Thursday, March 9, 2023

The University of Toronto Faculty of Law Alumni Awards biennially recognize the exceptional contributions of valued community members. 

The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes extraordinary public leadership and lifelong commitment to the community over the course of their career. The Ann Wilson and Robert Prichard Alumni Award for Community and Professional Service, named in honour of Ann Wilson (LLB 1975) and Robert Prichard (LLB 1975), recognizes graduates of the Faculty of Law (less than 15 years since graduation), who demonstrate the highest standards of professional integrity, excellence and leadership and who have made a significant contribution to the legal profession and/or community through their public interest work, pro bono activities and/or community service.

U of T Law is pleased to announce our 2022 Alumni Award recipients who will be recognized during a fireside chat to be held at the Faculty on March 30, 2023. Alumni and colleagues are welcome to attend, to join us in congratulating the 2022 recipients: 

Distinguished Alumni Award

The Distinguished Alumni Award is the Faculty’s highest honour, recognizing a graduate’s extraordinary public leadership and lifelong commitment to the community.

Cherie Brant

Cherie Brant (JD 2002)
Partner, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

Cherie Brant is a Partner at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG) and Independent Director at Hydro One Networks since 2018 and Toronto-Dominion Bank since 2021.

At BLG, Cherie is the national leader for the Indigenous law group at BLG and member of the firm's Environmental, Social and Governance initiative. Her commercial practice extends across a wide variety of sectors, including energy and transmission, land development and financing on First Nations lands, Indigenous Infrastructure, and economic development for Indigenous owned businesses and Indigenous governments. She also provides strategic policy and governance counsel to Indigenous groups seeking to exercise their jurisdiction and authority.

She also serves on the non-profit boards for the Anishnawbe Health Foundation, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and Canadian Club of Toronto. In 2017, Cherie received the Lexpert Zenith Award, a national award that recognizes women's contributions to the law. In 2012, she was named one of Lexpert's "Rising Stars: Leading Lawyers Under 40." Cherie holds a JD from the University of Toronto and a BA in Environmental Studies, Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Waterloo.

Cherie is both Mohawk from Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte and Ojibway from Wikwemkoong Unceded Indian Reserve.


The Hon. Michael J. Moldaver

The Honourable Michael J. Moldaver (BA UC 1968, LLB 1971, Hon. LLD 2019) 
retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada 

Photo credit: Supreme Court of Canada Collection

Born in 1947, Justice Moldaver spent his formative years in Peterborough, Ontario. He attended the University of Toronto, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1968 and a Bachelor of Laws in 1971 (Gold Medalist). He is married to Rivka ("Riky") Moldaver and has two daughters, Shannon and Jessica, and two grandchildren.

Justice Moldaver articled with the law firm of Thomson Rogers and then with Mr. G. Arthur Martin, and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1973. He began his criminal law practice with the law firm of Pomerant, Pomerant and Greenspan (later Greenspan, Gold and Moldaver), where he became a partner in 1975. Justice Moldaver was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1985. After practising as a sole practitioner for two years, he was affiliated with the law firm of Goodman and Goodman from 1988 until his appointment to the Bench. While in practice, Justice Moldaver was Director of the Criminal Lawyers' Association, Director of the Advocates' Society and Co-Chair of the University of Toronto Academic Tribunal, Discipline Subsection. He co-chaired the 1989 Advocacy Symposium at Massey Hall as well as the 1990 Advocacy Symposium at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, which featured a panel composed of Canadian Chief Justice Dickson, U.S. Chief Justice Rehnquist, and U.K. Lord Chancellor MacKay.

Justice Moldaver began his judicial career as a member of the High Court of Justice for Ontario when he was appointed to the Supreme Court of Ontario (later the Ontario Court of Justice (General Division)) on April 12, 1990. He was elevated to the Court of Appeal for Ontario on December 22, 1995 and to the Supreme Court of Canada on October 21, 2011.

Throughout his career, Justice Moldaver has played an active role in the legal community. From 1978 to 1995, he co-taught criminal law courses at Osgoode Hall Law School and at the University of Toronto Law School. He has acted as a speaker and an instructor in numerous continuing education programs for both the judiciary and the profession, participating in educational programs sponsored by the National Judicial Institute and the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice, teaching criminal law to newly appointed judges from across Canada, and instructing in the Ontario Crown Attorneys' Association, Criminal Lawyers' Association and Ontario Bar Association continuing education programs. Justice Moldaver is an Honorary Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He received a degree of Doctor of Laws honoris causa from the University of Toronto in 2019. He retired on September 1st, 2022.

Ann Wilson and Robert Prichard Alumni Award for Community and Professional Service

The Ann Wilson and Robert Prichard Alumni Award for Community and Professional Service honours recent graduates who demonstrate the highest standards of professional integrity, excellence and leadership, and who has made a significant contribution to the legal profession and community. 

Cory Wanless

Cory Wanless (JD 2008)
Partner, Waddell Phillips LLP

A partner at Waddell Phillips LLP, Cory Wanless has been actively litigating cases of public importance for almost a decade. He has represented clients before all levels of court in Ontario and Alberta, and has argued at the Supreme Court of Canada. Cory has particular interest and experience in complex civil litigation, especially as it relates to corporate accountability, human rights, Indigenous rights, police and state accountability, anti-racism and defending human rights defenders. Cory devotes a sizable portion of his practice to access to justice cases.

Cory often represents clients in high-profile and precedent-setting cases. He currently is co-counsel in ground-breaking corporate accountability lawsuits against a Canadian mining company regarding human rights abuse in Guatemala. Cory was lead counsel for the University of Toronto Faculty of Law International Human Rights Program in an intervention at the Supreme Court in a case regarding the use of forced labour at a Canadian-owned mine in Eritrea.

On the domestic front, Cory represents clients in Charter and human rights lawsuits against police and other law enforcement – often in cases involving racism and racial profiling. Cory also represents business and individuals in employment, defamation and negligence cases.

Cory is a frequent speaker on the topics of corporate accountability, mining and human rights, and has guest-lectured at various universities and faculties of law throughout Canada.

Outside of law, Cory currently co-teaches a course in Ethics, Society, and Law at Trinity College, University of Toronto, and sits on the board of an environmental education charity that fosters in youth resilience and connection to nature through outdoor experiences.

Maria Zeldis

Maria Zeldis (JD 2009)
Senior Vice-President, Legal
Onni Group of Companies

Maria Zeldis is Senior VP Legal for the Onni Group of Companies, a Vancouver based real estate company with holdings across North America. Maria advises on the operation and management of the company’s extensive real estate and commercial assets and leads the legal team in Canada and the US.

After obtaining her BA (UBC) and JD (UofT), Maria served as a Law Clerk at the Supreme Court of British Columbia, then completed her articles and joined Borden Ladner Gervais as an associate in Vancouver. Prior to joining the Onni Group, Maria was Director of Legal Services at Cadillac Fairview, where she negotiated first-to-market leases with major international retailers and was at the forefront of the tech industry’s office boom in Vancouver. Maria has focused her practice on the area of real estate and enjoys building and supporting the communities where people live and work.

Maria is a long-standing mentor of young lawyers through the CBA’s Women Lawyers Forum, and regularly provides pro bono legal services to low-income clients through Access Pro Bono (a BC organization providing access to justice).

Maria has a very active life outside of law with three young children. She is also the President of Blind Beginnings, a non-profit whose mission is to support blind or partially sighted children and their families.

For nomination details for the above awards or more information, please contact