2023 Annual Awards nominations for the President's Award, Lawyer, and Student Awards are closed. 

President's Award

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 on MAY 18, 2023.

Download President's Award Nomination Form (Nomination deadline April 14, 2023)

  • 2023 Gina Alexandris
  • 2022 Professor Mary Jane Mossman
  • 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

NEW AWARD for 2023!

WLAO Emerging Leader Award

This award recognizes a lawyer who exemplifies leadership and excellence. To be eligible for this award, the recipient must:

  1. Have been called to the bar in Ontario for at least 5 years;
  2. Be from a historically underrepresented group;
  3. Engaged in the practice of law or in a non-practicing role that advances the legal
    profession; and
  4. Have a track record of leadership, professional achievement, and community

The recipient will be invited, as a guest of honour, to the WLAO President’s Awards Gala on May 18, 2023.
Applicants must submit a letter of merit (not exceeding two pages) detailing their qualifications for this award. Where possible, provide supporting documentation (e.g.: publications in academic journals, letters of recommendation, curriculum vitae) in PDF

Award Amount: $2,000.00

Download 2023 WLAO Emerging Leader Award Nominator Form

General Counsel Chapter Award

Nomination deadline: April 14, 2023

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 2022 winner of the award was Alexa Abiscott, General Counsel and Secretary, ApplyBoard Inc. 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, the 2020 winner of the award was Cheryl Foy, Secretary and General Counsel, Ontario Tech University and the 2021 winner of the award was Hilda Wong, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for First National Financial LP.

The Honourable Sandra Chapnik Women-in-Law Award

Submissions deadline: Deadline April 14, 2023

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.

  1. Currently enrolled in an Ontario law school (include transcripts and a CV);
  2. A defined need for financial assistance (to be determined at law school with supporting documentation); and
  3. 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 on May 18, 2023, 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 2022 Award Recipient: Chiedza Mitchel Mutize, University of Windsor Faculty of Law.

Download 2023 Chapnik Award Nomination Form

Aird & Berlis Equality Award

Submissions deadline: April 14, 2023

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 Annual Awards dinner on May 18, 2023, 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 2022 Award Recipient; Chantelle Hospedales, Osgoode Hall Law School

Download 2023 WLAO Aird Berlis LLP Equality Award Application Form

Ningjing (Natalie) Zhang, Queen's University Law School
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: April 14, 2023

Torkin Manes LLP and WLAO have established the Trailblazer Award to recognize a female 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 at the Annual Awards dinner on May 18, 2023.

The recipient of this award will demonstrate the following qualifications and characteristics:

  • Female 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

Applications must be received by Friday, April 14, 2023. Apply via email to:

Women’s Law Association of Ontario / Torkin Manes LLP

Subject Line: Student Awards Committee – Trailblazer Award 2023


For further information or clarification  email: wlao1919@gmail.com

Torkin Manes is a full service law firm based in downtown Toronto. Our 125+ lawyers practise in all areas of business law and litigation. Torkin Manes is ranked the #1 Ontario Regional Law Firm by Canadian Lawyer.

The 2022 Award Recipient: Naomi Stuleanu, Osgoode Hall Law School

Download 2023 Torkin Manes LLP WLAO Trailblazer Award Application Form


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


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 was designed to recognize outstanding participation in the legal clinic program of any one of the Ontario law schools.

Chappell Partners LLP/June Bushell Award
No longer being awarded

This award acknowledged a lawyer who, like June Bushell, experienced and overcame adversity in pursuing a career in law and, despite that adversity, made a positive contribution through her legal practice.

The award was open to female lawyers with 5 or more years of practice.  The recipient determined to which registered charity a donation of $1000 was made in her name.

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


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