The Law Society of Ontario presented an honorary Doctor of Laws degree (LLD) to Windsor Law professor and former dean, Bruce Elman, at its Call to the Bar ceremony in London this week.
The Law Society awards honorary doctorates each year to distinguished members of the profession and the public in recognition of outstanding achievements in the legal profession, the rule of law or the cause of justice.
Professor Elman is an internationally acclaimed scholar, distinguished academic and a leader in education. He has been teaching for 43 years in the areas of Constitutional Law, the Legal Profession, and Legal Ethics and served as dean from 2000 – 2011.
Elman was honoured to be recognized by the Law Society of Ontario and shares the triumph with the folks he has worked with over the years. “I know this recognition isn’t just about me,” said Elman. “It’s about Windsor Law and the community who have helped me along the way: mentors, colleagues, staff, and students. You simply cannot accomplish these things by yourself.”
Elman still recalls standing in front of his first class of students at the young age of 27 – a moment he takes great pride in. “I always wanted to be a professor and a lawyer, and this combined the best of the academic and legal worlds. I knew from that moment forward, that in some way, I would be able to share in the success of my students,” he recalled. “To look back and think of all the amazing things that the students have gone on to accomplish – it makes me really proud to know that I was able to play some small part in their journey.”
As dean, Elman promoted ethics, professionalism, and competence as pre-eminent values of Windsor Law; values that he still holds high today as he was sure to remind the new Calls to the Bar during his acceptance speech to “always tell the truth and respect everyone.”
Known for his outstanding leadership, Elman has always aimed to lead by example. During his deanship, he served as the Chair of the Board of Directors of Legal Assistance of Windsor, Community Legal Aid, and the former University of Windsor Mediation Services. He was a founding member of the Chief Justice of Ontario's Advisory Committee on Professionalism and his paper on "Creating a Culture of Ethics and Professional Responsibility: A Leadership Role for Law Schools" was delivered at the 8th Colloquium on Legal Profession: The Challenge of Leadership in May 2007.
Elman has published numerous works on criminal law, evidence, constitutional law, freedom of expression, law, and religion, multiculturalism and ethics and professional responsibility and is the Co-editor of Rotman, Elman, and Gall, Constitutional Law: Cases, Commentary, and Principles (Thomson Carswell - 2008).
Today he continues to serve as the Integrity Commissioner for the City of Windsor and the Town of Amherstburg. He is concluding his second term as Chair of the Board of Governors of the Law Commission of Ontario and has served as an audit committee representative and member of the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) representing the University of Windsor as its Academic Colleague.
Prior to joining Windsor Law, Elman was the Belzberg Professor of Constitutional Law and Chair of the Centre for Constitutional Studies at the University of Alberta, Faculty of Law. He has been a visiting scholar at Stanford Law School, a visiting professor at Niigata University in Japan and a visiting professor of law and Canadian studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on two occasions.
More recently, Elman was a visiting professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto and scholar in residence at the Centre for the Legal Profession. He was the recipient of the Tevie H. Miller Award for Teaching Excellence (1999) at the University of Alberta and also received a teaching award from Hebrew University (1996).
Members of the judiciary and the Law Society of Ontario congratulate University of Windsor Law Professor Bruce Elman (centre) on receiving an honorary LLD from the Law Society at the London Call to the Bar ceremony on June 20. Professor Elman received the honour in recognition of his distinguished academic career and his renowned teaching abilities and educational leadership. He was also recognized for his immense contributions to the legal profession as a whole.
From left to right, are: Law Society Bencher Catherine Strosberg; Law Society Treasurer Paul Schabas; Professor Elman; Justice Lynne Leitch, Superior Court of Justice, Southwest Region-Middlesex County; and Law Society Ex-Officio Bencher Heather Ross.