Recognition for Achievements by Lawyers and Law Firms.
by David J. Bilinsky
We are the champions – No time for losers – Cause we are the champions – of the world – Music and lyrics by Freddie Mercury, recorded and performed by Queen.
When thinking of the Olympics, an image of a breathless young person comes to mind who is standing on a podium, smiling the smile of a lifetime as someone places a ribbon-bound medal around his or her neck. While lawyering may not be an Olympic sport, there are no shortage of awards and recognition that lawyers and law firms may win in the international, national, provincial and community levels, aside from the coveted QC.
There is the Gruber Prize for Justice. The Gruber Foundation Justice Prize is presented to individuals or organizations for contributions that have advanced the cause of justice as delivered through the legal system. The award is intended to acknowledge individual efforts, as well as to encourage further advancements in the field and progress toward bringing about a fundamentally just world. In 2003, Madam Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella and Madam Justice Bertha Wilson, both of Canada, were recipients (okay, they are judges but they were lawyers at one point too).
There are the Legal Awards. Canada fared rather well in these awards in 2009:
- Best Tax Team, Canada, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
- Best Transfer Pricing Team, Canada, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
- Best Banking & Finance Lawyer, Canada, Barry Ryan, McCarthy Tetrault LLP
- Best Intellectual Property Lawyer, Canada, Douglas N. Deeth, Deeth Williams Wall
- Best M&A Lawyer, Canada, William M. Ainley, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP
The College of Law Practice Management awards the InnovAction Awards (www.innovactionaward.com/home.php) for ingenuity in law practice management. Designed to inspire creative thinking in a field known for its over-reliance on precedent, the InnovAction Awards are intended not only to identify effective innovation but also to inspire it through international recognition. Unfortunately, no Canadian firm has ever won an InnovAction award.
There are the Western Canada General Counsel Awards, a spinoff of the highly successful Canadian General Counsel Awards, sponsored by National Post and ZSA Legal Recruitment. Darren Watt of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers Inc. was picked as “Tomorrow’s Leader” and William Cottick of B.C. Ferries Service, received a Lifetime Achievement award.
David Allgood, on behalf of the RBC’s General Counsel team, received the Association of Corporate Counsel’s highest honour, the “Excellence in Corporate Practice” award.
The Legal Marketing Association has: the Your Honour awards (in 2009 McMillian LLP, Stikeman Elliott LLP and Bennett Jones LLP were winners), the Hall of Fame Award and our own Vancouver Chapter has the HELM Awards to honour excellence in legal marketing (2008 winners can be found at: www.legalmarketing.org/vancouver/helm-awards/2008-helm-awards).
The Canadian Law Blog Awards, (“the Clawbies”), highlight great blogs published by the Canadian legal industry. They are to inspire “social endorsements” for those Canadians who invest their time blogging about the law, or the legal industry in general.
The Clawbies are intended to be a showcase of Canadian legal blogging and to promote a sense of community. Erik Magraken’s B.C. Injury Law blog (www.icbclaw.com/blog) (along with your humble scribe’s Thoughtful Legal Management blog) were B.C. winners.
And of course this short summary just scratches the surface of the legal, business and humanitarian awards that lawyers and law firms can and have received.
Congratulations to all the nominees and the champions of the world alike.
The views expressed herein are strictly those of the author and may not be shared by the Law Society of British Columbia. David J. Bilinsky is the Practice Management Advisor for the LSBC. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Blog: www.thoughtfullaw.com.
This article originally appeared in the February 2010 issue of BarTalk and is reproduced here with permission of both the author and the Canadian Bar Association, British Columbia Branch.