An LGBT rights champion on the bench, a young intellectual property, diversity and inclusion leader, an advocate for Indigenous justice, and an all-star athlete/employment law litigator are in the spotlight this year. From a strong list of nominees put forward by fellow grads, they have been selected by the Dean’s Council awards committee as winners of the 2021 Queen’s Law alumni awards. 

This year’s winners are:

Justice Cynthia Petersen, Law’89 (Artsci’86)

H.R.S. Ryan Law Alumni Award of Distinction (for overall distinction in the legal profession)

Before her Ontario Superior Court of Justice appointment in 2017, she was a professor whose scholarship on systemic racism in jury-selection triggered changes in the country’s criminal justice system; a lawyer who appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada in landmark Charter cases, helping shape equality jurisprudence; the Law Society’s Discrimination and Harassment Counsel, investigating numerous high-profile workplace complaints; and a Law Society Medal recipient for her exceptional service in promoting LGBT rights. 

Amrita V. Singh, Law’12

Dan Soberman Outstanding Young Alumni Award (for early-career success)

A partner with international IP firm Marks & Clerk (Toronto office), she founded and chairs its national Diversity and Inclusion Committee and has argued before all levels of the federal and provincial courts. She is the Canadian Bar Association-IP section Secretary, an elected Ontario Bar Association multiple-executive committee and Council member, the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada-Litigation Committee Vice-Chair, a Federal Court IP Users Committee member, an elected Queen’s University Council member, and mentor to students and junior lawyers. 

Wendy Whitecloud, Law’84 

Justice Thomas Cromwell Distinguished Public Service Award(for sustained and outstanding public service)

A member of Manitoba’s Sioux Valley Dakota First Nation, she directed the Academic Support Program for Indigenous students (later for all students) at the University of Manitoba’s Law Faculty, where she taught Aboriginal law, property law, and constitutional law for almost 25 years. She was Commissioner of Manitoba’s Aboriginal Justice Implementation Commission, formed to address a 1990s crisis: the systemic racism behind the over-incarceration of Aboriginal peoples in the province’s prisons and jails. 

Jock Climie, Law’94 (Artsci’89)

J.A. (Alec) Corry Distinguished Alumni Award(for excelling in a career outside the traditional practice of law)

This former CFL All-Star completed law school, articled, and practised as a criminal prosecutor and labour litigator with Justice Canada during off-seasons. In 2000, he joined Ottawa’s Emond Harnden, developing an extensive management-side labour and employment practice. He has conducted hearings before numerous boards and tribunals, litigated in federal, Ontario, B.C., and Quebec courts, and juggled his busy law practice while working as a CFL analyst on TSN for 17 years and participating in countless fundraising and charitable community events. 

“This year’s honorees were all inspired to improve the delivery of justice in Canada and are great credits to our school,” says Dean Mark Walters, Law’89. “I look forward to introducing them at ‘Celebrate Queen’s Law,’ our virtual event for all alumni world-wide.” 

The online alumni reception takes place on May 20 from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. To register, please complete and submit the Zoom form

Watch for upcoming feature stories on each of these alumni award recipients.