2015 Rising Stars Award Winners


Karen Hennessey, Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP

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Karen Hennessey is a corporate commercial and M&A lawyer and national leader of the firm’s general corporate commercial practice group. As a corporate commercial generalist, she acts as the “glue” between specialized practice areas. She quickly and effectively puts legal teams together across offices and disciplines. For seven months in 2014, Karen was seconded to a substantial client, acting as VP Legal and leading the legal aspects of a transaction estimated in excess of a billion dollars. This required Karen to work full-time for the client while managing her full practice. She has since served as second-in-command to the client company’s new vice president. Karen serves on the boards of Ronald McDonald House in Ottawa, the Christmas Cheer Foundation and the Hnatyshyn Foundation.

Gillian Hnatiw, Lerners LLP

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Gillian Hnatiw’s practice is focused in three areas: representing sexual-assault and abuse victims in compensation claims and criminal proceedings, for nonconsensual dissemination of intimate images and wrongful non-disclosure of sexually transmitted diseases; defending against actions for medical malpractice; and acting in administrative and constitutional law proceedings before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board and Coroner’s inquests. She has acted as counsel to the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto at the inquest into the death of Katelynn Sampson; and as pro bono counsel to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association before the Supreme Court of Canada in the Omar Khadr case. Gillian regularly offers behind-the-scenes pro bono legal advice to sexual assault victims.