2019 Zenith Award Winners


Susan Manwaring, Miller Thomson LLP

Overall, Susan Manwaring has become a change agent in the evolution of social finance in Canada by working with clients, providing thought leadership within the sector, and guiding governments through this new area. She helps organizations design innovative structures, identify and unlock creative sources of revenue, lay the groundwork for social investments, and navigate a changing landscape of regulatory and financial risk. She also works closely with the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, which is a leader in bringing modernization and new forms of financing to Canada. “On Sept. 18, 2018, Manwaring appeared before the Senate Special Committee on the Charitable Sector to present on charitable sector funding with a focus on new sources of funding, including social finance and related areas such as social enterprise.”

Laurent Massam, Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP

Laurent Massam is a partner in Gowling WLG’s Toronto office, practicing primarily in the area of Intellectual Property litigation. In addition to his practice, Massam is a natural leader who has repeatedly demonstrated commitment to pro bono initiatives within the firm. As director of pro bono initiatives at Gowling WLG, he is an outstanding mentor to our associates and students, and a tireless advocate for our firm’s pro bono initiatives. “Massam identified and acted on the need and opportunity to create a significant internal culture shift towards placing a higher value on individuals and teams who seek out, take on, and successfully deliver pro bono work as an important part of our obligation and commitment to promote access to justice for the public and serve as an example to the legal profession."

Isabella Massimi, BMO Financial Group

Isabella Massimi “led a team to create, develop and implement a pilot escalation resolution process to encourage more efficient resolution of suspected financial abuse of vulnerable customers, including elderly customers – and including romance scams.” The goals were to: “(a) establish an engagement model – a process for how front-line staff, escalation teams, legal, privacy, compliance and other groups could work together; and (b) socialize, train and roll-out the model – train front-line staff and others on what they should do and how to use the engagement model if they suspect a vulnerable customer may be suffering from financial abuse.” “With the help of others, Massimi led the team and developed a step-by-step practical engagement model that engages Bank teams with the right expertise, at the right time."

Sarah Millar, Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP

Discovery is now a largely electronic process, and in large scale litigation involves a significant quantity of data. The costs to parties can be enormous. To best serve clients, it is crucial that there be defensible and cost-effective ways to approach discovery. Doing this properly requires understanding and embracing technology and utilizing third party vendors where appropriate. This requires innovation and leadership. “Sarah Millar has been at the forefront of developing an integrated approach to discovery involving lawyers, paralegals, tech personnel and external service providers. This provides significant cost-savings to clients and can also be a significant driver of profit for law firms (vs. having this work done entirely be third parties).” Millar “is comfortable at the intersection of law, technology and project management, and is adept at managing relationships both within the firm and with third party service providers."