Friday, March 11, 2016

Faculty of Law alumni make up six of the 14 recipients of the 2016 annual Law Society Awards “in recognition for their exceptional career achievements and contributions to their communities.”

Alumni Orlando Da Silva, JD 1993, Linda Gehrke, LLB 1977, Katherine Laird, LLB 1977, Peter Rosenthal, JD 1990, Frederick Zemans, LLB 1964, and Lisa Borsook, LLB 1980, the Laura Legge Award recipient, will be honoured at a ceremony on May 25, 2016, at Osgoode Hall.

"Our 2016 honourees have very impressive and diverse professional experience and expertise — from the private sector, public sector and academia,” said Janet Minor, Law Society treasurer, in a press release. “They are leaders in their fields — from environmental law to language rights and human rights. They are involved with our professions and in their communities and in the advancement of social justice issues. Each recipient represents the best of our professions and our professions' core principles — commitment to the rule of law and access to justice”

Orlando Da Silva is counsel in the Crown Law Office – Civil, Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario and during his presidency of the Ontario Bar Association, successfully brought the issues of mental illness and mental health to the forefront of the profession by sharing his personal experience and struggles with depression.

Linda Gehrke has led in her profession for more than 35 years as a lawyer, adjudicator, and in her work as the lobbyist registrar for the City of Toronto, where she was responsible for implementing the first municipal lobbyist registry. Gehrke has played key role in expanding accountability and transparency in Toronto's government processes.

Katherine Laird has dedicated her entire professional life/career to the improvement of the lives of those most marginalized in Ontario through her leadership in developing law reform proposals, specialty community clinics, legislative amendments and other legal initiatives to serve the most vulnerable. Since 2008, Laird has been the executive director of the Human Rights Legal Support Centre.  

Peter Rosenthal has focused his legal career to representing those who are most marginalized and disadvantaged in society, including vulnerable youth, homeless citizens, and members of Indigenous communities. He is widely recognized as a strong advocate on social justice issues. Rosenthal is also a professor of mathematics at the University of Toronto.

Lisa Borsook has demonstrated achievement and leadership throughout her career as managing partner, and now as executive partner at WeirFoulds LLP. She is one of the first of few women to be named managing partner of a large law firm in Ontario and is recognized for her contributions and advocacy of diversity and women in the legal profession, as well as her work on other boards and service in the community.

Read the full media release here.