TBLA Awards

Nominations for the TBLA Service Awards and the James L. Murray Memorial Award can be submitted via email to the Public Service Awards Committee at library@tbla.ca at least one month prior to the Annual General Meeting, which is usually held in March each year.  Through the presentation of these awards the Directors of the Association, on behalf of all members of the Association, wish to recognize members who have made significant contributions to the profession and the community at large.

Congratulations  to all the outstanding nominees and recipients of these awards!



The awards are for members, whether Lawyers, Justices or Crown Attorneys, and are meant to recognize service. There are two awards. The criteria are as follows:

Service to Community Award

“A member who has performed work over a number of years, above and beyond usual or normal expectations or standards, all for the benefit of the citizens of Thunder Bay.”

At the March 2024 AGM, the 2023 award for service to the community was presented to Peter White for his extensive volunteer work and leadership within the community, including the United Way, Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society, City of Thunder Bay Heritage Advisory Committee, Lake Superior Ski District, and the Waterfront District Business Improvement Area.  A well-deserved award Peter!

Service to Profession Award

“A member, who has performed work, over a number of years, above and beyond usual or normal expectations or standards, all for the benefit of the members of the Thunder Bay Law Association.”

Etienne Esquega was presented with the 2023 Service to the Profession award at the March 2024 AGM . Etienne served as the Northwest Bencher at the Law Society of Ontario from 2019 to 2023, bringing concerns of north forward as well as providing excellent reports to the membership of the activities at the Law Society.  Etienne was a co-chair of the Indigenous Advisory Group to the Law Society of Ontario. Etienne was also part of the steering committee that led to the development of the Certified Specialist designation for Indigenous Legal Issues at the Law Society of Ontario. He currently serves as an adjudicator at the Law Society Tribunal. On September 1, 2021 he was appointed to the Ontario Civil Rules Committee for a three year term. He also sits on the Advisory Council to the Indigenous Human Rights Program which is a partnership between Pro Bono Students Canada (PBSC) and the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC).  Kudos Etienne!


This award was established at the Board meeting of April 13, 2018 to honour the memory of Mr. Jim (James) Murray, who passed away suddenly in January 2018.  He was an outstanding advocate and long-time member of the local bar.  The first recipient of this award was Jack Jamieson, an outstanding professional in the practice of law, as have been all the subsequent award winners.  He was presented with a plaque at the March 27, 2019 AGM.  All recipients of this award receive a small wall plaque of recognition, as well as having their names engraved on the large wall plaque displayed in the TBLA Lounge.​  Nominations for this award are reviewed by the Public Service Awards Committee with the following criteria considered:

“Awarded to a member of the TBLA that displays the highest standards of ethics, professionalism, and civility in his/her practice as an advocate.”

Mr. Robert C. Edwards, Eddwards Bell Jewitt LLP was presented with the James Murray award at the AGM on March 27, 2024  and commended for his professionalism, ethics and civility in his dealings with members of the bar, with his clientele, as well as being a mentor to young lawyers and students. Congratulations Mr. Edwards, it is well deserved!


  • 2018 – Jack Jamieson, Carrel + Partners
  • 2019 – James Wilcox, Legal Aid Ontario
  • 2020 – John W. McDonald, John W. McDonald Law Office
  • 2021 – John Illingworth, Atwood Labine LLP
  • 2022 – Randall Johns, Ericksons LLP
  • 2023 – Robert C. Edwards, Edwards Bell Jewitt LLP

Honourary Lifetime Membership Awards

Honourary Lifetime Members are persons who have been granted this status by the Association. The following persons qualify to become Honourary Life Members of the Association:

    1. Ordinary Members who have been members of the Law Society of Ontario for fifty (50) years or more; or
    2. Ordinary Members considered by the Board to be worthy of Honourary Life Membership by reason of their devoted and meritorious service to the Association, the profession and/or the public.

All of the members awarded this status reflect the ideal of devoted and meritorious service to the association, the profession and the public, as well as being long-standing members in the Law Society of Ontario.


  • 2024 – Terry Gilbart
  • 2024 – George Kostyshyn
  • 2023 – Alec Hardiejowski
  • 2023 – Alan G. Jones
  • 2022 – Leon Nicol
  • 2019 – Ross Murray, Q.C.
  • 2018 – Ken Whent, Q.C.
  • 2018 – Allan G. McKitrick, Q.C.
  • 2018 – Kris Knutsen, Q.C.
  • 2005 – Laurel Ward
  • 1990 – Bernard Black, Q.C.
  • 1987 – Harold Blanchard
  • 1987 – G.B. Weiler, Q.C.
  • 1984 – B. Devlin
  • 1984 – Art Kajander
  • 1984 – W. Desimone
  • 1962 – Judge Arthur Harold Dowler
  • J..L. McComber
  • R.L. Seaman
  • B. Shaffer
  • J. Hatherly
  • Judge Fitzgerald
  • Joe Commuzzi
  • F. Howard Young