Canadian Lawyer Magazine has recognized Windsor law professor Julie Macfarlane as one of “Canada’s Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers” for 2017.
The list, now in its eighth year, is assembled annually with help from the law community to recognize legal professionals who have made outstanding contributions to the profession in the last 18 months. Over 200 nominations were received for the 2017 list and nearly 10,000 people voted.
The list is divided into five categories, identifying five honourees in each of the following areas: changemakers; human rights, advocacy and criminal; government, non-profits and associations; in-house counsel; and corporate commercial.
Professor Macfarlane was recognized in the human rights, advocacy and criminal category for her efforts in leading the National Self-Represented Litigants Project (NSRLP), a project tasked with advancing the understanding of the challenges and obstacles that face Canadians who come to court without counsel.
“It is an honour for myself and my amazing NSRLP team — including Dayna Cornwall, our project co-ordinator, and dedicated student research assistants from the law school — to be recognized in this way,” says Macfarlane. “What we are all most excited about is that this award establishes the experiences of self-represented litigants, who are navigating the justice system without access to affordable representation, as a legitimate and urgent issue for the legal profession in 2017. We hope to continue to deepen and broaden the conversation about how the profession can respond to the ‘new normal’ of self-representation with understanding, empathy and innovation.”
Honourees are leaders in the justice community and their contributions help shape laws, influence public opinion, and improve quality of legal services, says acting dean of law Myra Tawfik, adding that the Faculty of Law is thrilled to see Macfarlane and her team recognized for their work.
“It is a clear testament to her tireless efforts to advocate on behalf of access to justice and the interests of self-represented litigants,” Tawfik says. “Through her pioneering and innovative work in establishing the NSRLP, Julie has given voice to a growing systemic problem within the legal profession and has provided the means by which to empower and support those with limited access to legal services. We are proud of her achievements.”