Mark Young of Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLPThis donor profile is from the Fall/Winter 2011 issue of Nexus.

For the partners at Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, contributing to the Faculty of Law's building campaign was a logical step in what's been a historic and mutually beneficial relationship between the University of Toronto and the law firm. "It's a longstanding relationship, and it's a very special relationship," says Mark Young (pictured on the right), the firm's managing partner. "We also have a long history of supporting the law school."

The current, most obvious connection between Cassels Brock and U of T is the university's chancellor, former Ontario premier David Peterson.  He happens to be a senior partner at the firm. But the ties go beyond that. For many years, Cassels Brock has acted as counsel to U of T, and the two entities have run several joint ventures together. "This is one way to return the university's loyalty," says Young.

He believes the new building will breathe new life into the way things are done at the law school, and its architecture will likely inspire students to think differently as well. "The glass is going to let people see what's going on outside the building, even as they're slaving away inside," Young says. "It will be a very different atmosphere from what they've ever had."

Beyond that, Young predicts the overall impact of having a modern, open, welcoming environment will be immeasurable. "If students are able to work in that environment, they're more likely to spend time at the school," he says. "If they're spending more time in school, they're going to build different connections with classmates and the faculty."