Confronting his high school teacher with his disappointment that the science mark she assigned him was lower than what he expected was a bold move. Marlon Reid, however, went a step further, clearly articulating his case.
His clarity of argument caught the Thornhill Secondary School educator’s attention and she encouraged him to take up law as a career. Little did she know the positive effect that brief encounter would have on her young student.
“It was the first time a teacher had ever looked me straight in the eye and tell me I could be a professional in life,” he said. “Before that, I never thought about that. From that time onwards, pursuing law became my single focus.”
Reid completed an undergraduate Business degree at York University before entering the University of Ottawa where he successfully pursued his Law Degree in 1999. He also holds a Masters of Finance degree from the prestigious Rotman School of Management.
Last Saturday night, the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (CABL) honoured him and three other bright legal minds in the community for professional excellence.
“This honour is tremendous because it’s an acknowledgment by a community of lawyers that I hold in high esteem,” said Reid who was the recipient of the Pathfinder award.
For the past eight years, Reid has worked at TD Securities in progressive roles. He’s currently the vice-president of Treasury Credit & Investment Banking.
Negotiation and deal execution of TD Securities’ energy origination transactions and various other over-the-counter derivative and capital market transactions have been his primary focus. In addition, he has provided legal support to the Asset Securitization and Structured Product (Asia-Pacific) Groups and the Commercial Paper desk.
“It was law school that made me rediscover business and finance and allowed me to do things that were not possible before,” Reid, the president of the Urban Financial Services Coalition, said. “It became easier for me to break down complex structures in finance once I got my legal education.”
Donald McLeod, the founding partner of The McLeod Group, Barristers & Solicitors, was presented with the Excellence in Practice award.
An accomplished litigator for over a decade with a very keen interest in community and social justice issues, he heads a law firm that’s respected for its reputation as one of the leading boutique criminal, administrative and human rights firms in Toronto.
Intervening for the African Canadian Legal Clinic, McLeod successfully argued the R v Golden case in the Supreme Court of Canada in 1999 that addressed the constitutionality of police strip searches and the landmark 2009 R v Douse case that revolutionized the traditionally used racial vetting process to now take into consideration non-conscious racism.
Community Service awards were presented to Julian Falconer, the founding partner of Falconer Charney LLP, and consultant/poet/playwright Charles Smith.
Falconer, who has built his reputation by arguing issues of human rights, racism and public interest, is a Law Society of Upper Canada Bencher while Smith is a University of Toronto lecturer and a research associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Attorney General Chris Bentley congratulated the award winners and praised the CABL for promoting equity and diversity in the legal profession.
“I want to thank you not simply because of what you have accomplished, but simply because there is a need,” he said. “…You advocate where others might not and you push for equal limits. You make sure that members of the profession, who have struggled to become part of this great profession, are able to enjoy it as fully and as completely as all others…You also make sure they receive the mentoring support that’s absolutely required.”
Ontario Bar Association president Lee Akazaki also acknowledged the CABL for its commitment to the promotion and retention of Black lawyers in the province.
“In our collaboration with you, I personally have witnessed the growth of this organization from an equity seeking body to one which is increasingly contributing to the mainstream of law and society in Ontario,” he said. “Despite the successes by leaps and bounds, your work has to continue. It’s unfinished and will always be that way.”
CABL president Frank Walwyn welcomed guests that included Ontario’s Minister of Health Promotion & Sport Margarett Best who is also a lawyer, and Superior Court judge Michael Tulloch.