2016 Zenith Award Winners


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Marie Laure Leclercq, De Grandpré Chait LLP

Marie Laure Leclercq was a leading organizer of the first World OutGames, which were held in Montréal in 2006 for LGBT athletes. Marie Laure acted as Director of the Montréal OutGames Corporation and as a member of the International Scientific Committee for the Conference on LGBT Human Rights, held in conjunction with the games. She is also a leader with the Québec Gay Chamber of Commerce (QGCC) and served as President of the Equality Committee of the Canadian Bar Association. In 2007, she led the creation of the Québec Branch of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Conference, which she co-chaired until 2015. With Québec CBA’s Legislation and Law Reform Committee, she held an advisory role in the adoption of Québec legislation regarding transgender people. She is also a founding member of the Québec Branch Forum des femmes juristes, promoting the rights of women lawyers.

David Lepofsky, Ontario Public Service, University of Toronto

David Lepofsky holds law degrees from the University of Toronto and Harvard Law School. He practises constitutional, civil, administrative and criminal law in the Ontario Public Service and serves as a part-time member of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. Throughout his career he has advocated for the rights of persons with disabilities and appeared before the Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons on the Constitution of Canada, achieving an amendment to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms ensuring equality rights for the disabled. He also worked with the disability coalition that secured protection against discrimination in Ontario’s Human Rights Code and led the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee from 1994 to 2005. He has been inducted into the Order of Canada, Order of Ontario and Terry Fox Hall of Fame.

Christien Levien, Legalswipe

Christien Levien created the Legalswipe smartphone application that advises the public on their legal rights when questioned or detained by police, an offering that proved so popular it crashed the Apple App Store server. A Canadian of Caribbean descent, Christien recounts being subjected to unprovoked assault by police as an undergraduate and was inspired by that experience to become a lawyer. As a law student doing legal rights workshops in communities affected by the issue of police violence, he gained an understanding of the needs of those communities and designed his app around those needs. Legalswipe draws from the Know Your Rights booklet of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association to advise detainees on specific wording of responses to police questions, as well as providing video recording of incidents and an emergency-message function.

Litwiniuk & Company

Litwiniuk & Company has operated in Calgary’s vibrant, multiethnic Forest Lawn neighbourhood for 40 years. The firm’s primary focus is helping injured clients, many of whom are new Canadians who speak little English. Some come from countries where corruption is rampant and officials can’t be trusted. Others are simply unfamiliar with our legal system, which is complicated, it’s not always fair and it’s easy to get lost or overwhelmed. Litwiniuk & Company works to ensure that doesn’t happen. The firm’s legal team speaks 10 languages. Litwiniuk & Company ensures new Canadians can gain access to important information about their legal rights and deals with paperwork and insurance companies for its clients. The firm works solely on contingency and pays for clients’ disbursements, ensuring that access to justice is available to all.