Skip to Main Content

Jim McDonald receives OBA mentorship award

October 05, 2019

Photo of Jim McDonaldCongratulations to our friend and colleague, Jim McDonald, on receiving the Ontario Bar Association’s Randall Echlin Mentorship Award.

The Randall Echlin Mentorship Award is awarded in honour of the late Justice Randall Echlin of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Prior to his appointment to the bench, Justice Echlin was a well-known employment and labour lawyer.

Jim is the first member of the labour law bar to receive this award. It was presented to him at a dinner held at the Law Society of Ontario on October 3, 2019.

The following excerpt from Jim’s nomination expresses, in part, why we think he was such a worthy award recipient.

If one were to stand outside Jim McDonald’s office on an average workday at Goldblatt Partners … one might wonder how Jim gets any work done at all. All day, every day, there is a procession of lawyers from across the firm knocking on Jim’s door, politely asking, “Jim, do you have a minute for me to run something by you on a file?” For so many of us at Goldblatt Partners, Jim is our sounding board. We turn to Jim for his intelligence, his strategic mind, his principled and ethical approach, and his judgment.

Jim’s red pen is legendary. Every lawyer that Jim has mentored over the decades at Goldblatt Partners can tell you a story of the first time Jim returned a piece of their work, in red, following his review and edit. For the uninitiated articling student, the experience can be daunting at first. But it quickly becomes clear that Jim edits our work not only to make it better, but to make us better. Jim is genuinely committed to helping his colleagues improve and succeed. His feedback is always considered, respectful and honest. He provides the kind of feedback that lawyers crave – which is why so many of us turn to Jim, more than anyone else, for advice when we really need it.

If there is one word that sums up why Jim McDonald is a worthy recipient of the Randall Echlin Mentorship Award, it is “dedication”: dedication to the profession, his clients, other practitioners (particularly those in the labour and employment bar) and the countless number of lawyers he has mentored over the years. Jim’s dedication is not self-serving; he does not seek attention for himself. For 35 years, Jim arrived at the office every day around 7:00 am, before anyone else. In those early hours, Jim would power through piles of his own client work, so that by the time the rest of us got to work and started lining up at his door with questions, he was ready for us.

Earlier this year, Jim notified his partners that he intends to retire from the active practice of law at the end of 2019. While we are happy for Jim and know that Maureen will be thrilled to have her life partner and travel companion more readily available, we will miss Jim’s every day presence and the active leadership he provides within in our firm and in the broader legal community. We will even miss his red pen.

Congratulations, Jim!