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OBA Foundation awards two fellowships for 2017-2018 term

The Ontario Bar Association (OBA) Foundation has awarded two fellowships for the 2017-18 term, says Toronto business lawyer and OBA Foundation Trustee Anton Katz.

In addition to his trustee work with the OBA Foundation, Katz is the lead administrator of the fellowship program, which includes the OBA Foundation Chief Justice of Ontario Fellowship in Research and the OBA Foundation Chief Justice of Ontario Fellowship in Legal Ethics and Professionalism Studies.

The winners for the 2017-18 year are Brooke MacKenzie, of MacKenzie Barristers Professional Corporation, in the Fellowship in Studies category and Professor Cristina Toteda, of McGill University, in the Fellowship in Research category.

MacKenzie will study motions for disqualification of counsel based on conflicts of interest, while Toteda will develop “an immersive one-week module in legal ethics and professionalism for students that will serve as a catalyst towards more practical and experienced-based legal ethics and professionalism in the Canadian context.”

According to the terms set out by the OBA, the Fellowship in Research is open to full-time faculty teaching at a Canadian university or college, and the Fellowship in Studies is open to all OBA members who do not otherwise qualify for the fellowship for full-time faculty.

“We solicited applications through the Canadian Legal Ethics Listserv and through the deans of law schools across the country,” explained Katz.

The foundation received four applications in the Fellowship in Studies category and five in the Fellowship in Research category.

“The committee reviewed the applications for both awards over the summer and we awarded $5,000 for the Fellowship in Research and $15,000 for the Fellowship in Legal Ethics and Professionalism Studies,” Katz tells AdvocateDaily.com.

Katz says the awarded funds are put towards the recipient's expenses, which can include the costs of hiring one or more student researchers, travel expenses, purchase of research materials, and research and administrative costs.  

“Any unused funds at the end of the fellowship term are to be set aside for travel expenses for presentation of the research, for a period of two years,” Katz says. “Any unused funds after that two-year period go back into the foundation.”

Established in 1987, the OBA Foundation is the charitable arm of the OBA and works to promote legal education and advance innovative research with the goal of improving the justice system.

The purpose of the fellowships, Katz says, is to:

  • encourage scholarship in the academic discipline of legal ethics and professionalism in Canadian universities and colleges;
  • continue the development of Canadian materials on legal ethics and professionalism in the practice of law;
  • promulgate the principles of professionalism to the practising bar at continuing education conferences; and
  • commission keynote speakers for continuing education conferences on legal ethics and professionalism.

Each fellowship runs from Sept. 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018.

Although it’s early days, Katz welcomes future applications for the 2018-2019 term.

“The OBA Foundation encourages future applications,” he says. “We’ll be updating our website soon for the new term and interested parties can go there to learn more about the terms of reference. We also welcome previously unsuccessful applicants to reapply in future.”

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