2016 Zenith Award Winners

Marc-André Blanchard is an esteemed lawyer from Québec who in April became Canada’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations. In this role, Ambassador Blanchard works to advance Canada’s interests, promote international development, security and human rights, and to keep our government informed on multilateral issues. Prior to his appointment, Ambassador Blanchard had been the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of McCarthy Tétrault LLP, one of the country’s most prominent law firms. He also has a long history of political involvement, as the former president of the Québec Liberal Party and, more recently, as a member of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s transition team. Ambassador Blanchard holds several degrees including a Master's in Public Administration and a Master’s in International Affairs from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. He is a Lexpert Rising Stars alumnus, and in 2013 was named one of the 25 most influential lawyers in Canada by Canadian Lawyer.



Albert Hudec, Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy LLP

After a lengthy career in M&A and securities law, Al Hudec began working with First Nations, negotiating precedentsetting commercial benefits agreements for Aboriginal communities across northern BC. Al now represents more than 20 First Nations in dealings with resource companies, contractors and governments, including LNG projects and pipelines. He works to ensure First Nations share fairly in the benefits of major infrastructure and energy projects on traditional lands. He helps Aboriginal leaders assess resource development proposals and weigh project benefits and impacts. Where development is appropriate, he helps First Nations negotiate up-front financial agreements and long-term benefits, including joint-venture contracting, employment and educational opportunities. Throughout his career, Al has been a mentor and advocate for women in the law. He is a former director of Big Sisters and helped found the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs.

Arleen Huggins, Koskie Minsky LLP

Arleen Huggins is immediate past president of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (CABL). Elected to CABL’s first board in 1997, Arleen has been instrumental in defining and building CABL. Since 2008, she has served as director of membership, vice-president and president from 2013 to 2015. She has worked for equity and diversity in the legal profession and introduced strategies to overcome the barriers experienced by racialized lawyers. As Chair of CABL’s Advocacy Committee since 2008, she has drafted numerous submissions to LSUC: advocating voluntary self-identification in gathering statistics to better understand demographic trends in the profession; responding to LSUC’s Articling Task Force Consultation Report; and urging investigation of access and advancement within legal organizations and supporting strategies for change. Arleen has also been a leader in the very public lobby for a transparent, accountable and representative federal judicial appointments process and the appointment of qualified, racialized candidates.