The late Lincoln Alexander was a role model and inspiration for many, including former Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (CABL) president Frank Walwyn who will be the 11th recipient of an award named after Canada’s first Black Member of Parliament.
Alexander, who was also this country’s first Black federal minister and the province’s first Black Lieutenant Governor, passed away last October at age 90.
The Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC)-administered award will be presented on May 29. Alexander was an honorary LSUC bencher and the recipient of the 2002 Law Society Medal.
“Lincoln Alexander was a true leader and inspiration to us all,” said Walwyn. “When you look at his legacy, it’s easy to see why the Law Society of Upper Canada chose to honour him by creating this award in his name. However, it’s not an easy award to receive. This award makes you think about the contributions made to our society by Lincoln Alexander and when I do so, I realize how much he has given and how small a contribution I have made in comparison.”
Walwyn, one of Canada’s top lawyers in corporate and commercial litigation, said he’s honoured to be recognized with an award that bears the name of an exemplary community leader in his time.
“I am humbled and I will strive to maintain the honour of this award by continuing to contribute to this rich community of ours in a meaningful way,” he added.
A partner at one of the country’s oldest law firms, WeirFoulds LLP, Walwyn – who was called to the Ontario Bar in 1995 – is also a member of the Bars of St. Kitts & Nevis, Dominica, Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands and Antigua & Barbuda. He and his sister, Donna, a partner and head of Pensions and Employee Benefits Practice (Toronto) at Baker & McKenzie, are among a select group of Black partners in influential downtown Toronto firms.
Last year, Walwyn was recognized with an Award of Alumni Distinction from Ryerson University where he graduated in 1989 and he was appointed a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the university’s G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education.
The Lincoln Alexander Award is given annually to a provincial lawyer who has demonstrated long-standing interest and commitment to the public and to the pursuit of community service on behalf of Ontario residents.
Previous winners include professional adjudicator and mediator Patricia DeGuire, Public Prosecution Service of Canada counsel Sandra Thomas and sole practitioner Roger Rowe.