Donald Crawshaw

By Karen Gross / Photo by Michelle Yee

From the Spring/Summer 2018 issue of Nexus

Born in Hamilton and raised in a handful of small cities and towns across Ontario, Donald Crawshaw, LLB 1982, had never set foot in New York City before arriving at Columbia University—after leaving U of T law school with the Gold Medal. “It hadn’t crossed my mind to do a graduate degree, but then Dean Frank Iacobucci, Rob Prichard and Jacob Ziegel strongly encouraged me to do it,” he says. “New York was a lot more dangerous and probably more exciting back then.”

Crawshaw liked it so much, he took a job with the powerhouse firm Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, as their first ever Canadian hire. He became the firm’s Canadian recruiting lead and has since been instrumental in hiring many new graduates to S&C and taking a broader leadership role supporting talented Canadian law students to realize e their dream of working in NYC. “I often point out that New York to Toronto is not very far,” he says. “Many of the people who come here don’t end up staying indefinitely, but they have an incredible experience that serves them well for the rest of their careers.”

Throughout his stellar securities law career—now spanning decades—the soft-spoken Crawshaw has been a steadfast supporter of the Faculty of Law. He currently serves as the NYC regional chair of the Campaign for Excellence without Barriers. Following an outstanding gift of $350,000 to support the Jackman Law Building, he has now donated more than $200,000 to create the Robert and Sondra Crawshaw Bursary, named to honour his parents.

“I think we were all very fortunate to go to such a great school, and I think people should support their schools,” he says. “It’s much more commonly done here in the U.S., where there’s a long tradition of it. People who graduate from a great law school like U of T are very blessed and should seriously think about giving back.”

Crawshaw is proud of the success that many U of T Law and other Canadian law students have experienced in NYC, both in the short and long term. For U of T grads he reflects that the outstanding students admitted, combined with the rigorous legal education provided at the law school, produces graduates that easily match wits with their American counterparts. “They’re also generally really nice people,” he adds. “Canadians have very good press in the U.S.”