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Breese Davies named as LSUC award recipient

The Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) has named Toronto criminal lawyer Breese Davies as the 2017 recipient of the Laura Legge Award. Law Times

Davies has "demonstrated extraordinary achievement and leadership throughout her career as a criminal defence and constitutional lawyer," says LSUC.

It also notes that she has "contributed greatly to the advancement and retention of women criminal defence lawyers in Ontario."

Established in 2007 in honour of the late Laura Legge, QC, the award recognizes female lawyers from Ontario who have exemplified leadership within the profession, says the law society on its website. Legge was the first woman elected as an LSUC bencher and the first woman to serve as its treasurer, it says.

Davies, principal of Breese Davies Law, was called to the bar in 2000 after completing her Bachelor of Arts in Criminology in 1995 and Bachelor of Laws in 1998. She graduated with a Master of Arts in Criminology in 2004.

Currently a vice-president of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association (CLA), she advocates for the retention of women in defence practice and for the improvement of the professional experience of female lawyers, as well as the promotion of diversity in the criminal defence bar. 

She runs a busy trial and appellate practice and has been involved in a number of high-profile public inquiries, including the Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in relation to Maher Arar. She was also counsel for the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies in the Inquest into the Death of Ashley Smith.

She is a former president of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Toronto.

Past recipients of the Laura Legge Award include: Lisa Borsook (2016), Kimberly Murray (2015), Susan E. Opler (2014), Marie T. Henein (2013), Mary P. Weaver (2012), Fay K. Brunning (2011), Crocetta (Chris) Gruppuso (2010), Janet A. Leiper (2009) and Susan Elliott (2008.)

Laura Legge graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1948 after earning a B.A. and a nursing degree, says LSUC. She and her husband established the still active law firm of Legge & Legge in 1955. She was director and chair on high-profile boards and received several prestigious awards, including the Order of Ontario. She died in 2010.

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