2019 Zenith Award Winners

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Julie Girard, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP

Montréal-based Julie Girard, a partner in the Dispute Resolution practice at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, has played a pivotal role in changing the way Canadian amateur athletes are supported and protected. Her work in representing, on a pro bono basis, four women who were among the young sexual assault victims of former ski coach Bernand Charest, who has been convicted and sentenced, has led to the unveiling of federal policies for national sports bodies. Amélie-Frédérique Gagnon, Gail Kelly, Anna Prchal, and Geneviève Simard engaged Julie to represent them as they led an initiative with B2ten, an organization dedicated to supporting Canadian amateur athletes, to make sports safer in Canada. In order to make the biggest impact, Girard advised and supported her clients through their decision to disclose their identities, speak up and demand changes by sports organizations and governments.

Brook Greenberg, Fasken Martineau LLP

Greenberg has demonstrated leadership in addressing mental health and substance abuse issues facing the legal profession. As a Law Society of BC Bencher, he chaired its Mental Health Task Force. This Task Force “is responsible for coordinating and assisting the Benchers in implementing the Law Society’s strategic goals in relation to improving the mental health of the profession, namely: reducing stigma around mental health and substance use issues and developing an integrated mental health review concerning regulatory approaches to discipline and admissions.” The Task Force has completed serious study and input-gathering from its members, relevant stakeholders, and gathering research from the American Bar Association and other jurisdictions in Canada. Brook Greenberg’s visibility on the point has advanced the credibility of the cause and has helped Law Society members understand that more needs to be done.

Carla Hannemann, KPMG Law LLP

Carla Hannemann “is very passionate about contributing positively to the development of others. She is the founder and chair of KPMG’s GTA Youth Initiatives Committee, which works to develop, organize, and deliver projects that benefit young people facing barriers to their career development. Hannemann developed day-long workshop (the Skills for Work Discovery Days) that helps youth facing barriers develop skills that bring them closer to the labour market by preparing them for interviews and networking events. The topics covered include First Impressions, Your Personal Brand, Social Media Management, and Identifying Personality Skills and Traits. The events provide youth with insight and exposure to people working in a professional environment. The Youth Initiatives Committee, with the support of the United Way and Ten Thousand Coffees, also hosts netWORKS speed networking events for young adults facing barriers."

Michelle Henry, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

Michelle Henry’s efforts to improve diversity and pro bono practices are inherent to her career. She has vast experience in representing clients in human rights litigation before the Canadian Human Rights Commission and federal and provincial Tribunals, both in respect of allegations relating to discrimination in employment and provision of services. As the only Black equity partner, she is very active in her community. Henry has been involved in the firm’s student recruitment and is a member of the Firm’s Admission Committee. She serves as a mentor and Principal to summer and articling students. Henry is very involved in pro bono work and access to justice. She co-founded the Black Business Law Clinic, a project in partnership with Pro Bono Ontario, which provides free legal advice to Black businesses through a network of volunteer lawyers.

Claire Hunter QC, Hunter Litigation Chambers

Claire Hunter QC “is in her third year as Access Pro Bono’s president (in addition to maintaining her busy civil litigation practice and raising two young children). She has advocated for recognition of a collective professional obligation to address access to justice issues. In 2018, having been involved in the previous iterations of Access Pro Bono’s Court of Appeal program, she spearheaded a collaborative project between the Court of Appeal Registrar, staff and judges and Access Pro Bono’s staff, board and volunteer lawyers to develop a new program to address the unmet representation needs in the Court of Appeal. The new Access Pro Bono/Court of Appeal program, which started on February 4, 2019, has as its objective to make available free or affordable representation to all civil and family self-represented persons in the BC Court of Appeal."