MISSISSAUGA—Marian Jacko is humbled at being recognized by the Law Society of Ontario for the Laura Legge Award.
The Laura Legge Award, “was established in 2007 in honour of (the late) Laura Legge, who was the first woman ever elected as a bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada and the first woman to serve as its treasurer,” said Ms. Jacko, who is from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory. “Yes, I am very honoured to be recognized for this award. She (Ms. Legge) passed away in 2010 but when you look at what she accomplished, and the people that have received the award previously, it is incredible.”
The Laura Legge Award recognizes women lawyers from Ontario who have exemplified leadership within the profession.
Ms. Jacko has spent her entire legal career working on behalf of children and Indigenous peoples
“In 1996-1998, I articled for the Office of the Children’s Lawyer and started permanently in 1998 (having been called to the Ontario Bar),” she told The Expositor. “In my early days, I worked in property rights civil estate litigation.” She worked with the Office of the Children’s Lawyer as counsel for 17 years.
In 2015 she was seconded to the Indigenous Justice Division to work as council of Assistant Deputy Attorney General for the Indigenous Justice Division.
Then in November 2016 Ms. Jacko was offered the opportunity to be the Children’s Lawyer for Ontario.
“I have been with the Ministry of the Attorney General, going on my 24th year,” Ms. Jacko told The Expositor.
“Yes, I feel my work is rewarding, working with children, especially due to the volume of cases there are,” explained Ms. Jacko. “Our legal representatives deal with up to 20,000 children in Ontario at any time. “We have over 80 staff and a panel of lawyers available across the province. Anywhere in the province, I have lawyers and clinicians ready to work for us. It is a privilege to work in the system.”
“We try to meet the needs of all children, Indigenous and non-Indigenous,” said Ms. Jacko.
Ms. Jacko raised her eldest child as a single parent while earning three university degrees, including a master’s degree in social work and a law degree. While working full-time as a lawyer and raising three children, she obtained her Master’s of Law from York University.
Ms. Legge graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1948 after earning a Bachelor of Arts and a nursing degree. In 1955, she and her husband established the still active law firm of Legge and Legge.
Ms. Legge served as director and chair on a number of high-profile boards. She was also the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Order of Ontario. She passed away in 2010.
Ms. Jacko and other members of Ontario’s legal professions will be recognized for their outstanding career achievements and contributions to their communities at the annual law society awards ceremony on May 25. An in-person ceremony hosted by Law Society Treasurer Teresa Donnelly will be attended by the recipients and their invited guests.
Ms. Jacko also received the prestigious Indspire Award in 2020. She is also president of the Little Native Hockey League (Little NHL) tournament, which is scheduled to return in 2023.