2019 Zenith Award Winners

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Roberto Aburto, Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP

Roberto Aburto has been a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion at his firm, serving as the Co-Chair of Gowling WLG’s National Diversity and Inclusion Council since 2009. Aburto was early to identify unconscious bias as a risk in the legal profession and sought to encourage professionals and staff to discuss the issues and increase diversity at all levels of the practice. He was a leader in engaging in Gowling WLG’s development of unconscious bias training, which has become mandatory for all staff and professionals at the firm. Aburto has delivered this training to more than 100 staff and professionals. And he coordinated efforts of the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Council with other functional areas of the Firm, including Human Resources, Directors of Students and Directors of Associates.

Ranjan Agarwal, Bennett Jones LLP

Ranjan Agarwal "has held several leadership roles in the bar, each of which has allowed him to advance his view of diversity as an access to justice issue. He is Past President of the South Asian Bar Association of Toronto (2016-2018) and a past Vice President, Membership of the South Asian Bar Association of North America (2017-2018). He is currently the first South Asian officer of the Ontario Bar Association (Secretary, 2017-2018; Treasurer, 2018-2020). Agarwal has advocated both for reforms to our appointment process and more minority appointments. This included advocating to bar associations, judges and policy-makers for reforms to how we appoint our judges, encouraging more transparency and accountability to try to get rid of the problem of unconscious bias, which may be the cause of an unrepresentative judiciary.