The popular Canadian Lawyer Top 25 Most Influential in the justice system and legal profession in Canada is back for the fourth year. The Top 25 is always one of the magazine’s most-read, and most commented-on, features. As expected, not everyone agrees with our choices, but it is always worthwhile to get our readers into the debate. This year, we continued with our tried and true formula of asking for nominations from legal groups and associations representing a variety of memberships and locations; last year’s Top 25 list; our general readership; and our internal panel of writers and editors. We received more than 90 nominations, which the internal panel whittled down to the 85 candidates who met our criteria. We then posted the list online and once again asked our readers to participate, which they did in spades. An astounding 4,636 people voted and commented on those who they thought were the most influential this year. This final list is based on that poll with input and the last word from the internal panel.
The Top 25 Most Influential is not just about bright stars, big deals, or number of media mentions — although those may play a part. We have endeavoured to select lawyers who have been influential within the profession as well as Canadian society over the last 18 months. Closing a high-worth deal, for instance, doesn’t necessarily have a big impact beyond that particular business or industry. The Top 25 is about a level of respect, the ability to influence public opinion, and help shape the laws of this country; contribution to the strength and quality of legal services; and social and political influence and involvement. It can include regulators and politicians — although former Justice and Public Safety ministers Rob Nicholson and Vict Toews were shut out this year.