The Decade Dozen

From the Fall/Winter 2010 issue of Nexus.

Sonia Lawrence

Sonia Lawrence, LLB/MSW 1999, is one busy academic.  "It's actually hard for me to imagine something I've seen in the evolution of legal education that hasn't had Sonia's name attached to it in some way," says Kim Brooks, dean, Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University.

"I still think of her as this incredibly promising bright light from U of T back in the late '90s," says Lorne Sossin, dean of Osgoode Law School, who taught Lawrence when she was a student at the Faculty of Law. "It's wonderful to see the connection now. She's really played a leading role in pedagogy and curricular reform at Osgoode and is deeply interested in what it means to put together a legal education. She's a real star."

Lawrence is a former assistant dean of the first-year program at Osgoode, chair of the academic policy committee, and current director of the Institute for Feminist Legal Studies. She shares her educational passions beyond York's law school to sit on the executive committee of the Canadian Association of Law Teachers and on the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund's law program committee.  She researches issues of equality, the influence of feminism in Canadian law, diversity on the bench, and section 28 (gender equality) of the Charter (Sossin: "A really dry section-her research breathed new life into it"), among other areas.

"I expect we'll see her name more and more often on the list of people that governments and leaders go to for advice, especially when looking for people who can build bridges and consensus, and who can lead by example," explains Sossin.

"I think she has a vision for what makes university education important," says Brooks. "Ultimately, I'd love to see her in a position that would let her make a big difference for a very large number of people."

Story: Lucianna Ciccocioppo

Photo: Jeff Kirk


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