Law Society of Upper Canada

Law Society of Upper Canada

April 15, 2011 15:54 ET

Media Release: Law Society Awards Honour the Best of the Profession

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 15, 2011) - Eight lawyers whose careers embody the highest level of achievement and commitment to service to society and the profession will be presented with awards by The Law Society of Upper Canada on May 25, 2011. Treasurer Laurie H. Pawlitza will present the Law Society Medal, the Lincoln Alexander Award and the Laura Legge Award to the recipients at a special ceremony at Osgoode Hall.

Established in 1985, the Law Society Medal is given to outstanding lawyers in Ontario in recognition of exceptional service, whether in a particular area of practice, in the academic sphere, or in some other professional capacity.

This year's Law Society Medal recipients are: Roderic G. Ferguson, Q.C., Alfred A. Mamo, David C. Nahwegahbow, I.P.C., Cynthia Petersen, Carol A. Shamess and Ronald G. Slaght, Q.C.

The Lincoln Alexander 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., in recognition of his dedication to the people of Ontario and the legal community. The award is presented to an Ontario lawyer who has demonstrated a commitment to the public and its well-being through community service. This year's recipient of the Lincoln Alexander Award is Stanley M. Tick, Q.C.

The Laura Legge Award was established in 2007 and is presented in honour of Laura Legge, O. Ont., Q.C., the first woman elected a bencher of the Law Society and the first woman to serve as Treasurer. The award is presented to a woman lawyer in Ontario who has exemplified leadership within the profession. This year's recipient is Fay Brunning.

The Law Society regulates lawyers and paralegals in Ontario in the public interest. The Law Society has a mandate to protect the public interest, to maintain and advance the cause of justice and the rule of law, to facilitate access to justice for the people of Ontario and act in a timely, open and efficient manner.

For more information about the Law Society, visit us online at

Biographical information is attached to this media release.


2011 Law Society Medal Recipients

Roderic G. Ferguson, Q.C., Midland, Called to the Bar of Ontario in 1970

Roderic Ferguson is a personal injury lawyer and civil litigation specialist known for his dedication to community. Mr. Ferguson has helped make justice available in rural areas for more than 35 years by travelling to small communities throughout Ontario to meet with clients. A former bencher who was certified as a Civil Litigation Specialist in 1989, Mr. Ferguson received his LL.M. in Alternative Dispute Resolution from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2002. Mr. Ferguson has often volunteered within the profession, being an active supporter of the Canadian Paraplegic Association Pro-Bono Clinic and dedicating his time to a wide variety of initiatives within his community. He has been a member of the Advocates' Society since 1973, acting as a director between 1976 and 1979. Mr. Ferguson also served for 30 years as a Superior Court deputy judge, beginning in 1976.

Alfred A. Mamo, London, Called to the Ontario Bar in 1972

Alfred Mamo is widely recognized for his contribution to Family Law reform in Ontario. A Certified Specialist in family law since 1991, Mr. Mamo is also a fellow of both the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the American College of Trial Lawyers. In 2006, he received the Ontario Bar Association Annual Award for Excellence in Family Law. He has been listed in the Best Lawyers in Canada publication since that year and in 2007, led a team of experts commissioned by the Ministry of the Attorney General in an evaluation of the Family Court of the Superior Court of Justice in Ontario. Mr. Mamo has made other important contributions as an author on a range of family law topics and through presentations to provincial, national and international audiences. His term as an appointee to the Family Law Rules Committee has been extended until 2013 by the Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Justice.

David C. Nahwegahbow, I.P.C., Rama, Called to the Ontario Bar in 1982

David Nahwegahbow has had a distinguished career as a lawyer dedicated to providing legal services to First Nations communities and leaders. Mr. Nahwegahbow, who was among the first Aboriginal lawyers in Canada, was instrumental in the creation of the Indigenous Bar Association. Named as the co-chair of the Joint Committee of Chiefs and Experts on the Recognition and Implementation of First Nations Government, Assembly of First Nations, Mr. Nahwegahbow is named by the Lexpert Directory as the most frequently recommended practitioner in the field of Aboriginal Law. He is listed in the Best Lawyers in Canada publication in the specialty of Aboriginal Law. Mr. Nahwegahbow was also a 2008 recipient of a National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Law and Justice and the Anishnabek Lifetime Achievement Award.

Cynthia Petersen, Toronto, Called to the Ontario Bar in 1994

Cynthia Petersen is known for advancing the equality rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people through her legal work. She was the recipient of the Canadian Bar Association's Hero Award in 2000 as well as a Hope and Freedom Award from Toronto's Metropolitan Community Church in 2010. Ms. Petersen, who received an LL.B. from Queen's University in 1989 and an LL.M. from Harvard University the following year, has acted as counsel for Charter and human rights claimants and interveners in cases which have significantly influenced the evolution of Canadian equality rights jurisprudence. Ms. Petersen's advocacy has had a direct impact on the civil rights of thousands of families in Canada. She has acted as the Discrimination and Harassment Counsel of the Law Society of Upper Canada since 2002.

Carol A. Shamess, Sault Ste. Marie, Called to the Ontario Bar in 1979

In more than 30 years of practice, Carol Shamess has made a name for herself as an accomplished lawyer and dedicated community leader. Shamess has devoted countless volunteer hours to effecting social change within her community by working with Algoma Family Services, the Big Sisters Association, the Children's Aid Society, Women in Crisis and the United Way where, in 1990, she was named volunteer of the year. Ms. Shamess was a special prosecutor with the Federal Department of Justice between 1984 and 1990, served on the Legal Aid Area Committee between 1996 and 2001 - acting as chairperson beginning in 2000. Ms. Shamess served as a director of the Algoma District Law Association between 1980 and 1988 and again between 1994 and 2004.

Ronald G. Slaght, Q.C., Toronto, Called to the Ontario Bar in 1972

Ronald Slaght is one of Canada's pre-eminent lawyers and is credited with leading the profession in the re-establishment of civility. An Advocates' Society president between 2000 and 2001, Mr. Slaght's initiatives led to the development of Principles of Civility for Advocates. In 2010, he received The Advocates' Society Medal. Mr. Slaght is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a member of the Ontario Civil Rules Committee and received a Toronto Lawyers Association Award of Distinction in 2009. Named in the Lexpert Directory as one of the Top 25 commercial litigators in Canada, Mr. Slaght, who was the head of the Trial Practice program at the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto between 1983 and 1985, is also recognized for his ongoing contributions to continuing education programs, seminars and conferences.

2011 Lincoln Alexander Award

Stanley M. Tick, Q.C., Hamilton, Called to the Ontario Bar in 1979

Stanley Tick is a distinguished personal injury lawyer known for his leadership in helping Ontarians maintain access to threatened hospital services and gaining improved services for the developmentally disabled and mentally challenged. Mr. Tick is widely respected for establishing the Beth Tikvah Foundation, a residence in Hamilton, Ontario for adults with developmental disabilities. Mr. Tick is a member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, the vice chairman of the St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation and a member of the Hamilton Medical-Legal Society. In the 2008, Mr. Tick was named in the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory as a leading practitioner. The previous year, Mr. Tick was named by the National Post as the best personal injury lawyer, as well as the best legal malpractice lawyer.

2011 Laura Legge Award

Fay Brunning, Ottawa, Called to the Ontario Bar in 1989

Fay Brunning is highly respected within the legal profession as an advocate for the advancement of women in private practice and as a mentor to younger women lawyers entering the profession. Ms. Brunning, the co-chair of the 2010 Women Lawyers' Symposium, was a director of the Advocates' Society Board of Directors between 2004 and 2007. An executive member of the Women's Law Association of Ontario between 1991 and 1998, Ms. Brunning is known to have championed the role of women in private practice by advocating for transparent partnership admission and parental leave polices, as well as flexible work arrangements. She is credited with demonstrating that women can have families and a work/life balance. Ms. Brunning has recently initiated a campaign for change in the treatment of child custody assessors in the family law system to ensure the availability of assessors.

Contact Information

  • For interviews, photographs or additional information,
    please contact:
    The Law Society of Upper Canada
    Lisa Hall, Manager, Communications
    (416) 947-7625

    The Law Society of Upper Canada
    Katie Rook
    Communications Advisor
    (416) 947-3931