Award deadline draws near

By Jasminee Sahoye

The Law Society of Upper Canada is seeking outstanding legal professionals to honour with awards, including the Lincoln Alexander Award.

The Lincoln Alexander Award honours an Ontario lawyer who has shown an enduring commitment to community service on behalf of Ontarians. It’s one of four awards to be given out. Deadline for submission of nominees is Jan. 20.

It was created in 2002 in honour of the former Ontario lieutenant-governor, MP and 2002 Law Society Medal recipient to mark dedication to the people of Ontario and the legal community.

Alexander was born in Toronto in 1922 to parents from Jamaica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. He graduated from McMaster University in Hamilton in 1949 and Osgoode Hall Law School in 1953. He practised law in Hamilton and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1965. In 1968, a few years after going into politics, Alexander was elected MP for Hamilton West, becoming the first Black MP in Canada. He was re-elected in 1972, 1974, 1979 and 1980.

In 1985, he was appointed the twenty-fourth lieutenant-governor of Ontario, the first person of colour in Canada to be named to the vice-regal position.

The other awards for lawyers are the Law Society Medal and the Laura Legge Award. Paralegals are eligible for the William J. Simpson Distinguished Paralegal Award.

Nominations are encouraged for members from all communities, practice areas, firm sizes and regions across the province. They should include; a letter of nomination setting out the reasons for the nomination and background information on the nominee’s outstanding service and achievements as they relate to the award; a current curriculum vitae, and letters of support from other members of the Law Society or the public supporting the nomination.

The Laura Legge Award is given each year to a female lawyer from Ontario who has exemplified leadership within the profession. The award is bestowed annually as part of the Law Society Medals ceremony.

The award was established in 2007 in honour of Laura Legge, Q.C., the first woman ever elected as a bencher of the Law Society and the first woman to serve as treasurer.

The Law Society Medal, established in 1985, recognizes lawyers who have demonstrated outstanding service through ongoing devotion to professional duties or through a single distinguished professional or academic accomplishment that accords with the highest ideals of the legal community.

The Law Society Medal has been awarded to more than 100 lawyers.

The William J. Simpson Distinguished Paralegal Award recognizes a paralegal who has demonstrated one or more of the following criteria: outstanding professional achievement; contribution to the development of the profession; devotion to professional duties; adherence to best practices and mentoring of others in best practices; a history of community service and personal character that brings credit to the paralegal profession.

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