Faculty of Law

Faculty of Law
Faculty of Law

Shining achievements and special memories shared at ‘Celebrate Queen’s Law in Toronto’

(May 12, 2017)

Dean Bill Flanagan, alumni and friends celebrate Queen’s Law in Toronto.
Dean Bill Flanagan, alumni and friends celebrate Queen’s Law in Toronto. (Photo by Studio 66)

Not even a major rainstorm could keep Queen’s Law alumni and friends away from the annual alumni reception in downtown Toronto on May 4. Inside the chic ninth-floor lounge at CI Financial, feelings of warmth and camaraderie shone bright as guests celebrated Queen’s Law and this year’s alumni award winners.

The big news of the night was the Stephen Sigurdson Professorship in Corporate Law and Finance, created with contributions totalling $1.5 million and named in memory of the Law’84 alumnus who was also honoured posthumously with the H.R.S. Ryan Law Alumni Award of Distinction.

“Steve was one of Canada’s most highly respected corporate lawyers, a proud member of Law’84 and a long-time and greatly valued member of my Dean’s Council,” said Dean Bill Flanagan. “The Faculty is honoured to pay tribute to Steve by the naming of this Professorship.”

“Along with the David Allgood Professorship in Business Law,” he added, “the Faculty now has two privately funded professorships in business law, placing us at the forefront of business law teaching and scholarship in Canada.”

Leslie (Black) Sigurdson, Law’84, accepted the award on behalf of her late husband and was accompanied at the podium with their daughters: Claire (Com’12); Amy (Com’15); Heather (Harvard student); and Laura, Law’13, and her husband, Jonah Goldberg, Law’12.

Two other grads were cheered on as the Dean presented their awards.

Erin Dann, Law’07, a Medal in Law winner who now runs her own criminal defence practice, received the Dan Soberman Outstanding Young Alumni Award for early-career success.

Jeremy Freedman, Law’82, the recently retired President and CEO of the Gluskin Sheff wealth management firm, won the J.A. (Alec) Corry Distinguished Alumni Award for excelling in a career outside the traditional practice of law.

At a Montreal alumni reception on April 24, Justice Mark G. Peacock, Law’74, was honoured for his sustained outstanding public service. The renowned Quebec Superior Court jurist received the Justice Thomas Cromwell Distinguished PublicService Award. Presenting the award in his name was the recently retired Supreme Court Justice Cromwell, Law’76, LLD’10.

In addition to the Sigurdson Professorship, Flanagan delighted the crowd with other recent school developments: the new and highly successful undergraduate Certificate in Law program, and the upcoming awarding of an honorary Doctor of Laws degree to renowned criminal defence lawyer Don Bayne, Law’66, at Spring Convocation. He also spoke of how the five Queen’s Law Clinics are thriving in downtown Kingston, acknowledged and thanked the inaugural Allgood Professor, Mohamed Khimji, for his leadership in the business law program, and invited all alumni to the special Queen’s Law Homecoming from September 8–10 to celebrate the school’s 60th anniversary.

For the third consecutive year, the event was hosted by Sheila Murray, Law’82, CI Financial’s President and General Counsel, and Chair of the Queen’s Law Dean’s Council.

“The Toronto alumni reception is always such a wonderful evening, although bittersweet this year,” says Liz Palatics, a Law’84 classmate and friend of the Sigurdsons. “Reconnecting with members of our class who travelled from Vancouver, Ottawa and London reminded us all how very special our years at Queen’s Law were and how fortunate we were to have shared the experience with each other.”

There was also a strong contingent of young alumni in attendance. “Not only was it a great chance to reconnect with people from my time at Queen’s Law,” says Sharon Wilmot, Law’07, “but it was also nice to connect with other generations of Queen’s Law graduates. I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn about their varied and interesting career paths, as well as the impact, both personally and professionally, they have made in the community.”

Expressing her enthusiasm, Wilmot added, “I am looking forward to the next event!”

For more photos, see our gallery.

Watch for feature stories on the three Toronto award recipients starting next week.

The Stephen Sigurdson Professorship will be featured in our Supporting Excellence 2017 magazine being published in November.

— Lisa Graham