Canadian Lawyer

September 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 23 of 51

22 TOP 25 MOST INFLUENTIAL LAWYERS 2021 into Canada is not just transferable, but actually valuable." Advocating for those with disabilities Human rights lawyer Lorin MacDonald has expanded inclusion for Canadians at the same time as being a driving force behind HearVue, a social enterprise to increase captioning at large live events. Living with a profound hearing loss, MacDonald's efforts with HearVue have allowed a visible means of receiving spoken words, which supports those with hearing loss, learning disabilities, English as a second language and aids understanding of those with unfamiliar speech patterns. It also supports attendees who may miss informa- tion because of poor acoustics in the venue. MacDonald also looks at the law through a disability lens. One of her cases with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, Butler- Henderson v. Pentagram Bar & Grill, led to a decision that serves as a strong reminder to all restaurant owners about the importance of accessibility for those with disabilities. Restau- rant staff denied her client entry to their base- ment washroom out of concern over being sued, claiming that her forearm crutches were a liability should she fall down the stairs. HRTO affirmed that this was discrimina- tory and a denial of a basic human right, and the decision has been hailed as a landmark victory for disability rights. Pushing the boundaries of academic legal research Sara Gwendolyn Ross, professor at Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University, is considered one of the leading "urban legal anthropology" scholars. She says her studies seek "to reach under existing legal frameworks to engage with the lived realities of how 'the law' shapes the everyday and 'everynight' realities of urban denizens." Ross talks about the "third places" in our lives outside of work and home. "Music culture and spaces are one example of where intangible cultural heritage is gener- ated by various communities, but their ongoing sustainability is shaped by the urban legal frameworks that govern the use, operation and presence of these kinds of venues within a city." Helping young lawyers find fulfillment Aaron Baer launched 4L Academy to "completely re-think how training for law students and lawyers should work." Much of this comes from his own experience. "I was completely unprepared for how to be a lawyer. Unfortunately, neither law school nor my formal in-firm training got me to where I needed to be. The result was impostor syndrome and anxiety." 4L partners with teaching experts and has brought in passionate young lawyers as instructors who work with a custom-built curriculum. "We've proven that you can run interactive, engaging, and incredibly effec- tive legal training in a remote environment." Baer says the feedback has been phenom- enal. "We're a supplement to law school and law firm training, and we've had students and lawyers from more than two dozen firms join our courses so far." Many law firms are really struggling to understand their younger members, he says, and are trying to adapt to a rapidly changing world. Only 25 of the amazing nominees can make the final list, yet all who were nominated have impacted the legal profession. To all of the winners and the nominees, Canadian Lawyer extends a hearty congratulations. "Early on in my career, I saw that a lot of things were broken in the way lawyers talked about self-care and mental health." Maneesha Gupta, TD Bank SPECIAL REPORT

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