Awards & Honours

H. Bruce T. Hillyer Award

The H. Bruce T. Hillyer Award is awarded to an individual who exemplifies the spirit of OTLA in fearlessly advancing the cause of individual rights by the effective use of trial advocacy.

Past recipients have included:

Gary Will (1996), Richard Shekter (1998), Guy Bertrand (1998), Paul Mann (2000), Paul Jewell, Q.C. (2002), Kristopher Knutsen, Q.C. (2003), Alfred Kwinter (2004), Paul Mann (2005), Carl Fleck, Q.C. (2006), Lorenzo Girones, Q.C. (2007), Tim Boland (2008), Ches Crosbie, Q.C. (2009), Nancy Ralph (2010), Barb Legate (2012), Jerome Morse (2013), Ray Wagner, Q.C. (2014), Kevin Doan (2015), Jim Vigmond (2017), Nigel Gilby (2018).


John A. McLeish Award

The John A. McLeish Award shall be awarded to the person, association or group which has made an outstanding contribution to the goals of a fair trial and access to justice, as an advocate, in legal scholarship, continuing legal education, legal writing, journalism, politics or government. 

Past recipients have included:

Martin Wunder, Q.C. (2000), Robert Munroe (2002), Roger Oatley (2003), Tom Connolly (2008), George Bonn (2009), Richard Halpern (2010), Steven Rastin (2016), Loretta Merritt, (2018).


Dean Edgell Award

The Dean Edgell Award is awarded to a lawyer who has promoted the goals of OTLA through significant contribution and excellence in legal writing, continuing legal education, and leadership activities. 

Past recipients have included:

David Lackman (2008), Andrew Murray (2009), Martin Wunder, Q.C. (2010) Darcy Merkur (2011), Adam Little (2013), Richard Bogoroch (2015), Maria Damiano (2018).


Martin Wunder, Q.C. Outstanding New Lawyer Award

The Martin Wunder, Q.C. Outstanding New Lawyer Award is awarded to an OTLA member in recognition of exceptional commitment to and promotion of the advancement of OTLA’s Mission: To fearlessly champion through the pursuit of the highest standards of advocacy the cause of those who have suffered injury or injustice. Candidates must have practiced law for less than 10 years and be nominated by an OTLA Member in good standing. The successful recipient will have demonstrated participation in activities and programs to improve our legal system and its responsiveness to those for whom we advocate. The individual will have displayed professional proficiency, undertaken trials, service to the profession and service to the community.

2019 recipient:

Dan Lester, White Macgillivray Lester LLP
Dan Lester was Called to the Bar in 2012 and has been an OTLA member since 2013.  He is a key partner in OTLA’s Helmets on Kids program in Thunder Bay.
Dan is a lawyer who takes difficult, tragic cases to court.
In Veneruzzo v. Storey, Dan acted for the family of a teenage girl who was killed in motor vehicle accident. The defendant was an off-duty police officer. At around the same time as the tort action resolved, the defendant made slanderous posts about the deceased on Facebook. Dan then brought a libel/slander action against the defendant. That action went to summary judgment and then to the Court of Appeal as part of the group of cases dealing with the anti-SLAPP legislation. Dan was successful before a 5 judge panel at the Court of Appeal.
Dan takes cases all over northern Ontario. He travels across northern Ontario, including flying into remote First Nations communities to help assess his clients in their communities. He has even brought OTs up to remote communities.
Dan's work on behalf of his clients demonstrates the best of what OTLA stands for.

Past recipients have included:

Alan Preyra (2006), Brian Cameron (2008), Catherine Wilde (2009), Elizabeth Quigley (2010), Maria Capulong (2011), Darcy Romaine (2012), Jason Singer (2013), Melissa Miller (2014), Peter Cho (2016), Michael Giordano (2017), Nicole Correiro (2018).


Distinguished Service Award

The Distinguished Service Award shall be awarded for long standing dedicated service to furthering the goals and ideals of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association.

2019 recipients:

Stanley Pasternak, Law Offices of Stanley Pasternak  
Stanley Pasternak has been an OTLA member since 1997 and has volunteered his time and efforts to OTLA in so many ways. His contributions include but are not limited to: 

Being an OTLA Board member since 2010 and being active on committees such as Finance, Insurance, Practice Direction and the Auto Insurance Reform Working Group.

Stanley actively represented OTLA over several years on FSCO matters dealing with areas like the mediation backlog.

He also took a lead role in our discussions with the ministry of transportation on the redacting of accident reports.

Stanley, you have given selflessly of your time and we thank you for your commitment to OTLA and your many years of involvement.



Amy Hofstetter, MHN Lawyers LLP & Tracy Romanowski, Kahler Law Firm

Together Amy Hofstetter and Tracy Romanowski have actively raised issues of concern across the province to OTLA.  Most recently they alerted us to the matter of many insurance companies reducing benefits to claimants by including the HST within the benefit limits.  This was contrary to several written directions given by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, known as FSCO.  With their help and documentation, OTLA has made several requests for change and the issue was covered in the Toronto Star.  While most insurance companies are now in compliance there is still a Class Action suit going on about this matter.

We thank Amy and Tracy for their distinguished service in ‘breaking open’ this important issue on behalf of all the clients who deserve better treatment.


Past recipients have included:

Ted Bergeron, Diana Edmonds, Paul Jewell, Q.C., John Johnson, Ava Hillier, David Lackman, Shirley Linton, Joan MacDonald, Paul Mann, Michael Shannon, and Jay State (2004), Stephen Abraham and Moi Vienneau (2005), Selma Colvin and Andrew Spurgeon (2006), Jim Vigmond, Brian Cameron and Adam Little (2009), Peter Kennedy (2010) , Patrick Brown and Allan Rouben (2011), Simona Jellinek, Greg Monforton and Claire Wilkinson (2012), Duncan Embury and Ted Masters (2013), Peter Feifel (2014), Paul Harte (2015), Laurie Tucker (2016), Charles Gluckstein (2017), Miles Obradovich, Michelle Jorge, Tina Radimisis, Jason Singer (2018).

Women's Caucus Award

The Women’s Caucus Award is awarded to a female lawyer in OTLA who has demonstrated leadership in OTLA, promoted the retention and advancement of women in law, mentored other women and supported other female lawyers in OTLA. 

Past recipients have included:

Pascale Daigneault (2010), Judith Hull (2011), Maia Bent (2012), Laurie Tucker (2013), Barbara MacFarlane (2015), Tina Radimisis (2016), Daniela Pacheco (2017).

Distinguished Law Clerk Award

The Distinguished Law Clerk Award shall be awarded to a senior law clerk, with at least 5 years membership in the OTLA Law Clerks Section, who has consistently exemplified the mission of the organization.

2019 recipient:

Kerry Parsons, Legate Personal Injury Lawyers
Kerry Parsons has been an OTLA member for 15 years and despite her reticence to speak publicly, she has presented at OTLA conferences. She has developed forms and checklists that have become standards in the industry, content to let the lawyers who use them take the credit for their creation. Barb Legate blushes when she hears that legal colleagues love her check lists – because she knows that they were created in collaboration with Kerry!

Kerry works with other OTLA clerks at Legate Personal Injury Lawyers, and is the first one to share her experience with them. She has mentored clerks who have gone on to excel in their own careers and in turn have presented to colleagues at OTLA. Her patience with new clerks and ability to mentor clerks to senior positions speaks volumes about her character and the respect that her work mates and lawyers have for her.

Past recipients have included:

Josie Skelly (2007), Tracy Romanowski (2008), Sharon Smiley (2009), Barbi Andrews (2015), Charlene Lewin (2016), Paula Dadd (2017), Stacy Bailey (2018).

Outstanding Law Clerk Award

The Outstanding Law Clerk Award will be awarded to the OTLA law clerk who has demonstrated exceptional commitment and proficiency to the OTLA Law Clerk Section, or contributed in a significant way to cases over the past year. The successful candidate will have displayed generosity with their time and contributions in their assistance to their fellow law clerks, and/or to their law offices, and has shown a dedication to those for whom we advocate.

2019 recipient:

Tania Harris, Howie, Sacks and Henry LLP
Tania has been an active and dedicated OTLA member for 13 years and is valuable clerk at Howie, Sacks and Henry LLP.

She is especially committed to educating and helping other law clerks, as demonstrated by her involvement in the Law Clerk Education Committee and as Vice-Chair of the Law Clerks Section. 

She has been involved developing and presenting at conferences, webinars and roundtables geared to OTLA Law Clerks. 

She is regularly communicating with other clerks by phone and email to provide advice about file issues, client management, technical SABS issues, trial preparation, and according to Adam Wagman her specialty -  adjuster stick handling.

Tania inspires others by also being well known for her community contributions. She is a Board member of Brain Smart Hamilton, working in the area to prevent and address concussions in youth sports. Tania is a respected colleague at Howie, Sack & Henry and is a true inspiration to all with whom she works at the law firm, OTLA and in the community. 

Past recipients have included:

Tracy Romanowski (2007), Jose Emiliani (2008), Fiona Korolenchuk (2009), Jennifer Baic (2010), Jessica MacInnes (2011), Misty Lucas (2012), Amy Hofstetter (2013), Wanda Huitema (2014), Laurie Taft (2014), Christopher Jackson (2015), Roger Shoreman (2015), Cesar Carranza (2017).


Celebration of the Personal Injury Bar

The Ontario Trial Lawyers Association recognizes leaders of the plaintiff and defence personal injury bar at its Celebration of the Personal Injury Bar. Recipients have included:

Greg Monforton, Todd J. McCarthy

Alan Rachlin, James Howie

Paul Harte, Jack F. Fitch

James Vigmond, Paul Tushinski

David Smye, Q.C., James Regan, Q.C.

Timothy P Boland, Sheldon A Gilbert, Q.C.

James Scarfone, Peter Boeckle

Kristopher Knutsen, Q.C., Barry Percival, Q.C.

Jack Fireman, Q.C., Brian Brock, Q.C.

Bruce Hillyer, Joseph Dillon, Q.C.

Barbara Legate, Cameron Godden

Alfred M. Kwinter, Philippa G. Samworth

Carl Fleck, Q.C. Jesse Glass, Q.C., Bernard Gluckstein, Q.C. and Michael Royce

Paul Mann, Tom McGrenere, Q.C. John McLeish and Alexander Szalkai, Q.C.

Geoff Adair, Q.C., Graham Dutton, Q.C., Lawrence Mandel, Q.C. and Roger Oatley

Earl Cherniak, Q.C., Kenneth E. Howie, Q.C. and Martin Wunder, Q.C.
The Honourable John D. Bowlby, Q.C. , Edson Haines, Q.C., The Honourable R.E. Holland, Q.C., The Honourable Frank J. Hughes, Q.C., Douglas Laidlaw, Q.C., The Honourable Mayer Lerner, Q.C., Isadore Levinter, Q.C.