Paul Morrison, LLB 1975, Gail Wong, LLB 2002, Douglas Cannon, LLB 1979
Paul Morrison, LLB 1975, Gail Wong, LLB 2002, Douglas Cannon, LLB 1979

This donor profile is from the Spring/Summer 2012 issue of Nexus.

McCarthy Tétrault prides itself on being Canada's first national law firm, with offices in major cities from Vancouver to Quebec and some 600 lawyers who hail from law schools across the country. Yet when it comes to recruiting new graduates, U of T students are always among those at the top of the list.

"There's a very high quality, there's no question," says Gail Wong, LLB 2002, director of the firm's student programs for Ontario. "The students just have a wealth of extra-curricular or leadership experience. Many have had past careers and we know they've had an excellent legal education."

Nonetheless, Wong and her fellow U of T alumni at McCarthy's all agree that a state-of-the-art building will enhance that superior education, and finally bring the law school into the 21st century. Senior partner Paul Morrison, LLB 1975, was part of a class so exceptional, fellow alumnus Jack Batten authored a book about them.  Morrison recalls that even then—some 35 years ago—the physical plant needed updating.

"We all lived and studied in the old building and felt that it wasn't up to the reputation of the school," he says. "I think our pride in having graduated from there leads us to get behind the building campaign."

McCarthy's lawyers contribute to the law school in many ways. They teach classes, mentor students and the firm sponsors the Grand Moot competition every year.

"We give of our time, our energy and our expertise. The other way we can support the school is financially," says partner Sarit Batner, JD 1998. "It's no longer cutting edge the way it needs to be. Students need access to each other, and to the modern technology and research tools that will give them a better education—and make them better lawyers."

By Karen Gross and Lucianna Ciccocioppo / Photo by Nigel Dickson