The Alison Dewar Scholarship in Women’s Equality, Labour, and Human Rights Law was established in memory of our dear friend and colleague, who died on October 17, 2013. Jointly funded by RavenLaw and the National Association of Women and Law (NAWL), the scholarship is awarded annually to a female law student at the University of Ottawa interested in a career in the areas of law Alison was most passionate about.
Alison was an ardent defender of social justice on all fronts, as a union-side labour lawyer, human rights advocate and activist community member. Called to the bar in 2000 after graduating from the University of Ottawa, she was a compassionate and formidable advocate for her clients, a gifted legal thinker, a respected litigator, and a generous mentor to young lawyers. Dedicated to the principles of equality law, Alison advised and represented like-minded groups throughout her career, including on a pro bono basis before the Supreme Court of Canada. She was proud to be named partner at RavenLaw in 2008. Alison joined NAWL’s National Steering Committee in 2005, providing insightful direction for the organization, particularly during her many years as Co-Chair.
Her powerful lesbian feminist voice, outstanding sense of humour, wisdom and leadership are deeply missed not only by her friends and colleagues at RavenLaw, but by the social justice community at large.
This bursary was established by RavenLaw in memory of Mary Mackinnon, who died on December 15, 2016. The bursary funds law students interested in union-side labour law to attend conferences organized by the Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers (CALL).
Mary was a powerful advocate for all workers, with a devotion to advancing human rights through labour law. Mary was called to the bar in 1993 and worked in Toronto and Thunder Bay before joining RavenLaw in 2006. She joined the partnership in 2008 and continued in that role until her passing, bringing her wit and good judgment to all aspects of the partnership, and mentoring students and young lawyers until the end. Mary strove to provide vulnerable workers with the dignity and respect often lacking in both the workplace and the legal system. She modeled the type of client-service that is difficult to teach – always listening patiently and carefully, with genuine interest in the life experience and wellbeing of the people she represented.
Mary was heavily involved with CALL, where she was elected as Regional Vice-President by her peers. She was also a regular contributor to community radio with a deep knowledge, appreciation and love of music. Mary’s dedication, passion and pragmatic resolve are missed by the entire labour law community. We remember her as a wonderful colleague, a thoughtful mentor, and a truly remarkable friend.