The 2022 Annual Awards nominations for the President's Award and Student Awards are now open.
The WLAO President's Award recognizes a woman who has made a substantial contribution to the legal community as an academic, adjudicator, litigator, solicitor, author, or related profession. The recipient must demonstrate a commitment to the promotion of women in the law and be recognized as a leader. Encompassing the ideals of the Women's Law Association, the recipient of the President's Award will be engaged, aware and connected to issues, substantive and personal, facing women in the legal profession today. The Award may also be presented to a firm or organization exemplifying the ideals for which it is given.
The President's Award will be presented in Toronto in June.
Download Nomination Form (Nomination deadline March 31 2022)
- 2021 Joanna Birenbaum
- 2020 Dr. Signa Daum Shanks
- 2019 The Honourable Madame Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella
- 2018 Arleen Huggins
- 2017 Women`s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF)
- 2016 May Cheng
- 2015 The Barbra Schlifer Clinic
- 2014 Elizabeth Grace
- 2013 Professor Marilyn Pilkington and Judith Huddart
- 2012 Delia Opekokew
- 2011 Laurie Pawlitza
- 2010 Bonnie Tough
- 2009 Barbara Hendrickson
- 2008 Kirby Chown
- 2007 The Honourable Madam Justice Sandra Chapnik
- 2006 Elizabeth Atcheson
- 2005 Madam Justice Susanne R. Goodman and Mary Louise Dickson, Q.C.
- 2004 Beth Symes and Marlys Edwardh
- 2003 Janet E. Minor
- 2002 Linda Silver Dranoff and Avvy Yao-Yao Go
- 2001 Professor Constance Backhouse
- 1999 Sanda Rodgers, Margaret Ross and Madam Justice Lynn D. Ratushny
- 1998 Susan Elliott and The Honourable Judge Mary Jane Hatton
- 1997 Marilou McPhedran and V. Maureen Kempston-Darkes
- 1996 Madam Justice Louise Arbour, Carole Curtis and Juanita Westmoreland-Traore
- 1995 Madam Justice Mabel Van Camp and Mary Duncan
- 1994 Marva Jemmott Q.C.
- 1993 Mary Eberts
- 1992 Francis Kitely
- 1991 The Honourable Bertha Wilson
- 1990 Margaret Hyndman Q.C. and Jane Pepino
- 1989 Past Presidents of WLAO including June Bushell, Margaret Fasken Baird Campbell, Madam Justice Tamarin Dunnet, Patricia Drozdoski, Margaret Turvey Haig, Judith Hendy, Mary Lamont, Laura Legge, Fern Levis, Betty Jane Macdonald, Lynda Tanaka, Eileen Mitchell Thomas, Madam Justice Mabel Van Camp, and Margot A. Warren
General Counsel Chapter Award
Nomination deadline: April 30, 2022
The WLAO General Counsel Chapter Award, established in 2015, recognizes a member of the General Counsel Chapter for her leadership role and commitment to the success of women in law. Awarded internally.
The 2021 winner of the award was Hilda Wong, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for First National Financial LP. The first presentation of this award was to Norie Campbell of the TD Bank Group in June 2015. The 2016 recipient of the award was Dorothy Quann of Xerox Canada. The recipient of the 2017 award was Doris Stamml, Chief General Counsel at Ernst & Young, the 2018 award was presented to Judy Naiberg, the VP, Legal & Business Affairs at Sony Music Entertainment Canada Inc., the 2019 award was presented to Mary Martin, retired from Metrolinx, and the 2020 winner of the award was Cheryl Foy, Secretary and General Counsel, Ontario Tech University.
The Honourable Sandra Chapnik Women-in-Law Award
Submissions deadline: Deadline April 30, 2022
The Honourable Sandra Chapnik Women-in-Law Award recognizes women law students who exemplify the drive and determination to achieve a law degree after having spent time in the workforce.
- Currently enrolled in an Ontario law school (include transcripts and a CV);
- A defined need for financial assistance (to be determined at law school with supporting documentation); and
- An essay of no less than 200 words explaining the above, her past experiences and her future goals.
As a guest of honour at the WLAO Annual Awards dinner in June, the recipient will receive her award and be introduced to many influential and successful women lawyers, legal educators, and judges from the Toronto area. This award will be administered through the WLAO and Ontario law schools with final selection by a panel consisting of the Honourable Sandra Chapnik and two WLAO board members.
Annual Award Amount: $1,000
The 2021 Award Recipient: Amanda Welton-Hagen, University of Windsor Faculty of Law
Avril A. Farlam Advocacy Award
Submissions deadline: This award has been discontinued. Thank you to Avril Farlam for her 5 year support of this award.
The Avril A. Farlam Advocacy Award is designed to recognize outstanding participation in the legal clinic program of any one of the Ontario law schools
Aird & Berlis Equality Award
Submissions deadline: April 30, 2022
The Women's Law Association of Ontario and Aird & Berlis LLP Equality Award is designed to recognize a woman law student who has dedicated her time and talents to advancing equality rights. The recipient will receive a monetary award of $1000.00. The recipient of the award will demonstrate the following characteristics (for details see application form):
- women registered, in good standing, at an Ontario faculty of law and studying for an LL.B, J.D. or LL.M.; and
- a record of dedication to advancing equality rights (such as, but not limited to religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, mental health, refugee, aboriginal, minority and HIV/AIDS victim's rights).
As a guest of honour at the WLAO Annual Awards event in June 2022, the recipient will receive her award and the opportunity to meet many influential and successful women lawyers, legal educators, and judges.
The application form is available below, or contact your law school’s Career Services office, contact Women's Law Association of Ontario directly.
Annual Award Amount: $1,000
The 2021 Award Recipient; Ningjing (Natalie) Zhang, Queen’s University Faculty of Law
Maryam Hassan, Bora Laskin Faculty of Law, Lakehead University
Alana Robert, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
Stacia Loft, Faculty of Law, Queen’s University
Heather Donkers, Osgoode Hall Law School
Ava Nicole Williams, Western University School of Law
Yadesha Satheaswaran, Osgoode Hall Law School
Stacey MacTaggert, University of Western Ontario Law School
Elisa Mangina, University of Toronto
Iman Amin, University of Ottawa
Samara Sector, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
Maria Nunez, Queen's Law School
Christine Dankowych, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
Andree Taylor University of Ottawa
Shaneka Shaw Osgoode Hall Law School
Rosario Cartagena University of Ottawa
Torkin Manes LLP Trailblazer Award
Submissions deadline: May 1 2022
Torkin Manes LLP and WLAO have established the Trailblazer Award to recognize a woman law student for her leadership role in business and the law (this could be corporate/commercial, not-for-profit, or entrepreneurial). This award is given to a student that best exemplifies the qualities of effective business leadership, innovatively applied know-how, and potential for growth. The award (with a monetary award of $1,000) will be presented in June 2022.
The recipient of this award will demonstrate the following qualifications and characteristics:
- woman student registered in 2nd or 3rd year and in good standing at an Ontario faculty of law, and studying for a J.D. or LL.M. (the successful candidate will likely be enrolled in a joint J.D./LL.M. and MBA degree program);
- an acknowledged leader, actively demonstrating the promotion of women in business;
- exceptional legal expertise and proven business acumen; and
- demonstrates an entrepreneurial and business focused spirit, with a strong sense of how to put a project or idea into action.
Please return completed application form along with a letter of merit (not to exceed two pages) outlining the candidate’s qualifications for this award. If appropriate, please provide supporting documentation (i.e. letters of recommendation, curriculum vitae).
Annual Award Amount: $1,000
The 2021 Award Recipient: Madeleine Gottesman, University of Toronto Faculty of Law
Nataly Dil, Faculty of Law, Queen’s University
Sarah Firestone, University of Toronto School of Law
Precia Darshan, Queen's University, Faculty of Law
Diana Pegoraro, Osgoode Hall Law School
Alexandra Aliferis, University of Toronto
Denise Brunsdon, University of Western Ontario
Chappell Partners LLP/June Bushell Award
Submission deadline: Not being presented in 2022
This award acknowledges a lawyer who, like June Bushell, experienced and overcame adversity in pursuing a career in law and, despite that adversity, is making a positive contribution through her legal practice.
The award is open to female lawyers with 5 or more years of practice. The recipient will determine to which registered charity a donation of $1000 will be made in her name.
The Applicant’s letter to the reviewing panel should set out her circumstances and be accompanied by two letters of support/reference attesting to the challenges facing, or faced by, the Applicant and her contributions her clients, community or the practice of law.
Lerners LLP/WLAO Elizabeth Grace Emerging Leaders Award
This award has been discontinued. Thanks to Lerners LLP for their participation the past several years. The Award recognized women in law who are emerging leaders in their fields in practical, policy and/or academic law-related work, leadership and contributions in areas that advance the understanding of sexual and/or domestic violence and abuse, or otherwise advances the rights and interests of vulnerable persons who have suffered and/or are at risk of suffering such violence and abuse.
McCarthy Tetrault Community Contribution Award
Benita Ann King University of Windsor
Saron Gebresellassi University of Ottawa
Amelia Martin University of Ottawa
Amy Slotek University of Windsor Law
Seema Shah Osgoode Hall Law School
Victoria Creighton Osgoode Hall Law School
Melissa Ghislanzoni University of Western Ontario