2017 Zenith Award Winners

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Mia Bacic, McCullough O'Connor Irwin LLP

Mia Bacic has demonstrated relentless persistence in the face of adversity. In 1992, amid the chaos of civil war, Mia graduated from the University of Sarajevo law school. Mia and her husband fled to Croatia in 1993. She worked in Zagreb’s Bosnian Consulate and as a field officer for an NGO helping Bosnian refugees resettle in Germany, while caring for her 10-year-old sister and arranging her parents’ emigration. In 1994, they all came to Vancouver, where Mia supported the family as a legal secretary until she entered UBC law. In 2003 she joined McCullough O’Connor Irwin, getting recognized in three editions of the Best Lawyers in Canada for corporate law. She has lectured for the Law Society of BC Professional Legal Training Course and for the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC on corporate and securities law.

Monica Biringer, Osler, Holskin & Harcourt LLP

Monica Biringer is co-chair of the national tax group at Osler, responsible for over 60 professionals in six offices. Monica is a trailblazer, growing a unique practice in tax planning and litigation, while increasingly involved in firm management and mentoring Osler’s associates and junior partners. She is a champion for women lawyers at Osler, while bringing a steady hand to multiple complex litigation matters and impressing clients and other lawyers with her creativity and strategic thinking. Monica speaks at tax conferences, is a past Governor of the Canadian Tax Foundation, has taught at the Bar Admission Course and is on the Canadian Institute editorial board for M&A tax. Among many recent awards, she has been named among the most frequently recommended in the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, 2014-2016, also for corporate tax.

Audrey Boctor, Irving Mitchell Kalichman

Audrey Boctor is a leader who inspires others. At the Supreme Court of Canada, Audrey represented the son of the late photo-journalist Zahra Kazemi, a woman who was tortured and killed in an Iranian prison. It was one of her five Supreme Court of Canada appearances. At the Québec Court of Appeal, she represented interveners in the trial of a militia commander prosecuted for involvement in the Rwandan genocide. She is currently lead counsel in Roy v. AG of Canada, a class action involving public servants and members of the military who lost their jobs because of their sexual orientation. She is a board member and legal clinic volunteer at the Tyndale Community Centre and taught Common Law Civil Procedure at the University of Montréal from 2013 to 2015.

Joëlle Boisvert, Gowling WLG

Joëlle Boisvert has built extensive experience in class actions and commercial, corporate and real estate litigation. Joëlle is Gowling’s Montréal managing partner and a member of the firm’s national executive team, particularly committed to promoting women’s leadership. She spearheaded leadership workshops in which an idea incubator was set up to design a working career model for women’s access to leadership roles. In addition, she maintains a very active legal practice, counselling large national and international companies with respect to a variety of complex matters. She combines legal expertise with strategic thinking, business acumen and strong problem-solving skills. Joëlle is named in The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, The Best Lawyers in Canada and Benchmark Canada. In 2015, she was recognized as one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful by the Women’s Executive Network.

Cherie L. Brant, Dickinson Wright LLP

Cherie Brant joined the firm just over three years ago. Her practice has more than doubled in size and she typically has 10 lawyers working with her as lead counsel. In her Toronto office, she ranks among the top three most productive lawyers, having completed her first year as the only female equity partner. Cherie also contributes to the marketing strategy, associates hiring committee, mentor program and the diversity committee. She is one of a handful of Indigenous lawyers in Canada who has led complex commercial transactions on behalf of Indigenous groups. She also acts for renewable energy proponents from Canada, the US and Europe, providing insight into Indigenous legal issues and business partnerships. Cherie was named in Lexpert’s Rising Stars: Leading Lawyers Under 40 in 2012, and in Lexpert’s Leading Lawyer Category, Energy Law, in 2014.