TORONTO, Jan. 6, 2012 /CNW/ - The Law Foundation of Ontario (LFO) is
pleased to announce the selection of Judith McCormack of the University
of Toronto's Faculty of Law as recipient of its 2011 Guthrie Award. This award recognizes outstanding public service on the part of an
individual or organization, in the form of contributions to access to
justice or excellence within the legal profession.
In the words of those who supported her nomination, McCormack is "a
vociferous and vocal advocate for increased legal aid services and
improved access to justice", and someone who has done a "remarkable job
training the next generation of lawyers to remain loyally fixated on
their professionalism and the public interest". At the same time, she
blends "just the right amount of idealism with realism for the
McCormack first joined the faculty's Downtown Legal Services clinic
(DLS) in 2001, serving as executive director and also holding an
adjunct professorship. She provided vital educational, strategic and
administrative leadership, and oversaw the work of law students who
assist some 3,000 low-income individuals each year.
McCormack has also worked in private practice and served as both
vice-chair and chair of the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB).
"Judith's distinguished career has been consistently guided by a strong
commitment to accessible justice," says LFO Board Chair Mark Sandler.
"She has had an enormous impact because of her influence on law
students entering the profession, and because of her success in
achieving systemic change in law schools, legal clinics and the
tribunal sector, all of which in turn benefits the public of Ontario."
McCormack's Guthrie Award nomination was supported by, among others,
judges, academics, and legal clinic practitioners. They noted her work
to sensitize the profession to the impact of access barriers and her
advocacy in support of efforts to break those barriers down. They
further noted her status as a leading advocate for and expert on
clinical legal education - an area in which she pursued academic work
during a recent LFO-funded sabbatical.
During her time with the OLRB, McCormack is credited with achieving
procedural improvements, timely provision of information to parties,
and expanded use of mediation - all of which reduced the impact of
delays as an access barrier. Her efforts are described as having had
an impact on the tribunal sector as a whole.
More recently, she played a leadership role in the law faculty's Middle
Income Access to Civil Justice Initiative - focusing on the growing
difficulties faced by those who don't qualify for legal aid and can't
McCormack will be officially presented with her Guthrie Medal at a
reception in the Spring, joining the ranks of previous recipients who
include Toronto's Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, Alan Borovoy of
the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and former Attorney General
and Chief Justice of Ontario the Hon. Roy McMurtry. The Guthrie Award
was established fifteen years ago in honour of former LFO trustee and
chair H. Donald Guthrie, and is the organization's signature
The Law Foundation of Ontario helps people to understand the law and use
it to improve their lives. It provides grants for access to justice
initiatives, awards fellowships, and supports the practice of public
interest law and professional excellence.
SOURCE The Law Foundation of Ontario
For further information:
Director, Policy and Programs