Michael Watson, a partner in Gowling WLG's Toronto office, was recently presented with the prestigious Court of Appeal Medallion for his legal and administrative efforts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The experienced corporate and commercial litigator, who also practices in administrative law and employee and labour relations, was recognized for his many years of work on the Secretariat of Ontario's Civil Rules Committee, and in particular for his and the Secretariat's work in addressing the impact of the pandemic on the civil justice system over the past two years.
In an accompanying letter signed by the Chief Justice of Ontario and the Chair and Executive Legal Officer of the Civil Rules Committee, Watson was commended for his "deep institutional memory, detailed attention to the impact of specific proposals, and creative and innovative thinking [with regards to] the complex and sometimes thorny issues the Committee considers."
Duncan Boswell and Natalie Mullins, co-heads of the firm's Toronto Advocacy Department, echoed the Committee's sentiment: "Michael is a tremendous asset to the firm, as well as to the Court of Appeal, and he continues to make us proud to be his colleagues. It's wonderful to see him receiving this well-deserved recognition from the Court and the Civil Rules Committee. It's an honour he richly deserves."
In his day-to-day practice, Watson handles a wide variety of litigation matters. He has appeared before all levels of courts in Ontario, in the Federal Court of Canada, and in the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as the trial and appellate courts of Alberta.
Throughout his 42-year career, Watson has also been heavily involved in legal education in Ontario, particularly in the fields of civil procedure and trial advocacy. He serves as an adjunct professor of law at Osgoode Hall Law School, where he has taught advanced topics in civil procedure to upper-year students since 1985. He has lectured and taught trial advocacy in various programs at the Law Society of Ontario (LSO), the Advocates' Society, Osgoode Hall Law School, the University of Notre Dame, and l'Université de Moncton. He is a former head of Civil Litigation in the LSO's Bar Admission Course, and received the Advocates' Society Award for excellence in teaching in 2019.