From Marie Henein (above) to Jen Agg, we cel­e­brate our trail­blaz­ers


Marie Henein en­joys the col­lec­tive ad­mi­ra­tion of our com­mu­nity not only be­cause she is one of Canada’s most skilled and re­spected lawyers, but be­cause she is at the van­guard in pro­mot­ing a deeper ap­pre­ci­a­tion and recog­ni­tion of the fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples of crim­i­nal jus­tice. She is a zeal­ous de­fender, not only of those ac­cused of crim­i­nal of­fences, but of the piv­otal role of the crim­i­nal lawyer. Henein has pas­sion­ately, thought­fully and elo­quently ar­tic­u­lated why the ad­min­is­tra­tion of jus­tice in Canada, our con­sti­tu­tion­ally en­shrined rights and free­doms and our rules of ev­i­dence are so vi­tal to the proper func­tion­ing of a ro­bust democ­racy.

Crim­i­nal lawyers are of­ten ma­ligned, of­ten dis­par­aged and of­ten mis­un­der­stood. She is deeply com­mit­ted to the prin­ci­ples that re­main vi­tal to a free so­ci­ety as we chal­lenge the state to es­tab­lish its al­le­ga­tions be­yond a rea­son­able doubt.

Henein not only in­spires her crim­i­nal law col­leagues to strive for ex­cel­lence, she also in­spires a gen­er­a­tion of young crim­i­nal lawyers who look to her as a trail­blazer — a lawyer who un­apolo­get­i­cally forged her own path and has risen to the very pin­na­cle of her pro­fes­sion, a woman who dared to be great and bril­liantly suc­ceeded.

My late brother Ed­die, for whom Henein ar­ti­cled and with whom she sub­se­quently prac­ticed in part­ner­ship, had a deep and abid­ing ad­mi­ra­tion and af­fec­tion for her. His words penned more than a decade ago still ring true of our col­league and friend: “The great­est virtues that de­fence coun­sel can ex­hibit are pre­pared­ness, in­tel­li­gence, a dogged de­ter­mi­na­tion to suc­ceed and the re­spect of your peers. That is Marie in a nut­shell.”

Henein grew up in Mid­town

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