Law Society of Upper Canada

Law Society of Upper Canada

June 16, 2010 15:42 ET

Former Trail-Blazing Crown Attorney and Former Treasurer Receive Honorary Law Society Doctorates

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 16, 2010) - The Law Society of Upper Canada presented a degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LLD), to each of two distinguished members of the legal profession during Call to the Bar ceremonies held today at Roy Thomson Hall to welcome new lawyers to the profession.

Law Society Treasurer W. A. Derry Millar presented honorary doctorates to former Crown attorney Diana Lynn Fuller for being a legal trail-blazer and role model for women in the legal profession and to former Law Society Treasurer Gavin MacKenzie for his distinguished legal career – which includes being one of Canada’s most prolific commentators on the subject of legal ethics – as well as for his term as Treasurer.

As part of its call ceremonies each year, the Law Society awards honorary doctorates to distinguished people in recognition of outstanding achievements in the legal profession, the rule of law or the cause of justice. Recipients serve as inspirational keynote speakers for the graduating classes as they begin their careers.

Ms. Fuller was the first female Crown to practise in Sudbury. "With her passion for the rule of law, her surgical precision during cross examination and her easy rapport with juries, Diana Lynn Fuller quickly earned the respect of her colleagues and clients. She has truly been a role model and mentor for many young female lawyers and law students," said Treasurer Millar.

"Gavin MacKenzie is one of Canada's most prolific commentators on the subject of legal ethics. Through his practice, his writing and his teaching, he exemplifies the meaning of professionalism," said Treasurer Millar. "During his 28-month term as Treasurer, he performed his duties with distinction, overseeing the implementation of paralegal regulation and creating the Retention of Women in Private Practice Working Group and the Licensing and Accreditation Task Force – major achievements that will stand the Law Society and all its members in good stead in the future."

The Law Society called 623 of the province's 1,262 new lawyers to the Bar of Ontario during the two ceremonies held today.

Diana Lynn Fuller was called to the Ontario bar in 1978, and was hired as an assistant Crown attorney in Sudbury. She was one of the first female Crowns in the province, and one of the few women practising law in northern Ontario at that time. She prosecuted a wide range of serious crimes, and prosecuted in many northern venues, including the Northwest Territories.

During her 30-year legal career, she served as regional director of Crown attorneys for north-eastern Ontario, and later as the Crown's general counsel for special prosecutions. She has been a mentor to women Crown attorneys, a co-director of the advocacy summer school program for Crown attorneys, and a role model to women in the legal profession. Ms. Fuller retired in January 2010 to run a family business in the supply-service sector of the mining industry.

Gavin MacKenzie was called to the Ontario bar in 1977. He is a partner in the litigation and advocacy practice of the Toronto office of the national law firm Heenan Blaikie LLP. In 2000, he was honoured by induction as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. In February 2006, he was elected to serve as Treasurer (head) of the Law Society, and was acclaimed to serve further one-year terms in June 2006 and June 2007.

Mr. MacKenzie was first elected a bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada in 1995, and was re-elected in 1999, 2003, and 2007. He has appeared as counsel before many tribunals and courts at all levels, including the Supreme Court of Canada. He has also served as an arbitrator and mediator. He is the author of a leading text on legal ethics and has served as an adjunct professor of legal ethics at Osgoode Hall Law School.

Full biographies of Ms. Fuller ( and Mr. MacKenzie ( are available online.

Photos available upon request.

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