The 2011 Lexpert Zenith Awards has bestowed Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG) with the top prize in five categories for the Firm's contribution to corporate social responsibility programs across Canada. The Zenith Awards honour leading Canadian law firms, in-house departments and law students who commit their time, skills and mentorship to corporate and law firm social responsibility.

A group of BLG lawyers, led by Guy Pratte and Alex De Zordo, won the Pro Bono Team of the Year award for their successful representation of Réjean Hinse in his wrongful conviction civil lawsuit against the Federal and Québec governments.

In another category related to pro bono, Tyler Hodgson, Margot Finley and Karen Kiang were handed the Pro Bono by Team of Firm award for their work with the Muslim Canadian Congress. BLG represented the Congress in an intervention at the Ontario Court of Appeal after a woman appealed a decision in which she was denied the right to wear a niqab while testifying against two men in a sexual assault case.

And in the Firm Legal Team – Pensions category, BLG's Mark Phillips, Vincent De Rose, Nadia Effendi and Jacquie El-Chammas won for their pro bono representation of veterans to ensure they and their families receive the disability settlements to which they are entitled under the law. The team represents veterans who were unsuccessful before the Veterans Review and Appeal Board, enabling them to seek judicial review of the Board's decisions before the Federal Court.

In the Managing Partner Contribution to Corporate Social Responsibility category, a team of BLG lawyers including Sean Weir, the Firm's national managing partner, won for fundraising carried out on behalf of the Canadian Organization for Development through Education (CODE). The team climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2010 in support of CODE's Children's Book Project in Tanzania.

And BLG took home an award in the Corporate Social Responsibility by Law Firm that Impacts Children category for its Reads to Kids program, through which over 400 employees across the Firm's six offices read to school children from kindergarten to grade three in economically disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

The awards were handed out on Sept. 21, 2011 at an awards banquet held at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto.