The Advocates’ Society has just announced that Nelligan O’Brien Payne’s Allan O’Brien is the 2017 recipient of The John P. Nelligan Award for Excellence in Advocacy. The award is presented to an advocate from Ottawa and the surrounding region who exemplifies excellence in advocacy. The award will be presented to Al at the annual Ottawa Honouree Dinner in spring 2017. You can view the award criteria here.
Al is a senior partner at the firm, and chair of the Partnership. Early in his career, Al was involved in a mixed practice of civil litigation, family law, labour law and employment law. Lately, his practice has focused increasingly on litigation, with an emphasis on lawyers’ professional liability defence work, commercial litigation and working with financial institutions.
Al is active in a number of professional associations, including the Advocates’ Society. In 2005, he became a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He was also inducted into the Honour Society of the University of Ottawa’s Common Law School, which is the most prestigious alumni distinction offered by the Law School. Al was named Ottawa Corporate and Commercial Litigation “Lawyer of the Year” in the 2010 and 2014 editions of The Best Lawyers in Canada and most recently was selected as “Lawyer of the Year” for Legal Malpractice Law in The Best Lawyers in Canada 2017 edition.
For several years, Al was an instructor in the civil litigation section of the Bar Admission Course. On numerous occasions he has been a guest speaker on professional issues, and he has written and presented legal papers to the County of Carleton Law Association and The Law Society of Upper Canada on the subject of solicitors’ negligence. He has trained student advocates at the University of Ottawa and has participated in seminars on trial advocacy.
Al learned early on in his career that practising law is a privilege. Clients entrust him with their problems, so he strives to honour that trust by dedicating himself to the resolution of their issues. Al is passionate about meeting his clients’ expectations, and is humbled to be able to offer assistance to those in need. His reputation in the legal community is characterized by a high level of professional integrity and a client focus.
Our own Janice Payne received this same award in 2007 (then called the Ottawa Advocate Honouree Dinner) for her outstanding contributions as a lawyer in the Ottawa area. In August 2016, the Advocates’ Society’s Board of Directors approved a new name for this annual Ottawa Honouree Dinner – The John P. Nelligan Award for Excellence in Advocacy. Partner Peter Cronyn says, “It is quite fitting that Al should receive this award, given that Mr. Nelligan was Al’s long-time mentor”.