Two outstanding lawyers from the Caribbean community were among eleven honourees at the annual Law Society Awards ceremony held last week at Osgoode Hall in Toronto.
Guyana-born Patrick Case received the Law Society medal and Jamaica-born Thora Espinet was presented with the Lincoln Alexander Award.
Case who was called to the Bar in 1988, has been a trade unionist, school trustee and a practitioner whose chief focus was serving women who were victims of male violence.
He has served as a staff lawyer in the Family Law Division at Parkdale Community Legal Services and is the past Chair of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and the past Co-Chair of the Equality Rights Panel of the Court Challenges Program of Canada
According to a news release from the Law Society of Upper Canada, Case ” has shown extraordinary leadership advocating for social justice in the area of equity and racism and has led the way in establishing policies and practices on how to address racism. ”
Espinet who was called to the Bar in 1984, was one of the first Black women lawyers in Ontario. She has run her own general practice in Toronto for more than 30 years.
The news release says that Espinet ” has demonstrated a passion towards community service and leadership in promoting social change as well as addressing issues of discrimination and equality. ”
The Lincoln Alexander Award, established in 2002, is presented annually to an Ontario lawyer lawyer who has “demonstrated long-standing interest and commitment to the public and to the pursuit of community service on behalf of residents of Ontario.”
The award was credited in honour of the late Lincoln Alexander, a former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, ” to reward his dedication to the people of Ontario and the legal community.”
Speaking at the award ceremony, Paul Schabas , treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada, said “it is important that we publicly recognize those who bring distinction and honour to our professions.
“In doing so, we are not only recognizing the contributions they have made, but we are also identifying them as role models to other members and reaffirming the public’s confidence and trust in our professions.”