TORONTO, ON?— The Law Society of Ontario presented a degree of Doctor of Laws degrees, honoris causa (LLD), to The Honourable Leonard S. Mandamin, at its afternoon Call to the Bar ceremony on June 26 at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto.
As part of its Call ceremonies each year, the Law Society awards honorary doctorates to distinguished people in recognition of outstanding achievements in the legal profession, the rule of law, or the cause of justice. Recipients serve as inspirational keynote speakers for the new lawyers attending the ceremonies.
Justice Mandamin received the honorary LLD in recognition of his work as a highly respected and dedicated leader within the legal profession and the Indigenous community. He was also recognized for his leadership on the reconciliation of Indigenous perspectives with the common law and civil law perspectives in the administration of justice —and on the development of Federal Court Aboriginal Law Guidelines, which are the first of their kind in Canada.
An Anishnawbe member of the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve on Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Justice Mandamin was called to the Alberta Bar in 1983. He established a law firm in 1985 representing First Nations, Indigenous organizations and individuals on a wide variety of issues.
He appeared as counsel before the Alberta Queen’s Bench and Provincial Courts and before the Supreme Court of Canada (R. v. Badger), Saskatchewan Court of Appeal (R. v. Wolfe) and the Indian Claims Commission (Cold Lake First Nations Claim).
Justice Mandamin was appointed to the Provincial Court of Alberta in 1999 and presided in the Tsuu T’ina Court, which involved a First Nations peacemaker justice initiative, and in the Siksika Provincial Court at Siksika, which also involved traditional Indigenous mediation.
In 2007, he was appointed judge of the Federal Court and ex officio member of the Federal Court of Appeal. (See full biography online.)
Justice Mandamin delivered the keynote address to the 447 new lawyers at the ceremony. More than 1,600 new lawyers are being called to the Bar at five ceremonies throughout the province in June.
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