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,

As we close our momentous 75th anniversary year, I find myself marveling at the remarkable success we enjoyed at Lord Reading, while at the same time, acknowledging a year that has been anything but bright for our community. On October 7th, one of the darkest days in the history of the Jewish people took place in Israel. But the repercussions, while felt most directly by our brothers and sisters in Israel, continue to be felt by Jews and our allies the world over.

From shots fired at Jewish day schools and community buildings to our CEGEP and university students feeling harassed and unprotected with little help provided by political leaders and academic administrators, I am shocked as I write what we as a community have been through in the last seven months. After the worst violence perpetrated against Jews since the Holocaust, it became clear (to me and many others) that beneath the fig-leaf of political opposition to Israeli policy lay a fierce and virulent antisemitism.

Out of this darkness came something positive, to be sure. Our community of Jewish jurists and our allies came together as never before. From our November 27, 2023 Henry Steinberg Memorial Lecture featuring the Consul General of Israel in Montreal Paul Hirschson to the development of new and allied grass-roots legal groups such as the Quebec Jewish Legal Alliance (“QJLA”), bringing us full circle to our human rights honoree next week, Me. Neil Oberman. I will discuss our upcoming dinner and Human Rights Award presentation shortly and in person on May 23, but Neil spoke to me at the outset of the development of the QJLA and its assertive – and litigious when required, and it was required – approach. It was clear to me months ago that the advocacy work of our Society would be complemented by a lawyers’ organization dedicated to bringing the legal fight to our adversaries.

The Lord Reading Law Society was founded during a dark period of exclusion and antisemitism, that seemed to have abated for a time. At 75, the Society finds itself under another very dark cloud of hate. Yet we are at a turning point when we may stand up, be counted, fight with the tools we know best, unite with true allies and go from strength to strength for another 75 years and more.


Alan B. Gold Advocacy Lecture

Our 75th season began September 27th with a captivating lecture by Immediate Past President of the CBA Steeves Bujold entitled “A Year in Review: Seeking Equality in a Challenging Environment.” Steeves brilliantly and passionately weaved personal stories into a larger discussion of his work at the CBA – and otherwise – fighting for the equality rights of marginalized groups, namely members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community.

Henry Steinberg Memorial Lecture

In the shadow of the October 7th attacks and the dark chapter for our community that began on that terrible day, we welcomed Consul General of Israel in Montreal Ambassador Paul Hirschson in November for his address “Navigating International Law: An Israeli Diplomat’s Perspective in Challenging Times.” Ambassador Hirschson helped to unite a grieving community and spoke eloquently of diplomacy and the law of armed conflict during wartime.

Members-Only CLE Lunch with Arsen Ostrovsky

Hosted by our friends at Fasken, in January we welcomed international law expert and CEO of Israel-based NGO International Legal Forum Arsen Ostrovsky for an extremely timely discussion entitled “Who is in the Dock? Israel, Gaza, Hamas War and International Law.” Having just returned from the International Court of Justice in Geneva, Mr. Ostrovsky gave crucial insights into the South African case against Israel at the ICJ.

Young Bar Junior Members Hockey Night

A great group of our young Society members (and others who are merely young at heart!) gathered at the Lord William Pub February 15th to eat, drink, be merry and watch our beloved Habs face off against the New York Rangers, in what has become an annual Young Bar tradition. Connections were formed, hockey was viewed and conversations were had, in grand Lord Reading tradition!

Annual Student Dinner

On January 30th, a fantastic panel comprised of Tamara Thermitus, AD. E., former Chair of the Quebec Human Rights Commission and visiting fellow at McGill Law, and Society member and criminal lawyer Lauren Shadey discussed “Restorative Justice, Restoring Justice.” Our student awards were bestowed on the best students across Quebec’s (and the University of Ottawa’s) law faculties and attendees were wowed by a captivating discussion on the benefits and uniqueness of restorative justice in a Canadian context.

75th Anniversary Gala

It was a truly great honour to be the President during our 75th Anniversary season, which culminated in the 75th Anniversary Gala. The event was a tremendous success and I could not be happier about our tremendous speakers, our incredible guest list, and the warm feelings the evening provided even in these difficult times. You can read all about the Gala in Larry’s article below, and we have put together a page of memories from the Gala that Allen discusses below and you can see here.

I would like to take a moment to thank the incredible group of Society members and friends that worked tirelessly over many months to put together the Gala. They are far too numerous to mention, but they have my, and the Society’s, endless gratitude for their incredible efforts.  I would also like to thank all our many Gala sponsors who stepped up for this special occasion; the full list of sponsors can be found on the 75th anniversary page linked to above.

Next Dinner Event: Annual Human Rights Lecture

To conclude our historic 75th anniversary season, we are delighted to welcome Dr. Michael Geist, a distinguished professor at the University of Ottawa, where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law, for the annual Human Rights Lecture, with a fireside chat entitled “Fighting Internet Hate: The Online Harms Act and Bill C-63.” Dr. Geist will be interviewed on stage by the Society’s Communications Director Allen Mendelsohn. The pair, along with Society member and University of Ottawa Professor Karen Eltis will discuss the proposed legislation and how it might relate to the current rise in antisemitism.

During this wonderful evening, it will be my great pleasure and honour to bestow the Lord Reading Law Society Human Rights Award on Me. Neil Oberman, lawyer at Spiegel Sohmer. A unique selection for a unique year, Neil and the team he works with have capably and with concrete and positive effect represented an array of Jewish community members and organizations in advocating for the human rights, dignity and security of our fellow community members.

You can register for the evening here.

An Act Respecting the Laicity of the State (Bill 21) – Ongoing Litigation

The Society has continued its contestation of Bill 21. With our beloved Past President Ted Goloff – to whom we are so grateful for his years of toil in this file – acting as avocat-conseil alongside our fabulous legal team consisting of Francois Grondin, Julien Boudreault and Amanda Afeich of BLG, the Society resolved to take the matter forward to the Supreme Court of Canada as a result of the Quebec Court of Appeal judgment upholding most of the legislation. Upholding the Society’s founding principles, an application for leave to appeal was recently filed and the Society looks forward to bringing crucial and unique legal arguments forward to advance the matter. Thank you as well to our Human Rights Committee for its ongoing support of this important work.


Serving as Lord Reading President has truly been one of the great honours of my professional life. Serving the legal and Jewish community at once, while challenging, especially in a time when we face tough circumstances, is a rewarding experience I will never forget. Although my presidency is coming to an end, I look forward to continuing to serve the Society in different capacities for many years to come.

This momentous year would not have been as memorable or successful as it was without the blood, sweat and (hopefully not too many) tears of a dedicated and wonderful group of volunteers with whom I had the pleasure of collaborating over the year.

A huge thanks to the Board of Directors and Past Presidents and the Executive, Committee chairs and members and volunteers. While I cannot name all of them, I want to mention a few specific individuals:

1st VP Erin Lesser, 2nd VP Anna Bronshteyn, co-Treasurers Matthew Shadley and William Malkinson, and Secretary Lauren Flam formed the best executive I could ask for!

Hershie Frankel, Lara Malewski, Stephanie Perlis, Allen Mendelsohn and Larry Markowitz all work tirelessly to ensure that day-to-day operations, such as membership, communications, website, social media and our special dinner events all run successfully and smoothly.

I want to thank immediate Past President Jonathan Gordon for providing me with his support and advice throughout the year. I learned a lot from your great work last year!

The Society’s next President, Erin Lesser, will be sworn in at the Society AGM on May 23rd. I am very confident that the Society will continue to thrive under Erin’s excellent leadership.

A final wish for our beloved Lord Reading Law Society to go from strength to strength, overcome challenges put before it, and continue to positively impact Montreal, Quebec and Canada’s legal community and so capably be the voice of Quebec’s Jewish jurists as it has for the past 75 years.

See you all on May 23!


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

75th Anniversary Gala: Legal Legacies

Larry Markowitz

On a snowy April 4th evening, the Lord Reading Law Society celebrated its 75th anniversary before a packed house of luminaries from the judiciary, the Bar and Montreal’s Jewish community, along with elected officials from both the federal and provincial governments.

The 75th Anniversary Gala was not merely the celebration of a milestone, but also a tribute to the tireless dedication and significant contributions of the Society’s members and supporters since its founding in 1948.

The evening’s highlight was a panel discussion entitled “Legal Legacies”, moderated by former Quebec Chief Justice Nicole Duval Hesler, and featuring former Supreme Court Justice Morris Fish and leading Toronto criminal defence attorney Brian Greenspan.

Mr. Greenspan’s dedication deserves special mention. After his flight was cancelled due to the inclement weather, he chose to brave the snowstorm and drove all day from Toronto to be a part of the celebration. His commitment stands as a testament to the significance of the gala and the spirit of the legal community.

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

–US Postal Service

Our seasoned panelists engaged in fond reminiscence about the “good old days”; yet they also acknowledged the positive transformations that have helped shape the profession. They intertwined their personal legal legacies with the broader legacy of the Society.

Each speaker started by tracing their individual journey into the legal profession and reflecting on the changes they’ve observed over the course of their careers. They noted the significant increase in women’s representation within the profession, as well as the overall growth in the number of practicing lawyers. This expansion has been mirrored in the growing ranks within Montreal’s major law firms.

Justice Fish pointed out that while the advent of technology has undoubtedly simplified legal research, it has somehow diminished the “joy of finding the right case” – a sentiment that resonated with many in the room!

On a similar note, Mr. Greenspan highlighted the impact of email on client expectations. The days when clients needed to schedule an appointment just to pose a question are long gone. Now, a simple email can convey a lengthy query, and with it comes the expectation of a swift, comprehensive response.

The ease of producing long texts has also diminished the role of oral advocacy in favour of written submissions.

Another notable transformation has, of course, been the profound influence of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms on jurisprudence.

However, not all evolution has been positive. The once prevalent civility among litigators has given way to less congeniality in today’s courtrooms, a change that has been met with nostalgia and regret by many in the profession.

Do as adversaries do in law,
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.

–William Shakespeare

Modern litigators are more inclined to engage with the media compared to their predecessors, who often deemed pleading in the court of public opinion as unbefitting of a lawyer’s stature. In today’s context, there is increased emphasis on safeguarding the parties’ reputations.

The evening concluded with some practical advice from Justice Fish for the next generation of lawyers:

  • Don’t lose your enthusiasm for the profession.
  • Take time to smell the roses and enjoy life.
  • While law is inherently an adversarial profession, don’t allow an adversarial mentality to permeate your home and friendships.

As the Society commemorated its significant milestone, it paused to celebrate its rich legacy. Despite the evolving legal environment, the Society has persevered as a standard-bearer for legal excellence and helping to shape the profession, while advocating for human rights.

At the close of this historic evening, guests departed with a sense of pride in the Society’s past and a renewed sense of purpose to continue its important work.

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

Relive and remember the Society’s 75th!

Allen Mendelsohn

The Society has compiled a collection of videos, letters from dignitaries, media, and memories from our 75th anniversary. If you missed the 75th Anniversary Gala or simply want to relive the highlights, check out our 75th Anniversary Page!

Society Humour

News from the Mishpocha

Mazel Tov

  • To Past President David Ettedgui on the completion of a fantastic and successful year as Bâtonnier of the Barreau de Montréal

Sincere Condolences

  • To Society Past President Inna Nekhim and her family on the loss of her mother-in-law Manya Korenblit
  • To Society Co-Treasurer William Malkinson and his family on the loss of his fiancée’s father Gad Sidney Ben Ezra