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.



Donna Walwyn, Canadian Association of Black Lawyers

Donna Walwyn is President of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (CABL) and a practitioner of employment law. Donna became a partner at Baker & McKenzie in 2008 and, as President of CABL, has called for greater inclusivity among Bay Street law firms. In 2012, she was selected as the first Canadian participant in the Fellows Program of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. In 2016, she was appointed to the Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters, which was convened by the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada, and is focused on improving access to the civil and family justice system. She has also served as a member of the board of trustees for the national scholarship fund of the Black Business and Professional Association.

Frank Walwyn, WeirFoulds LLP

One of the few black law partners on Bay Street, Frank Walwyn embraces opportunities to mentor, inspire and educate. He is one of Canada’s top commercial litigators, devoting many hours to increasing the number of minority practitioners in law. He regularly counsels high school, university and law school students on their career paths and works through his membership on various judicial appointments committees to open doors for minority lawyers. His community service includes: past president, Canadian Association of Black Lawyers; board member, Community Legal Education Ontario, delivering legal education to low-income communities; steering committee, DiverseCity: The Greater Toronto Leadership Project, aiming to diversify Toronto’s leadership landscape; national advisory committee, James R. Johnston Chair, honouring the distinctive historical presence of African Nova Scotians; and past board member, The Advocates’ Society, and a member of its International Training Committee.

WeirFoulds Women, WeirFoulds LLP

WeirFoulds Women (WFW), established in 1990, promotes a diverse working environment by addressing issues facing women in the modern workplace. WFW sponsors participants from the Law in Action Within Schools (LAWS), which works with law schools to motivate high school students. It also supports Progress Place, transitional employment programs, supporting people living with mental illness. WFW members have served on the Law Firm Diversity and Inclusion Network; on the board of the Canadian Association of Women in Construction; on the volunteer committee of Pro Bono Law Ontario; as President of the Canadian Association of Women Executives & Entrepreneurs; on the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health; and as President of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers. One member worked in Kenya with the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights on the “160 Girls Claim.”