Law Society Awards Honour the Best of the Profession


Law Society award recipients at Osgoode Hall June 17, 2010.
From left to right (back): Lincoln Alexander Award recipient Aly N. Alibhai, Law Society Medal recipient Robert W. Hubbard, Laura Legge Award recipient Crocetta (Chris) Gruppuso, Law Society Medal Recipients Virginia MacLean, Q.C., R. Douglas Elliott, Terrence O'Sullivan, Mary Elizabeth Atcheson, and John M. Rosen. (front): Law Society Medal recipient Harvey T. Strosberg, Q.C., Law Society Treasurer W. A Derry Millar and Law Society Medal recipient Horace Krever, Q.C.

The Law Society of Upper Canada presented awards to ten lawyers during a special ceremony at Convocation Hall at Osgoode Hall on June 17, 2010. The Law Society Medal, the Lincoln Alexander Award and the Laura Legge Award were presented by Treasurer W. A. Derry Millar to lawyers who represent the highest level of achievement and commitment to serving society and the profession.

Established in 1985, the Law Society Medal is presented annually to outstanding Ontario lawyers whose service reflects the highest ideals of the profession. The award is given for outstanding service, whether in a particular area of practice, in the academic sector, or in some other professional capacity.

This year's Law Society Medal recipients are: Mary Elizabeth Atcheson, R. Douglas Elliott, Robert W. Hubbard, Horace Krever, Q.C., M. Virginia MacLean, Q.C., Terrence O'Sullivan, John M. Rosen and Harvey T. Strosberg, 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 Aly N. Alibhai.

The Laura Legge Award recognizes an Ontario woman lawyer 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 elected as a bencher of the Law Society and the first woman to serve as its Treasurer. This year's recipient is Crocetta (Chris) Gruppuso.

At the ceremony held in Convocation Hall at Osgoode Hall, Treasurer W. A. Derry Millar said, "In honouring these lawyers we are not only recognizing the contributions they have made to the profession, but we are identifying them as role models to other members and reaffirming the public's confidence in our profession. We have a responsibility to promote the values and traditions upon which the legal profession was built, and these awards are a way of doing so. Providing models of excellent leadership, and honouring those models, is an integral part to fulfilling our mandate."


2010 Law Society Medal Recipients

BethAtchesonLSM_169x229.jpgMary Elizabeth Atcheson, Toronto, called to the Bar of Ontario in 1980.
Beth Atcheson is a dedicated volunteer for human rights and philanthropic causes. A solicitor specializing in the regulation of financial institutions, Ms. Atcheson has divided her career between the private and public sectors. A former partner at Cassels, Brock and Blackwell LLP, she has held positions at the Ontario Automobile Insurance Board, Financial Services Commission of Ontario and Ontario Ministry of Finance. She served as a member of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and a senior consultant to the federal Task Force on the Future of the Canadian Financial Services Sector.

A feminist activist, Ms. Atcheson was active in the push for constitutional equality rights, co-authored Women and Legal Action, and was a principal founder of the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF).  As well, she is the vice-president of Nancy's Very Own Foundation, a philanthropic organization devoted to women's issues.

She joined with others to co-found several projects to collect and promote women's history in Canada, including the Feminist History Society, and the women's history website,, which provides interactive information about Canadian women's history.  Ms. Atcheson is the former director of Imagine Canada and is a member of the advisory board of the new Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, due to open in 2012.

Throughout her career, she has been a dynamic mentor for many young women in the profession of law. In recognition, the Women's Law Association of Ontario awarded her its prestigious President's Award in 2006. 

DougElliottLSM_169x229.jpgR. Douglas Elliott, Toronto, called to the Bar of Ontario in 1984.
A leading litigation counsel, Douglas Elliott is also a committed advocate for human rights. He has played a leadership role in some of Canada's most significant class actions, as well as landmark Constitutional, government liability and health law cases - especially HIV, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. Most notable may be the "Reference re Same-Sex Marriage" in the Supreme Court of Canada which led to the legislation permitting same-sex marriage, and Hislop v Canada, a suit for Canadian Pension Plan survivor benefits in same-sex relationships that resulted in the largest class action trial judgment in Canada.

Mr. Elliott is also an active participant in education for the profession. He has been a civil litigation instructor for the Law Society's Bar Admission Course, and has been a guest lecturer at several Canadian and American universities. He is also a frequent writer and speaker at professional development and academic conferences.

Mr. Elliott was the founding president of the International Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex Law Association, better known as ILGLaw, an organization demonstrating leadership in the international movement for equality. He is the founding co-chair of the Ontario Bar Association's Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee (SOGIC) and the Canadian Bar Association's (CBA) national SOGIC and has served as a member of the Law Society's Equity Advisory Group. He has received numerous awards for his legal work, including the CBA's SOGIC Hero Award, as well as the Leadership Award of the Canadian AIDS Society.

HubbardLSM_169x229.jpgRobert W. Hubbard, Toronto, called to the Bar of Ontario in 1977.
Robert Hubbard is a highly accomplished appellate and trial advocate who has made significant contributions to the development of Canadian criminal and Constitutional law. He joined the Department of Justice in 1977 as counsel in the prosecution section. From 1986 to 2006, he was the co-ordinator of criminal appeals for the Ontario Regional Office, where he was responsible for overseeing all criminal appeals involving the Department of Justice. Presently, he is counsel with the Ministry of the Attorney General for Ontario, Crown Law Criminal. Altogether, he has argued approximately 200 appeals on behalf of the Attorneys General of Canada and Ontario.

Also a highly regarded educator and author, Mr. Hubbard is nationally recognized as an expert in wiretap issues, white-collar crime and privilege. He is the co-author of Wiretapping and Other Electronic Surveillance: Law and Practice; Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime; and The Law of Privilege in Canada.

Mr. Hubbard's commitment to the profession and the administration of justice is demonstrated by his extensive work as a teacher and lecturer. He was the principal of the Federal Prosecution Service School for Prosecutors, and has spoken widely at continuing legal education sessions for the Law Society, The Advocates' Society, the Bar Admission Course and the Ontario Bar Association, as well as RCMP and other police seminars across the country.

HoraceKreverLSM_169x229.jpgHorace Krever, Q.C., Toronto, called to the Bar of Ontario in 1956.
Former Justice Horace Krever has enjoyed a distinguished career as a lawyer, academic and judge. He taught law at the University of Toronto Law School from 1956 to 1968. He then served as professor of law at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Western Ontario, until 1974 before returning to the University of Toronto as professor of law and community medicine. During this time, he also served as a bencher of the Law Society.

In 1975, he was appointed to the Ontario High Court of Justice and in 1986 to the Ontario Court of Appeal where he served until his retirement in 1999. In his 24 years on the Bench, Former Justice Krever wrote important judgments in virtually all major areas of law, and his judgments are recognized as models of legal writing.

He was the royal commissioner on several major issues, including the famous inquiry into Canada's blood supply system from 1993-1997. This commission resulted in recommendations which impacted the health of all Canadians.

Former Justice Krever has also made a valuable contribution to legal history and legal writing, serving on the board of the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History. From the early 1960s until his appointment to the High Court of Justice, Mr. Krever was the editor and subsequently the editor-in-chief of the Ontario Reports, the Dominion Law Reports and Canadian Criminal Cases.

MacLeanLSM_169x229.jpgM. Virginia MacLean, Q.C., Oakville, called to the Bar of Ontario in 1969.
A certified specialist in municipal law, Virginia MacLean is an accomplished sole practitioner who has represented clients before tribunals, all levels of Ontario courts and the Federal Court. As an authority on municipal law, she has established expertise in all aspects of this area of the law.

Ms. MacLean is recognized for her volunteerism within the profession: she is a past president of the Ontario Bar Association (OBA), and received the OBA's Award for Volunteerism in 2006. She served on the OBA Paralegal Task Force, where she advocated for and made proposals for the regulation of paralegals. She has also served on many Canadian Bar Association committees, including the Legislation and Law Reform Committee. She has always worked to find opportunities for women lawyers to network and share experiences, and is a past president of the Women's Law Association of Ontario and is the founder and president of the Professional Women's Symposium. As well, she is the president of Lawyers Aid Canada where she has helped to shape the framework that matches clients in need with lawyers who wish to give back to the community and the profession, and chair of the Canadian Bar Association's Pro Bono Committee which promotes and facilitates pro bono services in the legal profession on an ongoing basis

Ms. MacLean is currently a director of the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History. She has authored numerous papers on municipal law and lectured widely for the OBA, the Law Society and other continuing legal education providers on municipal and environmental law.

OSullivanLSM_169x229.jpgTerrence O'Sullivan, Toronto, called to the Bar of Ontario in 1973.
Terrence O'Sullivan is one of Canada's pre-eminent civil litigation counsel. He has played an active role in civil justice reform, chairing The Advocates' Society's Committees on Contingency Fees and Class Action Reform, and also serving as the society's president. Mr. O'Sullivan also served as the senior bar representative on the Ontario Civil Justice Review Task Force and chair of the Joint Committee on Court Reform. He continually takes on pro bono briefs on issues fundamental to civil justice.

In his community, Mr. O'Sullivan has devoted many hours to serving on the boards of Women's College Hospital and Sunnybrook Hospital. His leadership as chair of the Sunnybrook Foundation was critical in successfully building the professional team and fundraising capability, as well as negotiating the de-amalgamation of Women's College Hospital from Sunnybrook. He continues to serve as vice-chair of the governing council of Sunnybrook Foundation and chair of the Sunnybrook Foundation Veterans Campaign.

Mr. O'Sullivan is a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and has been named one of Canada's most frequently recommended lawyers and one of Canada's top corporate litigators. His many professional presentations and extensive list of publications demonstrate the breadth of his contribution to continuing education in the legal profession, and he has been a mentor to many young lawyers.

RosenLSM_169x229.jpgJohn M. Rosen, Toronto,called to the Bar of Ontario in 1970.
During his 40 year career as a criminal trial and appellate counsel, John Rosen has demonstrated his fearlessness in the defence of his clients, and his fairness and civility in his dealings with other lawyers, the courts and the public.  His has been a consistent voice in the advancement of the administration of criminal justice in Ontario.

By routinely representing some of the most notorious clients in the most difficult and high profile cases, Mr. Rosen has demonstrated a passion for the pursuit of justice and has set an example for emulation by others in his profession.  His belief that a vigorous defence for those who are accused of the worst crimes ensures the protection of all underscores his daily dedication to his clients and his profession.

Mr. Rosen's dedication to the law is also reflected by his extensive participation in law school and continuing legal education seminars and programs as a lecturer and panellist, and as a provider of pro bono and legal aid services to indigent persons.

Mr. Rosen is a long-standing member of the Canadian Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the Criminal Lawyers' Association, The Advocates' Society and National Association of Criminal Defence Lawyers.  In 2008, he was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

StrosbergLSM_169x229.jpgHarvey T. Strosberg, Q.C., Windsor, called to the Bar of Ontario in 1971.
A leading counsel in Canada, Harvey Strosberg, is recognized for his service to the governance of the profession. He was elected as a Law Society bencher in 1987, 1991 and 1995, and served on many committees including the Professional Conduct Committee, the Compensation Fund Committee and the Research and Planning Committee. He was elected as Law Society Treasurer from 1997 to 1999. While Treasurer, Mr. Strosberg initiated the Government Relations Committee, which was instrumental in lobbying for the Law Society Act, 1999 the first significant revision in 30 years, and the Legal Aid Act which relieved the Society from the burden of administering the Legal Aid Plan.

He was the primary author of the 1994 Insurance Task Force Report to Convocation. Mr. Strosberg investigated, analyzed and quantified the extent of the debt and its causes. He then decisively created a blueprint for the ongoing operation of the insurance program. Thanks to his vision, work and powerful leadership, LAWPRO (the Lawyers' Professional Indemnity Company) exists today as a healthy institution.

Mr. Strosberg has been greatly involved in legal education and has prepared countless papers and spoken at seminars and special lecture series concerning civil litigation and class action law. He has been the editor of Canadian Class Action Review since 2004.

He also played a pivotal role in helping to make the Law Society's successful Feed the Hungry Program a reality, with his initial and then ongoing support. Today, the program serves 1600 people per week.

2010 Lincoln Alexander Award

AlibhaiLAA_169x229.jpgAly N. Alibhai, Ottawa, called to the Bar of Ontario 1992
Aly N. Alibhai has a long history of community and public service.  He has served as a director on several boards, including those of the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Foundation, the John Howard Society of Ottawa and the Ottawa Public Library. He is currently a director for the Queensway Carleton Hospital Foundation, the Ottawa Children's Choir, and chair of the board of Joan of Arc Academy. Since 2004, he has advocated strongly for access to justice for low-income Ontarians as a member of the board of directors of Legal Aid Ontario.

In addition, Mr. Alibhai has volunteered to assist in alleviating global poverty and providing emergency relief in the developing world through his work with the Aga Khan Foundation Canada and FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance Canada. He also volunteers his time for activities in the Department of Justice Canada, where he is senior counsel and director in the International Legal Programs Section which provides justice sector assistance to foreign countries. In recognition of his extensive community service, Mr. Alibhai has received the Deputy Minister of Justice Humanitarian Excellence Award (2001), and the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002).

He has donated his time and knowledge to the legal community through his service as an instructor of the Law Society's Bar Admission Course, his involvement in the organization of the Raoul Wallenberg International Human Rights conferences and his membership on the Dean's Advisory Council at Osgoode Hall Law School. 

2010 Laura Legge Award

GruppusoLL_169x229.jpgCrocetta (Chris) Gruppuso, Toronto,called to the Bar of Ontario in 1992
Highly respected by Crowns, defence counsel and judges alike, Crocetta (Chris) Gruppuso is renowned within the legal community for her exceptional leadership and mentorship abilities. As a team leader with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, she consistently provides unwavering support and a positive learning experience for numerous junior counsel, helping to build a solid foundation for their legal careers.

Through leading by example and careful coaching, Ms. Gruppuso infuses new lawyers with good judgment, sound principles and respect for the law. She has achieved remarkable results shaping a staff of mostly newly called lawyers, in one of the busiest drug courts in the country into a well-functioning team that is highly respected throughout the legal community.

As head Crown at the Old City Hall's federal Crown's office during a time of great change, she helped to forge a collegial, professional and productive environment. She is known as being unfailingly respectful, ethical and just. Her colleagues consider her a true leader in fostering and upholding the highest standards of the profession. She is also greatly esteemed for her strong work ethic and advocacy skills.

Ms. Gruppuso is currently team leader of the Toronto Amalgamated Team (combined Old City Hall and Superior Court team) for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada. In addition to her professional work, she is a member of the Toronto Association for Community Living and the Down Syndrome Association