Osgoode honours graduates for their exceptional contributions

York’s Osgoode Hall Law School honoured seven distinguished Osgoode alumni, one posthumously, with awards for their exceptional contributions to the legal profession and society at the Dean’s Annual Alumni Reception yesterday.

“These awards are our way of recognizing exceptional alumni who have brought distinction to the profession of law and the Law School,” said Osgoode Dean Patrick Monahan. “They are highly respected professionals whose accomplishments in the field of law are truly extraordinary.”

The Dianne Martin Medal for Social Justice Through Law, named after late Osgoode Professor Dianne Martin who was committed to law as an instrument for achieving social justice and fairness, went to lawyer, consultant, teacher and trainer Eva Marszewski (right) (BA ’70, LLB ’73). Marszewski has changed the lives of countless youth and shown remarkable leadership in the field of non-violent resolution of conflict. She has served on the board of directors of the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution and was one of the key adult advisers to the youth founders of Youth Organizing to Understand Conflict and Advocate Non-Violence. Her greatest achievement is the creation of Peacebuilders International (Canada) where she is now the volunteer executive director.

The Osgoode Alumni Gold Key Awards went to six Osgoode graduates. They are:

Achievement – The law practice of Gordon Kirke (left) (LLB ’69, LLM ’77) involves the representation of many components of the sports business including athletes, teams, leagues, unions, associations, artists, performers, sponsors and producers. Kirke is a frequent commentator in the media on sports and entertainment matters. He has been described as not only Canada’s top sports lawyer, but as one of the greatest sports and entertainment lawyers in the world. An adjunct professor of sports and entertainment law at Osgoode and in the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law, he is the first Canadian president of the Sports Lawyers Association and is a director of the Children’s Aid Foundation and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports. 

Achievement (posthumously) – Alison Youngman (right) (LLB ’84, LLM ’99)  was a woman who exemplified courage, kindness and humour and who had an impact on everyone around her. One of the first women to balance a career and motherhood, she helped shape Stikeman Elliott LLP’s policy on maternity leave. Her strong entrepreneurial spirit led to the launch of Stikeman’s first marketing group and she later created a nationally recognized technology and outsourcing group within the firm. Despite her many commitments, she made time to mentor young lawyers, who looked to her as a role model. She was president of the International Women’s Forum of Canada and chair of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. She was recognized for her outstanding contributions in 2004 by the YWCA of Toronto who named her a Woman of Distinction. 

Recent GraduateLorraine Land (left) (LLB ’02, MES ’02) is a dedicated social justice and aboriginal rights activist. Since graduating from Osgoode, she has been the aboriginal affairs coordinator for the Citizens for Public Justice and has worked with Olthuis Kleer Townshend, a prestigious aboriginal boutique law firm. Co-editor of two editions of Nation to Nation: Aboriginal Sovereignty and the Future of Canada, she is the past chair of a national coalition of groups working in partnership on aboriginal rights issues and played an active role in the precedent-setting Daishowa vs. Friends of the Lubicon. She currently serves as legal counsel for the Nunavut Department of Justice and represents the Nunavut government in major land claims litigation.

Public Sector – Douglas Ewart (right) (LLB ’72, MBA ’78) is a senior member of the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, providing advice and opinions to the cabinet office and provincial ministries. During his time at Osgoode, he was one of the founding students of Parkdale Community Legal Services. Ewart, who later obtained a master of laws degree from the London School of Economics, worked closely with Roy McMurtry between 1975 and 1985 during a period of unparalleled legal reform. He was directly involved in race relations, the redesign of the Ontario Human Rights Code and the establishment of the foundation for Ontario’s network of legal aid clinics. He went on to become the director of the Policy Development Division of the Ministry, responsible for ongoing review and reform of all aspects of civil justice in Ontario. From there, he held a series of positions within the federal government as senior general counsel and senior adviser to various deputy ministers.

Public Sector – Doug Lewis (left) (LLB ’67) has made a career of public service. He served as the Member of Parliament for Simcoe North from 1979 to 1993 and served in the cabinet of former prime minister Brian Mulroney as attorney general of Canada and minister of justice, government house leader, minister of transport and solicitor general. More recently, he was appointed to chair a federal panel to study railway safety in Canada. He practises elder, immigration, corporate and commercial law in Orillia and is the managing partner of his firm. He has served on the boards of many public companies and is presently a director of the State Bank of India (Canada). He was a member of the Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital Foundation board and chaired their successful $12-million building campaign.

Service – Charles Gastle (right) (LLM ’94, JD ’98) is a founder of Bennett Gastle Professional Corp., where he practises commercial litigation, international trade litigation and international arbitration. An adjunct professor at Osgoode since 2002, and in the Faculty of Graduate Studies at York since 2005, he received Osgoode’s Adjunct Faculty Teaching Award in 2006. Dedicated to being of service to those in need, Gastle’s passion is the Cambodian Law Student Project, which involves helping to arrange scholarships and living arrangements for gifted female students from poor families along the Vietnam and Laos border identified by Peace Corps workers. Without this important and worthwhile program, the women would have little opportunity to obtain a university education and few options in life.

In addition to the above awards, the Mentor of the Year Award was given to Christine Gallo (left) (BBA Spec. Hons. ’03, LLB ’06), who works as an associate at Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP.

The Mentor Program matches Osgoode students with alumni so that the students can get advice on their education and the profession. 

“Christine’s students say that the advice she has provided them has been invaluable, and that she has gone out of her way to meet with them,” said Monahan of Gallo’s mentoring contributions.