T.O.'s most inspiring women of 2017: Marie Henein

A look at 12 incredible Toronto women who inspired us, provoked us, educated us and otherwise made us proud in 2017

As 2017 comes to a close, we are honouring Toronto's most inspirational women of the year. Take a look at our 12-part series highlighting the changemakers who are pushing for women's rights, exposing the inequalities in our city, achieving excellence in what they do and giving back through advocacy, activism, philanthropy and more.

The litigator: Marie Henein

Marie Henein enjoys the collective admiration of our community not only because she is one of Canada’s most skilled and respected lawyers, but because she is at the vanguard in promoting a deeper appreciation and recognition of the fundamental principles of criminal justice. She is a zealous defender, not only of those accused of criminal offences, but of the pivotal role of the criminal lawyer. Henein has passionately, thoughtfully and eloquently articulated why the administration of justice in Canada, our constitutionally enshrined rights and freedoms, and our rules of evidence are so vital to the proper functioning of a robust democracy.  

Criminal lawyers are often maligned, often disparaged and often misunderstood.  She is deeply committed to the principles that remain vital to a free society as we challenge the state to establish its allegations beyond a reasonable doubt.  

Henein not only inspires her criminal law colleagues to strive for excellence, she also inspires a generation of young criminal lawyers who look to her as a trailblazer — a lawyer who unapologetically forged her own path and has risen to the very pinnacle of her profession, a woman who dared to be great and brilliantly succeeded.

My late brother Eddie, for whom Henein articled and with whom she subsequently practiced in partnership, had a deep and abiding admiration and affection for her. His words penned more than a decade ago still ring true of our colleague and friend: “The greatest virtues that defence counsel can exhibit are preparedness, intelligence, a dogged determination to succeed and the respect of your peers. That is Marie in a nutshell.” 

Next on the list: Sandy Hudson by Desmond Cole

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO