2020 Award Applications are now open for President's Award, all Student Awards and the Chappell Partners/June Bushell award. This year's Award Dinner will take place on June 18, 2020.

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 is presented at an annual dinner in Toronto in June. Download Nomination Form (deadline March 31, 2020)


The Honourable Madame Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella


Arleen Huggins


Women`s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF)


May Cheng


The Barbra Schlifer Clinic


Elizabeth Grace


Professor Marilyn Pilkington and Judith Huddart


Delia Opekokew


Laurie Pawlitza


Bonnie Tough


Barbara Hendrickson


Kirby Chown


The Honourable Madam Justice Sandra Chapnik


Elizabeth Atcheson


Madam Justice Susanne R. Goodman and Mary Louise Dickson, Q.C.


Beth Symes and Marlys Edwardh


Janet E. Minor


Linda Silver Dranoff and Avvy Yao-Yao Go


Professor Constance Backhouse


Sanda Rodgers, Margaret Ross and Madam Justice Lynn D. Ratushny


Susan Elliott and The Honourable Judge Mary Jane Hatton


Marilou McPhedran and V. Maureen Kempston-Darkes


Madam Justice Louise Arbour, Carole Curtis and Juanita Westmoreland-Traore


Madam Justice Mabel Van Camp and Mary Duncan


Marva Jemmott Q.C.


Mary Eberts


Francis Kitely


The Honourable Bertha Wilson


Margaret Hyndman Q.C. and Jane Pepino


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

Chappell Partners LLP/June Bushell Award

Submission deadline: May 15th, 2020 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.  These documents should be sent to the WLAO by email to wlao@cogeco.ca no later than May 15, 2020 with the Applicant’s contact information. The award will be presented in Toronto at the WLAO Awards night on June 18, 2020.  The recipient will be invited to a luncheon with the partners of Chappell Partners LLP on a date mutually agreed upon.

General Counsel Chapter Award

Nomination deadline: March 31, 2020 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 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. and the 2019 award was presented to

The Honourable Sandra Chapnik Women-in-Law Award

Submissions deadline: April 30th of the current year The Honourable Sandra Chapnik Women-in-Law Award recognizes female 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 in June, the recipient will receive her award and have the opportunity to meet 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 Download Application Form

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 30th of the current year 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):
  • female 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 dinner in June, the recipient will receive her award and have the opportunity to meet many influential and successful women lawyers, legal educators, and judges from the Toronto area. Funds are available for accommodation and travel costs to Toronto for the recipient to attend the Awards dinner. To obtain an application form please contact your law school’s Career Services office or contact Women's Law Association of Ontario directly. Download Application form

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 30th of the current year

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 a gala dinner in June 2018.

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).


Download Application Form

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

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

2013 Benita Ann King University of Windsor 2012 Saron Gebresellassi University of Ottawa 2011 Amelia Martin University of Ottawa 2010 Amy Slotek University of Windsor Law 2008 Seema Shah Osgoode Hall Law School 2006 Victoria Creighton Osgoode Hall Law School 2005 Melissa Ghislanzoni University of Western Ontario