Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Faculty of Law is delighted to announce that Melissa Kennedy (LLB ’87) and Herb Solway (JD ’55), are the recipients of the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award for their outstanding professional and community achievements.

Melissa Kennedy

Melissa Kennedy is Executive Vice-President, and Chief Legal Officer and Public Affairs at Sun Life Financial Inc. Previously, she was Senior Vice-President, General Counsel and Corporate Affairs at the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. She has been practicing law for more than 25 years, specializing in securities and commercial litigation. In 2016, Melissa was recognized as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 by the Women’s Executive Network, and in 2013 she received the Zenith Award as one of Canada’s leading female lawyers. She’s been named a Women of Influence Canadian Diversity Champion, and Canadian General Counsel of the Year and Deal Maker Finalist by the Canadian General Counsel Awards. A longtime U of T volunteer, she has received the University’s highest honour, the Arbor Award. A passionate advocate for diversity, she is a member of the steering committee at Legal Leaders of Diversity.

Herb SolwayA founding member, and to many the ‘DNA’ of Goodmans LLP, Herb Solway has played an invaluable role in building the firm, including serving as Chair from 1982 to 1994 and (perhaps most importantly to him) hiring the “best and brightest” law students for over 50 years. Lawyer, firm leader, mentor, raconteur, philanthropist, and business executive, Herb Solway has held directorships with Sun Media (as a founding Director), John Labatt Ltd. and Union Enterprises Ltd. He was a driving force in bringing the Toronto Blue Jays to this city, has been involved with the Major League Baseball team since its beginnings, and is a former Chair of the club. An early leader in making mental health and wellness an open and urgent priority, Herb served as a founding Director of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and was a Director with its precursor, The Clarke Foundation, for more than 20 years. Herb was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1968.

 Wilson-Prichard Award

Michelle HenryMichelle Henry is a partner in the labour and employment group at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. She is a leader at BLG on diversity issues, has been involved in the firm’s recruitment efforts as a member of the Student Recruitment Committee, and serves as a mentor and principal to summer and articling students. In addition, she also serves on BLG’s Pro Bono Committee. Michelle has shown great leadership within organizations devoted to equity-seeking groups.  In 2016, Michelle co-founded the Black Business Law Clinic, a free legal clinic dedicated to serving the GTA’s Black businesses and non-profit organizations through a network of volunteer lawyers.  She’s an active lifetime member, past board member and a current Professional Development Committee member of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers.  She is also is a mentor to Black students and lawyers through CABL’s mentorship program. She has been an elected member of the Ontario Bar Association Council since 2014, and previously served as an executive member of the OBA’s Education Law Section.  
 Claire HunterClaire Hunter is a Vancouver-based lawyer and partner at Hunter Litigation Chambers, one of the top Canadian litigation boutiques. Her practice includes civil litigation, public and administrative law, and appellate practice. Upon graduation from the Faculty of Law, she clerked with Justice Frank Iacobucci, then practised litigation as an associate with Sullivan & Cromwell LLP from 2004 to 2010. Her practice focused on complex commercial matters, international sanctions, and white collar crime, including conducting internal investigations. Claire is a leader in the BC bar for providing pro bono services and has developed a particular experience with international child abduction cases, in which she often represents mothers who have moved their children to protect them from abuse. She has served on the CBA’s Pro Bono Committee since 2012, and promotes pro bono practices nationally and internationally. Claire has also acted for public interest organizations on a number of interventions, including the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and Pivot Legal Society, at the Court of Appeal and before the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Award Ceremony will be held on April 26. Click here to register online. For further information, contact Wasila Baset, Associate Director, Alumni Programs, at or 416-946-8227.