Andrew Alleyne’s desire to pursue a legal career was fostered by his Barbadian-born parents.
Law school colleague Sue-Lynn Noel encouraged him to join the 15-year-old Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (CABL) organization of which Alleyne became the sixth president last Saturday.
He replaces Kittitian-born WeirFoulds LLP partner Frank Walwyn, who litigates challenging business cases in Canada and the Caribbean.
“Sue was the secretary at the time and she emphasized the importance of becoming part of the national network of law professionals committed to reinvesting in the community,” said Alleyne. “I am glad I listened to her because I am honoured to be part of this group.
“My focus is going to be on strengthening our membership and our community involvement and leading the charge to ensure that Black lawyers have all the opportunities necessary to help fortify their practices.”
A graduate of Vaughan Secondary School, York University’s Schulich School of Business and the University of Toronto, Alleyne joined CABL’s board in 2003, serving for five years as treasurer before assuming the vice-presidency.
Alleyne, whose sister Lisa is an in-house counsel at Bell Canada, was called to the Bar eight years ago. As a partner at Fasken Martineau and one of 18 Black partners on Bay St., his expertise is in corporate commercial law with a particular interest in outsourcing and information technology, cross-border and international transactions, securities and mergers and acquisitions.
The new CABL president is a past chair of the Toronto Computer Lawyers Group and a member of the Urban Financial Services Coalition, the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals and the Ontario Bar Association Council among others.
Arlene Huggins, a partner in Koskie and Minsky whose expertise is in employment law, human rights, commercial mortgage, commercial leasing and real estate litigation, is the new vice-president while 2007 Osgoode Hall law school graduate Cherylyn Dickson and Fasken Martineau associate Hadiya Roderique – who assists employers with matters relating to restructuring, downsizing, human rights, employment agreements and terminations, labour relations and collective agreement interpretation – remain as secretary and treasurer respectively.
Noel, a former president, replaces Patricia DeGuire as director of professional development, Intact legal counsel and Rutgers School of Law (Camden) graduate Rosemarie Mercury is the new membership director and Larry Henry, an associate at Gilbertson Davis Emerson where he practices civil litigation, and Koskie Minsky associate and former Ontario Superior Court of Justice judicial law clerk Sarah Mason-Case continue in their roles as fundraising director and community liaison chair respectively.
Philip Graham is the Young Lawyers Division chair.
Public Prosecution Service of Canada counsel Sandra Thomas, sole practitioner Roger Rowe, Phillip Sutherland, Noel – who is a corporate counsel at Livingstone International – and Walwyn are the former CABL presidents.
Walwyn, who assumed the presidency in January 2006, congratulated Alleyne and the new board members.
“Andrew has tremendous knowledge of the issues facing our profession and of the challenges members of our community face,” he said. “Overall, I am thrilled at the talented group that has committed to lead CABL. Assuming the responsibilities of board member for an organization such as ours – and one that does so much with so little in the way of financial resources – is daunting.
“In addition, the exigencies of legal practice necessarily mean that our free time, such as it is, is jealously guarded and sparingly divided between family and other personal commitments.”
Under Walwyn’s leadership, CABL established a robust continuing legal education program that offers guidance to lawyers on challenging legal issues, advocated for a judiciary to reflect Canada’s diversity, celebrated excellence in the legal profession, raised funds for charity and increased mentorship opportunities.