Focus On

Law Society of Ontario to honour 10 members

Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 3:28 PM | By Carolyn Gruske

The Law Society of Ontario has announced its award winners for 2018.

The law society is very proud and pleased to celebrate the achievements of these 10 exceptional legal professionals,” said Law Society of Ontario treasurer Paul Schabas

“Their commitment to serving society and the legal professions is exemplary and we look forward to presenting them with the law society’s highest awards of recognition.”

The Lincoln Alexander award, which goes to a lawyer who has demonstrated long-standing interest and commitment to the public and to the pursuit of community service on behalf of residents of Ontario, will be given to Jim Cimba. The society said he is known in the Hamilton, Ont., area for “his generous and selfless community involvement. His past and ongoing commitments encompass a wide range of organizations and causes, including arts and culture, sports and recreation, community building, relief of poverty, social and health care agencies, charitable projects and professional associations.

The Laura Legge award recognizes women lawyers from Ontario who have exemplified leadership within the profession and the 2018 version will be given to Mary Lou Fassel. Fassel is described as having “demonstrated extraordinary achievement and leadership throughout her work at the Barbara Schlifer Commemorative Clinic. Over the past 30 years, she has dedicated herself to improving legal services to female survivors of violence and to the reform of laws and legal system responses to support survivors.”

The J. Shirley Denison award for contributions to access to justice and/or poverty issues will be presented to Antree C. Demakos due to her work in “demystifying the law and helping millions of Canadians obtain better access to justice. Antree founded, and continues to be the driving force behind Legal Line, a federal non-profit organization. For 25 years, she has helped millions of Canadians obtain free legal answers and professional referrals through her pre-recorded, 24-hour information telephone line, live telephone support and the website

The William J. Simpson distinguished paralegal award is given to a paralegal who has demonstrated outstanding professional achievement, made a contribution to the development of the profession, or shown distinction in other ways, and this year Harry D. Fine is the recipient. Fine served as an adjudicator at the Ontario Rental Housing Tribunal, before opening a private practice providing legal services as a paralegal. He has taught a variety of paralegal courses at various community colleges and has served as a director of both the Paralegal Society of Ontario and the Ontario Paralegal Association. He has also volunteered as president of the Landlord's Self-Help Centre.

Six people will receive the law society medal: Lenny Abramowicz, Kathleen Lickers, John Andrew Olthuis, Gilles LeVasseur, Carissima Mathen and Walter Martin Traub

Abramowicz has worked in the province’s community legal clinic system for his entire career, most recently as the executive director of the Association of Community Legal Clinics of Ontario. He is devoted to promoting access to justice and equality for low-income Ontarians.

Lickers, who is a Seneca from Six Nations of the Grand River, is known for her work with Indigenous affairs. She is an accomplished negotiator between Indigenous agencies, First Nation governments and federal and provincial ministries.

Olthuis is a member of the bar in Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador and Alberta. He has spent 40 years working with First Nations across Canada from Labrador to the Northwest Territories for recognition and implementation of their Aboriginal and treaty rights.

LeVasseur is a Franco-Ontarian and has spent much of his career working to protect, promote and enhance the constitutional and language rights of Ontario’s francophone community.

Mathen has worked in the area of women’s equality, respect for the rule of law and public legal education. She has become one of Canadas leading experts on sexual violence cases and constitutional scholarship.

Traub is considered to be an expert in real estate and mortgage law. He is the editor-in-chief of Falconbridge on Mortgages and acts as a teacher, mentor, writer and leader in the real estate bar.

The awards ceremony is May 23, 2018, at Osgoode Hall.