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Awards: Nominations and Selection Process

Call for Nominations: 2021 Law Society Awards

Deadline: January 20, 2021

Nomination Process

Each year the Law Society invites nominations for the Law Society awards. Awards for lawyers include the Law Society Medal, the Lincoln Alexander Award and the Laura Legge Award. Paralegals are eligible for the William J. Simpson Distinguished Paralegal Award. Both lawyers and paralegals are eligible for the J. Shirley Denison Award.

Nominations are encouraged for members from all communities, practice areas, firm sizes, and regions across the province. 

Please note, the Law Society will not grant awards posthumously.

Filing a Nomination

To file a nomination, the Nominator is asked to complete the online nomination formOnly one online form is required per nomination. If you are a supporter of a nomination, you do not have to fill out the online nomination form.  

File a nomination package that includes the following:
  • Submit 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 (recommended length not to exceed 2000 words);
  • A narrative bio; and
  • Letters of support from other members of the Law Society or the public supporting the nomination (5 letters recommended). Letters can be addressed as follows:

The Law Society Awards Committee
Law Society of Ontario
130 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2N6


We encourage the Nominator to file the nomination together with letters of support as one package. You can file your nomination using the online form or by email.

To File Online
To file online, the Nominator simply follow the instructions to fill out the online nomination form. The form allows you to attach all supporting documents.

To File by Email
To file by email, the Nominator completes the online nomination form.You can submit the letter of nomination and letters of support to  

Please indicate the award and the name of the candidate being nominated in your subject line. For example:

Re: Law Society Medal Nomination, Jane Nancy Smith
Re: Lincoln Alexander Award Nomination, John David Smith 

The letter of nomination, letters of support and other accompanying material submitted by email should be in PDF format.

Selection Process

Nominations for the Law Society Medal, the Lincoln Alexander Award, the Laura Legge Award and the J. Shirley Denison Award are reviewed by the Law Society Awards Committee. The Treasurer of the Law Society chairs the committee.

The committee is composed of the Treasurer of the Law Society, six benchers of the Law Society, the Chief Justice of Ontario, the chair of Ontario Law Deans, the president of the Ontario Bar Association, the president of The Advocates’ Society and the chair of the Federation of Ontario Law Associations. The committee will review all of the nominations and report to Convocation in camera with their recommendations for the awards. The committee’s recommendations must be approved by Convocation.

The nominations for the William J. Simpson Distinguished Paralegal Award are reviewed by the Paralegal Award Selection Committee comprised of all five paralegal benchers of the Paralegal Standing Committee, the vice-chair of the Paralegal Standing Committee, a lay bencher member of the Paralegal Standing Committee and the Treasurer of the Law Society or designate. The selection committee will review all of the nominations and report to Convocation in camera with their recommendation for the award. The committee’s recommendation must be approved by Convocation.

Nominations will be considered for two consecutive years and do not have to be refiled the second year

Those nominated but not recognized after two years may be nominated again by filing a nomination package with updated information.

Announcement of Award Recipients

The names of the award recipients will be made public once all of the recipients have been contacted. The names will be published on the Law Society’s website as well as by news release.


Questions regarding the Law Society Awards can be directed to, 416-947-3946 or 1-800-668-7380 ext 3946.

Award Details

Law Society Medal

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.

Originally established in 1985, the Law Society Medal has been awarded to close to 200 lawyers in recognition of distinguished service.

Learn more about the Law Society Medal.


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.

The award was created in 2002 in honour of former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Member of Parliament, and 2002 Law Society Medal recipient The Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander, P.C., C.C., O.Ont., Q.C., to reward his dedication to the people of Ontario and the legal community.

Learn more about the Lincoln Alexander Award.


Laura Legge Award

The Laura Legge Award is given each year to a female lawyer from Ontario who has exemplified leadership within the profession.

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

Learn more about the Laura Legge Award.


The William J. Simpson Distinguished Paralegal Award

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.

Learn more about the William J. Simpson Distinguished Paralegal Award.


J. Shirley Denison Award

The J. Shirley Denison Award is bestowed annually in honour of former Treasurer John Shirley Denison, in recognition of significant contributions to access to justice and/or poverty issues. Both Paralegal and lawyer licensees of the Law Society of Ontario are eligible for this award.

In April 2015, Convocation approved the establishment of an award in honour of former Treasurer John Shirley Denison, to be bestowed annually in recognition of significant contributions to access to justice and/or poverty issues. Both Paralegal and lawyer licensees of the Law Society of Ontario  are eligible for this award.

The J. Shirley Denison Award is named in honour of Denison and his commitment to helping others. It succeeds the the J. Shirley Denison Fund, which was established through a bequest from the former Treasurer to assist indigent lawyers and their families, and which was closed in 2014.

Learn more about the J. Shirley Denison Award.

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