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 2023 AGM, the 2022 award for service to the community was presented to Stella Vallelunga for her volunteer work and leadership within the community, including being the honourary vice consulate of Italy for Thunder Bay, actively serving on the Board for  the Thunder Bay Sexual Abuse Centre, volunteering for the CNIB, is a deputy judge for small claims, active member of the Catholic Women’s League, she speaks several languages and is an eucharistic minister.  A well-deserved award Stella!

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.”

Rodi-Lynn Rusnick-Kinisky was presented with the 2022 Service to the Profession award at the March 2023 AGM . Rodi-Lynn, when she was in private practice, spent much of her own time mentoring the newest lawyers at each firm she worked at. She has actively served on the TBLA board for many terms and is one of the members who eagerly volunteers for heavy lifting tasks. In addition to currently being the director of the legal clinic, she was (or maybe still is) a civil small group instructor at the law school for many years and her involvement in both roles provides many of the students graduating from our law school the benefit of Rodi’s sharp tutelage. Kudos Rodi-Lynn!


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. Randall Johns, Ericksons LLP was presented with the James Murray award at the AGM on March 29, 2023  and commended for his professionalism, ethics and civility in his dealings with members of the bar, as well as his clientele. Congratulations Mr. Johns, 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

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.


  • 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.
  • 1984 – Art Kajander
  • 1984 – W. Desimone
  • 1962 – A.H. Dowler
  • J..L. McComber
  • R.L. Seaman
  • B. Shaffer
  • G.B. Weiler
  • Judge Fitzgerald
  • B. Devlin
  • Joe Commuzzi
  • F. Howard Young