NEWSLETTER: March 2024

Editors – Allen Mendelsohn, Larry Markowitz and Stephanie Perlis

President’s Message

Robert Steinman, President

(cliquez ici pour lire le mot du président en français)

Dear Colleagues, Honourable Judges, and Friends of the Society,

It is a distinct honour to serve as the Lord Reading Law Society’s President. I feel especially humbled to preside over the Society in its momentous 75th anniversary season.

After three quarters of a century, it is worthwhile to reflect on our legacy and raison d’être. The Society was founded during a dark and difficult time for Jewish members of the Barreau. While things have changed and much has progressed, we currently find ourselves once again in a particularly trying and challenging time for the Jewish community and for all who reject extremism and value the rule of law.

The Lord Reading Law Society’s mission to represent the Jewish legal community of Quebec and champion the rights of minorities across Canada is increasingly vital. In the face of current challenges – both at home and abroad – the Society’s commitment to its founding principles remains critical.

As we mark this significant anniversary, let us reaffirm our solidarity and resilience as a community. Together, we will continue to uphold the principles of justice and equality that have guided us for the past 75 years and will continue to guide us in the years to come.

75th Anniversary Gala

On April 4, 2024, the Society is delighted to mark our milestone anniversary by welcoming three very special guests for a panel entitled Legal legacies: A conversation with Justice Morris Fish and Brian Greenspan, moderated by Justice Nicole Duval Hesler.

The Society looks forward to welcoming our distinguished panel of speakers, as well as honourable judges and other dignitaries, including elected officials from the provincial and federal governments. This will also be a unique opportunity to celebrate the loyal Lord Reading membership that keeps the Society strong, along with our friends and colleagues from across the legal community who frequently attend our events and support our important work.

I want to sincerely thank our many Gala sponsors who stepped up for this special occasion at a time when the Society’s work has never been more important. We very much appreciate your generous support. A full list of sponsors can be found on the Gala registration page, where you should also sign up if you have not yet done so. You cannot miss this very special evening!

Mazel tov to the Society on this huge milestone! We look forward to furthering our valuable efforts in collaboration with our friends and allies, and to continuing to educate and inspire the wider legal community.

We’ll see you on April 4th!

Robert Steinman, President 2023-24
The Lord Reading Law Society

Restorative Justice, Restoring Justice

Larry Markowitz

On January 30, 2024, the Lord Reading Law Society had the pleasure of hosting its annual Student Dinner. The evening began with the presentation of the Society’s academic awards to the well-deserved recipients, setting the stage for a captivating dialogue between two esteemed jurists with remarkable and unique career paths.

The event featured a thought-provoking conversation on alternative justice approaches. Tamara Thermitus, Ad. E., a respected human rights expert, former Chair of the Quebec Human Rights Commission and visiting fellow at McGill University’s Faculty of Law, shared the stage with Lauren Shadley, a seasoned criminal defense attorney, partner at Shadley Knerr and former president of the Law Society of Nunavut.

Me. Thermitus recounted her unique childhood in Sept-Iles as a Haitian immigrant and her experiences with Indigenous classmates. These formative years influenced her later involvement in the 2006 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement—the largest class-action settlement in Canadian history—and her contributions to shaping the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s mandate. The Commission, operating from 2008 to 2015, sought to document the injustices inflicted on Indigenous peoples by the Canadian government. Me. Thermitus emphasized the role of law as a “tool for healing” and highlighted the profound impact of history on Indigenous relations.

Me. Shadley spoke of her experiences as a legal representative for Indigenous Canadians in Canada’s North, discussing the inherent tension between the foundational principles of the traditional justice system and the restorative justice practices prevalent in Northern communities. Restorative justice, she explained, focuses on mending the harm done to victims, rather than seeking retribution.

Additionally, Me. Shadley touched upon her personal identity, noting that her Jewish heritage engenders trust among her clients in Nunavut. They see her as someone who understands suffering and as a trusted advocate in their fight for justice. She values the encouragement from her Northern clients to speak authentically as herself, not merely as an advocate for Indigenous peoples.

The conversation then pivoted to the topic of Reconciliation, an ongoing process through which Canada aims to forge a renewed relationship with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples founded on the principles of rights recognition, respect and partnership.

In thanking our speakers, Society past president Nancy Cleman highlighted the influential role that lawyers can play as agents of change. The career paths of Me. Thermitus and Me. Shadley serve as testament to the truth in Me. Cleman’s words, demonstrating how legal professionals can indeed drive transformation in society.

For a full set of pictures from the event, please click here

The Right Honourable Brian Mulroney (March 20, 1939 – February 29, 2024)

Allen Mendelsohn

The Society deeply mourns the loss of the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, Canada’s 18th Prime Minister, who served from 1984 to 1993. Mr. Mulroney was a close friend to the Jewish community and a warmly welcomed speaker at Lord Reading.

On March 13, 2019, Prime Minister Mulroney addressed a packed house at the Annual Henry Steinberg Memorial Lecture, with his talk entitled “Leadership, Free Trade and a Strong Canada” that was tremendously well-received. As he said that evening in his closing remarks:

If all of us remember that freedom and liberty and the protection of minority rights are the very pillars of our national democracy, we can collectively make a contribution to the well-being of mankind that will bring honour to Canada and peace and prosperity to all her citizens.

Words to live by. You can relive that evening through Larry’s write-up of the event in our April 2019 newsletter, a full set of photos on our Facebook page, and an excerpt of his speech that was published in the National Post the next day.

The Society extends its sincere condolences to the entire Mulroney family. May his memory be a blessing and a source of inspiration to us all.

Lord Reading’s Human Rights Essay Contest – Deadline Extended

Neil Hazan, on behalf of the Essay Committee

In celebration of our 75th Anniversary, the Society is thrilled to announce our Human Rights Essay Contest! Embrace the opportunity to express your thoughts and insights in either English or French, crafting an essay of a maximum of 2,000 words that addresses your perspective on the most pressing human rights issues relevant to current Canadian law. The deadline for submissions of essays has been extended to August 15, giving you more time to submit!

Student contributors placing first, second, and third will receive cash prizes of $1,000, $600 and $400, respectively, as well as a Society membership for the year, plus free admission to two Society events. A matching set of prizes (same amounts, same free membership and two free admissions) will be awarded to contributors in the professional category.

Full details and submission guidelines are available on the contest page.

Society Humour

News from the Mishpocha

Mazel Tov

Sincere Condolences

  • To Society President Rob Steinman on the loss of his grandmother Jean Rabinovitch
  • To the family of longtime Society member and friend Howard M. Greenfield
  • To the family of Salim Joubran, the first Arab Israeli to receive a permanent appointment to the Israeli Supreme Court, and a speaker at Lord Reading’s Human Rights Lecture in May of 2018