On Saturday, January 28, 2023, the Court of Appeal for Ontario hosted the first-ever Rosenberg Mentorship Moot. Twenty-four lawyers (called to the Bar in 2015 or later) had the opportunity to deliver oral argument in a mock criminal appeal before judges of the Court of Appeal, as well as some special guest judges from the Superior Court of Justice and Ontario Court of Justice. It was like a real day in court, only it was Saturday and court was followed by meaningful advocacy tips from the judges.
To prepare for their day in court, the volunteer mooters were mentored by volunteer teams of accomplished members of the criminal appellate bar. The mooters were selected by a diverse number of professional organizations: the Round Table of Diversity Associations, Law and Mental Disorder Association, Women in Canadian Criminal Defence, the Pro Bono Inmate Appeal Program, the Criminal Lawyers’ Association Recent Call Committee, Crown Law Office – Criminal, and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada. The mentors were intentionally placed into pairs that crossed the appellate Bar: Crown-Defence pairs. Accordingly, not only did this event provide junior counsel with a welcoming and inclusive criminal appellate advocacy development opportunity, it also had an eye to civility, helping to forge and strengthen friendships between junior and senior counsel and between Crown and defence colleagues. In short, the last few months have been a shining example of the Bench and Bar at its very best.
This was a most fitting tribute to the memory of the Honourable Marc Rosenberg who was a wonderful and dedicated jurist, educator, mentor and friend.
None of it could have happened without the tremendous vision and hard work of the organizing committee, Anita Szigeti, Anna Trbovich and Dena Bonnet, all of whom gave so selflessly of their time. We extend our deep thanks to them, as well as to the judges, the mooters, the mentors, the mentors-in-training, and the court staff who made the event possible. We also extend a special thanks to our photographer, Vita Cooper, who so capably and completely captured the energy of the day.
Associate Chief Justice Michal Fairburn