endowing the Chair in Law and Economics, out graduates have ensured that the Faculty will have access to the resources and talent it will require to meet this challenge in the future.