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The Law Society Medal

Each year, the Law Society of Ontario awards the Law Society Medal to selected lawyers who have made a significant contribution to the profession.

The award is given for outstanding service within the profession, whether in the area of practice, in the academic sphere, or in some other professional capacity where the service is in accordance with the highest ideals of the legal profession. It may be awarded for devotion to professional duties over a long term or for a single outstanding act of service.

2020 recipients

Professor Jeff Berryman: Called to the Bar in 1994, Professor Berryman is an exemplary academic role model. He is recognized both nationally and internationally as a scholar in his field of expertise – contracts, remedies and restitutions. He has provided exceptional leadership at the University of Windsor and continues to provide invaluable inspiration to his students and the faculty.

Marie Chen: Called to the Bar in 1991, Marie Chen has dedicated her career to advocating for justice for low- income and marginalized communities. Her commitment has led her to serve the majority of her professional career in legal aid clinics. Ms. Chen has engaged in law reform and litigated countless cases that have advanced racial equality and income security for disadvantaged communities.

Dr. Ron Ellis (PhD Law): Called to the Bar in 1964, Ron Ellis is recognized as a leader in administrative law, a teacher and mentor, adjudicator and tribunal administrator who has spoken and written extensively about administrative justice systems. As the inaugural Chair of the Worker’s Compensation Appeals Tribunal, he entrenched the rule of law in the adjudication of workers' compensation claims in Ontario and is known for his persistent advocacy for rule-of-law reforms in Canadian administrative justice systems generally.

Arleen Huggins: Called to the Bar in 1991, Arleen Huggins has been a strong voice and champion for equity within the legal profession. A former President of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, she has been instrumental in advocating for inclusiveness for racialized women, lawyers and students in law. She is a partner and head of the Litigation Employment Law Group at Koskie Minsky LLP specializing in litigation, employment law and human rights. 

Gilbert Labine: Called to the Bar in 1977, Gilbert Labine has dedicated his career to advocating for the most vulnerable and marginalized people in Northwestern Ontario– a community he is deeply committed to. He is an integral part of that community’s criminal justice system.

Colonel (Ret’d) Vihar Joshi, OMM, MSM, CD, QC: Called to the Bar in 1990, Colonel Joshi has made remarkable contributions as a lawyer and soldier representing the best of the Canadian legal profession on international military operations in Haiti, Bosnia, and Afghanistan. He has served Canada for more than 28 years as military officer and lawyer with the Office of the Judge Advocate General.

Heather Joy Ross: Called to the Bar in 1986, Heather Ross is being recognized for her exceptional leadership and contribution to the legal profession and her community. She played a critical role in the establishment of the Huron Women’s Shelter in Goderich and she is a founder and active member of the South West Region Women’s Law Association. She served four consecutive terms as an elected Law Society of Ontario Bencher, starting in 1995, and then served as a life Bencher until 2019.

Dr. Dianne Saxe (PhD Law): Called to the Bar in 1976, Dianne Saxe is being recognized for her exemplary dedication and leadership to the development of environmental law in Ontario. As a pioneer in this area of law, she is one of Canada’s most respected environmental lawyers with more than 40 years’ experience in writing, interpreting and litigating Ontario’s energy, environment and climate laws.

Donald V. Thomson: Called to the Bar in 1973, Donald Thomson is being recognized for his work as a solicitor and his leadership in the Real Estate Bar. He is the former Head of Section for the Law Society’s Bar Admission Course. He is a speaker and contributor to continuing legal education programs and is recognized as a preeminent expert in real estate law.

medalHistory of the medal

Originally struck in 1985, the Law Society Medal has been awarded to more than 100 lawyers in recognition of distinguished service.

The Medal is made of sterling silver and is in the shape of a heraldic rose; the petals covered in white enamel. The white rose of York was chosen because it forms part of the Law Society’s coat of arms; it symbolizes the fact that the Law Society's seat was in York County, and that Toronto was called York at the time when Osgoode Hall was created in 1829.

The Law Society's motto, "Let Right Prevail," appears in a red enamel circle in the centre of the rose, surrounded by a stag. The stag came originally from the coat of arms of Sir John Beverly Robinson, an early Treasurer. A beaver was also included as it appears in the Law Society's coat of arms.

Recipients of the Medal are permitted to wear it on appropriate occasions, and can also use the designation LSM (short for Law Society Medal) after their names.

See a list of all recipients of the Law Society Medal.

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