François Baril, a litigation partner in Gowling WLG’s Ottawa office, has been named a recipient of this year’s Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario (AJEFO) Order of Merit award. The award will be presented next month during the AJEFO’s 40th annual conference in Sudbury, ON.
The Order of Merit is awarded annually to one or two AJEFO members in recognition of their contribution to the promotion of legal services in French, their support of the development of common law in French, and their leadership within the Franco-Ontarian community.
Baril served as president of the AJEFO from 2014 to 2016. During his term, he supported the opening of the first Legal Information Centre in Ontario, which provides free bilingual legal information and referral services to Ontario residents. He also played a significant role in the “Bilingual Ottawa” initiative, which in 2017 resulted in the City of Ottawa Act being amended to officially recognize the bilingual character of our nation’s capital.
“I am deeply honoured to receive the Order of Merit,” says Baril. “Access to justice, particularly for vulnerable populations, is essential to our social fabric and to the public’s confidence in our justice system. I am proud to be associated with the AJEFO and its important work, and will continue to be an advocate for this important cause.”
Widely regarded in his field, Baril began his legal career with Gowling WLG as an articling student in 1996; and, with the exception of a brief hiatus in 2004-05 when he practised in Washington, DC, he has been with the firm ever since. He has been repeatedly distinguished in Benchmark Canada as a leading litigator, as well as in the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory and in Chambers in the areas of medical negligence and health law.
Based in Ottawa, ON, the AJEFO is a not-for-profit organization that speaks for lawyers, judges, law professors and students, and others who work to promote access to justice in French and English — the official languages of the courts of Ontario. The AJEFO also develops programs and resources to create awareness and educate the public about the justice system and their rights to judicial services in the official language of their choice.
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