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On June 7, 2016, the Ontario Bar Association (OBA) – Young Lawyers Division East (Ottawa) hosted an evening in the heart of the Nation’s Capital at the Rideau Club to hear an inspiring and heartwarming presentation by the Honourable Justice Michael Moldaver of the Supreme Court of Canada.

We also welcomed and recognized a number of distinguished guests, including Ed Upeineks, President of the OBA, Steve Pengelly, Executive Director of the OBA, and Angela Moutoulas, Director of Sections of the OBA. Over 50 members of our legal profession gathered to mingle and partake in this lovely evening sponsored by Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP, Caza Saikaley LLP, Kelly Santini LLP, and Borden Ladner Gervais LLP.

Born in 1947, the Honorable Justice Moldaver spent his formative years in Peterborough, Ontario. As he so eloquently shared, he was “a small town boy from Peterborough who got lucky.” He grew up surrounded by a caring and loving family in a community that understood compassion and equality. It was quite apparent throughout his presentation that Justice Moldaver values community, promotes justice, and advocates for and encourages kindness and respect within our profession.

Justice Moldaver joined the Ontario Bar Association in 1973, the year he was called to the Bar. He was elevated to the Supreme Court of Canada on October 21, 2011. Prior to this, Justice Moldaver began his judicial career as a member of the High Court of Justice for Ontario when he was appointed to the Supreme Court of Ontario – later the Ontario Court of Justice (General Division) – on April 12, 1990. He was elevated to the Court of Appeal for Ontario on December 22, 1995.

Justice Moldaver began his career in criminal law with the firm of Pomerant, Pomerant and Greenspan (later Greenspan, Gold and Moldaver), where he became a partner in 1975. Justice Moldaver was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1985. After practising as a sole practitioner for two years, he was affiliated with the law firm of Goodman and Goodman from 1988 until his appointment to the Bench.

Throughout his career, Justice Moldaver has played an active role in the legal community. From 1978 to 1995, he co-taught criminal law courses at Osgoode Hall Law School and at the University of Toronto Law School. He has acted as a speaker and an instructor in numerous continuing education programs for both the judiciary and the profession, participating in educational programs sponsored by the National Judicial Institute and the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice, teaching criminal law to newly appointed judges from across Canada, and instructing in the continuing education programs of the Ontario Crown Attorneys Association, Criminal Lawyers Association and Ontario Bar Association. Justice Moldaver is an Honorary Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Justice Moldaver concluded by addressing the public’s misconception that lawyers are cold and only care about the business of law. He reminded us that pursuing a profession in law is not about fame and fortune – true happiness lies in helping the less fortunate, making a difference in people’s lives, and treating everyone with the “dignity and courtesy they deserve”. Justice Moldaver’s wonderful sense of humour shined through his anecdotes as he reminded us to “live each day to the fullest”.

Thank you to all who attended this delightful evening and, as we conclude the 2015-2016 term, we thank you for your continued support of the OBA Young Lawyer’s Division East programs.

This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2021 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.

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